The Year of the Park – 109 Texas State Parks

Late last year one of my friends announced that 2016 was the Year of the Parks. So Santa, ever knowing, bestowed on her a Texas State Park pass. Unlimited access to all the Texas State Parks and up to 15 people per vehicle (now if we can get that many in her jeep, we are definitely going to look like the clown car when we unload).

Her lofty goal (weather permitting) is 2 state parks every month. That would be a total of 24 parks which mean there are 85 Texas State parks that won’t make the cut.

Please join us for the ride as we discover what Texas State Parks are all about without the blisters. Well, I already have a couple, but for you — you’re safe. Unless my awesome posts inspire you to leave the computer behind and visit the awesome parks near you; better yet, make it a road trip with friends, and visit parks far far away.

Pedernales Falls

Pedernales Falls

UPDATE: My reviews of the Texas State Parks we visited/hiked, and kinda got lost in (except I’m a geocacher so my GPS bailed us out) are being published on the Tex Hill Country Blog so pop over there and share away and comment on what you like or don’t like. This list will grow as I visit them, so check back once in a while or subscribe to my post and you’ll be notified whenever a Park review goes up.

  1. Pedernales Falls
  2. Government Canyon State Natural Area
  3. Mother Neff
  4. McKinney Falls
  5. Colorado Bend
  6. Mustang Island

Texas State Park Facts

Here are some very interesting facts that you may or may not know about the state parks in Texas. Alternatively you can check out the parks from the main source Texas State Parks with maps and up to date information on camping and hiking and all that jazz.

GeoCaching Challenge

This is a fun challenge for all us geocachers out there. The main goal is to find a particular cache all the 90+ Texas State Parks, historic sites and natural areas all over Texas. During this challenge you discover hidden items, learn exciting facts and stories about Texas State Parks, and win prizes! (Direct quote from The TSP site).

I just happen to love caching. It gives me a goal while I work to put blisters on my heels. Kind of takes the sting out of the long hikes — though some of the caches are not that far off the main path or in some cases, the visitor center.

Dark Skies

It has been rumored off and on over the years that natural darkness is disappearing. The night sky is endangered due to light pollution. Which is a fancy way of saying that cities and suburbs who don’t ever turn off lights is making it harder and harder to see the stars and constellations. TWP has a program where you can not only see the beauty of non-earth bound matter, but to educate the rest of us on what they are doing to stop light pollution along with what we can do to prevent the loss of seeing the constellations. Another almost unknown fact: by lighting up everything 24-7 we (humans and animals alike) are degrading our eye sigh
t due to unnecessary glare. I personally think it’s like GPS. We rely so heavily on it that we are losing our natural ability to figure out the lay of the land and how to get from point A to point B. Sometimes technology is not a good thing.

Waterfalls

Incredibly, only 4 of the state parks have waterfalls. Considering there are over 90 state parks and natural preserves in this huge state. I recommend that you see them before the high heat shrinks them or after the fall rains have come in. Just be careful if you are hiking out to see them as any amount of rain increases the risk of flash flooding.

  1. Big Bend Ranch State Park has three waterfalls you can reach by trail. If it’s been raining there may be other “pour-offs.”
  2. McKinney Falls State Park has two falls (McKinney Falls and the Upper Falls).
  3. Pedernales Falls State Park has a gradual, cascading fall of about 300 feet on the Pedernales River.
  4. Colorado Bend State Park has Gorman Falls. This one you can hike to on your own or you can go on a guided tour.

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