Situated just an hour’s drive from Houston, the Stephen F. Austin State Park provides the perfect tranquil nature escape for those who need a break from city life.
Featuring a stunning landscape that intertwines hardwood forests, swamps and the scenic Brazos River, the park is a terrific spot for hiking and mountain biking.
Sprawled across 663 acres, it accommodates five miles of trails that showcase stately cottonwood, cedar wood and Osage orange trees, as well as wildlife like bobcats and armadillos.
The park is also a birders delight, with more than 100 species residing either permanently or seasonally within it.
Golfers can also enjoy the beautiful 18-hole golf course that is just a 10 minute walk away. While history buffs will love the displays at the fascinating San Felipe de Austin State Historic Site.
This Texas state park is a popular destination for day trippers from Houston. However, for those who want to stay at it for a few nights there are 78 sites available at its campground.
All of them have hookups for water and electricity, while half of them provide sewer connections as well.
Whilst at the park, visitors can engage in a wide range of outdoor recreational activities.
Here is just a small overview of some of the many things you can see and do during your time there.
Hiking at Stephen F. Austin State Park
With over five miles of trails winding through it, the park offers guests plenty of opportunity to discover its scenic landscape. Much of which is made up of dense hardwood forests, lush, upland swamp and of course the river.
All the trails at the park are rated as easy to traverse. Here are some of the most popular of them:
- Sycamore Trail – Length: 0.51 mile Degree of Difficulty: easy
- Pileated Trail – Length: 0.68 miles Degree of Difficulty: easy
- Ironwood Trial – Length: 1.04 miles Degree of Difficulty: easy
While hiking conditions are pretty good all throughout the year, it tends to be best in the spring and fall. At this time the temperatures are mild. You’ll also see thousands of gorgeous Texas wildflowers in bloom, as well as the stunning colors of autumn.
Biking at Stephen F. Austin State Park
As well as hiking, some of the trails are also open to mountain biking as well.
The terrain of hardwood forests and swamp make interesting paths to traverse. Some of them are ideal for beginner riders, while others are better suited to seasoned and well experienced practitioners.
Two of the best trails to tackle are the Ironwood and Barn Owl trails. Both of these connect directly to the RV campground, so they are easy to get too.
As these trails are multi-use you will also find hikers on them. So be sure to exercise caution, particularly through the forest areas.
Golfing at Stephen F. Austin State Park
Those who fancy a round of golf can tee off at the Stephen F. Austin Golf Course.
Featuring 18-holes which provide a challenge for all levels of ability, the course has lots of tree cover and incorporates some of the Brazos River within it.
The course is situated about a ten minute walk from the campground. Walk-ins are accepted but you might prefer to book a tee time ahead of your arrival.
Visiting Historic Sites at Stephen F. Austin State Park
For those who want to discover more about the history of the region, it is worth checking out the San Felipe de Austin State Historic Site.
Situated adjacent to the park, this fascinating museum showcases what life was like for early Texas settlers, as well as the local wildlife too.
It also provides further insight into its past as an immigration center for settlers, prior to Texas declaring its status as an independent state. As well as highlighting other notable events in both Mexico and the USA around the 19th century.
Birding at Stephen F. Austin State Park
Stephen F. Austin State Park is a popular spot for birdwatching as dozens of species reside permanently in the hardwood forest that lies within it.
Several other species migrate here in the spring and fall as well, predominantly to drink and rest by the Brazos River.
Depending on what time of the year you visit, you might be able to see breeds like white eyed vireos, barred owls, pileated woodpeckers, warblers and yellow billed cuckoos.
Pets at Stephen F. Austin State Park
Pets are welcome to join you on your visit to the park, however some restrictions on their attendance may apply.
To fully familiarize yourself with what they are, it would be a good idea to contact the park’s main office for further details.
Camping at Stephen F. Austin State Park
For those who want to stay at the park there are lots of accommodation options available.
All up the campground has 78 sites set up for RVs. Exactly half of these provide full hookups for water, sewer and electricity, while the other 39 have connections for water and electricity.
These sites give guests direct access to some of the park’s hiking trails. They will also easily take you to the Brazos River and the golf course as well. All of them come with their own picnic table and fire pit.
The campground is open throughout the year. Although as it is very busy you would be well advised to make a reservation prior to your visit.
Stephen F. Austin State Park
Park Rd 38
San Felipe, TX 77473
Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Stephen F. Austin State Park: