Beautiful Bastrop State Park is ideal for hiking and other eco adventures. BBOnline tells you why.
Bastrop State Park
3005 Hwy 21 East
Bastrop, Texas 78602
Try the Saturday morning hikes conducted by an expert naturalist in the park. You'll learn many fascinating facts about nature and wildlife in the park, such as the lost pines of Bastrop and the endangered Houston toad. In fact, most of the park is covered with delightful pine forests. You may also be in time for the Sunday hikes that focus on birds or wildflowers.
The Lost Pines Trail
One of the 10 hiking trails in the park, the 8-mile Lost Pines Trail runs across rolling hills. It's a shady trail, so hiking at midday is never a problem. The hike begins at the waypoint trailhead opposite the parking area and goes down into a creek valley where the forest cover is at its densest. You'll walk across a carpet of ferns past loblolly pines. Keep an eye out for big colorful toadstools.
Near the creek, the trail continues up to the Overlook Junction where it forks. The trail to the right leads to a more solitary area. The closer you get to the trailhead, the more people you'll see. Hiking the outer loops will increase your chances of seeing wildlife in Bastrop State Park like whitetail deer, woodpeckers, opossums and armadillos.
On the way, you'll see ponds which harbor the Houston toad, which is indigenous to some areas of Texas. The hike is quite easy, with just a few mildly steep spots, and you don't have to get your feet wet crossing a stream unless you want to. Once you get past the first old road, you'll have the option of primitive camping as long as you don't build bonfires. A two-day backpacking trip is a good idea. The extra time will allow you to enjoy nature's beauty to the fullest.
You can stop for a breath and a snack towards the end of the trail in a glade of fragrant pine trees. On your way back you'll cross the creek many times and enjoy a fantastic view from a ridge of the forest below. This is a great hike for photographs from your Smithville Bed and Breakfast.
Eco Adventures in Bastrop State Park
The scenic road through the pines that connects this park to Buescher State Park is a 12-mile paved trail for biking. The road is part of the famous Bike MS-150 race route from Houston to Austin.
The park holds adventure camps for kids during the summer. Kids learn how to care for the environment and recycle, and they enjoy biking, canoeing, water skiing, hiking and more.
The park has well equipped campsites with restrooms, water and electricity. For a more rustic feel, try the cabins by the lake. Avoid staying at the Copper Creek campground, which is too close to the noisy highway. The Copperas Cove campsite is a favorite with kids. It has a playground, a pond and hiking trails.
The tiny hills carpeted with pine needles are great to slide down on a piece of cardboard or a plank made from wood or plastic. If you have the kids along, bring them here for a short camping vacation from your Smithville Inn.