Brazos Bend State Park Texas

If you are looking for a “wild” experience, you will find it at Brazos Bend State Park, just 45 miles from beautiful downtown Houston! There are many things to do at Brazos Bend State Park. Nature has top billing at this park. You will want to be sure to bring your walking shoes. Along the way, you will want your binoculars and camera to help capture the beauty.

The park offers more than just appreciating nature, you can also hike and bike, fish, picnic, geocache, ride your horse, and even stay over­night. You should consider reserving one of our picnic pavilions or our group hall for your next group gathering. Keep in mind to pay due respect to alligators, which are common in some areas of the park.

You can explore Brazos Bend State Park on foot, bike, or horseback. There are 37 miles of trails, some of which are wheelchair-friendly.

The Creekfield Lake Nature Trail is a fully paved .5-mile trail, which tours a wetland area. Along the trail, you will find exhibits with touchable bron­zes of wildlife, an acces­si­ble board­walk and obser­vation deck, and rest areas with shaded benches.

Hiking and biking trails circle the lakes, connecting with each other and heading into the nearby hardwood forest. Don’t forget, pets must be on a leash no longer than six feet, and must not drink from or enter the lakes. Keep in mind there are alligators in the various sections of the park.

Horseback Riding

We have 13 miles of multi-use trails that are perfect for horseback riding, along with primitive equestrian campsites at the trailhead. You must bring your own horse and show proof of negative Coggins.

Fishing at the Park

You can fish from shore at one of the lakes or fishing piers. The great news is you do not need a license to fish from shore or pier in a state park.

The park has a nature center where you can stop by to learn more about the park and its residents. While there you can see exhibits on the three ecosystems in the park, as well as on reptiles that live here.

The center and gift shop are open weekdays 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and week­ends 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Area Attractions

Houston is an amazing city with museums, restaurants, and plenty more attractions and activites.

While you are in the area, you can explore other nearby history and natural sites such as Varner-Hogg Plantation State Historic Site,  George Ranch Historical Park, and the Sea Center Texas.

You can follow the Brazoria Loop of the Great Texas Wildlife Trails to find some great wildlife viewing spots in the area. If taking to the water is your thing, you will enjoy the Stephen F. Austin Paddling Trail (scroll to the Gulf Coast section).

Directions To The Park

The park is approximately a one-hour drive from downtown Houston. Take Highway 59 South to the Crabb River Road exit. You may also take State Highway 288 south to FM 1462 West. Follow FM 1462 to FM 762 North. If traveling from south of the park, follow State Highway 288 North to the FM 1462 exit or take State Highway 36 to FM 1462 East. All routes are marked with brown signs to guide you.

Park Address:

21901 FM 762
Needville, TX 77461

The Park HQ is located at:
Latitude: 29.371000
Longitude: -95.631921

Campsites Information

Campsites with Electricity (Premium)

People per Site: 8 Number of Sites: 40
These sites are in the Burr Oak Camping Area.
Picnic table
Water hookup
50 amp hookup
Upright grill
Fire ring
Restrooms with showers nearby

Campsites with Electricity

People per Site: 8 Number of Sites: 33
These sites are in the Red Buckeye Camping Area.
Picnic table
Water hookup
30 amp hookup
Upright grill
Fire ring
Restrooms with showers nearby

Primitive Campsites (Walk-in)

People per Site: 8 Number of Sites: 15
Walk in 35 to 150 yards to these sites.
Water nearby
Picnic table
Fire ring
Upright grill
Restrooms with showers nearby

Great for groups

Large central fire ring in the area
Near the Group Hall

Group Camp (Youth – 32-person)

People per Site: 32 Number of Sites: 2 Yards to Facility: 200
Restricted to nonprofit youth group organizations; no individuals or adult groups allowed. Must walk 25 to 50 yards from the parking lot. Restrooms are 1/4 mile away. Quiet hours from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. Check in by 3 p.m.; check out by 11 a.m. All litter and trash must be removed.

Large fire pit with grill
Picnic table and benches
Water spigot in the area
No electricity

Group Camp (Youth – 16-person)

People per Site: 16 Number of Sites: 1 Yards to Facility: 200
Restricted to nonprofit youth group organizations; no individuals or adult groups allowed. Must walk 25 to 50 yards from the parking lot. Restrooms are 1/4 mile away. Quiet Hours are from 10 p.m. – 6 a.m. Check in by 3 p.m.; check out by 11 a.m. All litter and trash must be removed.

Picnic table
Large fire pit with grill
Water spigot in the area
No electricity

Screened Shelters

People per Site: 8 Number of Sites: 13
Shelters are 12 feet x 12 feet and are screened halfway down the front three sides. One shelter is considered wheelchair friendly.
Ceiling fan
Water
Electricity
20 amp hookup
One to two picnic table(s) outside
Ceiling fan inside
Fire ring
Upright grill
Restrooms with showers nearby

Lodging

Cabin (Without Bathroom)
Number of Sites: 1
Tax is charged on this cabin. Located in the screened shelter area (site #3) is a converted screened shelter. Tents allowed on the grass area outside of the cabin.
A/C unit
Heater
Fire ring
Upright grill
20-amp electric outside
Electricity inside
Lights inside
Water spigot outside
Picnic table outside
Ceiling fan
Restrooms with showers nearby
Wooden bunk bed (twin on top, queen on bottom)
No mattresses (bring your bedding)
$25 key/cleaning deposit required

Group Sites

Group Hall with Kitchen (Dining Hall)
People per Site: 100
This facility has a capacity of 100 people (seats 85). For overnight use, you must reserve two consecutive days. The hall has a scenic outdoor fire pit/gathering area and a full kitchen. Restrooms are located inside the building. The park does not provide trash bags or paper towels. A $50 cleaning deposit is required at check-in, and will be returned to you if the hall is clean. Check-in: 10 a.m., check-out: 9 p.m.
A/C unit
Ceiling fan
Heater
Water
Electricity
Kitchen sink
Microwave
Refrigerator
Stove with oven
Table and chairs
Toilet
Commercial freezer
Serving counter
Inside lights
Large fire pit
Fire ring
2 outdoor grills/smokers
1 large grill

Group Camp (Youth – 32-person)

People per Site: 32 Number of Sites: 2 Yards to Facility: 200
Restricted to nonprofit youth group organizations; no individuals or adult groups allowed. Must walk 25-50 yards from the parking lot. Restrooms are 1/4 mile away. Quiet hours are from 10 p.m. – 6 a.m. Check-in by 3 p.m.; Check out by 11 a.m. You must remove all litter and trash.
Large fire pit with grill
Picnic table and benches
Water spigot in the area
No electricity

Group Camp (Youth – 16-person)

People per Site: 16 Number of Sites: 1 Yard to Facility: 200
Restricted to nonprofit youth group organizations; no individuals or adult groups allowed. Must walk 25-50 yards from the parking lot. Restrooms are 1/4 mile away. Quiet hours from 10 p.m. – 6 a.m.. Check-in by 3 p.m.; check out by 11 a.m. You must remove all litter and trash.
Picnic table
Large fire pit with grill
Water spigot in the area
No electricity

Pavilions

People per Site: 75 Number of Sites: 2
Pavilion #1 is at Elm Lake and Pavilion #2 is at Hale Lake. Check-in at 10 a.m .; check out by 9 p.m. Parking around the Elm Lake Pavilion is public and not guaranteed.
Picnic tables
Water
Electricity
Restrooms nearby
Covered pavilion.
Electric outlets
Upright grill

Amphitheater

Contact the park for reservation information.
Lots of seating
Lights
Electricity
Stage
Projection screen

Horse Sites

Primitive Campsites (Equestrian)
People per Site: 8 Number of Sites: 19
Located under a grove of pecan trees, at the trailhead of the 13-mile equestrian/multiuse trail system. You must travel 4.5 miles on a gravel road to access these sites. The sites are 9 miles from the park HQ and 12 miles from the bathhouses. To reserve one of these sites, call the park on the day of arrival (no advance reservations available). You must have horses with you to camp in these sites.
Picnic table
Fire ring
Two portable toilets
No potable water
Water for horses is available

Accessibility Information

The interpretive trail, Visitor Center and exhibits, amphitheater, and trail to the fishing pier are wheelchair accessible. Along with that, the Creekfield Lake Nature Trail is fully paved and takes you on a .5-mile loop of an outstanding wetland area. The trail has an accessible boardwalk and observation deck with rest areas containing shaded benches to help you beat the heat. You can listen to an audio-described tour at park headquarters.

The “Habitats and Niches” exhibit includes an unusual “hands-on” alligator discovery area, a tactile model of the park, and an open-captioned orientation video.
The group pavilions in the Elm Lake and Hale Lake areas have paved wheelchair access from the parking areas.

The cabin has a paved pathway from the parking area. Its outside picnic table is designed for a wheelchair to access.
The park has campsites with picnic tables for a wheelchair user and cement trails from the parking area, around the site, and near the fire ring. The following campsites with electricity have these features:

100, 102, 103, 138, and 140, in Burr Oak Camping Area
201, 203, 231, 233, 234, in Red Buckeye Camping Area

Screened Shelters 1 and 13 have picnic tables for wheelchair users and a cement trail from the parking area to the front of the cabin and near the fire ring.

The Nature Center

Learn about the park’s ecosystems and inhabitants. Con­tact the park to arrange a group visit during the week. The center and gift shop are open weekdays 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and on weekends from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
George Observatory: Explore the cosmos through high-powered tele­scopes at the George Observatory – Houston Museum of Natural Science located in the park. The observatory is open on Saturdays from 3 to 10 p.m. For information on programs or passes, visit the observatory website or call (979) 553-3400 or at (281) 242-3055.

Wildlife Observation: Visit the observation deck on Elm Lake and the tower at 40 Acre Lake. Both offer excellent viewpoints for spotting birds, alli­gators, and other wildlife.

Nature At The Park

Experience wetlands, forests, and more. Brazos Bend State Park includes 5,000 acres of bottomland and upland coastal prairie just south­west of the rapidly expanding Houston metro area. The Tallgrass prairie covers much of the western border of the park. These prairies are home to native grasses that range in height from 2 to 6 feet tall. The park prairie offers a glimpse of a once widespread, but now vanishing ecosystem.

Woodlands include live-oak gallery forests and mixed bottomland hardwood forest. In places, a mature forest canopy reaches for the sky. The trees provide refueling stops for migratory birds and sanctuary for native wildlife species.

The park has several types of wetlands including swamps, lakes, marshes, and seasonal short-lived ponds that form on the prairies during the rainy season.

You will find alligators, birds, and more. Due to its various ecosystems, the park is famous for its species diversity. Thousands of species, ranging from grasses and wild­flowers to trees and aquatic plant life, grow in the park. Animal life is just as diverse.

The white-tailed deer roaming the park is the largest of more than 25 different species of mammals. Other mammals here include feral pigs, raccoons, squirrels, river otters, bobcats, foxes, and more.

About 21 species of reptiles and am­phi­bians, in­clud­ing the American alligator, live in the park. Mild days in the spring and fall or any mild winter day are the best time to view reptiles or am­phi­bians.

While this should seem like common sense, always use caution around alligators: Stay at least 30 feet away from alligators, and never feed or annoy them. While the water may look tempting, you should keep yourself and your pet out of the water. Don’t let the Allegator’s apparent smile fool you.

Birding

The park is a bird watchers’ paradise with well over 300 docu­mented species of birds. Many will agree that any time is a good time to see birds around the park.
Many wading birds, raptors, and songbirds live here year-round. In addition, migra­tory songbirds, waterfowl, and other birds use the park for their winter home, spring and summer nesting range, or just as a rest stop on their long migratory route.

History

A former hunting ranch, Brazos Bend State Park is about 28 miles south­west of Houston and covers roughly 5,000 acres. Its 3.2-mile east­ern boundary fronts the Brazos River on the southeast border of Fort Bend County. The state purchased the parkland in 1976-77. Brazos Bend opened eight years later in 1984.

Earliest visitors

Archeological materials show that pre­his­toric people visited this area, possibly as early as 300 B.C.
In early historical times, the Capoque band of the Karankawa Indians roamed between the mouth of the Brazos River and Gal­ves­ton Bay. They may have traveled inland as far as Brazos Bend.

Colonizing Texas

In the early 19th century, this area of Texas was the site of Stephen F. Austin’s first colonial land grant from Mexico. The present parkland was included in a grant to Abner Harris and partner William Barrett in 1827.

During the Texas Revolution, the Steam­boat Yellowstone passed the park more than once on its route up the Brazos River to aid the Texian cause. Most of the riverfront was sold shortly after the revolution ended. Cotton brokers from Brazoria held part of the park and 2,400 feet of river frontage in 1845, according to early records. The Brazos River was one of the principal routes of commerce at the time. The brokers may have used the area for a riverboat landing. Recent landowners grazed cattle and grew pecans here. It also served as a private hunting and fishing preserve.

Please help protect the past. You are welcome to enjoy, but do not disturb historical places. If you find an artifact, please leave it in place and let park staff know of your find.

More Texas State Parks

You can check out additional Texas State Parks by clicking on the list of parks below, or by going to the Texas State Parks home section. To find more state parks in the United States, visit our home page at America’s State Parks.