A Few of Our Fall Camping Favorites in Texas

Posted by Whole Earth | 09.03.2018


A Few of Our Fall Camping Favorites in Texas


Fall is finally on the horizon, and Whole Earthlings are making plans, or at the very least, daydreaming, about where to go camping in the coming months.  It’s been a long hot summer, and the prospect of cool days and even cooler nights has spurred us to get organized. Here are a few of the possibilities we’re considering for Fall adventures in Texas.


Fall is the best time to head to Hueco Tanks State Park. Raanan, our gear assistant and a very talented climber, would like to go bouldering at this world class climbing site. People have been visiting Hueco Tanks for at least 8000 years. The attraction? Water. It’s an oasis in the Chihuahuan Desert where rainwater creates pools in the hollows scattered among the boulders and rocks. Another reason to visit Hueco Tanks is to see what the ancient visitors left behind - rock art. There may be as many as 2,000 pictographs scattered throughout the site including abstract patterns, animals, dancing figures and masks. Modern day visitors to the Park will find bouldering problems for all levels of climbing ability.  Hueco Tanks is located about 30 miles northeast of El Paso.


Johanna, our marketing and promotions manager, and Nate, the manager of our North Lamar store in Austin, are looking for family friendly camping experiences. They’ve chosen Inks Lake State Park and Garner State Park for their Fall camping trips. Both Parks are on the water. Garner State Park is on the beautiful Frio River, and Inks Lake, well it’s in the name. Swimming, canoeing, kayaking, fishing and hiking are favorite activities at the Parks. Both are located in the Texas Hill Country. Inks Lake is near Burnet, about an hour northwest of Austin; and Garner State Park, near Concan, about 30 miles north of Uvalde.


We also have recommendations for places where larger groups of friends or family might camp together. Sarah, a shoe lead and one of our expedition-level cavers at North Lamar, suggested Paradise Canyon. Located on the Medina River, there’s swimming, fishing, kayaking and canoeing in a peaceful camping environment. Paradise Canyon is located 30 miles to the northwest of downtown San Antonio. Johanna suggested Colorado Bend State Park which has several group campsites, including the River Area Group Primitive Camp Site along the Colorado River. It is truly a place to get away from daily life – there’s no cellphone signal! The Park has lots of activities including swimming, fishing, kayaking, hiking and serious mountain biking. Should you go, be sure to visit magical Gorman Falls. Colorado Bend State Park is located near Bend, about two hours west of Austin.  


Several Earthlings thought a trip to Lost Maples State Natural Area would be just the place for a Fall camping trip. The Sabinal River runs through the hills and canyons of the Park which protects a stand of Uvalde Big Tooth Maples. The Maples’ Fall color brings out the crowds on October and November weekends, so you may prefer camping and hiking during the week. The hilly terrain makes a day hike at Lost Maples one of the more difficult to be found in Hill Country, but the views at the top make it worth the effort. Lost Maples is located near Vanderpool, about two hours northwest of San Antonio.


The fishermen, Niall, an assistant manager, and Nate, the manager of our North Lamar store, insist that the fishing is good at almost all of our Hill Country State Parks. When pressed, Niall expressed a wish to visit South Llano State Park where the spring-fed river is considered to be “one of the most pristine water bodies in the state” by the Lower Colorado River Authority. Camping, hiking, cycling, swimming, kayaking, canoeing and, of course, fishing are just a few of the activities you can enjoy. South Llano River State Park is located five miles south of Junction.


If you prefer surf fishing, the fishermen suggest, Mustang Island State Park. However, the Park is currently open for day use only. Overnight camping is closed while repairs continue on the damage caused by Hurricane Harvey. Goose Island State Park is also recovering from hurricane damage, but there are some camp sites available. The pier is closed, but you can fish on the bay side. Mustang Island State Park is located south of Port Aransas near Corpus Christi. Goose Island State Park is north of Rockport, northeast of Corpus Christi.  


Our final favorite Fall camping trip comes from Melcher, our toy lead at North Lamar. Melcher wants to head out to the Guadalupe Mountains National Park and visit McKittrick Canyon which has been described as one of the most beautiful spots in Texas. The canyon is home to trees from the east, north and west, and in late October and early November, there’s Fall color! Campsites are available in the Park on a first come first served basis. Hiking, backpacking and birding are favorite activities in the Park. Guadalupe Mountains National Park is located 110 miles east of El Paso.


Some of the Texas State Parks singled out by the Earthlings are very popular. Reservations often have to be made far, far in advance. Others have limits on the number of day visitors that the Park can admit. Be sure to check the Park’s webpage for up-to-date information. There is also a Texas State Park phone app that can be very useful for gathering information and even making reservations. 






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