Situated in the northern reaches of the Davy Crockett National Forest, Mission Tejas State Park enjoys a stunning setting within the verdant hills of the East Texas Pineywoods.
Once a popular stop on the El Camino Real, which offered respite for those who travelled between Mexico and Louisiana, this Texas state park oozes history. Much of which is evident in the enchanting structures found within it.
One of the original state parks constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps, it is renowned for its tall, stately trees. These can be best viewed whilst hiking along its 8.5 miles of trails. Or while fishing in its picturesque creek or small pond – which was built by the CCC.
Geocaching, photography and birding are also popular activities here, while the small campground offers a good standard of camping accommodation.
During their time at the park, guests are able to take part in a wide range of outdoor recreational pursuits.
Showcased below is just a small selection of some of the main activities you can do there.
Rice Family Home at Mission Tejas State Park
One of the major attractions at the park is the Rice Family Home. Set within a restored log cabin that dates back to 1828, it is one of the oldest buildings in the state.
As folklore has it the cabin was built by Joseph Rice, who started off with just one room. He left it to his grandson and granddaughter who expanded the cabin. Raising the ceiling and adding more space to include an impressive front porch and dogtrot.
The cabin provides a fascinating insight into what life was like back in those times and even features original blue paint and wallpaper that was put up by his granddaughter, Nancy Rice.
Hiking at Mission Tejas State Park
One of the other main draw cards of the park is that it has over 8.5 miles of hiking trails to explore.
Generally the trails are flat and lined with trees on either side. Some of them take you to places of historic or cultural interest including the El Camino Real, which was built at the beginning of the 1690s by the Spanish.
You’ll find this on the moderate rated Nabedache Loop. Other trails include the Fire Tower Trail that will lead you to the scenic overlook at Fire Tower Hill, as well as The Olen Matchett Trail which passes some old CCC bathtubs.
If you do intend to hike at the park take plenty of water with you and wear a good pair of boots as well as lots of sunscreen.
Fishing at Mission Tejas State Park
For those who enjoy fishing there are a couple of spots where you can cast a line. One is at the pond which was built by the CCC, the other is on San Pedro Creek that runs through the park.
These waters have a good amount of bass, catfish and sunfish in them, so you should have no problem catching a few of them.
As you are in Texas, you will not need a licence to fish on the creek banks or shoreline.
Geocaching at Mission Tejas State Park
Geocaching is a popular activity at the park as there are plenty of treasures to be found.
If you intend to come here to search for them be sure to bring a GPS unit with you to download the coordinates.
Should you not have one, you can borrow one from the headquarters.
Birding at Mission Tejas State Park
As well as the historic buildings, many visitors come to the park for the outstanding birding opportunities it provides.
Throughout the area, several bird feeders are in place that attract a variety of different species. Particularly through the migratory seasons of early spring and late fall.
If you do bring your binoculars with you, be sure to look out for the likes of northern cardinals, roseate spoonbills, painted buntings, kiskadees and green jays.
Nature & Wildlife
The park is renowned for its serene rustic beauty which is dominated by tall trees like pine savannas, hardwood bottomlands and upland forest.
In the spring, lots of gorgeous wildflowers with vibrant colors bloom, which make for wonderful photographic opportunities, especially at sunrise or sunset.
Mission Tejas State Park is also home to a diverse range of wildlife. This includes species like squirrels, foxes, rabbits and deer. Many of which you can see along its hiking trails.
Pets at Mission Tejas State Park
Visitors are welcome to bring your dog with you to the park, however they will have to be supervised and leashed at all times during your stay.
Other restrictions may also apply, so if you are wanting to bring your pet with you, it would be advisable to contact the park’s main office to clarify what they are.
Camping at Mission Tejas State Park
For those who want to stay overnight at the park there are limited sites available. So you would be well advised to make a reservation well in advance of your visit there.
Overall there are 17 sites available. Of these 12 come with hookups for water and electricity for RVs, trailers and tent sites. There are another 3 sites specifically for tent camping that also come with these connections, as well as 2 sites that only have hookups for water.
All sites come with their own picnic tables and outdoor grills. They are also situated close to restrooms that have hot showers and flush toilets which come with toilet paper and hand soap.
Mission Tejas State Park
19343 State Hwy 21 E
Grapeland, TX 75844
Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Mission Tejas State Park:
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