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Spicewood Springs Trail

Trail (4.27)13
(3.08) (4.04)
2.50 Miles N/A
N/A No
Yes Yes
N/A More Info
Lampasas San Saba
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Getting there: From Austin head northwest on Hwy 183to Lampasas. Head west on FM 580 through Bend. Following the signs to the park leading onto a dirt road. The Park HQ is located along the shore of the river requiring the passage of 8 miles of dirt road (6 within the park).

Looking back on the trail near the trailhead. The cliffs to the right are on the opposite side of the Colorado River.
The Hike: The guided tour to Gorman Falls may provide the most scenic hike in Colorado Bend State Park, but the Spice Wood Springs Trail provides several waterfalls of its own and is open to all visitors during normal park hours. One is also free to tackle the trail at one's own pace.

The hike starts at the waypoint "Trailhead" on the topo map. This marks the parking area south of the park headquarters along the Colorado River. The first half mile of the trail follows the Colorado on its flat alluvial plane. The park cuts a wide trail through the thick grass that would other wise grow here.

The Colorado River as seen along the trail.
The waypoint "CC1" is the near the point at which the trail turns north and starts to make its way up the Spicewood Springs Creek canyon. At this point the trail difficulty rating ticks upward and will rise further later on. It's also the first of many creek crossings. While on the trail be on the lookout for the brown trail markers that mark the far sides of the trail. At some crossings mavericks trails appear more visible than the official trail that crosses the creek. The markers may be the only way to tell for certain.

The trail gets tougher as it snakes its way up the Spice Wood Creek canyon.
The waypoint "Overlook" provides one of the best views of the hike. The trail here hugs a sheer cliff overlooking a waterfall at the base of the canyon. The canyon walls on the opposite side of the creek serve as backdrop. This would be an ideal place to stop for lunch if not for the fact that there's not much room to set up without blocking the trail.

The trail is surprisingly tough at times. It hugs sheer cliffs overlooking the creek and scrambles over rock piles. The toughness actually caused me to accidentally get off trail at one point when I missed a trail marker indicating a creek crossing. The official trail was such that a maverick trail, if it was a trail at all, looked like the right way to go until it completely closed up on me in dense Cedar. Upon doubling back I finally spotted the marker on the other side of the creek.

Looking down onto the waterfall from the overlook. Nice place for lunch, if you can find room.
The waypoint "CC7" marks the last crossing before the trail begins to work its way uphill and away from the creek. If you've come strictly for the rough trail and waterfalls this might mark an obvious choice for a turnaround. Once the trail tops out on a plateau the path becomes flatter and the skies open up more as thickets of trees give way to brush.

A view of the trail as it hugs the creek.
The waypoint "Turnaround" is not actually where I turned around, but it does mark the logical end to the Spice Wood Springs Trail. From here a trail to the west leads to the Upper Gorman Creek Trail system and the trail to the north leads to the Riverside Trails.

In all I saw about a dozen people on the trail, the vast majority within the first three quarters of a mile from the trailhead. Though the first half mile can be biked realize that bikes are not allowed after the first creek crossing in the south or the trail junction turnaround point in the north. The stated length of this hike is 2.5 miles, which counts trail miles, not total hiking mileage if you do an out and back. Double up the mileage if you do.


Photos

Missed turn The hikers near this waterfall did the same thing I did, missed the creek crossing downstream and followed what looked like the trail along the creek. (Photo by Austin Explorer) Trail Marker Keep and eye out for these markers on the far side of the creek to help determine when you should cross. (Photo by Austin Explorer) Waterfalls Some of the many waterfalls (Photo by jmitchell)
Swimming Hole Crystal clear waters. (Photo by Daniel N) One of the many falls The creek is made up of a number of falls and pools that make for great wading, swimming or just sitting back and enjoying the tranquility (Photo by Daniel N) View from one of the many cliffs There are a number of cliffs and bluffs that overlook the creek. The trail provides a variety of scenery and ecosystems. (Photo by Daniel N)
Another Fall Another of the many varied falls (Photo by Daniel N) One of the smaller falls One of the smaller falls shows the diversity of this trail. (Photo by Daniel N) Overlook The trail provides some nice overlooks of the canyon and river below. (Photo by Lone_Star)
Natural Pool There are a series of natural springs along the trail that make for great swimming holes. (Photo by Lone_Star) Another Natural Pool This pool and waterfall reminded me of a pristine Japanese Garden. (Photo by Lone_Star) Spicewood Spring This is the largest of the natural springs. This one has a small cave, too. (Photo by Lone_Star)

Log Entries

Lower section of trail
By andrewsageek on 7/1/2013
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 1.30 Miles Duration: N/A
I hiked a section of this trail as the second half of a loop starting with the Spicewood Canyon Trail. It was an excellent little hike with great views as everyone has said. It was a little tricky finding the trail in some areas; especially when crossing back and forth across the creek. Didn't come across a single person when on the actual trail; only some when leaving, near the river.
Hidden Pools
By Lone_Star on 6/22/2013
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 5.40 Miles Duration: 2 hours, 17 minutes

This is a hike I highly recommend.  Most of the trail runs up and along some hills, but at the end you are rewarded with a series of natural pools and small waterfalls.  Some of them reminded me of a Japanese Garden.  Truly awesome.

By rodavenport on 7/28/2012
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 2.50 Miles Duration: N/A
Beautiful and Serene
By Daniel N on 5/17/2010
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 5.00 Miles Duration: 3 hours, 45 minutes

This is one of those beautiful and often overlooked places that make our State Parks an incredible asset. Crystal clear swimming holes and cascading water falls make this an incredible place to take in nature and enjoy a dip. There are areas where you follow the path and some pretty steep rock faces and areas where you have to get your feet wet, but always you are surrounded by beauty. We went out to see Gorman Falls but because of an issue with the new Park Pass system needed to stay closer to the HQ. The ranger recommended this hike and I am so glad he did. It was the best I have hiked so far. Also, we only saw one other small group of people the whole day.

Fun, if you like being wet
By blargfest on 3/16/2010
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 4.00 Miles Duration: N/A

This trail is not well-marked at all, and frequently crosses back and forth over the creek. (This is a lot of fun if you don't mind getting your feet wet.) Once the trail leaves the creek, though, it gets hot and flat and boring, and if you don't want to turn around and walk back across the creek a billion times, you have to finish by walking two miles down the park's dirt road. Some basic climbing/scrambling skills are helpful.

 

Overall, I really enjoyed it, but it's not for everyone.

By gzkemp2 on 11/27/2008
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 5.00 Miles Duration: N/A
I hiked this one on Thanksgiving day, it was a beautiful day. Saw lots of Armadillos on the first .5 mile  getting to the trail.  Did have problems finding some of the markers and had to go back to find them.
Did not see 1  person on the trail. It was rougher then I thought, but  it was it was fun. I will defiantly do this one again.
Nice Surprise
By Ralph Ladd on 11/17/2008
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 5.00 Miles Duration: 2 hours, 20 minutes

Excellent day.  Temps in the mid-70's.  Not a cloud in the skies.  Not another soul on the trail.  The route finding was a bit of a challenge in a few places, but that added to the adventure.  Even the section above the creek was a pleasent stretch.  I'll be back

short hike along river to first falls
By haggai on 9/20/2008
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 3.00 Miles Duration: 1 hour

We did the short hike along the river to the first pool/waterfall, splashed around some, and then went back.   It was pretty, but a little crowded.

GREAT HIKE
By medicnco17 on 4/5/2008
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 8.00 Miles Duration: 7 minutes

I STARTED OUT WALKING TOWARD THE PRIMITIVE SITE BY THE RANGER STATION AND FOLLOWED THE WHITE TRAIL UP TO THE ROAD WHICH HAD TO BE A GOOD 3.5 TO 4 MILES OF BEAUTIFUL TRAIL. CROSSED THE ROAD AND MADE THE JOURNEY BACK DOWN TOWARDS THE RIVER 5 MILES THOUGH VERY BEAUTIFUL. I SPENT ALL DAY ON THIS TRAIL I STOPPED AND ENJOYED EVERY BIT THE BEST PART IS THE FALLS IF YOUR COMING SOUTH WEST YOU DECND THE FALLS AND THEN CROSS THE CREEK SEVERAL TIMES WITH A SMALL AREA OF ROCK MANUVERING THIS AREA IS WHERE I SAT FOR LUNCH ON TOP OF A ROCK LEDGE OVER LOOKING THE A SMALL POOL OF THE CLEAREST WATER i HAVE EVER SEEN IN TEXAS

Very Beautiful hike
By jmitchell on 10/14/2007
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 3.50 Miles Duration: 3 hours

Lots of water crossings, lots of small waterfalls


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