Only 45 minutes from Austin in the Post Oak Savannah region of Texas, Buescher State Park boasts over 1,000 acres of pine and oak forests, with a small, tranquil lake as its prime feature. This easy escape from the city is connected by a scenic road to the larger Bastrop State Park and offers outdoor adventure in a peaceful setting—the ideal spot for your next RV trip. Visitors to this Texas state park can enjoy a wide range of activities available throughout the park’s 1,016 acres and on the 30-acre Buescher Lake. Paddlers can rent canoes and tandem-kayaks from the park. Anglers can enjoy fishing for catfish, bass, crappie, and perch. Mountain bikers and cyclists can take advantage of the eight miles of trails in the park and the challenging 12-mile paved road between Buescher and Bastrop parks. The park is named for Emil and Elizabeth Buescher who donated 310 acres of this land to the state, and—like some of the other state parks in Texas—this park owes a portion of its development to the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). Those interested in the natural history of this land will be excited to learn that a part of the magnificent Lost Pines is located in Buescher State Park. This Texas state park has mild winters and hot summers, so if you like hot weather, you will like this park year-round.
Located about 40 miles southeast of Austin, Buescher State Park sits just two miles north of Smithville and 12 miles southeast of nearby Bastrop State Park. The park is easily accessible by RV or car, as it is located less than a mile off of State Highway 71. That said, visitors who want to take the more scenic route between these two state parks—along Park Road 1C—should be aware that this road is harder to navigate in an RV. While this route offers a beautiful scenic drive, the road is narrow, winding, and hilly with some blind curves, so be prepared to drive with caution if you choose the scenic route.
Once inside the park, guests can park at their campsites and in designated areas sprinkled throughout the park, including near the canoe launch, the playground, the recreation hall, and near the entrance to the Cozy Circle campground.
Oak Haven campground features 18 water and electric sites on the western side of the lake. These sites each feature a picnic table, fire ring with grill, water hookup, and 20/30 amp electrical hookups. Campsite #31 is wheelchair friendly. This loop also offers convenient access to restrooms with showers, and it is steps away from the lake. There are no sewer hookups here, but guests can make use of the dump station located near the entrance of the Cozy Circle loop. The Oak Haven sites are back-in sites, so be prepared to navigate your rig accordingly. These sites can be reserved ahead of time.
Located on the eastern side of Buescher Lake, Cozy Circle campground is home to 14 water and electric sites. Each site offers a picnic table, fire ring with grill, 20/30 amp electrical hookups, water hookups, and convenient access to restrooms with showers. Guests can also enjoy easy access to CCC Crossover Trail from the campground. There are no sewer hookups, so guests will have to make use of the dump station conveniently located near the entrance to the Cozy Circle campground. These are back-in sites, so be prepared to navigate your rig accordingly. One of these sites, Campsite #5, is wheelchair friendly. These sites can be reserved beforehand.
This Texas state park’s diverse environment serves as an important home to many species of wildlife, ranging from bobcats and armadillos to rabbits and squirrels. Luckily for avid birdwatchers, Buescher State Park is also home to roughly 250 species of birds, making it a perfect destination for observing a wide range of birds any time of year. Visitors can look out for the pileated woodpecker—the largest of the woodpeckers—as well as Kentucky warbler, northern parula, and green heron.
Buescher State Park is beautifully situated in the Post Oak Savannah, amidst loblolly pines, oaks, shrubs, grasslands, and mixed flowering plants. One of the best ways to experience this stunning landscape is to go for a scenic drive along Park Road 1C between Buescher State Park and Bastrop State Park. This 12-mile route takes visitors through the gorgeous Lost Pines of East Central Texas, so plan to set aside some time to roll the windows down and enjoy the tranquility of the forest along this peaceful, scenic drive.
One of the most popular activities at Buescher State Park is fishing in the stocked lake. The park loans out fishing equipment for use in the park and visitors are not required to have a fishing license, making this activity extremely accessible. Anglers can enjoy fishing for catfish, bass, crappie, and perch, as well as rainbow trout in the winter. The fishing opportunities for largemouth bass in Buescher Lake are particularly good, and visitors are welcome to fish either from the shoreline or from their canoe or kayak.
There are plenty of opportunities for expanding your knowledge at Buescher State Park. Park rangers offer a variety of guided tours, campfire talks, and other special events. The Junior Ranger program is especially popular with younger guests. Stop by the park offices to check out a Junior Ranger Explorer Pack for free, and use it throughout your visit. The packs help young children learn more about the natural wonders that surround them through drawing and writing about the things that they see. Packs include a Junior Ranger Journal, binoculars, a magnifying glass, wildlife guides, crayons, and watercolors.
Buescher State Park connects to Bastrop State Park by a 12-mile scenic paved road. The road winds through the hills and allows guests to enjoy the best of what both parks have to offer. Bastrop State Park is home to the famous Lost Pines. While there is no swimming at Buescher State Park, there is a swimming pool open May through September at Bastrop State Park. Guests can also enjoy biking, hiking, fishing, and geocaching. Bike riding is popular and gives guests a chance to travel more slowly and openly through the Lost Pines.
In under an hour, campers from Buescher State Park can find themselves in the middle of Austin, the Texas capitol. Austin is one of the most unique cities in the United States. It is home to a slew of famous food, music venues, historic locations, and activities. Tour the Texas State Capitol Building, which is taller than the United States Capitol Building in Washington D.C., or stop by the Texas State History Museum for interactive exhibits on the state's varied history. As the sun sets, visit the Congress Avenue Bridge to see the colony of Mexican free-tailed bats, the largest urban bat population in the country, take flight for the night. Be sure to grab some tacos while you are in the area.
Visitors eager to explore Buescher State Park by foot can take advantage of the park’s several miles of winding trails. The trails range from easy to challenging, so hikers of all abilities will be able to find a hike to fit their preference. For a short, easy walk filled with history, check out the .10-mile CCC Crossover Trail, which features a historic bridge as well as rock walls and staircases built by the Civilian Conservation Corps.
Cyclists and mountain bikers will have plenty to keep them busy at Buescher State Park. In particular, the 12-mile paved road that connects Buescher State Park with Bastrop State Park is a cyclist’s dream. This route features stunning scenery, challenging hills, winding paths, and offers one of the most idyllic ways to experience this part of Texas. Importantly, the park warns that only experienced cyclists should use this route, given its difficulty. Inside the park, mountain bikers can meanwhile trek through the park’s eight miles of trails that wind through pine trees and cedar elms.
While Buescher Lake may be fairly small, it has plenty of adventure to offer park visitors. Buescher State Park offers canoe and tandem-kayak rentals, so visitors hoping to get on the water can rent a boat through the park and enjoy paddling on this picturesque, family-friendly lake. Swimming is not allowed in the park, and only non-motorized boating is permitted, so, those hoping to explore the lake should plan to hop in a canoe or kayak and paddle. The canoe barn and launch is located near the southern tip of the lake, and there is a parking area nearby.
Experienced hikers will enjoy traversing the scenic and challenging Pine Gulch Trail. The Pine Gulch Trail is one of the longest trails at Buescher State Park. The 3.5-mile route takes hikers through the steep hills of Pine Gulch under a forest of towering loblolly pines and past the remnants of the 2015 Hidden Pines wildfire. Hikers are advised never to hike alone and to take plenty of water. Even during the cooler months of the year, the Texas heat and humidity can be draining.
Located just a short 25-minute drive outside of Buescher State Park, the ruins of the historic Kreische Brewery offer a glimpse into the innovation of Texas' early settlers. In the 1860s, German immigrant Heinrich Ludwig Kreische began to use the spring water from a nearby ravine to start one of the state's very first commercial breweries. Visitors from all over the county would come to the brewery to enjoy Kreische's beer and scenic views of his 172 acres of land. Today, guests can enjoy these same views and get a taste for early Texan life.