State Parks Getaways – August 2018

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State Parks Getaways

4 Ways to Tour Underground Texas 

Longhorn Cavern room with two young women in it

The cave at Longhorn Cavern State Park stays a cool 68 degrees year-round.

Do you need some time outdoors, but the weather isn't cooperating? Escape the rain, cold or sky-high temperatures by touring these underground treasures: 

Longhorn Cavern is so unique it's a National Natural Landmark. It was formed when an large, ancient river ran underground, dissolving and cutting away at the rock as it went. Guided tours occur daily, and you don't need a reservation.

Kickapoo Cavern is still wild, so plan for a hike. A cave must have stalactites and stalagmites to be considered a cavern, and Kickapoo has one 8 stories tall, the largest in Texas. Tours are on Sat. with reservations. If you visit March to Oct., don't miss the breathtaking exodus of bats from the park's Stuart Cave.

Colorado Bend cave tours are for adventurers, because you will literally get down and dirty as you crawl through tunnels to reach the chambers. See what it's like (video). There are tours for 3 skill levels, so give it a try! Afterward, hike to the park's 70-foot-high Gorman Falls.

Franklin Mountains allows you to explore man-made "caves" on mine hikes. Guided tours take you into retired copper mines, where you'll see several types of minerals. Tours are occasional, and reservations are required. 

Unexpected Fun in State Parks 

View of mountains and plains from Wyler Tram

Ride the Wyler Aerial Tramway at Franklin Mountains to be transported over 5,000 feet above sea level. Visitors enjoy a view of 7,000 square miles, 3 states and 2 nations. The tramway is also wheelchair accessible.

sign for Lake Arrowhead disc golf course

Bring some friends and play disc golf on the 18-hole course at Lake Arrowhead. The park will loan you flying discs and a scorecard, or bring your own. Don't miss the 7th Annual Disc Golf Championship on Oct. 13.

Reservation Improvements in 2019 

2 men sitting by tent in chairs, under tall trees with fall foliage

Improved park reservations are coming in early 2019. You'll have access to new online and mobile-friendly resources to be able to:

  • Pick Your Site – Reserve specific campsites or overnight facilities in advance 
  • Reserve Day Use – Buy a "Save The Day" Pass in advance, ensuring your entry to any park
  • Buy Your Parks Pass – Buy or renew your Texas State Parks Pass online

Sign up today to be notified when the new features are available.

Help Reopen the Balmorhea State Park pool - click here to donate

5 Ways to Stay Cool on a Hike

Nature Hike and Bike Trail sign in front of a state park trail

The heat of summer is still lurking, so don't let it sneak up on you. If you're planning to hike, bike or engage in any outdoor activity during the day, protect yourself with these 5 heat hacks:

  1. Hydrate by drinking 16 oz. of water per hour 
  2. Dress Smart with lightweight clothing, a wet neck bandana and a hat 
  3. Stay Salty by eating salty snacks to replace what you lose by sweating  
  4. Take a Buddy and watch each other for signs of heat-related illness 
  5. Plan Ahead to avoid strenuous activity in the heat of the day

If it's hot for you, it's even hotter for your dog. Watch for signs of heat stress and give your dog plenty of water and regular breaks in the shade.

Live the Wild Life with Xochitl Rodriguez

Woman hiking while carrying her daughter

Texas is wild… and so is the spirit of its people. Like Xochitl Rodriguez, who grew up surrounded by the Chihuahuan desert. For Xochitl, wilderness isn’t just a place, it’s the heritage passed down by generations of women in her family. It’s the treasure she shares with her daughter as they hike their beloved Franklin Mountains. 

Xochitl is an ambassador for Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation’s (TPWF) We Will Not Be Tamed campaign and appreciates the work TPWF is doing to conserve the wild things and wild places of Texas. 

TPWF has also teamed up with some favorite Texas brands to give away everything you need to Live the Wild Life. The grand prize winner will drive home in a new Toyota Tundra. 


Insider Tip:

The newest parks guide is now available in print, with a big map insert! Get a free copy sent to you when you pledge to Take Care of Texas.

hand on a phone with the parks app on the screen; links to get the app