Guide About colorado bend state park

Table of Contents

Key information about Colorado bend state park

Contact Info

+1 325-628-3240


2236 Park Hill Dr, Bend, TX 76824, United States


Per person 13 years and older: $5 Daily


8am to 10 pm

About Colorado Bend State Park

The park currently provides primitive camping, hiking, fishing (which can be excellent at times), swimming, mountain biking, birding and nature watching, and guided tours to outdoor enthusiasts.

There are 15.8 miles of hiking trails and 14 miles of mountain bike trails in the park. When Lake Buchanan is near normal levels, the river is navigable for approximately 10 miles from the park’s boat ramp to the lake. This is a trip on slow moving water through Colorado’s beautiful canyon lands.

Birders can see some of the park’s 155 bird species, including specialties like golden-cheeked warblers, black-capped vireos, and bald eagles. Gorman Falls is located on the Colorado River’s western bank, approximately 10 miles above Lake Buchanan, and includes Gorman Creek, which feeds Gorman Falls. Gorman Falls is a stunning 60-foot-high waterfall. The travertine formations and surrounding lush vegetation of the falls are breathtaking. Small travertine dams have created calm pools of clear water that are home to a variety of aquatic communities.

The Best Activities in Colorado Bend State Park

This Texas nature park has over 5,300 acres of pristine wilderness to offer the entire family on your next vacation. Whatever kind of family activities you seek, from underground exploration to adrenaline-fueled fun on a mountain bike, nearby Colorado Bend State Park cabins provide excellent access to the park’s facilities and much more.


Colorado Bend State Park has some truly fantastic mountain bike trails for people of all ages and skill levels. The majority of the trails are single track, but there are plenty of places to stop and picnic with your family along the way.

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Colorado Bend State Park Fishing:

The park’s access to the Colorado River allows you to spend a day on the river with your kayak and fishing pole.

The river is well-known for its excellent fishing, whether from the bank or from a kayak.

A fish cleaning station is also available for cleaning and preparing your daily catch. Remember, no fishing licence is required in Texas State Park.

For those who prefer not to fish and prefer to paddle around the river, the clear Colorado is ideal. Because the river flows slowly through the park, paddling up and downstream is not a problem.

If you don’t have your own, the park rents out kayaks to visitors.

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Gorman Falls hike is a must-do in Colorado Bend! The trail to this 70-foot waterfall is three miles round trip and mostly flat until you reach the waterfall itself. When you arrive, you’ll take a steep natural rock staircase down into the canyon. The railings make this a relatively easy hike, but the rocks can become quite slippery. While Gorman Falls is the main attraction, I was particularly impressed by the smaller waterfalls on the sides. There are also green moss-colored rocks that add to the overall impression of a tropical jungle oasis. This was not what I expected to find in the heart of Texas! Pack a lunch and spend some time admiring the waterfall when you arrive.

For added sights, combine the Gorman Falls hike with the Gorman Springs trail. When I visited, the trail was closed due to heavy rain, but it looked like a nice hike for admiring the vegetation around the spring that feeds the waterfall.

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Swim in Spicewood Springs and hike Spicewood Canyon:

You cannot swim at Gorman Falls, but you can swim in the park’s other spring-fed watering holes! Spicewood Springs is a beautiful swimming hole right next to the campgrounds. Swimming among lush vegetation, trees, and rocks is refreshing. If you want to have the place to yourself, arrive early! Expect to cross the water back and forth on the Spicewood Springs trail. It’s a 1.3-mile out-and-back hike.

The Spicewood Canyon Trail is a pleasant hike that offers views of the Colorado River Canyon and waterfalls while overlooking Spicewood Springs. The hike is 3 miles round trip.

Hike the Tinaja and Dogleg Canyon Trails:

Many of the trails in Colorado Bend connect to one another, allowing you to create your own adventure based on how much time you have. If you want something a little more challenging, combine the Tinaja and Dogleg Canyon trails. These trails can also be linked to your Gorman Falls hike! The Dogleg Canyon trail has a gradual incline and provides spectacular views of the canyon rim and cliff walls. The Tinaja trail has the most elevation changes and is considered the most difficult in the park. An impressive rock formation carved away from water can be found here. If you go early, you might see wild hogs on these trails!

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Colorado Bend State Park Caves:

A cave tour in Colorado Bend is a truly unique and exciting activity! The park contains over 400 caves, with cave tours available at three levels of difficulty. You must travel with a guide and can book your tour here. Because there are no lights installed in the caves, you will only be able to explore by using your headlamp or flashlight. Bring sturdy shoes and be prepared to get dirty and wet!


Colorado Bend has six miles of Colorado River frontage, making it an ideal location for kayaking! The park usually rents kayaks, but they are not available at the time of writing due to Covid-19.

Colorado Bend State Park Camping:

Colorado Bend State Park, in keeping with its wilderness theme, is one of the few parks of its size that does not provide full hookups for RVs. RVs under 30 feet in length are welcome to bring them to the park, as there are designated areas for them. There is potable water nearby, but electricity is only available from a generator. At 10:00 p.m., all generators must be turned off.

Except for the hike-in primitive sites, all camping areas are close to the Colorado River. There are compost toilets and potable water available in the area. Other than the hike-ins, all sites include picnic tables, fire rings, and lantern posts.

Water and restrooms are not available near hike-in primitive sites. Camping is only permitted in designated areas.

There are also three group camping areas in the park. One along the river’s edge can accommodate up to 48 people, while another is about 150 yards away and can accommodate 25 campers. The third option is available away from the water and is located in the canyon, serving a maximum of 16 people.

Campsites range in price from $10 to $15 per day for regular sites and $25 to $75 for group sites.

Observing wildlife:

If you could sum up Colorado Bend State Park in a single phrase, it might be “secluded beauty.” This is not the place to go if you want to feel like you’re in an urban park.

The first thing you notice about this popular destination is that it takes many miles after entering the gate to even reach the camping areas.

With over 5,000 acres of parkland, this former Texas ranch land evokes the rawness of the Texas Hill Country before society infiltrated it.

This untamed persona that each visitor encounters draws nature lovers to the park, as do several adventurous activities.

Try out your spelunking abilities:

Natural limestone in the park and millions of years of water flowing across it have created a cave system that cave explorers can walk and crawl through for miles.

Some of the caves are no bigger than a person’s size to squeeze into, so if you’re claustrophobic, a hike on the outside might be a better option.

For those who don’t mind being in cramped quarters, there are tours that provide safety equipment and showcase some of the park’s best caves.

There is no artificial lighting in the caves. They’ve been left in their natural state and can only be seen with the flashlight or headlamp you bring with you. Most importantly, reservations are required for the park’s cave tours.

Pay a visit to the Bend General Store:

The Bend General Store is located just outside the park. Food trucks serving burgers, a beer garden, and live music are frequently found on-site. The shop also sells supplies and gifts. After a day of hiking, this is a great spot for a well-deserved meal and a drink!

Hotels near Colorado Bend State Park

If you want to stay in a cute town north of Colorado Bend, go to San Saba, the self-proclaimed Pecan Capital of the World. The park is 40 minutes away from San Saba. Stay at the Dofflemyer Hotel, a historic building that was once a bank in the early 1900s. This charming hotel features historic decor as well as modern and pleasant amenities (many reviews mention how comfortable the beds are!). While you’re in town, make sure to try some pecans!

Make a reservation at the park, where riverside campsites range from $10 to $35 per night, depending on whether you want to be near potable water and toilets.

Apart from very basic cabins in Bend, just outside the state park, Lampasas is the closest big town on the way to Austin — about a 35-minute drive from the park and slightly more than an hour to Austin.

Try booking a cottage at Tyson's Corners Retreat, where you can relax in a rocking chair on the front porch while watching horses from an equine therapy gambol.

The Dofflemeyer Hotel in San Saba, 20 miles northwest of the park, has six stylish rooms in a converted 1913 bank building.

Colorado Bend State Park Cabins:

The Bend General Store has the closest cabin accommodations to the park. They’re pretty close together, but they’re just outside the park. Make your reservations by calling them. Aside from that, I recommend looking for nearby cabins on Airbnb. This secluded cabin on Airbnb is one of the closest, located approximately 40 minutes north of the park. You might also consider staying in Lampasas, which is about 40 minutes east of the park. This charming farm stay Airbnb is in Lampasas, and you might wake up to horses and longhorns outside your window.

If you’re heading south and want to see more of the Hill Country, stay on Lake Buchanan, about an hour south of Colorado Bend. There are many beautiful cabins along the lake, as well as many activities. On Lake Buchanan, you can rent a boat or a jetski, visit other parks, wineries, or simply relax and enjoy the peaceful lakeside views. Both the Hi Line Resort and the Painted Sky Inn have charming cabins right on the water. Check out this tiny house Airbnb for a unique lakeside stay.

Travel Tips for Colorado Bend State Park Texas:

As previously stated, Colorado Bend State Park is as close to nature as you can get while still being surrounded by state park infrastructure.

This means that there are several things to keep an eye out for while hiking, biking, or exploring. One is that the summer heat can reach dangerously high temperatures here.

Bring plenty of water with you when you’re out on the trails and away from your campsite and vehicle. During the months of July and August, it is easy to become overheated from the sun.

The same is true for winter, when extra clothing should be worn to avoid hypothermia in an emergency. It’s a good idea to keep a thermal blanket in your backpack in case you get caught out in the elements overnight.


Second, the park is home to a variety of wild animals. The key is to leave them alone because they will usually keep to themselves. No matter how cute and cuddly a wild animal appears, keep a safe distance from it and never pick it up.

Finally, leave the electronics at home and enjoy nature as it was intended. Colorado Bend State Park has enough beauty to keep you busy for hours and days. When visiting the park, take time to mentally immerse yourself in it.

Learn Before You Go:

The gift shop rents kayaks and sells ice and firewood, but no credit cards are accepted. Bring cash or visit the general store located just outside the park.

Aside from a simple outdoor "wash off" shower, there are no lifeguards or showers at the park.

The Gorman Falls trail is rocky and slippery, so wear sturdy shoes. Swimming, wading, climbing, or fishing are not permitted in the Gorman Falls area, creek, or spring.

When fishing in the park, no fishing licence is required.

Caves are only accessible via guided cave tours, which must be booked in advance

Cell phone coverage is limited to non-existent within the park, but WiFi is available at the gift shop.

Colorado Bend State Park Map:

Address: 2236 Park Hill Dr, Bend, TX 76824, United States