Found East of Austin, Texas, and neighbor to Bastrop State Park, Buescher State Park is perfect for a weekend getaway. The serene park offers a variety of activities like hiking and biking under tall trees and fishing in its 30-acre lake.
Buescher State Park is named after Emil and Elizabeth Buescher. The couple donated up to 318 acres of land to the state by 1936. Another 318 acres were donated by his heirs soon after his passing. The rest of the land would be acquired by Smithville, the nearby city totaling 1,738 acres as of its opening in 1940.
As of today, this Texas state park is a total of 1,016.7 acres after donating 700 of the acres to MD Anderson and UT Cancer Center.
Buescher State Park and Bastrop State Park are connected by a picturesque park road that travels through the Lost Pines. Lost Pines are what scientists believe to be the remains of a sizeable pine-oak forest that covered a significant part of Central Texas around the time of the ice age.
There are many things to do at Buescher State Park, whether you are visiting for a day or staying the whole weekend. The park offers fantastic views while you hike, bike, or fish.
Hiking at Buescher State Park
Enjoy the six miles of trails that can be found within the forest. You will pass by beautiful trees like cedars and oaks inside the Winding Woodlands Trail. The more challenging trail, or the Pine Gulch Trail, is perfect for a hike underneath towering loblolly pines.
Remember to keep an eye out for the Big Tree, which is a former state champion cedar elm.
Biking at at Buescher State Park
Ride your bike on a trail or on the road. Most trails are open to those who wish to go mountain biking, except for the CCC Crossover and Big Tree Trace.
If you want a small 12-mile challenge, enjoy the bike ride on the charming park Road 1C between Bastrop and Buescher state parks. The road is filled with hills and takes you through recovering and forested areas of the Lost Pines.
Positioned in the ecological region known as the Post Oak Savannah, Buescher State Park is covered in 100 miles of post oak woodlands that separate the area from the East Texas Pineywoods.
There are also known to be home to more than 75,000 acres of loblolly pines, also referred to as the Lost Pines ecosystem. The ecosystem spreads across the Texas Coastal Plain, in five counties, to be exact. As mentioned before, some of this forest is located within the park and serves as a bridge to Bastrop State Park.
It can be seen on records that the pines have grown in the area for more than 18,000 years. The pines are genetically unique in that they adapt to the region’s climate. This means that they are able to thrive with 30 percent less rainfall than the loblollies in adjacent regions.
There are different soil types available within the park – sandy and gravelly. The sub-surface layer helps preserve water and helps the trees prosper. This does not mean that The Lost Pines are not vulnerable to drought.
Because of its diverse plants, including pines, oaks, and shrubs, the park is an idyllic environment for wildlife. The park is a great destination for avid birdwatchers. This is because of its 250 bird species, including the largest woodpecker – the pileated woodpecker.
Although it is primarily known for its bird species, Buescher State Park is also home to several mammals. These include white-tailed deer, raccoons, opossums, bobcats, armadillos, rabbits, squirrels, and small rodents, to name a few.
For those who love fishing, the park’s 30-acre lake is home to catfish, bass, crappie, and perch. In the winter, you will also find rainbow trout.
Another famous creature within the park is the Houston Toad. Because of its sandy soil and moisture, The Lost Pines is the perfect habitat for this particular toad. However, the Houston Toad was named an endangered species in 1970 as the urbanization of the area has resulted in the decline of the species’ survival rate.
Camping at Buescher State Park
Buescher State Park offers a variety of campsites to its visitors. There are campsites with electricity, with water only, or primitive walk-in. There are also screened shelters and cabins without restrooms. Nevertheless, restrooms and showers are available within the park.
There are a total of 32 Campsites with Electricity. The cost of these is $18 plus the daily entrance fee. The limit of people per site for campsites with electricity is 8.
Reserve the Pavilion or group hall within the park for big group events.
Group Hall with Kitchen can hold up to 80 people and is $250 daily plus the daily entrance fee.
The Pavilion can be reserved for $250 daily plus the daily entrance fee and can host up to 35 people. Children 12 and under get in free.
The park is close to many other attractions, perfect for a stop after camping or a simple day’s adventure.
Buescher State Park
100 Park Road 1E
Smithville, TX 78957
Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Buescher State Park:
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