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Shannon amid fall foliage on the Sabinal River Copyright © Justin W. Moore
See more photos at OutdoorPhoto.com
Located along the Sabinal River in the heart of the Texas Hill Country, 2,208-acre Lost Maples State Natural Area is an inspiring mixture of sheer limestone cliffs, deep canyons, dense woodlands, and numerous clear streams. Designated as a National Natural Landmark, Lost Maples State Natural Area contains the state's largest stand of bigtooth maples east of the Guadalupe Mountains. When conditions are right, the maple leaves put on a dazzling show of fall colors, attracting thousands of visitors to the park. Peak fall foliage viewing is during the last two weeks of October through the first two weeks of November. From October through November annually, you can obtain the Lost Maples Fall Foliage Report from TPWD to keep track of how the fall color is progressing. The foliage report is updated each Thursday.
Picnicking, camping, fishing, and wildlife observation opportunities are available, as well as over 10 miles of hiking and backpacking trails. The leisurely 4/10 mile Maple Trail along the Sabinal River is especially popular during the fall. For longer excursions, the East Trail (4.2 mile) and West Trail (3.4 miles) are both excellent day hikes; portions of the trails are steep and rocky, but the views are spectacular. Numerous primitive tent and developed (RV) campsites are available, although reservations are highly recommended during fall.Be sure to visit our Quicktime Movie Theatre to experience a 360-degree panorama of Lost Maples SNA.
In addition to scenic landscapes, Lost Maples also presents numerous opportunities to observe wildlife, including armadillos, white-tail deer, various lizards, and almost 200 bird species. Birders seeking the golden-cheeked warbler, black-capped vireo, and green kingfisher should visit between April and May.
Explanation of Symbols Campsites/Overnight Facilities 2 star Leashed Pets Permitted? YES Picnic Areas/Playgrounds 1 star Solitude 2 star Trail System 2 star Water Recreation 0 star Wildlife 4 star Ratings are based on a scale of 0 (low) to 4 (high).
Wild Texas NotebookJustin and I have hiked several routes at Lost Maples State Natural Area. One route follows the East Trail and the spur to the scenic overlook [Note: the overlook located near primitive camping area B, looking down into Sabinal Canyon, is much nicer.] Fragile travertine formations, formed as mineral-laden water seeps through the limestone strata, are located throughout the park; two prime areas to view these formations are along Hale Hollow Creek, shortly before the steep portion of the East Trail, and along the short Maple Trail. The formations on the Maple Trail are indicated by a park sign.
Hale Hollow Creek off the East Trail Copyright © Justin W. Moore
See more photos at OutdoorPhoto.com
For more information, read our trip reports:
The nearest major Texas cities are: Austin, San Antonio
NOTE: During periods of peak visitation, such as holidays and weekends, the park quickly fills to capacity -- all available parking spaces become filled. This forces the park to close, sometimes as early as 11 AM. Visitors who are turned away are encouraged to visit other area parks or return after 5 PM, when the park reopens. However, campers with reservations are granted entry at any time.
Check for restricted park access before any trip.
Campsite and other facility fees are in addition to the park entrance fee.
Visit parks often? Learn about the $70 Texas State Parks Pass which exempts the passholder, and the passengers in their vehicle, from the entrance fees at all Texas State Parks.
Reservations can also be made by calling TPWD's Central Reservation System at
|Lost Maples State Natural Area
37221 FM 187
Vanderpool, TX 78885
TPWD Park Info: 1-800-792-1112