Sunday, February 3, 2013

A Tale of Two Parks

While in Bastrop, we spent one day visiting a couple of other state parks in the area. Our first stop was Palmetto State Park, about 10 miles or so south of Luling.

I was impressed by Palmetto SP. It is a very well maintained park, though unusual in its layout. The park headquarters is located on Park Road 11, which just west of the park becomes a farm-to-market highway that curves south to Highway 90A leading from Gonzales to San Antonio. So, if you approach from the west, as we did, it appears that the headquarters is on a public highway. Roads split off this highway to the camp grounds within the park. One campground is for trailer camping, while another is for tenters. With the exception of the host site, there are no full hookups.

Restrooms and host site in trailer camping area

Campground near oxbow lake
Trails appear to be well-maintained and composed of crushed rock of some type (granite perhaps?). It is easy to see how the park came by its name, for palmettos dominate the area. With its location along the San Marcos River, the area has a swampy look. An oxbow lake provides a place to fish and boat.

Palmetto Trail Trail Head

Palmettos cover the park; hence, the name
The San Marcos River runs through the park
Oxbow lake, with highway bridge spanning it
About 20 miles north of Palmetto, we visited Lockhart StatePark, just outside of Lockhart. This is a much smaller park with fewer hiking trails than Palmetto. This park is unique in that it has a 9 hole golf course. The camping area, which includes about 10 full hookup sites, actually overlooks some of the holes.
We like to scout out parks such as these to see if we would like to stay at some time in the future. I would like to spend some time at Palmetto. It does provide good fishing opportunities for Donna, and there are enough trails for hiking to keep us happy. Campsites appear level with good shade. It is a swampy area, perfect for snakes, so we would probably plan to stay there in the dead of winter when snakes are less active.

Lockhart offers fewer hiking opportunities, and there is no fishing available, but the sites are quite good, and watching the golfers would be good entertainment. Also, Lockhart SP is just outside of town, so it is easy to get in and out of town for shopping and dining.

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