What to do in Hill Country State Natural Area

Hill Country State Natural Area is located in Bandera and Medina Counties, 45 miles northwest of San Antonio. The 5369.8-acre site was acquired by gift and purchase in 1976 and was opened to the public in1984. The bulk of the site was a donation from the Merrick Bar-O-Ranch with the stipulation that it "be kept far removed and untouched by modern civilization, where everything is preserved intact, yet put to a useful purpose."

The regular opening schedule is March 1 through October 31 when the park is open 7 days a week. From November 1 through February 28, the park is open from Friday noon through Sunday at 10 p.m.

The Hill Country State Natural Area is a scenic mosaic of rocky hills, flowing springs, oak groves, grasslands, and canyons. The terrain ranges from flat, broad creek bottoms to steep, rocky canyons up to 1900 feet in elevation. The West Verde Creek has several spring-fed streams, and tanks in the park provide several swimming holes with limited fishing for catfish, perch, and largemouth bass. Spring water is available for horses, but people should bring their own drinking water.

Large numbers of birds live in the park. Deer, armadillos, raccoons, ringtail cats, rabbits and rodents as well as various reptiles can also be viewed. In addition, several different plant communities reside in the park.

Recreational activity centers around 36 miles of 23 designated, multi-use trails open to backpacking, horseback riding, and mountain bicycling. Four miles are reserved strictly for horses and hikers. The park offers a backcountry setting for activities such as primitive camping, backpacking, limited swimming, fishing, mountain bicycling, hiking, horseback riding, equestrian camping, and flora and fauna observation.

Various adjacent ranches offer horse rentals, tours, and other accommodations through the Natural Area. Please contact the Bandera Convention and Visitors Bureau (1-800-364-3833) for more information on fees and schedules.

From Bandera, travel south on State Highway 173, go across the Medina River and continue for approximately 1/4 mile to State Highway 1077, turn right and go 10 miles on State Highway 1077 to end of the black top. Continue on the caliche road and follow the park signs to the park headquarters.

Hill Country State Natural Area is located at an elevation of 1900 feet. Temperatures within the park range from an average January minimum of 31 degrees and an average July maximum of 94 degrees. The park has an average annual rainfall of 35 inches. Current weather conditions can vary from day to day. For more details, call the park or Park Information at 1-800-792-1112.

RR 1 Box 601
Bandera, TX 78003

Phone: 830/796-4413

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