Hiking the Heart of Garner State Park l Hill Country Homestead Texas
Garner State Park in the Texas Hill Country is an easy road trip for families with kids. The Frio River in Uvalde County is a quick drive west of Austin, Houston or San Antonio, and features some of the best Texas Hill Country towns south of Fredricksburg. The State Park is well known for its shimmering water, limestone river rock ledges and abundant bald cypress trees lining the banks of the water, but there is more to see and explore than what normally lures folks to this vacation destination. Family adventures await off the beaten path to the river and into the hills of Garner's expansive trail systems and hidden caves.
Texas State Parks and Wildlife always do a great job of providing informational trail maps outlining trails, elevations, creeks, rivers, roads, landmarks and overlooks. If you stop in the office they will be able to hand you a personal copy to carry with you and these maps are also strategically placed at trailheads and junctions making navigation especially easy with kids and teenagers.
Throughout the trails there are dramatic vistas an overlooks providing expansive and sprawling Texas Hill Country views. The top of Ol Baldy is one of the best hidden places to get a full areial view of Garner State Park and the breathtaking Frio River. This particular trail is a little narrow and steep and should only be attempted with older children and who have sturdy hiking skills. There are many other trails in the State Park suitable for smaller children accompanied by parents.
Garner makes up the southern edge of the Edwards Plateau and showcases magnificent limestone canyons and rugged terrain. We saw a few Rio Grand turkeys while in the Park and there are also plenty of white-tail deer, doves, and bluebirds to be seen. If you are lucky enough you may even spot an endangered Golden-cheeked Warbler! Garner is famous for its gorgeous aged Bald Cypress trees that line the riverbank of the Frio. The Park also hosts a healthy population of Texas Madrone trees, Lacey oak, and Ashe juniper trees which are a nice variation from the cedar forest we live in here in Boerne!
There are a few caves to explore in this State Park making it particularly interesting to hikers young and old. The atmosphere and coolness of the inside of the caves can be a welcome break if you are visiting during the summer. Spectacular views are available even inside the caves through rock cave windows giving a view of the outside world from the darkness and seculsion of the cave. A must see if you are hiking in Garner!
This is the last installment of our Garner State Park series. If you are looking for caverns, camping or a night out there are plenty of adventures to be found deep in the heart of Garner. A not so well kept vacation destination secret but definitely one of the best places in the Texas Hill Country to visit, stay and play. The weather is usually beautiful and Garner offers campsites, cabins and other accommodations for visitors. Take a moment to read our previous blog about how to land a reservation in this park and the post about all the activities once you are inside the State Park and prepare yourself to enjoy all the adventures to be found in this gem of Texas!