State Parks Getaways – February 2024

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5 Parks Perfect for Winter Walks & Hikes

Caprock Canyons in the snow at sunrise, video link

Many parks offer majestic views and abundant wildlife, but once summer hits scorch level, it can be tough to stay on their trails for long. Make time to visit these parks during a mild Texas winter, and you'll be able to enjoy their natural beauty from sunrise to sunset. 

Try walking, hiking or biking at these parks that wear winter well:

Caprock Canyonstrails information

Seminole Canyontrails information

Big Bend Ranchtrails information

Hill Country State Natural Areatrails information 

Brazos Bendtrails information

Many parks have accessible features. A highlight is the wheelchair-accessible Creekfield Nature Trail at Brazos Bend.

Get pro tips from Ranger Megan on what to pack for your walk on the trail, what to do if you get lost, and more in the video Caprock Canyons SP How To: Adventure Safely in the Canyons.

History of Your New Park – Palo Pinto Mtns

Palo Pinto Mountains ranger, video link

Your newest park, Palo Pinto Mountains, is located about 75 miles west of DFW. Once it opens, you'll be able to enjoy overlooks with stunning canyon and lake views, trails, boating, swimming, fishing, wildlife watching and more.

You'll be walking in the footsteps of people who were here when it was a ranch, a source of coal and a railroad community. 

Find out more about the park's past life as a railroad town in Ranger Kate's video Exploring the Rich History of Palo Pinto Mountains State Park.

7 Tips to Lower Your Impact on Parks

backpackers on trail in Lost Maples in fall

You may be familiar with the saying, "Leave only footprints, take only memories." This is the nutshell version of Leave No Trace (LNT) – guidelines for minimizing our impact on nature.

The basic of LNT are:

1. Plan ahead to be prepared.

2. Leave behind what you find.

3. Dispose of trash properly or take it with you.

Leave no trace sign with video link

4. Respect wildlife, keep your distance.

5. Stay on trails, camp on the pads.

6. Be campfire wise, be sure it's out.

7. Be courteous toward other park visitors.

For helpful tips, watch the  short video Leave No Trace. Don't miss the fun state park tips at the end of the Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine story Leave No Trace 2.0

Wildlife Who’s Who: Nine-banded Armadillo

Armadillo, video link

If you're in a park and hear something rustling around in leaves at night, don't panic – it's probably a nine-banded armadillo rooting around for insects and worms. Found in most parks, these little mammals are active on summer nights, or you may see them out during the day in cool months. 

The armadillo has so many remarkable traits, Texas made them the official small state mammal. They're covered in a stiff shell and will curl up in a ball as a defense. If a stream is too large to walk across, armadillos ingest air and inflate themselves to help them swim across.

Nine-banded armadillos give birth to 4 identical offspring. The pups are milk-fed, then mom teaches them how to hunt for bugs. Watch for family groups in spring.

Ranger Amy shares footage and facts in the video Armadillos at Martin Dies, Jr. SP. Discover what other unique wildlife you may see at your parks in the magazine story Where the Wild Things Are.  


Chill Out Video: Go with the Flow at S Llano

South Llano River flowing over rocks, video link

The heart of South Llano River State Park is the beautiful South Llano River. A popular place for tubing, kayaking, fishing and swimming, it has an intrinsic beauty and sound all its own. Take a couple of minutes to relax in its flow with our short video South Llano River – Postcard From Texas.

Get Our Pro Tips for Camping

Family camping by lake

Camping is bliss, but to do it right you need to know some basics. In Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine’s 2024 camping guide, seasoned outdoorsperson Pam LeBlanc helps readers plan their perfect camping trip from start to finish. She offers tips on choosing a destination, recommends prime spots, offers recipes and packing tips and answers some common camping queries — so the next time you set out, you’ll be prepared to soak up some nature time, stress-free.

Subscribe to the magazine before February 12 (only $2/month!) and we’ll make sure you get a copy of the camping guide delivered to your mailbox in mid-March.