Lost Maples State Natural Area
A large maple tree at Lost Maples - photo from Shutterstock.
There's a lot of fun to be had a Lost Maples Natural Area. The park is located a couple of hours Northwest of San Antonio. There's over 10 miles of hiking trails (they are fun!), beautiful fall foliage, and a great place to camp, hike and picnic.
Note: there is no cell phone service at the park.
WHAT TO SEE
Fall is a popular time to visit Lost Maples. The park website even has a fall foliage report, so you can plan your trip during peak fall colors. Nestled in the Texas Hill Country, anytime is a great time to visit this park. There are 10 miles of trails. Take a hike to find Monkey Rock, it's a great find on the trail. Like most of the state, Lost Maples is a great place to bird watch as well. At night, you can stargaze.
WHERE TO STAY
There are 30 campsites with water and electricity or you can backpack to a primitive site. This is a popular park, so it's important to make reservations early.
There's no lodge at the park, but the park it located near the town of Bandera and Utopia and about two hours from San Antonio.
WHERE TO EAT
Bring a picnic to enjoy in the park. There aren't any restaurants in Lost Maples, but there are some charming towns near by where you can find some great bites to eat such as The Apple Store in Medina, Texas, the Lost Maple Cafe in Vanderpool or check out Bandera, Texas.
BEST HIKES FOR FAMILIES
The Maple Trail and the East-West Trail are both relatively short and easy hikes. The Maple Trail is only 0.4 miles and will take you to a large stand of bigtooth maple trees. The East-West Trail is a one mile trail along the water.
You can lengthen your hike by adding on a more challenging trail. The East Trail is fun for kids, but you'll have to climb up rocky slopes. Kids will be rewarded by Monkey Rock and both kids and adults will be rewarded scenic views. It is imperative to bring enough water and good hiking shoes on this 3.1 mile trail.
BEST TIPS FOR KIDS
In addition to the sweeping views, checking out fun rock formations, and seeing all the fun fall colors, Lost Maples also has a junior ranger program. Pick up a junior ranger activity journal to earn a badge.
If you're camping overnight, check the website to see if there is a stargazing party or have your own. It's pretty dark at the park at night and a great place to see the stars.