The Best Texas State Parks

The Best Texas State Parks
Texas is home to a lot of big open spaces. While the popular image of Texas is of a hot, dry place, much of Texas is well-watered and quite green. This is especially true in central and east Texas, but there are even green spots in the south and west. As for the Texas deserts, they offer their own form of outdoor adventure. One of the best ways to get at all that Texas has to offer, either in the forests or among the barren rocks, is through its fine state park system.

Enchanted Rock

The 1,640-acre park in central Texas is centered on its 425-foot mound of pinkish-white rock. It is a magnet for rock climbers, as well as hikers and bird-watchers, and the low level of light pollution attracts stargazers. The park has a developed campground with showers, running water, tent pads and fire rings. However, there are no RV hookups, so this is more of a tailgate camper's campground. There are also primitive, hike-in campsites located away from the main facilities.

Enchanted Rock State Natural Area
16710 Ranch Road 965
Fredericksburg, TX 78624
(830) 685-3636
tpwd.state.tx.us/spdest/findadest/parks/enchanted_rock

Lake Whitney

Lake Whitney is great place to go to beat the Texas heat. Situated in north-central Texas, it is also a good fishing spot. Some people freshwater scuba dive there. The park's 955 acres include hiking trails. The area has a good reputation for its spring wildflowers. In terms of wildlife, the birds are abundant, and deer, bobcats and coyotes are all regular visitors to the park. The park's campground accommodates both tent and RV campers, and there are hookups, showers, running water and shade shelters.

Lake Whitney State Park
Box 1175
Whitney, TX 76692
(254) 694-3793
tpwd.state.tx.us/spdest/findadest/parks/lake_whitney

Lost Maples

Most people associate southwest Texas with deserts, but Lost Maples proves them wrong. This 2,174-acre park boasts autumn colors to rival anything east of the Mississippi. The 11 miles of trails make it a great place for hiking, but you should stay on-trail at all times. The maples in the forest have a shallow root system, and off-trail hiking is liable to damage them. The park makes for a good nature and bird-watching area, and Sabinal River offers a good fishing spot. The campground offers sites suitable for RVs, tailgate campers and primitive campers.

Lost Maples State Natural Area
37221 FM 187
Vanderpool, TX 78885
(830) 966-3413
tpwd.state.tx.us/spdest/findadest/parks/lost_maples

Pale Duro Canyon

Pale Duro Canyon sits in the northern part of the state. The 20,000 arid acres of this so-called "Grand Canyon of Texas" offer some truly stunning landscapes. The park has campsites for RVs, tailgate tent camping and hike-in primitive camping, as well as cabins for rent. There are trails for both hiking and mountain biking. Local wildlife includes wild turkeys, the rare Texas horned lizard, roadrunners, coyotes and diamondback rattlesnakes.

Palo Duro Canyon State Park
11450 Park Road 5
Canyon, TX 79015
(806) 488-2227
tpwd.state.tx.us/spdest/findadest/parks/palo_duro/

Article Written By Edwin Thomas

Edwin Thomas has been writing since 1997. His work has appeared in various online publications, including The Black Table, Proboxing-Fans and others. A travel blogger, editor and writer, Thomas has traveled from Argentina to Vietnam in pursuit of stories. He holds a Master of Arts in international affairs from American University.

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