When Sierra Vista residents want to commune with nature, they go to Brazos Bend State Park. Spanning more than 5,000 acres, Brazos Bend is one of the largest state parks in Texas encompassing trails, lakes and diverse habitats for animals. It’s the perfect place to spend the day or even an entire weekend and it’s less than 30 minutes away from our community.
Park hours are 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. The entrance fee is $7 for ages 13 + and free for 12 and under. Here are a few of our favorite activities. Because of the camp’s popularity, reservations are recommended for camping and day use.
Hike and Bike
Grab your bike or put on your walking shoes and explore the more than 37 miles of trails traversing the park. All of the trails are ranked easy or moderate by AllTrails and circle the lakes, connect up with each other and head into the hardwood forest. Take a virtual tour on the Interactive Trails Map.
Explore Creekfield Lake Nature Trail
This half-mile paved trail is a family favorite. Traversing a wetland area, the trail boasts touchable bronzes of wildlife, an accessible boardwalk, observation deck and shaded rest areas.
Ride Your Horse
Got a horse or two? Trailer them into the park for a day of horseback riding you won’t forget. There are 13 miles of multi-use trails as well as 15 primitive equestrian campsites (no electricity) at the trailhead.
With three lakes available for fishing, Brazos Bend is the perfect place to spend a lazy Saturday. A fishing pier is located at Hale Lake. New Horseshoe Lake features ample shoreline access. Bank fishing is available along Big Creek at selected locations. No license is required to fish in the park but there is a two-pole limit when fishing from the pier.
Watch the Birds
Don’t forget to bring your binoculars or camera because Brazos Bend is home to more than 300 species of birds. The best viewing spots can be found near the three largest lakes. Elm Lake has a deck with panoramic views of the water and shoreline. 40 Acre Lake has an observation tower. Pilant Lake has several rookeries.
Commune with Nature
Brazos Bend is home to a lot of wildlife, including white-tailed deer, feral pigs, raccoons, bobcats, river otters, foxes and alligators (yep, alligators). The best place to learn about them is at the Nature Center, open weekends from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Pitch a tent at one of the many campsites located in the park. Most sites offer electricity, water hook-up, picnic tables, nearby restrooms, fire rings and grills. More luxurious accommodations are available in the screened shelters. A cabin is also available as are facilities for youth group campouts.
Explore the final frontier at the George Observatory, located in the middle of the park. Three domed telescopes grace the facility, with the 36-inch Gueymard Research Telescope being one of the largest telescopes in the nation open to the public. There’s also a Challenger Learning Center for Space Science Education, which takes participants on simulated space missions, complete with a mission control center and a spacecraft simulator. A separate ticket is required to access the observatory.