With over 11 miles of trails and plenty of backpacking/drive-in camp sites, Lost Maples State Natural Area is a low-traveled Central Texas gem perfect for trail running in the woods amidst rocky terrain. A must see in November when the leaves change colors.
Lost Maples is a must-see destination with 2,174.2 scenic acres in Bandera and Real counties in Vanderpool, Texas. Lost Maples is named for the rare grove of Uvalde Big Toothed Maple trees that are rumored to be prehistoric in age and the leaves changes to autumnal colors typically the first two weekends in November. Starting October, check the fall foliage report to estimate the best weekend to see fall colors. With 11 miles of mostly flat rocky trails, this is a beautiful park with lots to see and do. Camping, day hiking, fishing, and bird watching are all popular activities. Make sure to bring your own water as water is not available in the park.
What Makes It Great
The rocky terrain, woody trails, and plethora of interesting topographical changes make Lost Maples a unique park unmatched by other parks in Central Texas. The East trail provides a few unique points of interest including Monkey Rock and various scenic views. After a 2.7 mile hike on the East trail, you will encounter a steep 0.8 mile climb with a 400 foot elevation gain. The vista at the top serves as your reward with a beautiful view of the Sabinal valley. Once you have descended on the other side of the incline, you encounter a beautiful pond with plenty of tree coverage. Your group may head back to the parking lot via the East/West trail or continue on the West trail to see more woody trails and traverse in dried up creek beds. The West trail includes an additional incline that gains 400 feet of elevation and is less traversed than the East trail. Make sure to pause and listen to the silence as you hike along. Lost Maples is busy during November but during other months the park has substantially fewer visitors.
Who is Going to Love It
Trail runners and hikers with an affinity for rocky, rugged terrain and beautiful views will enjoy Lost Maples. Enjoy the tranquility of nature during the off-season when there are few hikers or runners in the park. There are plenty of latrines for use and maps are abundant at each trail fork. There are plenty of benches and rocks to take a breather as well. It is difficult to get lost as the entire park is one big loop. The "feel" of this park looks different in the distinct seasons so make sure to come back often.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
The park is open daily but closes to day hikers at 10pm. There are two parking lots just past the visitors center. The parking lot at the left fork leads to the West trail trailhead while the parking lot towards the right fork leads to the East trail trailhead.Entrance fees are $6 and campsite rates range from $10-20 nightly. Make sure to get there by 10:30am during the season as the parking lot fills up quickly.Dogs are allowed on leash in the park.