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Youth Trip in Central Texas...
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Robert Justice
(rjustice7) - F

Locale: Central Texas Hill Country
Youth Trip in Central Texas... on 05/18/2011 21:19:00 MDT Print View

Hello Y'all,

I was just asked to plan an overnight trip for a youth-age Sunday School class. The teacher requested just 1, maybe 2 nights tops. They also would like to do a bit of canoeing or kayaking if possible.

My thoughts are, if we canoe or kayak, we make a base camp near water, then hike on local trails and do our canoeing and kayaking there near the camp on the water.

Part of me however really wants them to have the experience of hiking a good loop or trail and having goals each day to finish out. This idea would exclude the boating of course but it would A.- be less of a hassle, and B.- I'd really like them to experience a multi-day hiking trip.

I need to find someplace remote with no real established campsites. The teacher wants us to "rough it" and not do the typical car camping trip God bless him. We live in Central Texas in the Hill Country and I'm looking for a place within 6 or so hours max. If we weren't planning the trip for the summer I'd take them to Big Bend which is about 6.5 hours away but it's WAY too hot in the summer.

Does anyone have any suggestions on where we could go?


Robert Justice
(rjustice7) - F

Locale: Central Texas Hill Country
more... on 05/18/2011 21:49:52 MDT Print View

Right now I'm looking at Colorado Bend State Park.

jeffrey bennett

Locale: Near the bottom
Colorodo bend on 05/20/2011 11:50:28 MDT Print View

That is a tough one. Texas in the summer just sucks unless you are floating a river.

How old are the kids. I have learned with my kids that in the Texas summer if the trip does not envolve a place to swim during the day it is going to be a horrible trip.

Colorodo bend state park has 2 primative camp site. One is near the car camping area on the river but the other is no where near the river(windmill area?). If the Gorman cave is open you can get a guided tour thru it on saturday and sunday but you need to make reservations early. It tends to fill up rather quickly. I did it a few years ago and my kids really enjoyed it. Gorman Falls is nice also. Also I think you can rent canoes at the park headquarters.

If you wanted to travel a little farther the White Mountain wilderness in ruidosa New mexico is awesome.
Good luck

Patrick Gilgour
(patrickatm08) - F
E Rock on 06/04/2011 23:15:15 MDT Print View

Have you considered doing Enchanted Rock near Fredericksburg? No canoeing or kayaking. It's not huge, but you can do two days worth of activities there. The nice thing is it's big enough to let kids explore in their own groups, but small enough where they won't get lost. There are several primitive sites, but they're all within 2 miles of hiking from the car. I've gone there with both friends and church groups and have always had a great time.

Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Youth Trip in Central Texas... on 06/05/2011 09:57:53 MDT Print View

I think I'd just give up, and go float the Brazos from below PK down to the first road crossing. Great place to camp across from Worth Scout Ranch, and you can walk up to it and get water.

Mina Loomis
(elmvine) - MLife

Locale: Central Texas
A toughie on 06/05/2011 10:31:21 MDT Print View

I have hesitated to weigh in on this one. The teacher's expectations, all desirable, are hard to meet in Texas in the summer. It is pretty much hot, dry (especially this year), and muggy. For this area (as I am sure you well know) our "three seasons" are fall, winter, and spring!

Enchanted Rock is awesome but this time of year will be hot with no water to jump into to cool off.

Pretty much all of central Texas' public land is more "front-country" with established campsites even in the backpacking areas. One suggestion I have is to go to Pedernales Falls State Park, and hike in to Wolf Mountain Primitive Area not on the regular trail (2 miles of ranch truck doubletrack) but on the "Horse Trail." This is not on the park map but the park office will give you a map. You have to bushwhack a little ways up the slope to get to it from the trailhead parking. The Primitive Camping Area is on a bluff above the river. It is pretty well used, but not with fire rings and tent pads and stuff, just woods. No fires. And you can go down the bluff and hang out in the river when it's hot. The Pedernales River at that point is not deep enough for boating, though.

Lake Georgetown has a 16-mile hiking loop around the lake that you could hike part of and boat part of. But it has established campsites, some of which are accessible by road. Lost Maples near Vanderpool has a 9-mile loop that has a much more backcountry feel to it, and a couple of ponds where you can get in the water, but the camp areas are designated, and there isn't anything you could boat in.

To cool off in the summer in Texas you need either to be in the water or the high country. About the only country high enough and cool enough to be comfortable this time of year is Guadalupe Mountains National Park, and that is definitely more than 6 hours away. We are taking a group there next week. No water. Designated backcountry sites. But definitely roughing it, if you backpack. We are day-hiking Guadalupe Peak and then going on a 2-night backpack loop through The Bowl and McKittrick Ridge. Not, however, a beginner's trip, what with carrying water. But spectacular country.

Southern New Mexico is a good bet, but much farther away. I am not familiar with the north Texas destinations like the aforementioned upstream on the Brazos, you might want to look into that. Or you could plan on paddling one of the navigable central Texas rivers (upper Guadalupe or lower Colorado, for example). We took a couple of spring break trips a few years ago on the lower Colorado, and although it goes through settled country and private land, it is beautiful. Like a thin film of wilderness along the river, with wildlife and tangled brush and shifting sands and gravels, big overhanging trees. You camp on the islands and bars in the river channel. LCRA publishes a map booklet. We did Big Webberville to Smithville one year, and Smithville to Columbus another. Nice!

Have a wonderful trip, wherever you go!

Edited by elmvine on 06/05/2011 10:34:24 MDT.

Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Youth Trip in Central Texas... on 06/05/2011 11:02:52 MDT Print View

I think Mina has our seasons wrong. Where I am, we have summer, super summer, and football.

Eric Marcano

Locale: Southcentral Texas
Garner State Park on 06/07/2011 05:54:08 MDT Print View

Garner State Park. This is base-camp style hiking with easy access to the river, tubing (oops....toobing), and kayaks. Hiking is rugged with a few nice climbs to test the quads. I would reserve the backcountry thing for late fall. We're talking 100-degrees + as we speak and it's only going to get worse.