My wife and I took a weekend trip to Colorado Bend State Park in the Texas hill country last weekend. Our plan was to get a full day of hiking in, rain or shine.
The temperature was in the low 50’s when we arrived; very cool for May. It was also drizzling, and the forecast showed a good chance of rain all day. It didn’t rain but did stay cloudy and cool making perfect hiking weather. Also, everyone else stayed home, so it felt as though we had the park to ourselves.
Since we were at headquarters, we started with the short hike to Spicewood Springs, which was much larger and prettier than we expected. The trail to the springs was an easy hike, not very exciting, but very muddy with a lot of tall grass.
Next, we drove to the parking at Cedar Chopper Loop. We took Cedar Chopper to Tinaja Trail, which we nick-named T-Ninja. The Ninja trail has lots of ups and downs and turns and is very scenic. With all the cedars and rocky caves, I’m sure hikers see plenty of rattlesnakes during warmer weather, but we didn’t have to worry with them. It was still cool enough for my wife to wear a sweater.
T-Ninja comes from the south into Gorman Falls Trail, which is the trail that brings most people to the park. It also happened to be the only trail we saw other hikers on the whole day. We could hear the falls several minutes before we could see them, and they were much more impressive than we expected. I’ve never seen a water fall as large in Texas, and the entire ecosystem around the falls is different—it is as much like a rainforest as I’ve ever experienced.
After we spent a half hour or so at the falls, we went west on Gorman Falls trail to get to Tie Slide Overlook trail, which took us to the “most scenic view in the park.” This is a high overlook of the Colorado River. Looking north, we could see the river bend to the east. Looking south, we could see the falls.
After this we started back. We made the mistake of thinking Gorman Springs trail would take us to the beginning of the Ninja trail, but after making our way through very tall grass (my wife hates hiking through tall grass) and crossing a rushing creek several times, we came to a sign that said, “End of Trail,” so we went back.
We arrived back at our start around 7:30 P.M. to complete roughly 11 miles of hiking that lasted seven hours. We both ate and slept well that night, and we can’t wait to go back to Colorado Bend with our kids for more hiking.
If you live in Texas and haven’t been to Colorado Bend State Park, make plans to do so, but be sure to reserve a day pass. The park reaches capacity during most weekends.