I’m very excited to introduce y’all to the first guest author for The Texas Trailhead! Mr. Bill Brooks is an AP U.S. History teacher and loves being in the outdoors. He has traveled around north Texas and beyond, so we figured what better way to span more miles than to have him share some stories of some of his favorite places to visit. Thank you so much Bill for your post, and I hope to be able to share more from you and anyone else that may want to contribute. So please enjoy Colorado Bend state park:
Just West of Lampasas near a town named Bend, approximately two and a half hours northwest of Austin, is a gem of a park. Don’t expect nice facilities throughout Colorado Bend State Park, but do expect nice hikes and great scenery. If camping here all you will have access to is tent sites, running water, and compost toilets. The only full hook up site is reserved for the park host. You will be nestled in right along the banks of the Colorado River with plenty of shade to keep you protected from the sun.
As soon as you enter the park there is a pay booth and the parking area for the hike to Gorman Falls, probably the most attractive and well known feature of the park. This hike can heat up quick. There isn’t much shade at the start of the trail, but becomes more covered as you reach the area around the falls. It’s a moderate hike that covers 1.5 miles one way. Towards the end of the trail as you approach the falls there are some rock steps that get a little steep, but has handrails built in to help with the climb down and back up. This is where the view starts to get picturesque and you can begin to hear the trickle of the springs that create the falls.
There is still plenty to see and do as you head towards the headquarters and camping area six more miles down the road. Be sure to kick your vehicle into a low gear as you descend into this portion of the park. A few parking lots and trail heads dot this stretch of the road.
My personal favorite hike on this trip wasn’t the famous Gorman Falls trail, but rather the loop that consisted of the Spicewood Canyon (3 miles) and Spicewood Springs (1.3 miles) trails. The Canyon trail has several overlook areas that boast some great scenery of the surrounding hills, Colorado River canyon, and springs below. I started on this trail with the intent of hiking back along the springs and was pleased with this route. As you you turn and head back down the Spicewood Springs Trail you will cross the springs multiple times. Rocks are carefully placed at these crossings, but there’s a chance you might get your feet wet a few times. There are plenty of opportunities to snap a picture of the small water falls of the springs heading down towards the Colorado River and also to take a little dip in the cool waters towards the end if desired.
I heard there was good bass fishing in these parts of the Colorado, but didn’t bring my poles on this trip. I did see a few boats and kayaks cruising up and down the river though. The park also has guided tours through caves on the property. You do need reservations to be able to go on one of these tours. Since Colorado Bend State Park is rather secluded, make sure you bring plenty of water with you. Not much of a chance to stop once you turn off the main highway. As always went visiting public parks, leave no trace. Only leave with memories and pictures.
Pictures in order:
Gorman Falls. There is much more to the falls as the springs don’t flow over the rocks in just one area.
Overlook view along Spicewood Canyon Trail. You can see the springs in the middle of the picture and the Colorado River winding between the hills above them.
Spring flowing over rocks on Spicewood Springs Trail. One of many just like this along the trail.