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San Antonio, TX: Lost Maples State Park

Hold onto your pennies! This 4.8-mile loop passes a wishing well en route to a set of refreshing swimming holes in Lost Maples State Park.

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Lost Maples State Park

Autumn is a popular time to visit the Lost Maples State Park’s bigtooth-maple crowded hillsides—especially vibrant after an early October cold-streak—but the swimming-hole payoff on this 4.8-mile route makes it a great year-round dayhike or overnight trip.

This clockwise lollipop loop follows the East Trail for 0.3 mile before turning left for a 1.25-mile rise through a maple-shrouded canyon, one of the park’s best fall-color viewing areas. The rough trail criss-crosses a stream before turning sharply uphill for a short, steep climb that ends abruptly at a grassy hilltop overlook. Skirt 2 backcountry campsites before the steep descent into Mystic Canyon where you might spot exotic animals such as whitetail deer, wild pig, armadillos and the free-range Aoudad sheep, a big-game hunting species imported from Africa.

At mile 3, a kiddie-pool sized pond—the “wishing well”—makes a welcome resting point, but don’t throw any pennies into its crystal-clear shallows… two wish-worthy swimming holes are just 0.7 mile farther down the West Trail. Next to a 20-tent backcountry campground, the second, larger (and cliff-shaded) pond is the popular choice for a refreshing dip. The loop’s final mile crosses Can Creek 5 times as it descends toward the parking lot.

For an easier variation on this route: Follow the loop counterclockwise—the more popular direction—for easier, more gradual climbs. Bring your Texas State Park Pass, or expect to pay per-person day-use fees for anyone over the age of 13.

Mapped by Melissa Stolasz

To Trailhead

Head north on TX 16, continuing through Bandera to FM 337. After 20 miles, turn right onto FM 187. In 4.9 miles, turn left into Lost Maples State Natural Area and continue 0.8 mile before turning left to the trailhead.

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