Spring Lake Preserve

4stars (4.00)1
2stars (2.00)
4stars (4.00)
685 Lime Kiln Rd.
San Marcos
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Mossy and lichenous
This tree is covered in Spanish moss, ball moss, and some kind of lichen, all clambering over each other. True mosses are also present in the park. (Photo by plectrudis)
The dock at the pond
Not sure if this is the eponymous Spring Lake or not. (Photo by plectrudis)
Another view of the waterfall - located on the Centipede trail in the northwest part of the park
For a short hike just to the waterfall, start at the trailhead in the Hillside Ranch apartments, right by what appears to be a tiny, very old mill. (Photo by plectrudis)
Surprisingly abundant populations of Spanish moss
Presumably, this is some more drought-tolerant variety or subspecies than the Spanish moss from east TX or Louisiana. One of several colonies in the preserve. (Photo by plectrudis)
One of many picnic tables along the accessible stretch of trail
One of many picnic tables along the accessible stretch of trail (the Tonkawa trail). (Photo by plectrudis)
The highlight of the walk--the waterfall
A lovely multi-level waterfall by a moss-covered tree. (Photo by plectrudis)
Pass through the utility area
Pass through the utility area, pass the dumpster, and you'll see the trailhead. (Photo by plectrudis)
Park here
Park at the orange arrow and walk toward the green arrow to find the blue blaze that directs you toward the trailhead. (Photo by plectrudis)
Log Entries
Pretty waterfall, nice creek, interesting moss, very pleasant hike
By plectrudis on 12/12/2016
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 2stars Solitude: 4stars
Distance: 6.00 Miles Duration: N/A

This is another park in the San Marcos system (http://www.smgreenbelt.org/SMNaturalAreas.htm), similar to Purgatory Creek, but with less elevation change and a bit drier.  

It has typical Hill Country elements--junipers, cedar elms, opuntia, and karst-y rocks--but it also has (interestingly) a few pockets of very happy Spanish moss, plus ball moss and various lichens.  A nice, limestoney creek cuts through the park, including a very lovely multi-level waterfall right by a big tree veiled in Spanish moss--it a rather magical little spot.

There's also a pond with a small dock, and a handicapped-accessible section with tons of benches and picnic tables.  Altogether a welcoming, thoughtful park with enough trails to give you a nice range of options in terms of length of hike.

We entered at the south-most trailhead off of W. Laurel St, which let us walk for a bit, take a bathroom break at the Lime Kiln trailhead, and cruise on.  (Plenty of easy parking, but the only bathroom (a portapotty) is at the LK trailhead.)  Finding the W. Laurel St. trailhead isn't difficult, but it is weird.  Park at The Meadows center (201 San Marcos Springs Dr, San Marcos, TX 78666), cross the street heading right toward the utility area with a barn/garage and trucks--you'll see a blue reflector in a tree--head that way.  Pass the dumpster (for real), and on the left you'll see a trailhead and map.