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The Weekend Warrior’s Guide to Colorado Bend State Park

Gorman Falls at Texas' Colorado Bend State Park.

Located an hour and forty-five minutes northwest of Austin in the Texas Hill Country just outside of Bend, Texas, lies Colorado Bend State Park. This Texas state park features the best of central Texas and is ideal for first-time explorers, fishing enthusiasts, road trippers, hikers, mountain bikers, and those looking to discover the beauty of the Texas Hill Country.

History of Colorado Bend State Park

Nestled just west of Lampasas, Texas, in the rancher counties San Saba and Lampasas, this land belongs to the Indigenous people of the Kickapoo, Jumanos, Lipan Apache, and the Comanche tribes. Centered around the mighty Colorado River, TPWD purchased a section of the state park in 1984 and the remaining was acquired three years later in 1987.

What To Do at Colorado Bend State Park

The 5,328.3-acre park boasts a wide variety of outdoor recreation, camping, and sacred Native sites. With over six miles of Colorado River access and over 35 miles of trails, there is no shortage of nature to explore at Colorado Bend.

Hiking Trails

Colorado Bend State Park offers hiking trails of all lengths and difficulties, but all highlight something different found in this unique park — bubbling springs, lush waterfalls, cliffside views, and crystal clear swimming holes.

The most-loved hiking trails in the park include Spicewood Springs, Gorman Falls, Gorman Springs, and the shady riverside trails. Spicewood Springs Trail features spring-fed pools and waterfalls along with incredible views of the region. You can take the shorter trailhead or the longer one, which leads you through the canyon.

We suggest checking out the shorter Gorman Springs trail, then heading out on the 3-mile Gorman Falls trail. The latter is a more intermediate trail that leads you to a verdant wonderland that is hard to believe exists with such rugged surroundings.

Gorman Falls is a 65-foot, mineral-rich, spring-fed waterfall that deposits layers of calcite. Over time, these deposits slowly create travertine formations. Please note that this ecosystem is very fragile and guests are not allowed near/in Gorman Falls.

Biking

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Colorado Bend State Park has some of the most remarkable mountain biking in the state of Texas. There is terrain for every experience level so that you can choose what is best for you (just be aware that hikers share most of the same trails as bikers).

Caving

Something special in this region’s geography is the networks of over 400 caves that meander through the land. Make reservations for cave tours and an experienced guide will take you on an adventure of a lifetime.

Colorado River

Some of Central Texas’s best bass fishing can be done at Colorado Bend. In Texas state parks, you do not need a fishing license to cast your luck. Additionally, there is also a fish cleaning station for your convenience.

Boating

Bring your own canoe or kayak to explore the river’s canyonlands by water. Pay attention to water conditions before you arrive to make sure they are ideal for paddling. When the water in Lake Buchanan is close to average, a larger watercraft can traverse from the boat ramp at the park all the way downstream to the lake. Colorado Bend State Park also rents kayaks for those wishing to explore the area by water.

Camping at Colorado Bend State Park

There is a style of camping for everyone at this Texas state park, including RV sites, tent camping, and primitive sites for backpacking. There are drive-up and walk-up primitive sites, group camping by the river, and RV sites with hookups at some of the sites in the main campground. If you plan to camp, make an online reservation.

Important Information About Colorado Bend State Park

The park entrance and visitor center are where you begin your journey at Colorado Bend — whether you are just purchasing a day-use pass or checking in for your weekend of camping. Entrance fees for day-use of the park are $5/day for adults (kids 12 and under are free).

The park is open daily from 6 AM to 10 PM and it is highly encouraged to make reservations online beforehand. Be sure to also check current restrictions at all of the TPWD parks due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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