Every year the Corder side of the family has their annual family reunion over Memorial Day weekend. And most years it involves camping somewhere in the great state of Texas. This year we are camping at Lake Brownwood State Park.
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Lake Brownwood State Park is located right in the middle of Texas. It’s about an hour southeast of Abilene, 2 hours southwest of Fort Worth, and 3 hours northwest of Austin.
Fees and Campsites
The state park has both an entrance fee and a campsite fee.
The entrance fee runs $4/day for ages 13+. Kids under 12 are free. If you have a Texas State Parks Pass, you won’t have to pay the daily entry fee.
RV campsites run anywhere from $15-$25/night depending on which type of hook-ups you reserve. We are staying in one of the 20 full hook-up campsites in the Council Bluff area of the state park at $25/night. They also have 35 sites with 50-amp electricity at $20/night located in the Willow Point area of the park, and 11 sites with 30-amp electricity at $15/night in the Comanche Trails area of the park.
There are 6 hiking trails at Lake Brownwood State Park, 1.5 of which are also open for biking. We hiked/biked 4 of them which I will list below. This guide map is very useful for researching the trails and points of interest.
Texas Oak Trail
This trail is located near the Council Bluff area and is about 1.35 miles. Most of this trail is hiking only, though there is a portion of this trail that can be biked as well. At one point on this trail, we ventured down a smaller trail that led us to the lake. The kids had fun skipping rocks, climbing boulders, and watching the sunset.
We only hiked the portion of this trail that led from our campsite to the fishing pier.
Council Bluff Trail
This trail runs between the fishing pier and the Council Bluff area. It is about .3 miles and is open only to hiking. We enjoyed this trail and all of its stairs made from rock. It was on this trail that Allison pointed out a heart-shaped cactus, and Peyton almost stepped on a snake (YIKES!).
Hiking this trail took us about 15 minutes.
They call it Lakeside for a reason! This is probably the most beautiful and serene of all the trails. It is about .75 miles one way (it does not make a loop) and looks out over Lake Brownwood. There is a grand stairway near one end of the trail that leads you down to the water. There are also numerous resting areas and a few places with nice scenic overlooks.
We hiked the Lakeside Trail in the evening after it had cooled off, but I’d imagine this would be a great morning hike as the lake is to the east of the trail. The scenic overlook areas would provide a great setting for watching the sunrise. This trail is a MUST DO!
Hiking this trail took us about 30 minutes each direction.
Nopales Ridge Trail
Calling all mountain bikers! This is the trail for you.
Nopales Ridge Trail is about a 3-mile long trail open to both hikers and bikers. For the most part, this trail is flat, but there are two areas with lots of rock where it pays to be an experienced mountain biker. For me, I just walked my bike up/down those areas (after I slightly injured myself trying to go down the first rocky area on my bike…shhh!).
While the trail is moderate in difficulty, I’d still recommend some specific gear for your ride or hike. I don’t have a bicycle helmet but will be getting one after this trip. A few trees had low hanging branches that whacked me in the head, and a helmet also would’ve come in handy if I happened to fall and hit my head on any of the rocks. I think I’ll also be grabbing some sort of leggings that allow air flow. There were high grasses, lots of poison ivy and poison oak, and tons of cactus on this trail.
Biking this trail took me just about an hour to complete.
One of Abi’s favorite activities is fishing, so we’ve always got to check out the fishing spots everywhere we go. At this state park, there is one fishing pier located between the Council Bluff and Willow Point areas. There are 8 different types of fish known to be in the water here.
While there is great fishing at this spot, it just didn’t pan out for Abi this time. She wasn’t able to catch anything here. However, Allison caught 5 fish and Peyton caught 4.
Lake Brownwood State Park has one public swimming beach located near the Willow Point area. Plenty of picnic tables are nestled under large shade trees. There’s also a volleyball court and a small sandy beach leading to the water. I was surprised to find that I could see the floor of the lake as I walked about 50 yards from the beach into the water. The kids had fun swimming with their cousins and playing in the sand.
Groups will find quite a few ways to delight in sports activities while camping here. We saw two volleyball courts, a basketball court, a baseball field, lots of hiking/biking trails, and obviously, the lake will support all sorts of water sports.
Junior Ranger Program
Like the National Parks Junior Ranger Program, Texas State Parks has it’s own Junior Ranger Youth Explorer Program. My kids love these things! They’ll hang on the couch on a hot day or stay up in the evenings trying to fill out their booklets so they can get their ranger badges. If you have kids, make sure you pick up the activity journal on your way into the park. Then before you leave, make a stop at the office where they can take the Junior Ranger Oath and pick up their badges. This is a great learning opportunity for homeschoolers!