I personally don’t think that it’s much of a secret that down here in the great state of Texas (or the Best State Ever if you talk to most Texans), that when it comes to seasons we generally just have two- summer and summer. So when I see all of my blogger friends post these beautiful pictures of all the leaves changing from yellow to orange to red to maroon, I have to admit that I get a little bit jealous. Ok, I get a lot jealous!
We’ve been keeping it in the 80’s for most of the month of November, and when December finally rolls around, most of the time it gets just cold enough for all of the leaves to turn brown and die, which means that we miss the beautiful part of fall, all of the changing of the colors. Now there are plenty of options to see fall colors in other states, but sometimes you just want to spend the time and explore a little bit of your own backyard, which is why I’m going to tell you about my favorite place to see fall colors in Texas- Lost Maples State Natural Area.
Located just 5 hours west of Houston (2 hours from San Antonio, 3 hours from Austin, and 5.5 hours from Dallas) in the heart of the Texas Hill Country is the small town of Vanderpool, Texas, which is home to Lost Maples State Natural Area. The Lost Maples State Natural Area protects a special strand of the Uvalde Big Tooth Maple. The park is literally filled with thousands of trees, so you can imagine how beautiful it is when they all start to change colors!
People literally flock from all over Texas during the months of October and November, depending on how cold the year has been, in order to see fall finally come to Texas. While the park is beautiful year round and offers a wide range of activities, from hiking to camping to fishing, the main draw to the area is for the beautiful fall colors!
With the color change happening at such a specific time of the year, it’s very important to plan your days in the park to avoid the huge crowds as much as possible. It’s literally like Disney World on a busy day, they will close the park if there are too many people inside and there’s no parking available, sometimes as early as 11:00 AM. In order to maximize our time in the park and beat the crowds, we generally will pack some sandwiches for lunch and try to get to the park around 10:00 in the morning. Sometimes that doesn’t always happen, but the earlier you can get into the park the better!
Obviously, everybody wants to see the fall colors once they’re in the park, and the best way to do that is by going on a hike! There are multiple hikes throughout the park that range in difficulty, so pretty much there’s a hike for everybody! When we go with my in laws, we have young kids, teenagers, and adults in our group, and generally the Maple Leaf trail is the perfect one for us. It allows us to take our time hiking, enjoy the beautiful scenery, and still get a little bit of exercise!
Another thing to consider with so many people visiting the area in such a short amount of time is the importance of reserving your cabin or campsite as early as possible. My in laws have made their trip to Lost Maples an annual trip, and before they leave during the current year they reserve their cabin at Foxfire Cabins for the next year. You’re allowed to make reservations a year in advance, and if you don’t reserve your cabin, you’d better believe that they’ll be sold out. I think that the campsites in the park work the same way.
So now that I’ve convinced you that you need a trip out to Lost Maples, here’s a quick recap of what you need to know before you go:
- Cost- The cost to get into the park is $6/adult and children 12 and under are free. You can also get in for free with a Texas State Park Pass for $70.
- Plan your day around the crowds- Arrive early to the park to avoid being locked out of the park. Also the hiking trails won’t be as crowded the earlier in the day that you go.
- Go on a hike- The maple leaves are all throughout Lost Maples, and the best way to see them is by hiking! Plus no two trees are ever the same, so you need to see as many as possible!
- Pack your lunch- There are plenty of picnic tables all over the park, and what better way to enjoy the fall foliage even more than with a picnic lunch! Also, you don’t want to feel rushed out of the park because you’re hungry, so bring your lunch with you!
- Reserve your cabin or campsite as early as possible- Most cabins and campsites will sell out as early as a year in advance. Start planning your trip to Lost Maples for next year right now so you’ll have a place to stay!
- Take it all in- It’s easy to get caught up in and stressed out about the hustle and bustle during this time of the year, especially with the holidays approaching, so sometimes it’s best to just take a look around and soak up as much beauty as possible!
And just like that, I’m missing Lost Maples even more than usual! We’ve missed the annual trip the past few years because of weddings and other plans, but you’d better believe that we’ll be going next year! I’m just glad that I got to see some Fall Foliage this year while we were in Napa! I’m linking up with these Wanderful Women from some Wanderful Wednesday- Lauren of Lauren on Location, Van of Snow in Tromso, Isabel of The Sunny Side of This and Marcella of What a Wonderful World!
Have you been able to enjoy the Fall Foliage so far this year? Is there a State Park or State Natural Area near you that you want explore?