"A must see for Texas State Parks - I will return!"
Date: May 19, 2018
Location: Colorado Bend State Park - Bend, TX
Trails: Tie Slide, Gorman Falls, Spicewood Springs (partial)
I had plans to go to Tyler State Park early Saturday morning, but my friend reached out and said her and her family were going to Colorado Bend State Park and that was more appealing because I had always wanted to go there! So, I got up and got ready for a 3am departure, leaving at 3:30 because it's me, and arrived to the park just as the sun was coming up. The parking lot was mostly empty, and the trail was ours. We started our hike as the sun was peeking over the ridge and it made for an excellent introduction to Colorado Bend.
We took the Tie Slide trail to the Colorado River overlook and the views did not disappoint. The trail was rocky but the views of the river make up for any hardships encountered by the group.
From there we made plans to head to Gorman Falls, the legendary falls within the park as springs cascade down a rock wall into the Colorado. The hike was pretty mild until the falls and then it's a steep descent down the rocks (with some handrails to help) to the falls viewing area.
Going down these rocks was a bit slick, from daily use, but the ropes were sturdy and offered a solid point of contact. I found the climb back to the trail much easier than going down, but I always prefer uphill vs. downhill hiking because I feel more accomplished at the top. Anyway, it was a fun little stretch to get to the magical and lush Gorman Falls.
The falls start at the top from a spring and trickle down a rock face that is constantly changing shape. The rock face is covered in moss, ferns and other vegetation. The view of the waterfall can be somewhat obstructed by the trees growing, so the photos don't do this place any justice. If you have the means and ability, visit in person and you will not be disappointed. It's a real treat.
There is a main viewing deck and you can get a glimpse of the falls from the trail on the way down and that's where I chose to take photos. There are signs saying it's a sensitive ecosystem, designed to keep people out of the water and from disturbing the falls. I don't care enough about pictures, as it is burned in my memory, so I respected the signs and you should too by staying in designated areas.
From the falls, back to the parking lot, we were surrounded by meadows of wildflowers at every turn. The cactus flowers were blooming and the bees were buzzing everywhere - busy at work! What a great day to be alive in Colorado Bend State Park.
I have plans to return, either early in the morning again or this fall/winter season. I want to hike every trail here, as they all looked like they offered great views and fun challenges.
As always, happy trails and enjoy a few more photos - wildflowers and part of our hiking group.