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The lookout tower and water storage tank in Mother Neff State Park in Coryell County, Texas.

The lookout tower and water storage tank in Mother Neff State Park. Photo: Larry D. Moore, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons.

Situated less than an hour from Waco, around the fringes of Leon River, Mother Neff State Park is one of the oldest public recreational spaces in the Texas state park system.

Named after Isabelle Neff, (aka Mother Neff) who bequeathed several acres of her land to the state for its creation, the park is a favored spot for hiking, photography, picnicking and ranger programs.

It is also a haven for birders too, on account of the hundreds of species that call it home, either on a permanent basis, or seasonally.

Recently upgraded, the park offers 36 camping sites for RVs, trailers and tent campers, as well as a lodge. All of which provide comfortable accommodation options for those who want to stay for a few nights to really immerse themselves in its beauty and tranquility.


Visitors to the park can engage in a wide range of outdoor recreational activities while they are there.

Here are some more details about what you can do during your time at Mother Neff State Park.

Hiking at Mother Neff State Park

For those who want to explore the park further, there are more than three miles of trails to tackle.

While they vary in length, as well as degrees of difficulty, they take you around the whole park, and showcase its picturesque terrain in ways you wouldn’t otherwise see.

Overall there are seven different trails, all of which are less than a mile long. Some of them lead to Wash Pond, a historic cave that was used in the 1800s by the Tonkawa Indians, as well as the impressive Civilians Conservation Corps Rock Tower.

If you come to the park during the spring or fall, which tends to be the wettest times of the year, make sure you put on appropriate footwear, as the trails are likely to be slippery and muddy.

Photography at Mother Neff State Park

You’ll definitely want to bring your camera with you to Mother Neff State Park as there are plenty of scenic images for you to capture.

The park’s flora and fauna should provide you with plenty of inspiration in the form of breathtaking backdrops and stunning nature scenes.

In particular, you should check out the native prairies when the wildflowers are in bloom. While the limestone slopes are quite majestic during sunrise and sunset. The stately trees in the forest, and arid areas are also quite spectacular too.

Picnicking at Mother Neff State Park

The park is a terrific place for a picnic and there are several scenic spots in which you can enjoy a bit of al fresco dining.

You’ll find several pavilions dotted throughout the park, as well as a number of designated picnic areas. Most of which are located by the banks of the river, and near restrooms and playgrounds.

Ranger Programs at Mother Neff State Park

Over the course of the year, the park runs a number of family-friendly ranger programs.

Based on its history and nature, these programs and events take the form of everything from hikes and runs to guided tours of major structures and points of interest.

Birding at Mother Neff State Park

If you are into birding, you will love the opportunity to spot several different species.

Overall, the park has three significant habitats where birds reside – on the limestone slopes, at the river bottomlands, and by the restored native prairies. All of these are home to a range of different trees including elms, oaks, sycamore and red mulberry, which provides a fabulous natural habitat for them.

Whenever you visit the park be sure to bring your binoculars with you as you can spot a wide range of breeds at any given time.

This includes the golden-cheeked warbler which is endangered, as well as both the ruby-throated and black-chinned hummingbirds. You should also see the likes of red-tailed hawks, blue herons and eagles too.

Pets at Mother Neff State Park

Pets are allowed to join you at the park but only in designated areas.

If you intend to bring your dog with you, it would be a good idea to contact the main office to determine where these specific sections are.

Camping at Mother Neff State Park

For those who want to stay at the park for a couple of nights, the Mother Neff Campground offers 36 sites to rent.

Of these 22 are set aside for RVers and trailer camping. All of which offer full hookups for electric, water and sewer and also come with their own fire rings, grills, picnic tables and lanterns.

You will also find restrooms with hot showers and flush toilets close to this facility.

Each site can sleep up to eight people and vary in length. Overall they average out at around 60 feet, although the biggest site is about 124 feet long. Two of them are ADA-accessible.

The remaining 15 sites are located near the Leon River and are reserved for tent campers, on account of them being too small to accommodate any kind of RVs.

These sites are situated near comfort stations and have water nearby. They also come with their own picnic tables, lantern poles, fire rings and grills.

Should you prefer something a bit different, the park is home to the Mother Neff Lodge. Built in the 1930s, it was originally the Civilian Conservation Corps barracks. Now it offers accommodation for 16 people, 8 of which can sleep inside and 8 outside.

ADA-accessible, it has four bedrooms with four twin beds, as well as a king-sized bed and one full bed. Providing air conditioning and heating, it is also furnished with a refrigerator, microwave, oven and stove for your cooking convenience.

Park Location

Mother Neff State Park
1921 State Park Rd 14,
Moody, TX 76557
Phone: 254.853.2389




Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Mother Neff State Park: