There are more than 90 state parks throughout the Texas Panhandle, Plains, Prairies and Lakes, Gulf Coat, Piney Woods, Hill Country, Big Bend and South Texas regions. They incorporate varied terrains from desert to forestland and offer facilities for camping, hiking, boating, fishing and hunting.
Palo Duro Canyon
Also known as the "Grand Canyon of Texas," Palo Duro Canyon State Park is located in the Texas Panhandle, just south of Amarillo. It first opened in 1934 and covers more than 29,000 acres of the northernmost part of the canyon. The canyon itself is 120 miles long and in parts stretches to 20 miles wide and depths of up to 800 feet. The canyon is the second largest in the US. It was formed by the Prairie Dog Town Fork of the Red River and has many hoodoos and caves. The park has facilities for camping, horseback riding and mountain biking as well as rock cabins and a park zoo. Each summer, an outdoor musical drama titled "Texas" is performed at the park.
Devil's Sinkhole Natural Area
The Devil's Sinkhole is a collapsed underground cavern, located near Rocksprings. It has been a Stature Natural Area since 1985. During this time, thousands of visitors have visited the rugged ranch land to witness the Sinkhole's residents: 4 million Mexican Free-tailed Bats. Sunset at the Sinkhole is a sight to behold as the bats emerge a few at a time to become a seething mass that fills the sky. Evening tours are offered through the summer as the bats emerge.
Franklin Mountains State Park
Franklin Mountains State Park is located at the westernmost point of Texas. The park covers 24,000 acres, has an entire Chihuahuan Desert mountain range within its boundaries and is one of the main attractions of El Paso. You will witness a full gamut of wildlife, from tarantulas and jackrabbits to blue herons and mountain lions. There is a selection of camping and picnic areas as well as rocky pathways for hiking and mountain biking. If you don't feel like walking, you can admire the breathtaking views from the mountain tramway.
Falcon State Park
Falcon State Park is located along the Texas/Mexico border, covering 572 acres adjacent to Falcon Lake. More than 140 of these areas have campsites, boat ramps and playgrounds. Since the park opened in 1965, it has been a popular venue for fishing, swimming, water skiing and kayaking. The hiking and mountain biking trails form a 3-mile loop through the park. Popular with birdwatchers and nature lovers is the 1-mile nature trail, complete with signs detailing the area's native plant life.
Big Bend State Park
The desert wilderness of Big Bend is the largest state park in Texas, covering more than 300,000 acres in a remote and rugged setting. Extending along the Rio Grande, Big Bend is home to the Chisos mountains, the only mountain range to be completely encompassed by a state park. The park is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including several species of bat and hummingbird and a number of rare wild animals such as mountain lions. Big Bend has facilities for camping, RVing, hiking, horseback riding and mountain biking.