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“Blah” 2 of 5 bubbles
Review of Colorado Bend State Park

Colorado Bend State Park
Ranked #1 of 3 things to do in Bend
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: A hidden jewel of the Texas park system. Colorado Bend is situated in the Hill Country along the Colorado River and is home to Gorman Falls, a 65 foot waterfall paradise. Fishing, hiking, biking, kayaking and other great opportunities abound.
Galveston, Texas
Level Contributor
67 reviews
44 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
“Blah”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 7, 2014 via mobile

Let me start by saying i drove here to take pictures of the waterfall... This is definitely the wrong time for this. First impression... Well it didn't change when I left. I drove 150 miles to get here. When i finally found the place the ENTRANCE is really just an open gate which leads to the areas of interest. To get to the office is a 6 mile drive on loose rock road that is covered with a white dust blanket that sticks to the trees on the road adding to the grimace feel of the park. With no real guidance or available maps at the main gate i drove almost 5 miles before turning around to see if i had somehow missed the office drove back out of the park then back in again...
I decided to just go to the trail to the waterfall where I found a self pay station and a MAP after hiking a mile or so threw the cactus field i can say its truly unremarkable its just blah. Much awaited anticipation hoping it was not for nothing i negotiate down the trail to the base. What you will see is a small area with benches to view the fall there is a cable barrier to show where you have to stop due to restrictions... The water level is low and barely flowing the trees surrounding the fall are twigs right now completely taking away the beauty of the fall, I'm quite sure in different seasons from the pictures i saw it can maybe worth the trip i left feeling wanting... Ecstatic about my hike back i really just wanted to leave having seen no one else around to talk to but I decided i would drive the 6 miles to the river just in case... The river is low by a few feet the camping is primitive but offers kayak rentals with a small store. What I found were a couple really big old trees which would be incredible when they are in bloom. There are benches and a fire pit in the center.
I did see around 40 deer, a coyote and a roadrunner while driving in and out during sunset. Maybe in a better time of year would it be considered... Probably not its a oner. I just didn't find it appealing in any way. If you live in the area sure drop in some time otherwise the internet has pictures this is better an armchair adventure.

Visited March 2014
Helpful?
1 Thank BryanHouse
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ColoradoBendSP, Manager at Colorado Bend State Park, responded to this review, March 26, 2014
Thank you for reviewing your recent visit to Colorado Bend State Park.

Because of drought conditions, we have been seeing a reduced flow at our water features. And of course, due to winter, the trees have yet to grow their new green leaves.

Colorado Bend is large state park and it does take some time to drive the length of it. We are sorry your visit was less than memorable. Please come out again and let us know so that we can help you plan your trip. You really have to get off the road to enjoy the splendor and solitude of this park. The primitive nature of the park is one our greatest appeals. But we can understand that it is not for everyone. Nevertheless, another visit would allow you to really enjoy the true nature of Colorado Bend.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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144 reviews from our community

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English first
Austin, Texas
Level Contributor
16 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Great in the winter!”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 6, 2013

My husband and I camped for 2 nights over Thanksgiving weekend at Colorado Bend. We stayed in the walk-in/tent-only area of the park (site #33), under one of the only large trees in the entire site. I highly recommend this park in the winter, but I could see how it could become unbearably hot in the summer without any shade. The park appears to have its own microclimate (it's down in a mini canyon) so prepare for colder temps in the winter. It got down to 15 degrees when we were there!

The PROs
* Clean: All of the facilities were very clean (the camp sites, the compost bathrooms and the water faucet area).
* Really lovely TX hill country scenery: Everyone sets their tents up to face the river and canyon wall, and it's a nice way to wake up. The vegetation is quite varied, with a mix of cedar trees, cacti and succulents. I was pleasantly surprised to see how green it was in late November (granted, they had seen rain recently).
* Great hiking: We hiked the Spicewood Springs trail, and the cascading pools were crystal clear. The hike was really interesting, but not too difficult for those in moderate shape. There were stream crossings, mini rock climbs and cliff side paths. There is also a level path along the river for those who want to take it easy.
* The rangers: The park rangers were incredibly nice and helpful.
* The cave tours: We weren't able to go on one, but they sounded really fun.

The CONs
* As said before, not much shade in the camping site area. Site #33 sits under one of the few shade trees.
* The Spicewood Springs trail wasn't clearly marked in some places. It was easy to accidentally go in the wrong direction.
* The drive down the dirt road to get to the park can be a pain in a small car. If you forget something, you're not going to want to drive back to Bend!
* The river was really low due to the multi year drought. We brought fishing gear, but didn't see anything in the river or springs. The rangers also rent kayaks in the winter, but they advised against taking one out due to the water level.
* Firewood costs $6/bundle.

In the middle
* There are tons of deer in this park. You'll either love them or hate the fact that your dog is constantly rolling around in their droppings.

Visited November 2013
Helpful?
2 Thank FriuliFan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dallas, Texas, United States
Level Contributor
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Amazing time spent here!”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 18, 2013

There is no running water in the restrooms but are some of the cleanest public restrooms I have ever used. There are water hoses to rinse off after swimming which can be used to take a semi-shower. On the 4-mile hike to Gorman Falls we encountered maybe 7-8 people the first half and 0 the second half of the trail. Overall, a fun time if the people you are with enjoy being outdoors

Visited November 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank Anthony L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
43 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
“Excellent hiking. Pristine. Beautiful. Immaculatey clean!!!!!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 11, 2013 via mobile

My wife and I just spent Veterans Day hiking in this park. It was wonderful. Our first hike was to Gorman Falls. The falls themselves were absolutely beautiful and surpassed our expectations. I believe it was
helpful that there was some rain in the few days preceding our hike. The trail to the Falls was rocky and steep at the end. I would not recommend this trail for very young children or elderly who have a difficult time walking.
All trails that we encountered were somewhat primitive, Rocky and were much more easily traversed with good hiking shoes.
We were glad that we did the trip to the Falls first as I believe we would have been tired and skipped it at the end of our day.
I have seen several complaints about the 4 or 5 mile what was called a dirt road. It is actually a very well-maintained gravel road. If one drives the speed limit there should be no problem whatsoever. I drove it in a brand-new car that was low to the ground and never once sensed that there were any negative issues.
We drove down the gravel road until it dead ended and took a right until it dead ended at the Spicewood Springs trails. We have hiked in Colorado, Utah, Arkansas and many places in Texas and not spent a more enjoyable afternoon than we spent on this trail. It is singletrack, primitive, includes Highbluffs, springs, water crossings and some rough hiking. In places the trail is not clearly marked and one must be careful to and be methodical while watching for the trail. It always involved simply going a few steps further and then turning around and getting back on the right trail. We never got lost. I recommend this trail for people who have previously hiked, are nimble, and who have good shoes. A hiking pole/stick is very helpful. I also recommend that this trail not be started late in the day. Allow yourself substantial time to complete it. I for one would not want to try to find my way through this trail in the dark.
Carry plenty of water on all trails. We took a picnic in our pack and are glad that we did.
We never saw one single hiker on the Spicewood Springs Trail and only a couple on the Gorman Falls Trail which made the day all the more special. We were shocked that the park was not packed. Anyone who enjoys hiking and has some experience would love these trails.
We did see many deer. They were beautiful. We also saw a hawk, lizards, lots of butterflies and a huge variety of trees cactus etc.
We saw in previous reviews someone had complained about stickers. We never got one single sticker the entire trip. Perhaps it is the time of the year.
At the end of the day we were exhausted. But it was a good kind of exhaustion after having been out in nature in a wonderful park.
It is important to mention that we never saw one speck of trash the entire day. I am not kidding. No cans, glasses wrappers etc. The park rangers are to be commended for keeping this place in such great shape. Also the hikers and vacationers apparently do a good job of not leaving any trash on the trails. It was exceptionally clean.
Finally, none of us are thrilled about paying taxes. However, it is wonderful to see our taxes put the such a good use as maintaining this park for anyone who wants to enjoy it. I for one am proud to contribute to Texas State Parks.







Visited November 2013
Helpful?
4 Thank bpj1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dallas, Texas
Level Contributor
93 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
“Primitive Camping”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 4, 2013

Yes, there is a long.. long.. dusty, rocky road to get to this location. One that actually may or may not have contributed to the flat tire we had upon arrival. Lucky, we had a full size spare and the park ranger provided us with a hydraulic jack! This certainty did not keep us from enjoying our time. We were at site number #24. It was a nice little spot.. however, had no shade. So even in November it can get kinda miserable with no shade. This location also has restrooms at the top of the hill. Convenient for our stay, yes.. but anytime we left with our vehicle we came back to people parked in our spot just to use the restroom. Our campsite was pretty quite most of the day. Some of the sites looked so busy.. tent after tent with a good amount of people. I'm happy we ended up with the spot we did. I also do not recommend fishing here.. the park ranger mentioned that it used to be a great spot but not anymore. I had no luck after a few hours.

This place books up fast on the weekends so call in advance/book online early. You don't have to vacate until 2PM. Overall, it was a nice campsite. I'd stay here again.

Visited November 2013
Helpful?
2 Thank Beth M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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