Official Texas State Parks Guide
Official Texas State Parks Guide. Published by Texas Parks & Wildlife.
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-Official- FACILITIES Get the Mobile App: MAPS ACTIVITIES TexasStateParks.org/app T O Y O T A T U N D R A The Toyota Tundra is built to explore the great outdoors. No matter what the weekend throws at you, your Tundra takes it on with ease. | toyota.com/tundra Oﬃcial Vehicle of the Texas Parks & Wildlife Foundation CONTENTS 4 100 Years of Texas Parks 6 Parks Near You 8 90 Checklist DIRECTORY TEXAS PARKS AND WILDLIFE DEPARTMENT 52 68 20 38 60 30 84 68 David Yoskowitz, Ph.D. Executive Director Rodney Franklin State Parks Director Mischelle Diaz Communications Director TPW COMMISSION Arch “Beaver” Aplin, III, Chairman Lake Jackson Dick Scott, Vice-Chairman Wimberley James E. Abell Kilgore Oliver J. Bell Cleveland Paul L. Foster El Paso Anna B. Galo Laredo Jeffery D. Hildebrand Houston Robert L. “Bobby” Patton, Jr. Fort Worth Travis B. “Blake” Rowling Dallas T. Dan Friedkin, Chairman-Emeritus Houston Lee Marshall Bass, Chairman-Emeritus Fort Worth 52 Panhandle Plains 48 State Parks Map Special thanks to Toyota and advertisers, whose generous support made this guide possible. Texas State Parks is a division of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Cover illustration: Brad Woodard, bravethewoods.com Texas State Parks Official Guide, Nineteenth Edition © TPWD PWD BK P4000-000A (3/23) TPWD receives funds from DHS and USFWS. TPWD prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin (including limited English proficiency), disability, age, and gender, pursuant to state and federal law. If you believe you have been discriminated against by TPWD, visit tpwd.texas. gov/nondiscrimination or call (512) 389-4800 for information on filing a complaint. To obtain information in an alternative format, contact TPWD on a Text Telephone (TTY) at (512) 389-8915, by Relay Texas at 7-1-1, (800) 735-2989, or by email at email@example.com. If you speak a language other than English and need assistance, email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also contact Department of the Interior Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Civil Rights, 1849 C Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20240, and/or U.S. Department of Homeland Security Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL), Mail Stop #0190 2707, Martin Luther King, Jr. Ave., S.E. Washington, D.C. 20528. In accordance with Texas State Depository Law, this publication is available at the Texas State Publications Clearinghouse and/or Texas Depository Libraries. WELCOME from Rodney Franklin, State Parks Director This year is very special for Texas State Parks: We are celebrating our 100-year anniversary in 2023. More and more Texans are discovering the beauty of State Parks and exploring the outdoors in new and adventurous ways. Our teams across the state are incredibly excited to welcome outdoor enthusiasts, especially those who have yet to discover what our parks have to offer. The variety of Texas’ lands is unmatched; from the mountains of west Texas to the Gulf shores, the Texas State Park system celebrates and preserves the natural and cultural treasures that make Texas such a special place. The 640,000-plus acres that make up the state park system are nearly as diverse as the people of Texas. Since 1923, our mission has been to help connect our visitors with the outdoors. As we honor those who have come before us, I invite a new generation to be a part of the story of the lands that connect us all. There is more to enjoy in our parks than you know, so please join us in our celebrations and activities. Every day we look for new and better ways to ensure your state parks are welcoming to every Texan, regardless of their background or experience being outside. I hope you’ll visit soon and often, while bringing your friends and family along. YOU are a natural and we’re looking forward to celebrating the 100-year anniversary of state parks with you! WHAT’S NEW IN STATE PARKS Galveston Island State Park reopened the beachside of the park with a new headquarters, campsites, restrooms, and more. Bastrop State Park unveiled an extensive new group of trails, the “Tree Army Trails,” many of which are ADA-accessible. Improvements and major repairs are planned for Indian Lodge, Tyler, Inks Lake, Cedar Hill, South Llano River, Eisenhower and several other state parks All-terrain “GRIT” wheelchairs are now available at 10 parks with more adaptive equipment on the way to help people of all abilities experience Texas State Parks. Learn more about our accessibility efforts, page 14. More information: TexasStateParks.org/whatsnew 100 Years of Texas Parks The crown jewels of Texas road trips started as an unfunded wish list before the Depression. Back in 1923, Governor Pat Neff realized rising numbers of new car travelers needed places to camp overnight on multi-day trips. Neff convinced the state legislature to create a six-member State Parks Board, half men, half women. Isabella, the Governor’s mother, and her family donated acreage on the Leon River for what would become Mother Neff State Park, sometimes called the “first” state park. Another 23 unfunded sites were donated in that first decade. President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal programs gave the parks a boost. The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) sent young men to build parks and features such as pavilions, bridges, refectories, lodges, cabins and picnic areas in a natural style utilizing local wood and stonework. Much of the CCC’s handiwork can still be enjoyed at 29 state parks by visitors today – from dancing at the pavilion at Garner to staying in a cabin at Bastrop or Lake Brownwood. 4 More information & reservations: TexasStateParks.org (512) 389-8900 During World War II, women ran our state parks, opening the doors to house military families and hosting farewell parties for thousands departing to the front lines. In 1963, the newly formed Texas Parks and Wildlife Department secured revenue from cigarette taxes and bond issues, sparking a Golden Age of Texas State Parks. “ Nature heals, and it connects people. That’s what state parks are all about, connecting people to nature and connecting people to one another.” Rodney Franklin By the end of the 1980s, 130 state parks beckoned Texans to come and “forget the anxiety and strife and vexation of life’s daily grind,” as Neff once said of their purpose. Today, increasing numbers of well-equipped adventurers head to parks as destinations, not just stopovers. In recent years Texans voted to dedicate funding for state parks from the sales tax on sporting goods with resulting improvements in full swing across the state. Over the years much has changed in Texas, but not the “we’ll do it our way” spirit of independence of those early pioneers who set in motion a system that has grown and developed to become a beloved part of Texas family traditions. Turns out, Texas state parks are more relevant than ever and the future is bright. Texas State Parks Director Rodney Franklin notes increased state park visitation over the last few years. To help meet the demand, the agency hopes to open six new parks in the next 15 years. “The challenges of the last few years have led many people to explore the outdoors in new and adventurous ways,” he says. “Nature heals, and it connects people. That’s what state parks are all about, connecting people to nature and connecting people to one another.” More information: TexasStateParks.org/ 100years PARKS NEAR YOU Where do you want to go? You’ll find many state parks nearby. Dallas/Fort Worth >> Connect to nature near DFW at Eisenhower. << Houston Galveston Island offers activities for every coast lover. Explore the rugged desert terrain of Franklin Mountains. El Paso >> San Antonio >> Explore Kickapoo Cavern on a guided tour. Austin >> Float your way along South Llano River. Enjoy fun in the sun at Mustang Island. #TexasStateParks << South Texas 7 ACTIVITIES & PROGRAMS What is there to do in state parks? Enjoy a family picnic, tour a hallowed historic site or choose from some of these visitor favorites: Bike Pedal across parks at any speed, in any style, with any group. Choose the routes, surfaces and distances that fit your comfort zone. Walk Start with a shorter loop, tackle tougher terrain or join a guided tour. Fish Fish in nearly 70 state parks. Many offer tackle loaner programs and special learnto-fish events. Boat or Paddle Rent canoes and kayaks, explore a Texas Paddling Trail or launch a boat. View Wildlife Discover the birds, mammals and plants that live in Texas. Many parks have signage and checklists to help you learn more about the wildlife around you. Camp Find a site that meets your needs. Test out new recipes, share your favorite stories and enjoy the stars. Swim Beat the heat at creeks, rivers, lakes, springs, pools and ocean beaches. More information: TexasStateParks.org/activities 8 More information & reservations: TexasStateParks.org (512) 389-8900 Many state parks offer special guided and self-guided programs. Below are a few examples. Ask at your park or visit its events page to find out what’s planned! Kids 12 and under get FREE ADMISSION! Dark Skies Escape the city lights and gaze up at views you won’t find anywhere else. Come to a star party or take a self-guided constellation tour. Visit one of our Dark Sky Parks or Sanctuaries: Big Bend Ranch, Copper Breaks, Devils River, Enchanted Rock or South Llano River. Free Fishing in State Parks Fish from piers, bank, or shore without a fishing license or stamps. Just bring your fishing gear and friends to a state park, pay the entry fee, and you’re ready to fish! Junior Ranger Pick up a free Junior Ranger activity journal or check out free packs from participating parks. Use the binoculars, magnifying glass, sketchbooks and guidebooks to explore the park. Texas Buffalo Soldiers Bring history to life with stories, costumes and tools. Track an animal, fish with a cane pole, cook over a campfire, visit frontier forts and more. Step into the life stories of those who bravely served in America’s first AfricanAmerican regular Army regiments. Civilian Conservation Corps Tour any of 29 parks to marvel at architectural treasures like shelters, bridges, cabins, refectories and more. See how these diverse work crews (including young adults as well as war veterans) weathered the Great Depression and built the first state parks in Texas. Their legacy stands today for future generations. Find events near you: TexasStateParks.org/calendar #TexasStateParks 9 PLACES TO STAY Enjoy the softer side of camping. Outdoor recreation by day. Indoor comforts at night. Palo Duro Canyon Choose from a variety of overnight accommodations. Screened shelters Screened shelter at Lake Livingston These protected, enclosed shelters are available in dozens of parks and include amenities such as outdoor fire rings, picnic tables and grills. Cabins without bathrooms Cabin at Palmetto 10 Enjoy amenities such as air conditioning, microwaves and bunk beds, with group restrooms and showers nearby. More information & reservations: TexasStateParks.org (512) 389-8900 Cabins with bathrooms One of the most popular attractions in state parks, these cabins feature amenities such as air conditioning, heat, bedrooms, kitchens, microwaves and restrooms. Cabin at Buescher Group bunkhouses and halls Group bunkhouse at Cleburne Choose from a range of styles and sizes, perfect for family reunions or other large group gatherings. Most include amenities such as air conditioning, restrooms and beds. Lodging Lone Star Lodge at Ray Roberts Lake Lone Star Lodge at Ray Roberts Lake north of Dallas features stunning lake views as well as a marina. Indian Lodge in Davis Mountains is a full-service hotel that includes a restaurant, swimming pool and meeting room. Yurt at Abilene, floating tent site at Sea Rim. Unique lodging Try something different, such as staying in a yurt or camping on water! San Solomon Springs Courts in Balmorhea feature motelstyle lodging next to the world’s largest natural swimming pool. Renovations are underway. Check website for updates. Is your favorite space already booked? Consider a weekday visit, or try a state park nearby! Choose from a full range of options: TexasStateParks.org/reservations #TexasStateParks 11 RECREATIONAL VEHICLES Whether you travel in a Class A motor home or with a cozy pop-up, stay the night or spend a few weeks in the perfect places for your home away from home. How long can I stay? • Some parks offer seasonal discounts for weekly or monthly stays. • We warmly welcome “Winter Texans.” How do I get my site? • TexasStateParks.org/reservations • (512) 389-8900 • Visiting longer than one month? Consider applying to become a park host! Hosts serve about 25 hours per week assisting visitors and performing litter collection and light maintenance. • Know your vehicle length. • Consider the amenities you want, such as hookups for water, electricity or sewage. • Ask ahead about group facilities. More information: TexasStateParks.org/RV For same-day reservations, or site-specific facility questions, please contact the park directly. 12 More information & reservations: TexasStateParks.org (512) 389-8900 rth Whole Ea PROVIS ION CO . CELEBRATING 100 YEARS OF TEXAS STATE PARKS STORE LOCATIONS Austin • Dallas • Houston • San Antonio Shop online at WholeEarthProvision.com @WholeEarthProv TIPS FOR TIME IN NATURE Wild about safety Your health and safety are important to us. If you have an emergency during your visit, please contact a park police officer, or ask for help from a park host or ranger in uniform. Watch the water Hack the heat Natural water bodies are different from swimming pools. Conditions can change rapidly. To ensure a wonderful swimming, boating or paddling experience: Heat-related ailments are top safety concerns. Fortunately, they are almost always preventable! Protect yourself and your loved ones: • Learn to swim. • Supervise kids closely. • Wear a life jacket. • Take a boater education course. • Wear a hat and other sun protection. • Carry water (and drink it!) • Start all strenuous activity early, before peak heat. Protect nature Health and safety are also important to the many plants and animals that make up the habitats you may visit. Just as you take steps to avoid mosquito bites and cactus pokes, local wildlife takes steps to avoid being hurt or bothered by you! • Maintain a safe, respectful distance. • Stay on marked trails. • Keep pets on leashes. 14 More information & reservations: TexasStateParks.org (512) 389-8900 specialized gear and planning. To make sure you and your group have a safe and enjoyable experience: • Carry a map. Phones can lose signal or battery power. Paper maps are free at park entrances. • Protect your feet. From sandals to heavy hiking boots, choose the right shoe for the right walk. Walk this way According to many visitor surveys, walking and hiking are the most popular activities in Texas State Parks! They often require the least amount of • Prepare for the distance and degree of difficulty. Are you ready for both? • Use caution on uneven ground. Watch out for rocks and roots! • Tell someone else where you’re going and when you expect to be back. ACCESSING YOUR STATE PARKS Texas State Park staff are committed to providing accessible facilities, information and experiences for all Texans. • Visit the park’s website for information on accessible facilities like parking, restrooms, campsites, picnic areas, and hiking trails. • Visitors with mobility impairments may be able to borrow a beach wheelchair or all-terrain wheelchair. Check with the park ahead of time to see if this is an option. • Many parks offer programs and events that are accessible to visitors with disabilities. Check the park’s online calendar of events for more information. • Service animals are allowed in Texas state parks. However, other pets must be always on a leash and under control. • Visitors with disabilities may qualify for a Parklands Passport which discounts park entrance fees. Email email@example.com for information or to request modifications. More information: TexasStateParks.org/access #TexasStateParks 15 VISITOR FEES & PASSES Thank you for keeping parks open and maintained! Your visits help fund critical upkeep, valuable programs for adults and children, and improvements. About 50% of the budget to operate state parks comes directly from visitor fees. Entrance Fee – to visit a park. Includes a variety of activities and visitor programs. This fee allows entrance to multiple state parks in the same business day. Facility Fee – to stay overnight at a campsite, cabin or guest room, or to rent a group facility, meeting room or pavilion. FREE ADMISSION for kids 12 and under. Activity Fee – to participate in a special park activity, tour a historic site or ride a ferry or tram. Get Day Passes and make overnight camping and lodging reservations. Make your reservation: TexasStateParks.org/reservations 16 More information & reservations: TexasStateParks.org (512) 389-8900 TEXAS STATE PARKS PASS Get unlimited visits, all year, to every state park for you and a carload of guests! Good for 12 months! Get unlimited free entry to every state park for you and a carload of guests (good for 12 months). Plus, receive discounts on camping, park store merchandise and more. Youth Groups • • • Available to nonprofits serving ages 13–17. Valid for one year, for up to 50 teens, plus adult chaperones. Please apply at least six weeks before first visit and present pass at park office on arrival. Parklands Passport • • • Qualifying seniors, veterans with disabilities, and other visitors with disabilities can apply. Includes discounted or free entry to state parks. Present proof of qualifying benefit at any park office. Note: Texas cannot honor National Park Service passes or passes issued in other states. Buy and redeem gift cards online! Learn more about park passes and purchase or renew your State Parks Pass online: TexasStateParks.org/ passes #TexasStateParks 17 TEXAS STATE PARKS DIRECTORY Big Bend Country 20 Gulf Coast 30 Hill Country 38 Panhandle Plains 52 Pineywoods 60 Prairies & Lakes 68 South Texas Plains 84 Facilities & Activities Index 93 FACILITIES & AMENITIES Use this legend as a reference for each park listed in the following pages. ACTIVITIES AMENITIES Fishing Some Accessible Features Paddling Beach Rock Climbing Boat Ramp Swimming Civilian Conservation Corps Water Skiing Day Use Only TRAILS Day Use - Group Bicycle Dump Station Mountain Biking Exhibits/Interpretive Center/Museum Hiking Fish Cleaning Shelters Horse Fishing Pier Nature / Interpretive Fishing Tackle Loaner Program Texas Paddling Trail Food Service CAMPSITES / LODGING Historic Site Cabins - w/ Bathroom Cabins - w/out Bathroom Group Overnight Lodge Group Camp Campsites - Primitive Campsites - Water Campsites - Water and Electric Campsites - Full Hookup Motel / Lodge / Room Horse Facilities Park Store Picnic Tables Playground Restrooms Showers Swimming Pool Watercraft Rental Wi-Fi available TexasStateParks.org/wifi Screened Shelter Barracks / Bunkhouse Bed Check TexasStateParks.org or (512) 389-8900 before your trip. #TexasStateParks 19 S T A T E P A R K S D I R E C T O R Y BIG BEND COUNTRY Special thanks to Toyota, whose generous support made this guide possible. B I G B E N D C O U N T R Y Balmorhea State Park 9207 TX-17, Toyahvale 79786 GPS (432) 375-2370 Latitude 30.944829 | Longitude -103.785147 Dive into the cool waters of the world’s largest spring-fed swimming pool, which covers 1.3 acres and stays at 72–76 degrees year-round. Scuba divers love the clarity even at a 25-foot depth. In addition to swimming and camping, the park offers lodging at the San Solomon Springs Courts, a retro-style motel built by the CCC in the early 1940s with an adobe look. Canals along the Courts lead to a restored ciénega (wetland), which provides vital fish and bird habitat. Renovations are underway. Closures are possible. Check website for updates. #TexasStateParks 21 B I G B E N D C O U N T R Y Big Bend Ranch State Park River District: 21800 FM 170, Terlingua 79852 GPS (432) 424-3327 Latitude 29.269902 | Longitude -103.757351 Interior District: 1900 Sauceda RR, Marfa 79843 GPS Fort Leaton: 16952 FM 170 E, Presidio GPS (432) 358-4444 Latitude 29.470458 | Longitude -103.957922 (432) 229-3613 Latitude 29.542799 | Longitude -104.325597 Big Bend Ranch State Park lies deep in the desert wilderness. The 300,000-plus-acre park features spectacular scenery. Drive to a primitive campsite in the interior or along the Rio Grande. Take a hike: Choose from over 140 miles of multiuse trails. You can also mountain bike, ride horses, camp in remote backcountry, or explore in your 4x4. Enter the park and obtain your permits from the east (Barton Warnock Visitor Center) or west (Fort Leaton State Historic Site). Visit the park’s interior via a 27-mile unpaved road through rugged terrain that ends at the former owner’s ranch headquarters and the Sauceda Ranger Station. Groups can stay at the casual bunkhouse, with separate sleeping areas for men and women. Pick up permits before heading to the interior; Sauceda Ranger Station’s hours vary. Fort Leaton This historic trading post is the western visitor center for Big Bend Ranch State Park. Today this 1848 adobe fortress and trading post is an active museum offering programs, tours, and colorful events. 22 More information & reservations: TexasStateParks.org (512) 389-8900 B I G B E N D C O U N T R Y Davis Mountains State Park Texas Hwy. 118 N., Park Rd. 3, Fort Davis 79734 GPS (432) 426-3337 Latitude 30.599926 | Longitude -103.925934 Find the coolest place in a hot state when you camp in mountains one mile high at this CCC-built park. The park is in the Davis Mountains, the most extensive mountain range fully contained in Texas. Motor into a full hookup site, backpack to a high overlook, make camp under the trees, check out the two beautiful wildlife viewing areas, or stop by Indian Lodge, located in the park. While you’re here, visit Fort Davis National Historic Site or attend a star party at the McDonald Observatory. Devils River State Natural Area 21715 Dolan Creek Rd., Del Rio 78840 GPS (830) 395-2133 Latitude 29.939694 | Longitude -100.970206 Fed by clear springs flowing from seeps and streams, the Devils River is one of the most pristine rivers in Texas. The state natural area is large, remote and has been named an International Dark Sky Sanctuary. Visit for day hiking, mountain biking, camping and paddling. All camping and facility stays are by reservation only. Make reservations at least one day in advance. Open Friday to Monday; also open on some holidays. A permit is required for all paddling trips on the Devils River which access TPWDmanaged lands. For more information, visit the park’s webpage. #TexasStateParks 23 B I G B E N D C O U N T R Y Franklin Mountains State Park 2900 Tom Mays Access Road, El Paso 79911 (915) 444-9100 Latitude 31.910507 | Longitude -106.518290 GPS At the westernmost tip of Texas, where mountains meet sky and cities hug the Rio Grande, lies the largest state park in an urban setting. Franklin Mountains State Park encompasses 26,627 acres in the city of El Paso. Hike rugged terrain in nearly 42 square miles of Chihuahuan Desert wilderness, scrub vegetation and open space. Over 100 miles of multiuse trails are popular with hikers and mountain bikers. Camp and picnic, too. Ground fires must be in designated fire rings. You can build charcoal fires in grills at picnic sites. Hueco Tanks State Park & Historic Site 6900 Hueco Tanks Rd. No. 1, El Paso 79938 GPS (915) 857-1135 Latitude 31.926453 | Longitude -106.042437 Natural rock basins in granite outcroppings give Hueco Tanks its name. These basins capture rainwater, a precious resource in the Chihuahuan Desert. For millennia, people have come for water, as well as for the diverse plants and animals here. These people left important cultural symbols on the rocks. This site preserves over 2,000 historic pictographs. We limit visitors to protect the site. We recommend reservations for day use, camping and tours. Pictograph, hiking and bouldering tours in the guided area are available by advance request Wednesday through Sunday. 24 More information & reservations: TexasStateParks.org (512) 389-8900 B I G B E N D C O U N T R Y Indian Lodge State Park 16453 Park Rd. 3, Fort Davis 79734 GPS (432) 426-3254 Latitude 30.592877 | Longitude -103.943596 Indian Lodge is nestled within Davis Mountains State Park. This southwestern, pueblo-style adobe lodge will charm you. Its original handcrafted interiors and furnishings date from its 1930s construction by the CCC. Guest rooms have cable TV, telephones and private baths. The lodge also has a restaurant, group meeting room, swimming pool, and access to trails nearby. This is truly a unique destination. The lodge will be closed for renovations during 2023. Monahans Sandhills State Park Park Rd. 41, Monahans 79756 GPS (432) 557-3479 Latitude 31.618795 | Longitude -102.812112 Fun-loving travelers surf sand dunes that rise as high as 50 feet in this geologic wonderland. These sand dunes are a small part of a larger 200-square-mile dune field stretching into New Mexico. Rent sand disks at headquarters. The Dunagan Visitor Center features hands-on exhibits on dune dynamics and desert wildlife. Picnicking and camping are also popular. The park has an 800-acre equestrian area and three equestrian campsites, as well. The park is at exit 86 off I-20 west of Odessa, just east of Monahans. #TexasStateParks 25 B I G B E N D C O U N T R Y Seminole Canyon State Park & Historic Site Hwy. 90 W., Park Rd. 67, Comstock 78837 GPS (432) 292-4464 Latitude 29.7001 | Longitude -101.313058 Ancient pictographs, rugged limestone terrain and spectacular canyons lure visitors to this park. People of antiquity once lived in natural rock shelters carved into canyon walls. They painted distinctive ancient symbols that tell us of their passing. The park’s rock art is more than 4,000 years old. Learn more at the park’s museum. Hike the rugged landscape or camp in a tent or RV. Take a guided rock art tour Wednesdays through Sundays at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. (times vary in summer). Contact the park for more information. START YOUR ADVENTURE IN TEXAS ARCHEOLOGY TODAY! FIELD SCHOOL – NACOGDOCHES – JUNE 10 – 17, 2023 ANNUAL MEETING – SAN MARCOS – OCTOBER 2023 The Texas Archeological Society (TAS) brings together professional and avocational archeologists to preserve and promote the scientific understanding of Texas archeology. Learn more about us or join at www.txarch.org ACADEMIES • NEWSLETTERS • COMMUNITY • PUBLIC OUTREACH FIELD SCHOOLS • ANNUAL MEETINGS • RESEARCH JOURNALS 26 More information & reservations: TexasStateParks.org (512) 389-8900 A SPACE OF OUR OWN T he Big Bend Region in Far West Texas is a spacious place to escape. It’s a land with dark skies, tall mountains, exotic creatures, and blooming flora. Its remote location with plenty of outdoor space makes it a perfect getaway during the times when we need to stretch our legs in a space of our own. seum of the Big Bend. Hancock Hill overlooks the Museum and is a popular easy hike. Print a map of the Alpine Historic Walking Tour to learn about the architecture and history of the town’s iconic buildings. Take a stroll through the historic downtown district and past the plethora of murals in Alpine including the new Alpine Alley Art. FORT DAVIS In addition to Big Bend National Park and Big Bend Ranch State Park, here are some of the best outdoor experiences in the towns of Alpine, Fort Davis, and Marfa, open to you whenever you’re ready. ALPINE visitalpinetx.com Alpine is home to Sul Ross State University and the MuADVERTISEMENT fortdavis.com Hike or bike the many trails at the Davis Mountains State Park, named a “Globally Important Bird Area” by the American Bird Conservancy. The hiking trails at Fort Davis National Historic Site connect to the state park, prime places to spot hummingbirds. Grab a sandwich at Stone Village Market and then drive the 75-mile Scenic Loop, which takes you through some of the most enchanting country in all of Texas. MARFA visitmarfa.com The Chinati Foundation offers walking tours that guide visitors around outdoor artworks by Donald Judd set in the Marfa mixed prairie. Head to the Marfa Mystery Lights Viewing Area to enjoy sunset, then stay for a chance to spot the unexplained lights that have been documented since the 1880s. Drive or bike out Pinto Canyon Road, with 32 miles of paved ranch road and views of the Chinati Mountains, rolling grasslands, and big Texas sky. PHOTOGRAPHY (CLOCKWISE FROM TOP): JEFF LYNCH, J. GRIFFIS SMITH, BEN PANTER, BELLE PEÑA-LANCASTER Outdoor Recreation in the Big Bend Region S T A T E P A R K S D I R E C T O R Y GULF COAST Special thanks to Toyota, whose generous support made this guide possible. G U L F C O A S T Brazos Bend State Park 21901 FM 762, Needville 77461 GPS (979) 553-5101 Latitude 29.371447 | Longitude -95.632443 Brazos Bend has over 5,000 acres of lakes, prairies and forests. Live oak trees draped in Spanish moss shade the park’s picnic areas. Explore more than 30 miles of multiuse trails, where you’ll see alligators, white-tailed deer and over 300 bird species. Choose from seven small lakes and a winding, tree-lined creek for fishing. Touch a hatchling alligator at the park’s nature center, which is open daily. Nature programs offered every weekend and most holidays. George Observatory leads star parties on Saturday nights. Call (281) 242-3055 for information. Galveston Island State Park 14901 FM 3005, Galveston 77554 GPS (409) 737-1222 Latitude 29.1936020 | Longitude -94.9573670 Galveston Island State Park is an excellent example of Texas Gulf ecology, with 2,000 acres spanning the island, from beach to bay. The newly opened beachside offers RV and tent sites with indoor/outdoor comfort stations close by. Explore the bayside of the park, where coastal prairie, freshwater ponds, and salt marsh yield ample hiking, fishing, kayaking, and wildlife viewing. Tent and multiuse campsites with restrooms and showers nearby and two historic houses are available on this side of the park. #TexasStateParks 31 G U L F C O A S T Goose Island State Park 202 S. Palmetto St., Rockport 78382 GPS (361) 729-2858 Latitude 28.128064 | Longitude -96.98838 Brown pelicans, rare whooping cranes and fishing in the bountiful waters of Aransas, Copano and St. Charles bays draw visitors here. The CCC built Goose Island, Texas’ first coastal state park. It sits on the southern tip of the Lamar Peninsula. Dramatic wind-sculpted trees dominate the park. The “Big Tree,” a massive coastal live oak estimated to be centuries old, is one of the natural wonders of Texas. Lake Corpus Christi State Park 23194 Park Rd. 25, Mathis 78368 GPS (361) 547-2635 Latitude 28.063249 | Longitude -97.873889 Swimming, boating, waterskiing and sailboarding fill summer hours on this large placid lake. Angling for black bass, striped bass, crappie and catfish are year-round pleasures. The CCC built an impressive caliche crete open-air refectory here. It has arched walls and a tower with excellent views over the lake. Many campsites have a view of the lake, as well. 32 More information & reservations: TexasStateParks.org (512) 389-8900 G U L F C O A S T Mustang Island State Park 9394 State Highway 361, Corpus Christi 78418 GPS (361) 749-5246 Latitude 27.672162 | Longitude -97.175309 Seaside beaches stretch for five miles along the open Gulf of Mexic