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6 Best Colorado Bend State Park Boondocking Locations

 

Colorado Bend State Park Boondocking Locations

Today we want to tell you about our favorite Colorado Bend State Park Boondocking Locations. The park, which is west of Lampasas in the counties of San Saba and Lampasas, is home to the Colorado River and includes the former Gorman and Lemons Ranches above Lake Buchanan. In addition to guided tours of Gorman Falls and portions of the park’s cave systems, the park provides outdoor enthusiasts with options for primitive camping, hiking, mountain biking, caving, fishing, swimming, paddling, birdwatching, and wildlife viewing. There are options for primitive (backpack-in), tent (walk-in), and drive-in camping.

I discovered it to be less busy than state parks that are closer to the big cities, even though it is located three and a half hours from Dallas and two hours from Austin. Gorman Falls, a breathtaking 70-foot waterfall, is the most visited location in the park. Additionally, there are caverns to explore, spring-fed streams to swim in, and over 35 miles of hiking and bike paths. It is absolutely worthwhile to visit this amazing park!

6 Boondocking Locations for Colorado Bend State Park

1. Free Colorado Bend State Park Boondocking – Iron Bridge – Belton Lake

Moody, Texas
GPS: 31.280516, -97.472397
Elevation: 610′

Corps of Engineers

Free Colorado Bend State Park boondocking location. No entry or use fees. A couple of nice shaded spots w/o picnic tables. Those that have tables are in the sun. The water here is more of river than a lake. It is also more of a fishing spot than a swimming spot. If there is rain forecast, I recommend going somewhere else. The “good campsites” are on packed dirt that obviously turns to a very deep and sticky mud.The road in is Dirt. There are 1-5 campsites at this location and the maximum RV length is Any. You may stay 14 Days at Iron Bridge – Belton Lake.

Amenities:

Boat Ramp
Near Water
Picnic Tables
Restrooms

2. Free Colorado Bend State Park Boondocking Locations – Owl Creek Park – Belton Lake

Temple, Texas
GPS: 31.217707, -97.513107
Elevation: 596′

Corps of Engineers

Free. No entrance or use fees at this Colorado Bend State Park campingspot. There are two small, shaded parking lots for walk-in camping. There is a large parking area that was made for boat trailers. We camped in a nice grassy parking area near the water. No shaded parking except at the little walk-in parking lots. The road in is Paved. Owl Creek Park – Belton Lake is open march-sept. There are 16-29 campsites at this location and the maximum RV length is Any. You may stay 14 Nights at Owl Creek Park – Belton Lake.

Amenities:

Boat Ramp
Near Water
Picnic Tables
Restrooms

3. Free Colorado Bend State Park Camping Spots – Walmart

Address
Temple, Texas
GPS: 31.065903, -97.367158
Elevation: 656′

Retail Store

I knew it would be okay to stay overnight at this Walmart when I saw all the RVs parked in the lot. One of them had their generator going– and it wasn’t even sunset yet. It is across the street from the Temple Mall, which had tons of empty parking lots after dark. This is a 24-hour Walmart, so yes, there are always people coming and going. Not a great Colorado Bend State Park boondocking location but will do as you travel to the park if you arrive late.

4. Free Colorado Bend State Park Boondocking – Walmart Lampasas

1710 Plum St, Lampasas, TX 76550
Lampasas, Texas
GPS: 31.06249, -98.15959
Elevation: 1030′

Retail Store

The road in is Paved to this Colorado Bend State Park boondocking camping area. The maximum RV length at Walmart Lampasas is unlimited. You may stay 1 at Walmart Lampasas. The Walmart in Lampasas at 1710 Plum St, Lampasas, TX 76550 allows overnight parking; they just request that you park a good distance from the stoor. It was a fairly level lot and quiet night. We parked off to the western side of the lot and were able to extend our slides over a sidewalk.

5. Free Colorado Bend State Park Boondocking Locations – Goodwater Trail (hike in)

Address
Georgetown, Texas
GPS: 30.68295, -97.745463
Elevation: 843′

Corps of Engineers

Lake Georgetown is home to the Goodwater Trail which is a great place for back country Colorado Bend State Park boondocking. 26 mile loop around Lake Georgetown. Perfect for backpacking or some day hiking and camping. Access to the trail and camping on the trail is free but to use the actual campground you have to pay (currently $22/night).

6. Free Colorado Bend State Park Camping Spots – Gillespie County Safety Rest Area

Address
GPS: 30.235899, -98.609389

Texas DOT

A well-maintained rest stop on the 290 between Fredericksburg and Johnson City. Clean bathrooms, a playground, and many covered picnic tables. We stayed at this Colorado Bend State Park boondocking spot. We were there two nights in a row with no trouble, but its definitely more of a quick stop-over kind of place. The road in is Paved. You may stay 24 hours at Gillespie County Safety Rest Area.

Amenities:

Pets Welcome
Picnic Tables
Restrooms

Paid Camping Near Colorado Bend State Park

1. Colorado Bend State Park Camping – Sulpher Springs Camp

Address
Lometa, Texas
GPS: 31.079472, -98.457409
Elevation: 1089′

Private

Cost $5 Day

Three miles of dispersed tent camping on private ranch between the Colorado River and the bluffs. Check in at front reception, pick your spot. Much cheaper than staying at a  Colorado Bend State Park Camping area inside the park. A few motorhome sites appeared to be available. One or two rough outhouses are available plus plenty of mowed spaces in the open, The road in is Dirt and 5 miles from a paved road.

Amenities:

Near Water

2. Colorado Bend State Park Camping Locations – Cedar Point

Address
545 Ranch Rd. 3014
Tow, Texas
GPS: 30.866228, -98.459869
Elevation: 1052′

County Park (Official)

Cost $5 Day

Overnight camping is available on a first-come, first-served basis this

Colorado Bend State Park Camping

. No reservations are required at this Colorado Bend State Park Camping spot.  All groups over 20 require a Land Use Permit. You may stay 5 consecutive and 10 in 30 at Cedar Point.

Amenities:

Boat Ramp
Picnic Tables
Restrooms

3. Colorado Bend State Park Camping Spots – Black Rock Park

Address
3400 Ranch Road 261
Buchanan Dam, Texas
GPS: 30.764666, -98.453018
Elevation: 1024′

Privately Owned Campground

Tents $10 RV $25 Day

The road in is Paved. Black Rock Park is open Year round. There are 6-15 campsites at this location and the maximum RV length is 50ft. You may stay 50ft at Black Rock Park. 25 Tent sites. 15 RV sites all with electricity, water and sewer. Three full bathrooms as well. Tent sites are $10. RV suites are $25. Unknown if RV’s may camp in tent sites. Great little site for Colorado Bend State Park Camping.

Amenities:

Boat Ramp
Drinking Water
Dump Station
Electricity
Fire Ring
Near Water
Pets Welcome
Picnic Tables
Restrooms
Playground
Sewer
Showers

4. Colorado Bend State Park Camping – Robinson City

100-126 Robinson Park Drive
Llano, Texas
GPS: 30.749924, -98.705485
Elevation: 1037′

City Park

Tents $5 and RV $27 Day

Located on the banks of the Llano River approximately 2 miles west of Downtown Llano on FM 152. The Llano River Golf and RV Resort is adjacent to the park on it’s west side. This Colorado Bend State Park Camping option offers gorgeous shade trees, picnic and playground areas, swimming, and fishing. Robinson City Park is home to the annual Crawfish Open in April. Robinson City is open all year.

Amenities:

Drinking Water
Dump Station
Laundry
Pets Welcome
Restrooms
Playground
Showers
Trash Cans

5. Colorado Bend State Park Camping – Black Rock Park

Address
3400 Ranch Road 261
Buchanan Dam, Texas
GPS: 30.764666, -98.453018
Elevation: 1024′

Privately Owned Campground (Official)

Tents $10 RV $25 Day

25 Tent sites. 15 RV sites all with electricity, water and sewer. Three full bathrooms as well. The road in is Paved. Black Rock Park is open Year round. There are 6-15 campsites at this location and the maximum RV length is 50ft. You may stay 50ft at Black Rock Park.

6. Colorado Bend State Park Camping Locations – Shaffer Bend Park

706 County Rd. 343A
Marble Falls, Texas
GPS: 30.546629, -98.173874
Elevation: 769′

County Park (Official)

Cost $5 Day

The undeveloped recreation area is good for camping, but campers should come prepared there is no potable water or electricity. There is one portable toilet in the camping area and one waterless restroom at the entry of the park. Shaffer Bend Park is open year-round. You may stay 5 days at Shaffer Bend Park.

Amenities:

Near Water
Picnic Tables
Restrooms

7. Colorado Bend State Park Camping Spots – Turkey Bend Recreation Area

Address
4000 Shaw Dr.
Marble Falls, Texas
GPS: 30.494484, -98.114281
Elevation: 720′

County Park (Official)

Cost $5 Day

Turkey Bend Recreation Area, 400 acres on Lake Travis, has prime camping and fishing spots with great views of the lake. Some sites along the shore offer views of picturesque cliffs across the lake. While the area doesn’t have a boat ramp, it is a good place to put canoes and kayaks into the lake.Turkey Bend Recreation Area is open year-round. You may stay 5 days at Turkey Bend Recreation Area.

Amenities:

Near Water
Restrooms

Paid Camping At Colorado Bend State Park

Primitive Campsites (Drive-up)

Cost $15 Day

People per Site: 8 Number of Sites: 15

Drive-up sites #35-47 are 75 to 100 yards from the river. Potable water is in the area, but not at each site. Self-contained RVs (up to 30 feet) are allowed. Sites don’t have hookups of any kind. The park does not have RV sewage disposal facilities.

Picnic table
Water nearby
Lantern post
Fire ring with grill

Primitive Campsites (Walk-in)

Cost $13 Day

People per Site: 8 Number of Sites: 28 Yards to Facility: 50

Sites #1-29 are only for tents, and are along the riverbank. You must carry your gear about 50 yards. Water is in the area, but not at each site.

Amenities:

Picnic table
Fire ring
Water nearby
Lantern post
Restrooms nearby

Primitive Campsites (Hike-in | Backcountry River Area)

Cost $10 Day

People per Site: 4 Miles to Facility: 0.6

This is a backcountry wilderness, low-impact, limited footprint camping area. It is not a group camp area. Only four people should camp together. Larger groups should split into four-person groups and camp separately. Campsites are less than one mile from the River Trailhead, but you can park at any trailhead in the park to customize your hike. No water or toilets are available in this area. No open fires are allowed, but containerized fuel stoves are allowed for cooking. Carry out all trash and dispose of it properly.

Primitive Campsites (Hike-in | Backcountry Windmill Area)

Cost $10 Day

People per Site: 4 Miles to Facility: 1.0

This is a backcountry wilderness, low-impact, limited footprint camping area. It is not a group camp area. All tents must be in the boundary of the sites, with only four people per site. Camping outside the designated area is prohibited. Campsites are one mile from the Windmill Trailhead, but you can park at any trailhead in the park to customize your hike. The Windmill Backpack Area is five miles from the river and the main campground. No water or toilets are available in this area. No open fires are allowed, but you may use containerized fuel stoves for cooking. Carry out all trash and dispose of it properly.

Group Camp (Grey Fox)

People per Site: 16

Cost $35 Day

Vehicle parking at the campsite is allowed. Potable water and composting toilets are available in the area.

Maximum of 16 people

Amenities:

Large fire ring with grill
3 picnic tables
Lantern post
~150-yards from the river

Group Camp (Canyon)

Cost $35 Day

People per Site: 16

Vehicle parking at the campsite is allowed. Potable water and composting toilets are available in the area.

Lantern post
Maximum of 16 people

Amenities:

Large fire ring
~150-yards from the river

Group Camp (River Area)

Cost $35 Day
People per Site: 48
Cost $35 Day
Potable water and composting toilets are within .25 mile. Parking is within 50 yards of the camp. Dispose of all trash properly (dumpster is within .25 mile)

Maximum of 48 people

Amenities:

Large fire ring
Picnic tables
Lantern holders

Colorado Bend State Park Camping Spots

History Of the Park

A portion of the Colorado River’s picturesque canyon, which flows through the Ordovician Ellenburger Group, is preserved by Colorado Bend State Park. The Tanyard Formation, which is the oldest portion of the Ellenburger, is exposed close to park headquarters. The strata slowly drop in that direction, exposing younger units to the northwest, including some Honeycut Formation at the northwest corner of the park and the Gorman Formation close to Gorman Falls. The untrained eye has a hard time distinguishing between these units! Outcrops near the park’s administrative building display typical tan-gray limestone with some bedding and sporadic laminations.

On Spicewood Springs Trail, heading south from the day-use area is beautiful. River sands make up the first half mile. Views to the left across the river reveal a few lonely, sizable cliffs that don’t appear to be bedded. Spicewood Canyon Trail starts off at 0.6 miles, after which it turns right through a narrow opening in rocky tufa to reach Spicewood Creek and bridge it. Tufa deposits from an earlier, less eroded stage of the creek and its source springs make up the rock and slope to the right. (Cold springs that precipitate calcite create tufa around dense vegetation.) Just below the path crossing, where it creates a dam on the creek, a tufa cone or mound is currently being deposited. The Spicewood Canyon Trail climbs the slope to the summit of this tufa formation, which offers a beautiful view of the canyon and characteristic Ellenburger land beyond. Similar paleo-tufa deposits, which formed close to springs and side streams draining the Ellenburger hills, are what made up the large cliffs along the river.

Colorado Bend State Park Boondocking

Things to do at Colorado Bend State Park

Trek to Gorman Springs and Gorman Falls

In Colorado Bend, you must hike to Gorman Falls! The three-mile roundtrip hike to this 70-foot waterfall is mainly flat until you reach the waterfall itself. As soon as you arrive, a steep natural rock staircase will take you down into the canyon. This hike is not too challenging thanks to the railings, although the rocks can be quite slippery. Although Gorman Falls is the main attraction, the side waterfalls, particularly the lesser ones, truly amazed me. Additionally, there are green moss-colored rocks that give the location the appearance of being in a tropical rainforest oasis. In the heart of Texas, this is not what I expected to discover! When you go there, bring a picnic and spend some time admiring the waterfall.

Spicewood Canyon hiking and Spicewood Springs swimming

Gorman Falls is a no-swim zone, but you can swim in the park’s other spring-fed swimming holes! A great place to swim is Spicewood Springs, which is close to the campgrounds. While swimming amidst luscious flora, trees, and rocks, the water feels pleasant. If you want the place to yourself, arrive early! Expect to cross the water repeatedly if you trek the Spicewood Springs trail. The trail has a total length of 1.3 miles.

A pleasant trail that provides views of Spicewood Springs, the Colorado River Canyon, and waterfalls is the Spicewood Canyon Trail. Three miles roundtrip make up the climb.

Dogleg Canyon and Tinaja Trails hiking

In Colorado Bend, many of the trails are interconnected, allowing you to choose your own journey depending on how much time you have. If you’re looking for something a little more difficult, the Tinaja and Dogleg Canyon routes are a fantastic mix. You can use these routes to extend your journey to Gorman Falls! The Dogleg Canyon walk is steadily uphill and provides breathtaking views of the cliff walls and canyon rim. The Tinaja trail is regarded as the most difficult in the park and features numerous height changes. An magnificent rock formation that was formed out of the water may be found here. If you visit these paths early, you might even meet wild hogs!

Take a tour of Colorado Bend Cave.

A unique and daring pastime in Colorado Bend is taking a cave tour. The park has more than 400 caves, and there are three different levels of difficulty for cave trips. You must travel with a guide; you can schedule your tour here. You will only be able to see within the caves thanks to the light from your headlamp or flashlight because there are no installed lights there. Bring sturdy shoes, be prepared to get mucky and wet, and crawl about!

Kayaks can be rented to paddle the Colorado River.

Kayaking is a terrific way to experience Colorado Bend because it boasts six miles of Colorado River shoreline! Normally, the park allows visitors to hire kayaks, but as of this writing, Covid-19 has prevented them from doing so.

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