Pretty waterfall, nice creek, interesting moss, very pleasant hike

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).
User: plectrudis - 12/12/2016

Location: Spring Lake Preserve

Rating: 4stars
Difficulty: 2stars  Solitude: 4stars
Miles Hiked: 6.00 Miles  Elapsed Time: N/A


This is another park in the San Marcos system (, 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.

Log Photos
Park here
Pass through the utility area
The highlight of the walk--the waterfall
One of many picnic tables along the accessible stretch of trail
Surprisingly abundant populations of Spanish moss
Another view of the waterfall - located on the Centipede trail in the northwest part of the park
The dock at the pond
Mossy and lichenous
Area around Spring Lake Preserve