50 miles west of San Antonio,Texas you will find a gem of an area. The Hill Country Natural Area. The state of Texas bought this large parcel of land and turned it into a great area for hiking, mountain biking, camping, swimming and horseback riding. There are 38 miles of hiking and biking trails. Trails for the novice to the advanced, Hill Country Natural area has it all. One can spend the day hiking and then cool yourself off in a crystal clear pool formed by West Verde Creek. The water is clear, cool and refreshing. Overnight camping is permitted in this area. One can camp close to the headquarters or you can do primitive camping at the far ends of the park. All the information you need is at the Park Ranger station. For a short pleasant day walk, I recommend hiking the Wilderness Trail. This is a 2.5 mile flat easy walk. The trailhead can be found at the left hand corner of the main trailhead parking lot. The more challenging trails can be found on main trails 2,3,4,5 and all the sub-trails such as 3b,5c etc.. Trail 5c takes you to the highest point in the park. A moderatley strenous hike to the highest point in the area. This trail has difficult footing so be careful. It is steep with slippery scree. From here you will get very nice views of the whole area. Park Rangers tell me if you wait until dusk you might get to see a Mountain Lion roaming the distant bluffs. Whatever your adventure, this area has it all. If you hike in the Summer, take lots of water. This area boils during July-September.
From San Antonio, Texas drive west out Bandera road also known as hwy 16 40 miles to Bandera Texas. Turn left on the main street, 1st traffic light you come to. Cross the river and follow the signs to the area.
There is a $6.00 per person day use fee. Overnight fees are $3 per person. Camping fees are $10 for campsites near ranger station. $8 per person primitive campsite. These are 1st come 1st served 4 people maximum.
This area has great camping areas. Camp near modern facilities or hike several miles into the backcountry for a very nice "get away from it all" campsite. This area can get very HOT in the summer. Make sure you take plenty of water.
Three Bluffs Trail
This is a great hike to the 3 highest points in the area. Take the Wilderness Trail(trail 1) from the left hand corner of the main trailhead parking. This is an easy walk. After a mile of walking trail 5b intersects. Take a left and begin a moderaltely strenuos walk up the first bluff. From the summit of this bluff you can see the trail continues to the next bluff. The trail drops and then begins to climb the second bluff. From the summit of bluff #2, the trail drops down and levels off. Trail #6 intersects at this point. Turn right on trail 6. This will bring you back onto trail 1 the Wilderness Trail. Follow this back to the trail 5b intersection. From here turn left and begin the toughest hike in the park. Trail 5b will wrap around the bluff and eventually bring you up to the intersection with trail 5c. Turn right and begin a pretty tough little ascent to the highest point in the park. The views from here are great. You can see the entire area. Very, very nice. Trail 5c makes a loop around the entire summit. It brings you right back to where you can begin your descent. Once you descend, you will find yourself at quite a trail intersection. Turn right and stay on the left most trail. This trail gets you back to the road where you turn right and head back to the parking area. Please stay on all marked trails. Do NOT create bootleg trails. This is a fragile area in some spots so please obey all trail rules and regs.
Trail map. Open the X for a link
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