Sunday, January 19, 2014

Hike Report: The Trails of San Angelo State Park

Yesterday was a beautiful sunny day in West Texas with temps eventually reaching the low 70s. The trails of San Angelo State Park beckoned to us.

We've hiked all the trails of the park at some time or another, and most of our hikes are recorded on my website at https://sites.google.com/site/kcdonnagoodlife/hiking. Since we've hiked all the trails, one way to keep things interesting is to hike a trail in the opposite direction, or combine trails. The park has more than 50 miles of trails for hikers, bikers, and equestrians, so we're usually able to put together something that keeps hiking in the park fresh. These trails are not indicated on the official park map, but a laminated map made available by the Friends of San Angelo State Park can be purchased at the park office for a nominal fee.

The park has two sections, a north section and a south section. The trails available in the park are as follows:
  • Bad Lands (North)
  • Bell's Point (South)
  • Chaparral (South)
  • Dinosaur (North)
  • Flintstone Village (North)
  • Horny Toad (South)
  • Ghost Camp (North)
  • Javelina (North)
  • Lanky Lackey (South)
  • Nature (South)
  • Playground (South)
  • Potts Creek (South)
  • Red Dam Loop (South)
  • River Bend (North)
  • River Bend Park (North)
  • Roller Coaster Hill (South)
  • Scenic Loop (North)
  • Shady (North)
  • Slick Rock (North)
  • Strawberry (South)
  • Talley Valley (South)
  • Tasajilla Flats (South)
  • Turkey Creek (South)
  • Winding Snake (South)
The two sections of the park are connected, so it is possible to travel by foot, horse, or bike from the south side to the north side.

The trails, of course, vary in length.  Some may be a few miles in length (Roller Coaster, River Bend, etc.) while others, like Talley Valley, are less than a mile. Some of the trails are very easy to hike, while others cover rocky terrain and steeper slopes. Most of the trails provide you with a big sky and distant vistas; however, some trails dip into ravines and mesquite covered canyons. Trails in the north section along the river wind through native pecans and other trees, while trails away from the river may have no trees at all, especially along the ridges.

Overall, there is good variety for hiking here. Whether you want a short hike or a long hike, you should be able to find something to suit you.


Because the park once was an Army Corps of Engineers park, there are numerous "parks" within the park. Over the years as the water level of O.C. Fisher Reservoir has declined, many of the individual parks have become abandoned and fallen into disrepair. These appear as ghost towns that you may suddenly come upon while hiking on the back trails. However, restroom facilities at some of these appear to be maintained at various levels, and water is available at some locations, such as Bell's Point. Picnic tables abound along the trails, and most still have their covers, making good spots for stopping to rest or eat.

In the next entry, I'll report the short hike we took yesterday, which covered all or part of the following trails: Tasajilla Flats, Horny Toad, Nature, and Chaparral, as well as a half-mile stroll along a paved road.





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