Colorado Bend State Park Overview:
Colorado Bend State Park is located in the Texas Hill Country 10 miles above Lake Buchanan and west of Lampasas. This 5,328 acre park has numerous activities to offer, both on land and in the water.
The park currently offers the outdoor enthusiast access to primitive camping, hiking, mountain biking, fishing, swimming, paddling, birding, wildlife viewing, and guided tours of caves and waterfalls.
Colorado Bend State Park has several miles of Colorado River frontage which eventually flows into Lake Buchanan. When the river levels are normal paddlers can travel upstream as well as down to explore or access the park by river. When Lake Buchanan is near normal levels, the river is navigable from the park's boat ramp all the way to the lake, approximately 10 miles. In this area the river is characterized by slow moving water through the beautiful canyon lands of the Colorado.
Amenities and Fun Things To Do:
This beautiful Texas Hill Country park offers 37 quaint and scenic campsites. The scenery from your site can range from rich rock walls, river views with direct walk in access, to beautiful Hill Country mountains. No matter what site you choose, the sound of the river will always be in the back ground.
The main camping area offers drive-up sites with picnic tables, fire rings with cooking grills, a lantern post, and potable water in the area. The riverbank tent sites also have picnic tables, fire rings with cooking grills, a lantern post, and potable water in the area.
There are also 2 back pack areas where you must carry everything you need in and pack out absolutely all equipment and trash. There are also two group camping areas.
Some of the other amenities you'll find in Colorado Bend State Park include:
- swimming in a natural spring
- river fishing and fish cleaning station
- boat ramp
- composting toilets
- rinse off shower
- kayak rental
- picnic area
Colorado Bend State Park is a fantastic park for hiking and biking with 15.8 miles of hiking trails and 14 miles of trails that are for both hiking or mountain biking. There are several different trails of varying length and a wide variety of terrain. Check with the park office for information on each of the trails.
If you like birding, this is a great place to go - over 155 species can be found in the area, such as Golden-Cheeked Warblers, Black-Capped Vireos, and Bald Eagles.
Some of the other fun things to do include:
- hike to Gorman Falls - Gorman Spring and a couple of other springs feed Gorman Creek which then descends a spectacular 65 feet creating Gorman Falls. The falls travertine formations and associated lush vegetation are picturesque. Small travertine dams have formed quite pools of clear water which support a variety of aquatic communities
- take a cave tour - there are proximately 150 wild caves located on the park property, some of which are only accessible via guided tours from Texas Parks & Wildlife
- enjoy a walking or crawling cave tour - the park offers informative and fun tours on the weekends
Colorado Bend State Park and the Colorado River are perfect for swimming, fishing, or paddling.
Unfortunately, Gorman Cave was closed on July 2010 and is no longer available for tours.
A Typical Texas Outsider Day:
Texas Outside enjoys hiking, mountain biking, swimming in the river, and kayaking or tubing the Colorado River.
There is nothing like waking up to the sounds of birds singing and the river trickling along. Everything at Colorado Bend State Park is in perfect harmony and it's a contagious feeling. Not long after opening our eyes, out comes the percolator and the fresh coffee beans! Then a leisurely morning is spent cookin' up a tasty Over The Campfire breakfast. While the food is cookin', we love to sit around the campfire and just take in this amazing place.
The unique beauty of this park touches each and every campsite. Breakfast is Monkey Muffin's and Sausage In A Sleeping Bag, with fresh coffee, and orange juice. Now that the tummy is fueled and at maximum happy, time to hit the trails! No matter how many times we visit this park, you can never go without paying a visit to Gorman Falls. The hike down Gorman Falls Trail offers a challenge to the beginner hiker and should be as easy as the breeze for intermediate hikers. Beautiful perfectly stacked rock formations line the trail. You will come across a variety of trees, fields of wild flowers (depending on the time of year), cactus, and amazing Hill Country views.
Wildlife is extremely abundant at this park so don't be surprised if you encounter a herd of deer eating on the native vegetation. Then the reward at the end of the trail, Gorman Falls. A spectacular 65 foot water fall and several smaller falls are not the only thing you'll be in awe of. You would think it was Photo Shopped if you weren't seeing it with your own two eyes. This area has been graced with unique beauty!
After the hike, it's river time! Down at the river, the backdrop of your view is the amazing brown, orange, red, and gray mountain with typical Texas Hill Country tree's, grasses, and cactus at the top. With Bald Eagles and other birds flying circling overhead - sitting in the water observing nature is one of our favorite things to do at the park. Many times we have had deer cross the river within 10 yards of us.
If you want some more action, then grab your river tubes - we know of a secret swimming spot not too far down the river or break out your fishing pole because the fish are abundant!
Now rejuvenated from the water activities, it's lunch time! That's right, we take food times seriously! How about some Campfire Bock Bock - fire grilled chicken rubbed with our signature seasonings, served with BBQ sauce, and our Dutch Oven Corn Bread on the side. After lunch the tummy is once again at maximum happiness. This signals one thing, nap time! The windows in the tent are down, the breeze is sweeping through, and we are like fat cats on our cots.
Although it would be easy to sleep the day away, there's to many fun things to do. With such great hiking opportunities we usually hit the trails again until evening. Then it's time to build a fire, break out the Dutch Ovens, Cast Iron Skillets, and the camp stoves! That’s right, it's dinner time! This evenings menu consists of:
- Garden Herb Pork - pork tenderloin marinated in a variety of herbs, then open flame grilled to perfection
- Corn On The Cob - buttered, seasoned, then wrapped in aluminum foil, and placed over the fire
- Rosemary Potatoes- red potatoes cooked with rosemary, extra virgin olive oil, and other wonderful seasonings
All we have to do now is remember to save room for the Dutch Oven Apple Cobbler. After the feastin’, comes the relaxin’! With a mesmerizing campfire, we usually tell stories, and share our enthusiasm for the days adventures to come.
Time can be nearly lost in the beauty, so when the adventure draws to an end, you will take the memories with you for a lifetime.
Cool Nearby Activities:
Less than an hour away is Enchanted Rock State Natural Area. Enchanted Rock was designated a National Natural Landmark in 1970 and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984.
The Rock is a huge, pink granite exfoliation dome that rises 425 feet above ground, 1825 feet above sea level, and covers 640 acres. It is one of the largest batholiths (underground rock formation uncovered by erosion) in the United States. Adventurers can enjoy primitive backpacking, camping, hiking, technical climbing as well as rock climbing, picnicking, geological study, bird watching, and star gazing.
Free Spirit Adventures has a Colorado Bend State Park and Enchanted Rock State Natural Area Combined Exploration Adventure available in June 2011.
Some of the content and pictures is thanks to Texas Parks & Wildlife and Free Spirit Adventures.
- Overall Rating:
- Scenic Beauty:
- Things To Do:
Additional Pictures of Colorado Bend State Park
Texas Outside uses a tough rating scale and it’s difficult for a campground to get a “10”. Each park is rated on:
- Scenic Beauty: a campground that is flat with no trees or character gets a “1” and hills, lots of trees, beautiful lake site, and lush ground cover gets a “10”
- Park Condition: the cleaner, well kept, and maintained campgrounds receive high scores
- Amenities: we are looking for lots of amenities like restrooms, dump stations, playgrounds, boat ramps, shelters, concession stand, rental toys, and more.
- Campsites: low scores are given for sites that are right next to each other (good for getting to know your neighbors, but not what we’re looking for when we’re camping); have no lantern holder, no water or electricity, no fire pit, no grill, or no picnic table (or it’s rotten wood); have no trees and no view; the ground cover is crushed rock (my bare feet hate that stuff!); and they require a lot of work to get your rig level.
- Things To Do: Bonus points are given for campgrounds that offer lots of fun things to do at the park or very nearby – this includes: biking, hiking, climbing, boating, entertainment, golf, swimming, fishing, volleyball, horseshoes, and more