Visiting Colorado Bend State Park

By Danno Wise
Texas Travel Expert,
Located along the Colorado River north west of Austin, Colorado Bend State Park is one of the most popular outdoor recreation areas in Texas. This is due largely to the vast array of outdoor recreational activities available within the park, coupled with the park’s unique setting and relatively close proximity to the city of Austin. A partial list of the outdoor recreational activities to be found within Colorado Bend State Park includes hiking, camping, fishing, birding, mountain biking, caving, swimming and paddling. And, in addition to these activities, the scenery is second to none, particularly the spectacular Gorman Falls.

A relatively “young” state park, Colorado Bend State Park was opened in 1987 on the site of the former Gorman and Lemons ranches on the Colorado River above Lake Buchanan. The park’s signature feature, Gorman Falls is located on the western bank of the Colorado River and is formed by the flow of Gorman Creek feeding into the Colorado River.

[post_ads]Due to the unique and fragile nature of the aquatic ecosystems found in Gorman Creek just above the 60-foot waterfall, no swimming, fishing or wading is allowed in that specific area. However, those activities can be enjoyed in plenty are areas elsewhere in the park and just viewing the impressive Gorman Falls is usually well worth the trip. There are two ways to visit Gorman Falls. One is on an unguided, three-mile round-trip hike over fairly rugged terrain along the Gorman Falls Trail. The other is on one of the parks guided Gorman Falls Tours. These tours last around two hours and involve a one-and-a-half mile hike.

In addition to the Gorman Falls Tours, Colorado Bend State Park offers guided “Wild Cave Tours.” The caves in Colorado Bend State Park are only open to guided tours, so anyone interested in caving should call ahead and make a reservation on one of the Wild Cave Tours. But, those hoping to go on a cave tour should be warned that many of the areas are tight and require crawling or sliding through small openings. And, anyone going on a cave tour should expect to get dirty and possibly wet. But, those who are up for it can experience a very unique outdoor experience by participating in a Wild Cave Tour.

But, not all activities within Colorado Bend State Park require a guide. There are more than 35 miles of trails within the park, open to hikers and mountain bikers. The three main trails are Spicewood Springs, Gorman Falls and River. For hikers who wish to spend more than one day on the trail, primitive backpack campsites are available. Park staff is also available to help hikers plan their route to take advantage of the various trails, activities and landmarks.
Water sports are also popular at Colorado Bend State Park. The park has six miles of river frontage along the Colorado River, as well as Spicewood Springs Creek which flows through the park and into the Colorado. Spicewood Springs Creek has several swimming and wading areas along its length. The Colorado River itself offers plenty of access for swimming, kayaking, canoeing, fishing and boating. There is a boat ramp within the park, as well as kayak rentals. Kayaking is almost always an option, while boating (and use of the boat ramp) is reliant on the lake level of Lake Buchanan. When the lake is at normal level, the ramp is open and the river is navigable to the lake. When the lake is low, the ramp is often closed and many areas of the river are too shallow for boats with outboard motors. 


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Travel Magazine: Visiting Colorado Bend State Park
Visiting Colorado Bend State Park
Travel Magazine
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