TX State Parks Quest: July Update


July 2019 took me to one new state park on the Texas-Oklahoma border. Eisenhower State Park is about 86 miles from DFW airport, and an hour or less in traffic from the north suburbs of Dallas. I visited the park with the intention to do an evening/sunset hike and not much else. The park was clean and well kept, offered plenty of wooded campsites, lake access, and boat launches. The cliffs along Lake Texoma were a nice treat and the place wasn’t too crowded for a Saturday night.

Highlights: Plenty of parking, plenty of trails, and a variety of terrain

Read all about my hike on the Ike’s Hike & Bike Trail HERE!

Texas State Parks Total: 16/104


TX State Parks Quest: Mid-June Update

I started June off by visiting two units of the same state park. Ray Roberts Lake State Park has a north and a south unit on Lake Ray Roberts. I don’t get it either, shouldn’t it be Ray Roberts Lake or the park be Lake Ray Roberts State Park? Either way, I visited each half and enjoyed them both enough to want to camp there in the future. Since the park is divided, it does technically count as two on the list of 104 I’m tackling.

Currently, I’m at 15/104 and it’ll likely stay that way until July when I return to the state. I’ll be working remotely the rest of June, and hopefully visiting some Michigan State Parks in my free time.

Johnson Branch Unit

  • Wooded, lakeside park with plenty of shady spots to hide out on a hot day

  • Great paved trail ideal for walking or running (wooded/shaded in many parts)

  • When it’s not flooded, the beach area looks fun

  • Several cool looking walk-in camp sites along previously mentioned paved path - some along the beach

  • Probably gets very busy since it’s water in Texas

  • Because of flooding, the biking trails were closed so I did not get to investigate. There are roughly 18 miles of those, though.

  • There is one main hiking path, the 2.6 mile Dogwood Canyon Trail. Again, it was a sloppy day and I was only able to enjoy the paved path.

  • Will revisit someday, maybe, if there’s time

Isle Du Bois Unit

  • Similar in wooded nature to the Johnson Branch Unit, the paved Randy Bell Scenic trail is enjoyable but was flooded

  • Most of this park was closed to my nosy eyes due to flooding

  • Over 15 miles of biking trails, a few hiking trails, and a 10 mile multi-use equestrian trail

From the Isle Du Bois Unit one can take a greenbelt corridor south for about 4-5 miles one-way. There is a hard surface trail and a horse trail, both follow the river. All maps and park information can be found here. It is best to call the park to get up to date closures that may not be listed on the website. I’ve found that most parks have a Facebook page that will be updated with more relevant information if you want to try that before making a call. Stay safe out there and enjoy the state parks wherever you are.

Texas State Parks Quest - I have a map now!

I don’t know why it took so long, but I learned about “My Maps” on Google and I’ve been adding places like crazy. All of the plotting has lead to some planning. Many of the state parks are near one another, which will make weekend adventures even more fun.

Some locations are going to be a challenge for me. Devils River State Natural Area is located down a rugged, 22-mile road that may be too jagged for my current tires. A workaround would be to book a kayak trip with one of the several companies that rent equipment and shuttle people to/from. This visit will be an adventure, no matter what happens, and will require the entirety of no less than three days plus travel.

The Wyler Aerial Tramway is located in El Paso, TX and is permanently closed but offers guided hiking on certain days of the month. The social media for the location is updated well, so hopefully the stars align for the perfect visit. I was bummed to learn the tram is shut down, though, as all the photos from it look so cool. Luckily, there are other hiking and historical locations in El Paso so a trip out there will be well worth it.


As I added each location to my Google Maps, I viewed the respective Texas Parks and Wildlife website and learned briefly about the park. Several places are SO popular it’s recommended to purchase a day pass ahead of time, which is fine, and others look like they get very few visitors which is even better. Either way, I am excited for this journey and all of the unique places I get to see throughout this giant state.

If you’d like to adventure/hike/camp, and/or have a Jeep/4x4/sturdy tires, get in touch and we can make a weekend of it sometime!

Quests with Mike: Texas State Parks


The Quest

Texas has 103 State Park Units throughout the expansive state. I have been to 12 of them, and hope to visit all 103 within the next two years. Some of the locations I’ve been to have an associated trailway with them, so I will revisit for those and actually walk the trailway. Texas is a HUGE place and the thought of visiting all 103 parks is a little overwhelming, so I’ll give myself some time to get it all done.

Questions I’ve Asked Myself

  • What constitutes a visit? A visit will include at least driving through the front gate and either walking a paved path, hiking a trail, and/or camping overnight.

  • Can there be multiple state parks per day? I can visit more than one per day, in fact, I plan to do so with many of them.

  • What exactly does this quest include? State Parks, State Nature Areas, and State Historical Sites listed on this website

  • Will I have to revisit parks I’ve already visited? No! I am not requiring myself to revisit parks I’ve already visited. This quest is about expanding my adventure scope.

The Texas terrain is wide and varied, which is something I’m thankful for living in such a flat and urban area of the state. I can’t wait to explore the pine forests and western landscapes a bit more as well as visit the seashore.

Introducing Quests With Mike

This space will be devoted to updates related to my brand new adventure quests. Follow along, join me out in the world, and raise a glass to adventure.

I’m currently in the planning phase for two new adventure quests. Here’s the rough ideas for now, more details to come!

  1. Texas State Parks Quest
    —Going to visit all 103 state park units and natural areas in the next two years
    —Details are rough, but I’m leaning towards only counting state parks that I camp at least one night and/or hike at least one mile (or do any paths/loops)

  2. Texas NPS Quest
    —Going to visit all National Park Service units (Parks, Monuments, Historical Sites, Seashores, etc)
    —Working on the exact details, but it should be