Activities Available:Birding and Bat Watching, Camping, Caving, Fishing, Hiking Trails, Kayak Trails, Mountain Biking, Pet Friendly, River Outfitters, Swimming Holes
This State park on the Colorado River offers an interesting variety of habitats and physical features such as the glorious 60’ Gorman Falls (a travertine waterfall that is actually growing in size rather than eroding). You should take the guided trip if you want to view the falls, but make sure the water is flowing or you might otherwise be disappointed. In total, there are 32 miles of trails at the park so you should be able to get in some exercise during your visit. The folks at the park should be able to give you information about water levels in the river and at the falls before you head out so you will know what to expect. Caves are available for touring and bird species such as Golden-Cheeked Warbler, Black-Capped Vireo and Bald Eagle have been sighted at the 5,328-acre park. Be sure to inquire about the white bass run that begins in March. The park has several miles of river frontage (kayak rental available), and some good swimming holes (ask park staff about the swimming holes created by the spring-fed creeks). In fact, this place is on some of the ten best swimming holes lists we have seen. The three mile stretch of trails down by the river are best for mountain bike beginners. There is an eye catching cliff on the other side of the river from the main park that is pretty striking and there are several really good places to tent camp on the river, but there isn’t much shade down there so plan your trip accordingly and consider bringing the canopy. Even without a lot of shade right on the river this is a very good state park for doing some tent camping in the northern portion of the Hill Country, but be sure to come out early to get a good spot because they go fast. Areas a little further up from the river have ample shade. This also is a very nice place to go to explore the Colorado River above the Highland Lake chain and you can put in upstream at Sulphur Springs Camp for a six mile paddle trip down to the park. Pets on a leash are OK. From the intersection of 281 and 183 in Lampasas, take FM 580 west a little over 20 miles to Bend and then follow the signs to the park. If you prefer to avoid the crowds and go primitive camping, you could do a lot worse than heading over to the Barefoot Camp, which is just a few miles away.