Trip Report: Colorado Bend State Park: by Josh Davis
When: May 23 & 24 2018 (week before Memorial Day)
Location: Southeast of San Saba, TX
Conditions: Highs in 90’s, Lows in the 70’s, Partly Cloudy with a nice breeze.
Duration: about 24 hours
Difficulty: We tackled some of the more challenging trails but plenty of easy ones are available.
Kid Friendly: Yes
Pet Friendly: Leashed, yes.
Useful links: https://tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/colorado-bend
The Full Report: This trip was another first for me, I will certainly be back to Colorado Bend State Park. I will admit it is not the most convenient park to travel within. There is a self-pay station for day use but if you are camping overnight you must pay at the headquarters. The headquarters where you pay is 6 miles in from the park entrance. It was a lot of back and forth from where we camped, near the entrance, to the HQ and back to where we hiked, near the entrance again.
All whining aside, I love this park and it has everything! We camped in the upper grasslands (Windmill Backpack Camping Area) with cacti, sparse trees, and beautiful vistas. On our hike we went from the upper grasslands (Gorman Falls Trail) down to a gorgeous oasis waterfall (Gorman Falls-looking only) on to the crystal-clear waters that supplied the beautiful falls (Gorman Spring Trail). It was hard to comprehend that extreme contrasts that we saw in such a short period of time over the 10 miles we hiked while we were there.
I always use hiking poles but here I strongly recommend them. The Gorman Falls hike has a steep descent with a cable handrail to the bottom of the falls and the rocks are very smooth and with any wetness I’m sure they are slippery. Having my trekking poles helped keep me confidant in my footing on the rugged, rocky trail. Bonus points for being able to check for snakes on the areas with thick grass covering most of the trail. We did encounter a rattle snake on the trail near the camping area and a sizeable water snake on the Gorman Springs trail.
In the evening we only saw two people out on the trails and in the morning, it wasn’t much busier. Later in the day it started to get crowded, probably people taking an extra day or two off to make the most of the holiday weekend.