In the early 2010s, a pair of disasters almost literally wiped this Texas State Park off the face of the earth. A 2011 fire burned about 96 percent of the park, and a 2015 flood collapsed the dam at Bastrop State Park Lake. But Bastrop State Park has proved to be resilient, and still attracts many visitors.
Some come for the outdoor activities. Camping, hiking, swimming, and geocaching are usually on the agenda. One of the more popular trails takes visitors through the redevelopment area. In 2012, organizers began planting some four million trees with the goal of complete reforestation by 2040.
Other visitors come to see the park’s man-made facilities. Starting in 1933, Bastrop State Park was one of the Civilian Conservation Corps’ (CCC) first major projects. In many ways, it served as a model for the other CCC state and national parks around the country. Many of these facilities are still available for meetings, family reunions, quinceaneras, and other large events. Come with your RV and enjoy both the natural and the man-made sights at Bastrop State Park.
Buescher State Park is only four miles west of Bastrop State Park and can be accessed on the adjoining Park Road 1C. If you are wanting to enjoy more hiking, biking, fishing or camping then visit Buescher State Park as well.
You'll find Bastrop State Park just 35 miles southeast of Austin along TX-71. The park is only 1.7 miles from the center of Bastrop, which is the closest city. If find yourself needing supplies or food, you'll find it here. There are plenty of restaurants and even a movie theater, so the luxuries of city life aren't far away.
Roads in this area are clear of obstacles and height restrictions that may hinder RVs. RVers making their way to the park will likely rather use Park Road 1A as it is paved. Park Road 1C is the back entrance to the park and leads to Buescher State Park, but it is is not paved and maybe a more bumpy ride. Within the park, the roads are paved and pleasant to drive along. There are no restrictions or obstacles to worry about. Once you've parked your rig, take the time to explore on foot or by bike.
RV parking is rather limited inside the park. There is parking near the campsites, at the Bastrop State Park Lake, and near the different trailheads. These are clearly marked on the park map. If you're camping its best to leave your RV at the campsite and move around the park in a smaller vehicle or on foot.
Enjoy the award-winning Bastrop/SE Austin/Colorado River KOA campground nestled among trees on the banks of the Colorado River. Sites offer full hookups, cable, Wi-Fi, patios, picnic tables, and grills. Campground amenities include restrooms and showers, laundry facilities, a pool and splash pad, and a multi-level fitness center. You'll also have access to recreational facilities, a Kamping Kitchen, a game room, a pavilion, a dog park, and planned activities including arts and crafts. There is also an electric vehicle charging station.
Open year-round, Copperas Creek Camping Area is an excellent choice for RVers, offering 29 sites that are suitable for rigs. Ten of these sites provide full hookups (which includes sewer), while the remaining 19 have electric and water connections, but no sewer hookups.
All of these sites accept pets, and most of them are partially shaded. Each site features a lantern post, fire ring with grill, and a picnic table. Amenities include a sheltered day-use picnic area, ADA-accessible restrooms and showers, and lots of parking.
Copperas Creek Camping Area is closest to the hiking trails on the eastern side of the park. The nearest dump station is next to the Piney Hill Camping Area. Ice, firewood, and other supplies are available for sale at the park store, which is located next to the park headquarters. Reservations can be booked up to five months ahead of your stay.
Piney Hill is the premiere camping area for RV visitors to the park since every one of its 25 campsites provides full hookups. Each site offers a lantern post, fire ring with grill, and a picnic table. Most sites provide some partial protection from the sun.
Piney Hill Camping Area is centrally located, allowing for easy access to the pool, playground, dump station, and picnic areas. Pets are welcome to camp with you here. If you need ice, supplies, or souvenirs, you can stock up at the park store, which is located near the park entrance. The campground is open year-round, and reservations are accepted up to five months in advance.
Thirteen cabins are available to rent at the Pioneer Village Cabin Area. Each one is quite large and has full electrical and water service. The cabins are set up to be comfortable all year round, with air conditioning in the main bedroom, ceiling fans in all the other bedrooms, and a fireplace. Each cabin has a kitchenette with a small fridge and microwave included. Most also have a stove without an oven. Outside, you'll have your own grill and picnic table.
The Creekside Camping Area offers six primitive sites that are a short walk from the parking area. Adjacent to a parking area and across a stream from the Copperas Cove Camping Area, these walk-in sites offer privacy and tranquility. Each site has a tent pad, fire ring, grill, and picnic table. Sites do not have water points, but there is a communal water point closeby.
There are five buildings (four bunkhouses and a meeting area) in this campsite, which is on the other side of Deer Run. The bunkhouses each sleep 16 people and have their own restrooms with showers. The meeting area has a full commercial kitchen, a large banquet room, and a smaller meeting room. Bastrop State Park has several other day-use facilities as well, and most of them are updated CCC structures.
The Deer Run Camp has sixteen sites for tent campers only, two of which are ADA-accessible. Each tent site has its own picnic table, fire ring, grill, and tent pad. There are no hookups in this camp but there are communal water spigots. The sites are next to the Piney Hill swimming pool.
Grab your mountain bike and head off on a 12-mile jaunt along this road. Park Road 1C puts the “hill” in “hill country.” Visitors navigate through both developed and recovering areas of Bastrop State Park on this road that connects to Buescher State Park. If you go in the winter, there might even be a light dusting of snow on the ground, making the ride even more scenic. Keep a look out for deer and other wildlife as you bike through this section of the park.
This is another CCC hotspot and also one of the best overlooks in the park. Only a tenth of a mile from the Copperas Creek Camping area, this is a lovely walk, and the overlook offers a nice shady spot to take a break and enjoy the view.
The Fehr's Overlook Trace is a 1.7-mile moderate trail that runs from a parking area to one of the highest points in Bastrop State Park. En route to the overlook, visitors pass by the original CCC hike-in picnicking area. There’s a quaint, yet sturdy, CCC rain/weather shelter along this trail because the weather in Central Texas often changes rapidly. The Overlook is not quite as high as the main scenic overlook, but it is a great place to view fern and pine trees and dream about what the Park may look like in another generation or so.
If you want to beat the heat from that Texan sun, head on over to the park's swimming pool. Open from May to September, the pool is a great place for kids to splash around and adults to enjoy swimming laps. Do your children need swimming lessons? The Bastrop YMCA offers group and private swimming lessons at this pool, as well as aquatic fitness programs.
Fishing is a wonderful pastime you can enjoy on the half-acre Mina Lake. You can bait your hook and have a chance at catching sunfish, catfish, and largemouth bass anywhere along the shoreline. Didn't load your fishing equipment in the Airstream? No worries; the park offers rentals for fishing poles and other gear. Best of all, you don't even need a fishing license to cast your line inside the park.
Geocaching is a fun adventure that everyone can participate in, old and young. Treasure hunting is not particularly fun in the summer as kids quickly complain about the heat. But the spring and fall is a different story. You are not hunting for doubloons, but for small items in boxes. Use your GPS-enabled device to locate the cache here at Bastrop State Park. Then, replace the geocache swag that you take out, sign the logbook, replace the container, and move on to the next site.
Houston toads are an endangered species with scientists estimating that only about 3,000 of these frogs remain on the planet. For many years thousands of tadpoles and toad eggs have been placed in ponds around the park in an effort to prevent their extinction. Do not try to see these endangered animals during the spring mating season, as their habitat is closed during this period. But fall is a very good time to view them. Dawn and dusk are when you are most likely to catch a glimpse of these frogs, particularly in the Loblolly pines areas of the park.
Autumn is a good time to tackle Lost Pines Loop, one of the most difficult trails in the Park. This 4.3-mile trail runs from Harmon Road in the east to the Scenic Overlook in the west. Hiking along this trail means you'll cover some steep hills and slow descents, offering beautiful views of the area. If you don't think you'll be able to hike another 4.3-miles back to where you started, arrange for a friend to pick you up when you reach Harmon Road.
The original park day-use area can be found at the end of Piney Hill Spur. The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) facilities are excellent examples of architecture that’s present in many other parks throughout the United States. The original picnic benches built by the CCC have survived recent fires and are a testament to brilliant design! After a fire destroyed much of the local vegetation a wonderful discovery was made. A water fountain made of sandstone, built by the men of the CCC during the 1930s, was found. This historic structure is interesting to see, despite the fact that it is not in use.