State Parks Getaways – January 2022

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5 Parks With Bucket List Hikes

Lost Maples SP trail in winter

Whether you like long relaxing walks or hiking to panoramic views, winter's cooler temps allow for deep exploration of your parks. It can be invigorating or calming to walk through a natural space, and each park offers a different experience. You'll find trails with waterfalls, palms, pictographs, rock formations and more at these 5 destinations:

  1. Lost Maples – W of San Antonio, try West Trail
  2. Seminole Canyon – NW of Del Rio, try Canyon Rim Trail
  3. Palmetto – E of San Antonio, try Ottine Swamp Trail
  4. Caprock Canyons – Panhandle, try Rim Trail
  5. Colorado Bend – NW of Austin, try Tie Slide

Some parks also have accessible trails and other features. Park visitation is lower during winter, but it's still a good idea to get your day pass in advance. Before heading out, review trail safety and get helpful tips from the Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine story Day Hiking. For inspiration, watch our video Hiking to the State Parks, a Walk Across Texas

How to Read a Trails Map

Trails map with video link

Trails maps are not very complicated, but they can be mysterious. What do the symbols mean? What's up with all those circles in circles? How does a map show distance or elevation? 

Crack the code of trails maps by watching the video How to Read a Map by our buddy Ranger John. He'll show you how to translate symbols, find north, decipher those circles in circles and more. 

It’s Rainbow Trout Time!

woman holding rainbow trout, video link

Winter rainbow trout stocking is one of our most popular programs. Now's the time to get out to a park, catch a few of these tasty fish and make fun memories with family and friends.

Fishing is free in state parks, many park lakes are currently stocked with trout, and some parks will loan you fishing gear. All you need to bring is bait and a smile! Watch biologist Evan Cartabiano's short video Tips for Catching Rainbow Trout before you go.

Some of the parks currently stocked with rainbows include:

Look for more parks with rainbows on our trout stocking schedule. Don't wait! Rainbow trout can't survive hot weather, so get 'em while it's cold. 

Do It! Be a Park Ambassador or Volunteer

Youth Ambassadors next to rocks, video link

If you're 18 to 30 years old, want to share your love of state parks and gain outdoor leadership skills, become a Texas State Parks Ambassador. See what it's like on their Instagram.

We're currently taking applications through Jan. 26 for Central and West Texas Ambassadors. If accepted, you'll participate in a variety of projects, all while having fun outdoors. See our press release for details and future application dates. 

Volunteers tree planting, video

If your New Year’s resolution included volunteering, check out the volunteer opportunities at state parks

How much time you commit is up to you. There are a variety of temporary and ongoing volunteer positions both indoor and outdoor that you can explore using our online search tool. Volunteering has been shown to increase feelings of well-being, so volunteer to support your parks and feel good at the same time!


Great Texas Birding Classic - register now, link

Make Spring Camping Reservations Now

Spring in Texas means nice weather and wildflowers. It's also a busy time at parks, and campsites fill up fast. Book early, not only to be sure you get a spot, but to increase your chances of getting a primo spot.

Make your reservations by phone or online up to 5 months in advance, which means you can book NOW. You can change or cancel your reservation up to 5 days in advance and still get a refund, minus a small fee. Don't wait – avoid disappointment by booking now!

Live From Outside: New Free Webinars

Moon half in shadow

Join us for a new series of free webinars brought to you LIVE from state parks. For our first event on Feb. 8, Ranger Will and Ranger Stewart of Copper Breaks (an International Dark Sky Park) will show spectacular live images of the moon and share lunar lore. Register now for Live From Outside: Marvel at the Moon at Copper Breaks!

Later this year, join us for webinars about the Native American history of your parks and the weird, wild world of Caddo Lake's paddlefish. Keep an eye on the online events calendar for these and other free live events. Join us and discover more about your parks!

Messages from Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine advertisers:

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Visit Clute, with link