Lost Maples State Natural Area in Vanderpool, Texas, is a prime destination for outdoor recreation year-round! This Bandera County gem is located in the beautiful Texas Hill Country two hours northwest of San Antonio and three hours southwest of Austin.
This 2,906-acre park lies along the rolling hills and canyons of the upper Sabinal River in the Edwards Plateau Region of Texas. While sometimes incorrectly named Lost Maples State Park, Lost Maples is actually a State Natural Area, which means that the main goal is to maintain and protect this area's natural state.
About Lost Maples State Natural Area
Home to the Kiikaapoi (Kickapoo), Jumanos Kónits?...?...íí gokíyaa (Cúelcahén Ndé - Lipan Apache), and Coahuiltecan, this sacred land is ripe for spring wildflowers as well as a palette of fall colors in autumn. Popular activities at Lost Maples include fishing, birdwatching, stargazing, camping, and hiking.
The State Natural Area protects the unique strand of Uvalde bigtooth maple trees (especially during fall) and a long stretch of the Sabinal River. Whether you visit for a quick stroll or scenic drive or stay for an entire weekend, Lost Maples is 100% worth adding to your adventure bucket list.
Lost Maples boasts 10 miles of trails that showcase some of the main highlights of the park. More accessible trails include the 0.4-mile Maple Trail and the 1-mile East-West Trail. Hikers looking for more moderate experiences can check out the 2.4-mile West Loop Trail, the 3.1-mile East Trail (look for the Monkey Rock!), and the 3.6-mile West Trail.
It is important to stay on the designated trails, mainly to protect the precious shallow roots of the bigtooth maples.
Staying Overnight at the Park
Campers can choose from 30 campsites that offer water and electric hookups. There are also primitive campsites for those wanting to backpack and stay outside of the designated camping area.
Fishing at Lost Maples
When you are recreating in a Texas Parks and Wildlife (TPWD) State Park or Natural Area, you do not need a fishing license! At Lost Maples, you can cast your luck in Can Creek or the Sabinal River.
Birding is another frequent activity at the park. Lost Maples is the home to a plethora of flying friends, including the endangered golden-cheeked warbler as well as the recently de-listed black-capped vireo. You can discover the depth of birdlife here by reading the Birds of Lost Maples State Natural Area: A Field Checklist.
For those who may not totally disconnect while visiting this Texas State Park, you may want to note that cell phone service is lacking in the area.
The park's day-use is available by purchasing a day pass ($6 for adults and free for 12 years and under). The park is open daily from 8 AM to 4:30 PM. The park gets particularly busy between October and November. It is recommended to pre-pay your entrance fees by making an online reservation. (reserve passes online or by calling the customer service center at 888-432-2267).
Head to the visitor center if you have any questions or want suggestions on spending your time at the park. If you are traveling to the area for the fall colors, check out the Fall Foliage report before you make the trek!
READ MORE: What Are the Cabazon Dinosaurs Doing There?
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