Where to Find Fall Color in Texas
As a native Texan, one thing I can tell you, our summers are long and hot. So often, it feels we miss a traditional fall, full of the sights and scents that I crave.I dream of the perfect of autumn hike where the crunch of leaves and the melody of songbirds fill my ears as the landscape’s symphony of fiery colors brighten my day. Breathing deeply and savoring the woody scent of autumn, followed by a mug a warm apple cider. Here’s two state parks to find fall color in Texas.
Lost Maples State Natural Area
Seem impossible in Texas? Not so. One of the best areas for fall color in Texas is Lost Maples State Natural Area in the Texas Hill Country,near Kerrville, Texas.
Originally privately owned, Lost Maples State Natural Area opened to the public in 1979. It’s a smaller state park with just over 2,100 acres, located on the pristine waters of the Sabinal River. The limestone outcroppings and lush forest make it a year-round destination.
Lost Maples State Natural Area offers visitors a beacon of fall color. The trees begin to change in the last two weeks of October through the first two weeks of November, when the color is at its height.
The Uvalde bigtooth maple trees display the best colors, though sycamores, bald cypresses and several varieties of oak add to the show. Add their reflections in the Sabinal River with the contrast of the limestone rocks and Lost Maples State Natural Area provides a stunning background for photos.
Family Friendly Activities in Lost Maples
The carful of kids park the SUV and head out for a quick hike. Lost Maples StateNatural Area offers over 10 miles of hiking.
The Maple Trail, a .8-mile roundtrip hike, is good for kids but not strollers. We find thelost maplesalong withsycamores, bald cypresses, walnuts and several varieties of oak; all leftovers from the last ice age.
Texas State Parks offer a Junior Ranger Program similar to the National Park Service. Pick up a Junior Ranger activity journal at the headquarters and complete the required activities for a badge. Lost Maples State Natural Area loans kids Junior Ranger Explorer Packets to make discoveries in the park.
Lost Maples State Natural Area offers a monthly dark sky program when visitors can explore the night sky. The San Antonio Sidewalk Astronomers lead the program.
Lost Maples State Natural Area offers 30 campsites with electricity and water and six primitive sites. The campground has showers and flushing toilets.
Garner State Park
Another location for Texas leaf peepers, Garner State Park is a long-time favorite. Next to the pristine Frio River, Gardner State Park offers historic cabins.
Dedicated in 1941, Garner State Park was named after Jack Nance “Cactus Jack” Garner, the Vice-President of the United States from 1933-1941. It features 1,774 acres to explore and tops the list of state park destinations for generations.
Developed by the Civilian Conservation Corps(CCC) during their stay from 1935 until 1941. Created by President Roosevelt, the CCC employed young men during the Depression. The CCC is responsible for much of the construction in national and state parks in the 1930s.
Family Fun in Garner State Park
The activities include miniature golf, hiking up Old Baldy orfloating along the Frio River in a paddleboat or kayak. Garner also features aplayground.
At the concession building next to the Frio River, I found a grill, a sundry store and the outdoor dance floor. Couples dances the night away under the bald cypresses today just like years ago.
Garner State Park has 335 campsites, 37 screened shelters and 17 historic stone cabins to reserve for the night. This park is busy during the summer weekends, it can close except for those that have reservations.
Where’s Lost Maples State Natural Area
Lost Maples State Natural Area is 86 miles northwest of San Antonio, Texas, or 5 miles north of Vanderpool, at 37221 F.M. 187.
Adult admission is $6 per person and free for kids 12 and under. Camping is $20 a night plus daily adult admission fees.
For lodging and dining, Kerrville, Texas, offers the most in the area besides San Antonio.The carful of kids drove down Texas Highway 39 through Hunt, Texas, along the banks of the Guadalupe River to our room in Kerrville. This area of Texas offers some spectacular scenery and should not be missed.
Where’s Garner State Park
Located 10 miles north of Concan, Texas, at234 RR 1050. Garner State Park features 2.9 miles of Frio River access for splashing. Admission is $8 for adults and kids 12 and under get in free.
Garner State Park offer tent camping starting at $15 a night for a basic site to $25 a night for a RV site. Screened shelters range from $30 to $35 a night. The CCC cabins range from $130 to $150 a night and some feature fireplaces.
Know Before You Go:
- During the peak fall weekends,Lost Maples State Natural Area fills to capacity before noon with its limited parking.
- Campsites can be reserved a year in advance.
- Call the Park Headquarters or check their website for up-to-date fall color information.
- Pets must remain on leash.