Lake Brownwood State Park

Lake Brownwood State Park is located in Brownwood, TX which is about three hours south west of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. I was looking forward to this park for no particular reason. It was good park to hike. The trails had a bunch of elevation change. There were some narrow trails surrounded high rock formations. The were some beach views but I did not do a lake trail hike. The views of the lake were interesting from the different angles and cliff edges. The day was hot and very sunny. I appreciate blue sky hikes. The contrasting blues coming together on the water and in the sky. I ended up getting close to three miles of good trail hiking. DSC01227.JPGDSC01224.JPGDSC01216.JPGDSC01208.JPGDSC01206.JPG

This was hike 36 of my 52 Hike Challenge Explorer Series. I had a good time on this hike. The people I met on this hike were great. The next hike was at a park that I have run more than hiked. I will finally hike the other part of the park.

Best Hikes of 2018 So Far

My last blog and this blog have both been rehash blogs for a good reason. I had plans to visit several west Texas state parks this summer but I have sustained an injury that is aggravated when sitting for a long time. My travel has been limited to just about nowhere. Hopefully, I will be back at 100% by August. I have gotten in a bunch of hikes this year so I will list the best.

10. Quanah Hill-This is a cool little park located in Weatherford, TX. Nice trails with lots of elevation change and clean.DSC00261.JPG

9. Eagle Mountain Park-Located on the northwest side of Fort Worth. This park is just a nice nature park to hike.DSC00033.JPG

8. Eisenhower State Park-A surprisingly good trail system at a park located in Denison, TX. The beaches and cliffs were great.DSC00283.JPG

7. Mount Nebo SP-Located in Dardanelle, AR, this was a surprisingly neat park. The summit trail around the top is a must.20180511_181132.jpg

6. Chickasaw National Recreational Area-Located in Sulphur, OK, this park is all about waterfalls. I love me some waterfalls.DSC00384.JPG

5. Bastrop SP-Located in Bastrop, TX, this was a park I have wanted to go to for a longtime. Although it was foggy he park did not disappoint.DSC00668.JPG

4. Petit Jean SP-Located in Morrilton, AR, this was another must see park for me that lived up to all the hype.20180513_075502.jpg

3. Enchanted Rock SP-I returned to this park for the third time. I got to finish the park and it was as good as the first two trips.DSC00568.JPG

2. Caprock Canyon SP-My second visit to this park located in Quitaque, TX. Even fog could not ruin the colors of this beautiful canyon.20180421_090844.jpg

1. Mount Magazine SP-This state park has the highest point in Arkansas as its peak. Located in Paris, AR, it has some great cliff views.20180512_092318.jpg

This was a hard list to create and I think I left off a good hikes at Barton Creek Greenbelt in Austin and Arbor Hills Nature Preserve in Plano. I have at least five never been before hikes planned in the fall so this list might change by the end of the year.

Eisenhower State Park

Eisenhower State Park is located in Denison, TX which is about an hour and a half north of Dallas. The park is on the Texas side of Lake Texoma which is on the Texas-Oklahoma border. The park is named after Dwight D. Eisenhower our 34th President and a Texas native. I have driven through Denison many times but never thought to go to this state park. I did not know what I was missing. This park has a little of everything. It has two beaches on the lake. One is a very small rocky beach and the other is a small sandy beach. They are both surrounded by high cliffs and the sandy one has coves and some bouldering opportunities. This park also has some good hiking trails and the views from the cliffs are can’t miss. Standing on top of the cliffs and seeing the waves crash into the rocks below is a sight to see. I did not expect much when going to this park but left extremely surprised on how much I liked this park. Hiking down to the sandy beach was nice and then you see the coves and a small boulder field. I took the opportunity to do some bouldering to the coves. Once again hiking up the boulders you get a good view of the waves moving across the inlet and against the rocks. DSC00291.JPGDSC00299.JPGDSC00309.JPG20180216_113954.jpg20180216_114343.jpg20180216_114907.jpg20180216_115003.jpg20180216_115200.jpgDSC00332.JPG

This was a great park to visit. I would like to come back when it is warmer and the sun is out. This was hike 15 in my 52 Hike Challenge Explorer Series. This one was one of the best so far.

I finally got to another state park and the next is a wildlife refuge.

 

Eagle Mountain Park

I had a chance to get back on the trails between the cold fronts. I headed out to Fort Worth, TX. In the far northwest part of Fort Worth, there is a beautiful park and lake. The homes are not bad either. The park is located thirty minutes northwest of downtown Fort Worth. The main trails are well marked with mile markers and “you are here” signs. The trail also has many smaller off shoot trails that are not marked but I might try some of those next time. The trails I hiked were the Main Park Trail and the Shoreline Trail. The trails had some good elevation change and views of the lake. I also got to try my new point and shoot camera. The pictures came out very good. I was not shooting in a majestic canyon but the views were nice and the camera did it justice. I saw a armadillo and many colorful birds. I also saw deer tracks on the trail. DSC00017.JPGDSC00031.JPGDSC00027.JPGDSC00036.JPGDSC00048.JPG

This is a very enjoyable park. I nice park to have a relaxing stroll. I would also like to do some trail running out here at some time. This is also hike 7 in my 52 Hike Challenge Explorer Series.

 

 

Cedar Hill State Park

Cedar Hill State Park is located twenty minutes southwest of Dallas. If the location sounds familiar, it is located within minutes of Cedar Ridge Preserve, Cedar Mountain Trail and the Dogwood Audubon Center. The park has many different activities to do like fishing, boating and camping but I am here for the trails. I have hiked on these trails almost as many times as Cedar Ridge Preserve. The park has six hiking trails covering twenty six miles. I have hiked and trail run on five of the six multiple times and the scenery seems to be a bit different each time. The park is in the middle of a restoration project so one of my favorite trails has been closed for over a year. They recently opened two other trails that were closed but the maintenance on one has been a bit shoddy. The DORBA trails are always great but overly protected. If it rains just a little, they are immediately shut down. When open, the trails are awesome. The trails give you a bit of every type of habitat. I have hiked the DORBA medium and short trails but not the long yet. The DORBA medium takes you through forest type areas then beach type areas and prairie lands and also hilly vistas all in a six plus mile hike. At one point, in a grassland opening on top of a small hill I could get a picture of both AT&T Stadium and Texas Stadium in the same frame. The park also features Joe Pool Lake and the Joe Pool Lake Dam.

I will start with the recently reopened Duck Pond Trail and Plum Valley Trail. The Duck Pond Trail leads to the Duck Pond and by a small stream and bridge. Plum Valley Trail Trail connects the trails to an overlook. Plum Valley has good elevation change but is not always well groomed. 20170303_135951.jpg20170303_140224.jpg20170303_140620.jpg20170303_144025.jpg

The DORBA medium and short trails are really nice. The scenery is ever changing and the views are nice. There are not any big elevation changes but there are plenty of elevation changes along with switchbacks. Plus the randomness of the wildlife is amazing. I have seen snakes, turtles, roadrunners, bobcats and armadillos. The trails go by Joe Pool Lake and hearing the waves is peaceful. The lake is not the clearest but it is nice.20170127_145736.jpg2011-07-29_18-56-03_15.jpg20170424_151115.jpg2011-07-31_19-27-33_43.jpg2011-07-31_19-35-31_769.jpg

It is funny that I have been here so much that I take the park for granted. I do not have many pictures and it was not one of my first blogs. When I started the 52 Hike Challenge, I did not hike this park until the fifth or sixth hike. I also ran my first five miler here and they found some hills I missed. I usually do not do many road races but this was the exception.

I am almost caught up with all my hikes so the blog will slow down. I recently headed back down to the Texas country for the summer and had a great time hiking in places I have never heard of before.

Lake Mineral Wells State Park

Lake Mineral Wells State Park is located about an hour and a half west of the DFW metroplex. It is well worth the drive. This CCC park has many different things to do and see that you will not get bored looking for adventure. I have already been here twice so I will blog about both trips at once. The first time out it was rainy and the guided tour was cancelled but my son and I stayed anyway to have some fun. We did not hike far but we stayed for hours and the heavy rain never arrived. The second trip, I was hiking alone and covered some other areas of the park I did not get to the first time around. I also repeated some parts because it was hot and dry and I was able to get to different places without worrying about slick surfaces.

The CCC structures are prominent at the trailheads where we started. There are benches, tables, ovens and the famous overlook are all CCC structures.20170304_135240.jpg20170304_134439.jpg20170304_151913.jpg

Even though it was lightly raining there were still people rock climbing and rappelling on the huge rocks everywhere. It is like an adventure park within the state park. Plus there is Lake Mineral Wells for boating and a canoe trail and it also has a sand beach. On the trails it was interesting walking between the large rocks and looking up at how high they were at 90 degree angles from the ground. Also the trees that are growing between the rocks were amazing. The CCC steps to get to the top of the overlook were also  something else. 20170304_135309.jpg20170304_140619.jpg20170304_140444.jpg20170304_143609.jpg20170304_142612.jpg20170304_144234.jpg20170304_144112.jpg

On the warm sunny day I did more of a hike around the lake on the Red Waterfront Trail. The trees were green and the lake was beautiful on the clear day. It was like a whole different park. I did get lost several times in the same place as last time. Going north of the overlook the trail map does not have any marked trails and the trails that are there come and go. I guess we were not to go that far north on the east side of the lake. There are trails on the northwest side of the lake that go to the far north part of the park. I have not been to those trails yet but I need to see more of the park. Maybe next time I will get to that part.20170608_124718.jpg20170608_133718.jpg20170608_132434.jpg20170608_133247.jpg20170608_133237.jpg

I am surprised at all the activities at this park. I am looking forward to going to the others trails I did not get to the first two times. I hope they do the guided tour again because it was supposed to go to places only a park guide can take people.

Next up a Fort Worth hike where I literally come face to face with nature.