Don’t get confused with the name. It’s not in Colorado. It’s in Bend, Texas, southeast of San Saba and west of Lampasas. I first heard about Colorado Bend from a lady at the store where I volunteered every Monday. She told me about hiking to this beautiful waterfalls and kayaking on the river, the Colorado river. I went online and told my husband that we should check this park out.
That’s where we went for our first hiking during Spring Break 2016. Colorado Bend was about 1,5 hours from the Lady Bird Johnson Municipal Park in Fredericksburg where we stayed. Our main object was to hike to Gorman Falls and when we had time and energy, tried to do one or two more trails.
When we got to Colorado Bend, we saw the sign to Gorman Falls not long after the entrance but didn’t see the headquarter yet. Well, apparently it was all the way to the end of the park, where they had their main camping area. It was 6 miles pass the entrance and felt forever to get there with the park speed limit.
Colorado Bend: Hiking Trails
After we got the permit, we drove back toward the entrance and when looking at the trail map, I offered to check the Dogleg Canyon Trail that sounded interesting: Enjoy views of this hidden gem’s cliff walls and canyon rim. It was also one of the points of interest at the park and it said on the trail map ‘enjoy this hidden canyon view that feeds the Colorado River. Cliff walls and interesting rock outcroppings make this a unique destination’. I thought we could hike there for a lunch break, and went back to the car to continue to Gorman Falls Trail by the entrance.
We started from Cedar Chopper Loop and hiked for 0.8 mi (difficulty: moderate). This loop winds through cedar trees brakes on relatively flat terrain but rocky almost all the way. Then we turned east to Dogleg Canyon Trail. After hiking for about an hour, we found the rim and a quite big basin where we took out our sandwiches for lunch and let our son played a bit along the rim.
After lunch we continued and saw a couple of houses from a distance.
But still, we had not seen the water yet. Then the trail started to change downhill and it felt easy on our already tired legs. At the end of trail (1.3 mi, difficulty: challenging) we hit River Trail and finally saw the river! When we looked back to where we came, we decided not to go back. We were too tired to climbed back up the trail. Besides, the River Trail connected to other trails that will take us to Gorman Falls. Yay!
River Trail was an easy hike (1.1 mi, difficulty: easy. We started from the middle). It was flat and the trees canopied the trail along the river.
At the end of trail we turned to Old Gorman Road Trail (0.1 mi, difficulty: easy. Note: they said it is easy if you go down the hill with your bike, but we had to go up and were pretty tired. It was not easy!). The trail lingered to Gorman Falls Trail and we added another 0.3 mi to the falls (difficulty: challenging). Before we turned to this point, my husband decided to turn around to pick up the car. We didn’t know how hard the trail was and how many more minutes for us to get there. I offered to get a ride from the people whose going toward the headquarters, but my husband didn’t think it’s a great idea.
Colorado Bend: Gorman Falls
I tell you what. Even it was only 0.3 mi, it was pretty hard. It was very rocky and at the end of trail it was steep, so they put handrail to help people walked down to the viewing area. I didn’t take any pictures from the steep part because I had to make sure I made it safely to the bottom.
We finally arrived at the bottom. The falls were beautiful and we spent almost 20 minutes there.
First thing I wanted to do was to dip my feet in the water but it’s prohibited. But still, there were people crossed the line and climbed to the falls, both adults and kids. My son said they couldn’t read.
Going back was harder. I think my knee touched my chest several times when climbing up from the viewing area. After that the trail was going up all the way to the parking. We were so tired and asked people we met at the trail how far it was to the parking and they said ‘about 45 minutes, about 30 minutes, no it’s not, it’s less than that. You can do it.’ They didn’t know we started hiking since 11.30 a.m. and it was 2.30 p.m. already. There was a nice couple who filled up our water bottle that was pretty low when we hiked to the parking lot.
Aahh… It was a relief to see my husband at the parking and ready with cold water for us. Apparently he was just arrived, too. His hiked back to the car was another story.
Visited: Spring Break 2016.
Location: Bend, TX 76824. Phone: (325) 628-3240.
Colorado Bend: Tips for hiking to Gorman Falls
– Bring plenty of water.
– Wear appropriate hiking or walking shoes. The ground was rocky and it’s pretty steep at the end. I saw some girls wearing strap sandals and boys in their flip-flops. Leave them at home if you love your feet.
– Bring snacks.
– You are not allowed to climb to the falls. If accident happened and causes the park closing the trail, it’s a bummer for the rests of us who respect the rules.
– Use your Texas State Park pass or get one if you plan to go to other state parks a lot during the year.
Notes: Go to http://tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/colorado-bend for more information about this park.
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