Lost Maples State Natural Area
37221 FM 187, Vanderpool, TX 78885, USA
All that GlittersLike a lost treasure found, Lost Maples wows—especially in October and November, when the bigtooth maple trees glitter in hues of gold. With around ten miles of crisscrossing trails, the park can be experienced in one active day, though many come to camp and stay for the weekend. Steep and rocky terrain means hikers should stay on the paths, which intersect creeks, meander through a maple-bedecked canyon, climb hills, and end in lawn-like hilltop rest areas, complete with vistas. Rock formations abound, as do startling views, and armadillos, sheep, whitetail deer, and rabbits scatter as you approach. Ponds, such as the “wishing well,” add to the allure. For summer hikers, two swimming holes await on the West Trail, their spring fed waters crystalline and cold. Not a place to go for solitude, the trails of Lost Maples can brim with hikers. Dogs are allowed, but sometimes struggle with the preponderance of rocks and fissures.