Inside Colorado Bend State Park
With a view like the one in the picture, its no surprise that visitors flock to Colorado Bend State Park. But what, exactly, do they do while theyre there? Were so glad you asked.
Hiking – With a vast network of more than 35 miles of hiking trails, if you like to see the landscape on foot, Colorado Bend State Park wont disappoint you — especially if you make the trek to the famous Gorman Falls, photographed above.
Boating and swimming – The river is a main draw for many visitors and after all, it is the parks namesake! Whether youre taking a dip at Spicewood Springs or taking advantage of the parks on-site kayak rentals, theres no shortage of ways to get wet and wild at Colorado Bend.
Fishing – This section of the Colorado is renowned for its plentiful supply of bass and when youre within the park boundaries, you dont even need a Texas fishing license to get in on the action!
Cave tours – Move aside, Carlsbad and Mammoth. Colorado Bend State Park is home to over 400 caves, and an expert guide can help you get to know them up close and personal.
Hike To The Famous Gorman Falls
The highlight at Colorado Bend State Park is the beautiful Gorman Falls.
The stunning 70 foot tall waterfall is the tallest in Texas.
Gorman Springs Creek falls over the striking limestone travertine rock formations on the western bank of the river to create this amazing waterfall.
Visitors flock here year round to see this cascading beauty!
The Gorman Falls hiking trail is 3 miles long round trip, of moderate difficulty level with an elevation gain of 200 feet, and takes about an hour and a half to complete.
The trail takes you through a rocky canyon and then ends at the picturesque waterfall surrounded by lush mosses and ferns.
There is a steep descent near the end, just before you reach the falls. The Gorman Falls trail is often rough and rocky, plus crowded on the weekends.
Visitors cannot swim, fish, or climb in either the Gorman Spring or the Gorman Falls.
Visit The Tallest Waterfall In Texas
A post shared by Austin Wilson on Apr 13, 2018 at 8:49pm PDT
As you know, everythings bigger in Texas, so dont miss your chance to see the states tallest waterfall. Gorman Creek cascades down for 65 feet to create the inspiring Gorman Falls.
Gorman Falls Trail is the parks most popular. Its only 1.5 miles long, but prepare for a challenging, rocky hike with a steep descent.
Colorado Bend is beautiful and secluded. It is home to Gorman Falls, which is the tallest waterfall in Texas, but even besides that the park is gorgeous with awesome bluffs, river, trails, swimming hole, kayaking, and views. The Dyrt camper JJ T.
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Colorado Bend State Park Tours
There are two comprehensive cave tours available at the Colorado Bend State Park. The most popular one is the Discovery Tour, which perfectly fits beginners. The tour is suitable for ages four years and above. The tour offers a family-friendly caving experience wherein you get a chance to explore the large Dynamite Cave.
The cave features an easy climb down and an entrance suitable for all ages. There is no crawling inside the park, but you need to bring a flashlight. You must wear closed-toe shoes and helmets will be provided for the visitors.
The Adventure Tour is for those who are adventurous at heart. One can best describe the tours difficulty level as intermediate, and it will take you a little deeper than the Discovery Tour. Contrary to what people think, it is a relaxed expedition for anyone willing to crawl and get dirty. A headlamp is essential for this trip, but it will not be provided. However, helmets and knee pads will be given.
It is to be remembered that more than 400 caves have been discovered at the Colorado Bend State Park. However, only a handful of these caves are fit for public tours. The weekend wild cave tours occur at Cicurina Cave, Dynamite Cave, Gorman Cave, Turtle Shell Cave & Lemons Ranch Cave.
Spend Time At Gorman Falls
One of these fourteen trails has one of the best treats to see at the halfway mark. At 1.5 miles in , the Gorman Falls Trail takes you to the 70-foot drop of Gorman Falls.
Many Texas waterfalls run only during the rainy season and dry up during the summer. Gorman Falls is different as it flows year-round. So, no matter what time of year you visit, the falls will be available for viewing.
Maybe the best part of the falls is the seclusion. There are several days a year where you can find yourself the only person enjoying them. When choosing trails to hike, make sure the one to Gorman Falls is on your list.
With the area around the falls being sensitive to damage, swimming is off-limits, but the natural beauty for viewing is spectacular.
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Best Time To Visit Colorado Bend State Park
Spring and summer is definitely the peak season to visit Colorado Bend State Park.
The natural beauty of Colorado Bend State Park can be found at its best during springtime when wildflowers are blooming all over the park, including the famous Texas bluebonnets.
During summer, visitors come here often to cool off from the intense Texas heat and take a dip in the natural swimming holes.
The misty Gorman Falls hike is also amazing on a hot June day.
You can also rent a kayak or go paddle boarding in the river to escape the sun.
In the fall, you can see stunning spots of fall colors on the river banks.
Visit in the off-season of winter to avoid crowds and enjoy this natural paradise with an occasional smattering of snow!
Colorado Bend State Park Texas
There are innumerable caves in the park, but only a few are open to the public for guided tours. This has been done to ensure the protection of the highly sensitive environment. Since caves and cave formations are non-renewable natural sources, the utmost care has been taken to protect them at all costs.
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Where To Stay When Visiting Colorado Bend State Park
Camping at Colorado Bend State Park
I recommend camping in the park to make the most of all of the amazing trails. Most of the campsites are on the south end of the park right next to the Colorado River, but there are also primitive sites accessible by backpacking. The campsites at the south of the park are mostly located in a big field, so you canât pull up right to them, rather they are a short walk down some stairs from your siteâs reserved parking spaces. Thereâs a lot of space to spread out, but you can also see the other sites. I recommend choosing a campsite close to the edges to have the most seclusion.
You can also camp at a couple different private campsites right outside the park. Swim in a spring-fed pool, go tubing, play volleyball and have breathtaking views of the Colorado River at Sulphur Springs Camp. Barefoot Camp and RV Park also offers campsites with great views and places to swim.
Cabins near Colorado Bend State Park
Stay in a cabin on Buchanan Lake
If you are traveling south and want to combine more of Hill Country into your trip, stay on Lake Buchanan, about an hour south of Colorado Bend. There are many beautiful cabins along the lake and lots of things to do. You can rent a boat or a jetski on Lake Buchanan, visit other parks, visit wineries or just enjoy the peaceful lakeside views. The Hi Line Resort and the Painted Sky Inn both offer adorable cabins right on the water. Also check out this tiny home Airbnb for a unique stay also on the lake.
Be Aware Of Burn Bans
If the weather has been particularly dry, the county can impose a burn ban in state parks. Colorado Bend straddles San Saba and Lampasas counties, so ask about burn bans when you make your booking.
Open fires are not permitted at any time in the primitive camping area, but you can use containerized fuel stoves.
There is absolutely no signal and the park has a burn ban so bring your own stoves. The Dyrt camper Kevin T.
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Colorado Bend State Park Camping And Hiking Guide
Just a three hour drive from Dallas, or two hours from Austin, Colorado Bend State Park is a hidden paradise in the Texas Hill Country.
The park contains swimming holes straight out of a Mark Twain novel. You can hike an arid trail, past flowering cacti, to a waterfall oasis that looks more like Costa Rica than Texas.
There is camping along the Colorado River bank, and the fishing is good. You can even explore caves filled with spiders! Here is what you need to know.
Hotels Near Colorado Bend State Park
If you want to stay at a hotel instead of at a campsite, you can book a room at nearby hotels.
We have two recommendations for you: Best Western Plus Lampasas Inn & Suites and Quality Inn & Suites. Located in the middle of Texas, those hotels offer ultimate amenities and a convenient environment for you to spend your night in Texas.
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Colorado Bend State Park Campground
Image from The Dyrt user Eby H.
Roughly 6 miles into the park youll find 47 sites with access to the Colorado River. There are no hookups, but there is potable water onsite. Each site contains a fire ring, and theres a composting toilet as well as a communal shower to wash the dirt off your feet after a long day of trekking or caving.
Totally primitive. Lots of wildlife, and a great view of the sky. You are camping on top of a giant mountain/hill above the Colorado River. The Dyrt user Kim W.
The campsites were great with lots of shade and proximity to water & trails! Several of my friends were first time campers and they had a great time. The Dyrt user Hannah G.
Image from The Dyrt camper JJ T.
One of the main features of this park is the river and the easy access for fishing. During February and March there is a white bass run in which anyone with a fishing rod, reel, line and white jig can catch a fish. The Dyrt user Troy W.
We camped in a water only site, which is also a walk-in site. You park by the road and then walk down some stairs to the river level, which is where the campsites are. The campsites are numbered, but it is basically an open field. The Dyrt user Brian V.
Colorado Bend State Park Camping
Do you feel quite hard to leave Colorado Bend State Park at the end of the day? Dont worry! You can stay overnight at the designated campground. There is one designated campsite within Colorado Bend State Park, two designated primitive campsites, and three designated group campsites.
About 6 miles to the park you will discover 47 sites with access to the Colorado River. There is no hookup, but there is drinking water on site.
Each site has a fire ring. Besides, there are composting toilets and public showers to clean the dirt from your feet after a day of trekking or cave exploring.
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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 , cactus, and amazing Hill Country views.
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!
Things To Do At Colorado Bend State Park
Hike to Gorman Falls and Gorman Springs
Hiking to Gorman Falls is a must-do in Colorado Bend! The trail to this 70 foot waterfall is 3 miles round trip and mostly flat until you get right up to the waterfall. As you arrive, youâll descend down into the canyon on a steep natural rock staircase. The railings make this trek not too difficult but the rocks can get pretty slippery. While Gorman Falls is the focal point, I was really impressed with all of the other smaller waterfalls on the sides. There are also green moss-colored rocks that make the entire area feel like a tropical jungle oasis. Not what I expected to find in the middle of Texas! Pack a lunch and admire the waterfall for a while when you arrive.
You can combine the Gorman Falls hike with the Gorman Springs trail for extra sights. This trail was closed when I visited due to heavy rain, but it looked like a nice hike for admiring the vegetation around the spring that feeds into the waterfall.
Gorman Falls is unlike anywhere else Iâve been in Texas. I love how the hike takes you through a rocky and cacti-filled plain and then suddenly you descend upon an epic waterfall that is so majestic yet serenely calm. Definitely add this to your Texas bucket list!
Swim in Spicewood Springs and hike Spicewood Canyon
The Spicewood Canyon Trail is an enjoyable trail that overlooks Spicewood Springs and offers views of the Colorado River Canyon and waterfalls. The hike is 3 miles out and back.
Visit Fiesta Winery
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Go Camping In Texas Colorado Bend State Park
In keeping with its wilderness theme, Colorado Bend State Park is one of the few parks of its size that does not offer RVs full hookups. Those who own RVs of less than 30 feet in length are welcome to bring them to the park as there are designated areas for them. Potable water is in the area, but electricity must be from a generator only. All generators must be turned off at 10:00 pm.
All camping sites except the hike-in primitive ones are within close proximity to the Colorado River. Compost toilets are available in the area as well as potable water. Picnic tables, fire rings, and lantern posts are also standard at each site other than the hike-ins.
Hike-in primitive sites have neither water nor restrooms nearby. All camping must take place within designated areas only.
The park also has three group camping areas. Along the rivers edge, one holds up to 48 people, while another sits about 150 yards from the river and allows 25 campers. The third is available away from the water and is situated in the canyon, catering to a population of no more than 16 persons.
Campsites range in price from $10 up to $15 for regular sites a day, and $25 to $75 for the group sites.
Hiking In Colorado Bend State Park
Colorado Bend has over 20 miles of multi-use trails, and around four miles dedicated solely to hiking. Virtually all of the trails have outstanding views and unique attributes that make them with exploring. Ill give you the highlights on the more popular hikes, but dont overlook the other trails. There is an abundance of wildlife. You are all but guaranteed to see armadillos. You may also find lizards, turtles and deer.
This buck near the river campsites was not interested in her attention.
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