Lost Maples State Natural Area is located in Vanderpool, Texas, about 5 miles north of Vanderpool on Ranch Road 187. Lost Maples is a part of the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, but designated a State Natural Area because they attempt to preserve the natural and cultural resources of the area.
Nestled in the Texas Hill Country, Lost Maples State Natural Area is a combination of steep, rugged limestone canyons, springs, plateau grasslands, wooded slopes and clear streams. The crystal clear waters of the Sabinal River run through the park. The park is named for relic stands of bigtooth maple trees. The 2,208 acres of land that comprise the park were purchased by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department in 1973-74 to preserve and perpetuate this outstanding scenic and natural resource. Because of its unique features and biological significance, the area was designated a National Natural Landmark in February 1980.
The facilities at the park include a day-use area with 20 picnic sites, parking spaces and a restroom. There are eight designated primitive camping areas that are accessible to hikers on the 10.5 miles of trails in the confines of the park.
The park offers 30 campsites that accomodate recreational vehicles. Water and electicity are available and a central dump station is provided. Each of the sites have a small shelter with a picnic table. There are restrooms and showers in the camping area. Your stay in the campground is limited to 14 days max. Reservations are recommended since this is a very popular destination. The fall of the year when the leaves on the maple trees are turning is a very busy time for the park. Other holiday periods are also crowded.
Lost Maples is a great place to come for a picnic, hiking, camping, sightseeing, bird watching or just to relax. However, the biggest attraction are the bigtooth maples, or canyon maples. This species of maples grows today in the Rocky Mountains from Idaho to West Texas and northern Mexico. Small populations at Sabinal Canyon, Fort Hood in Central Texas, and the Wichita Moutains in Oklahoma area believed to be surviving relics of the Pleistocene Ice Age, when these trees migrated from ancestral sugar maple stock eastward across Texas. As the climate became more hot and dry in recent times, the Texas maples were restricted to sheltered canyon pockets like the park. This same explanation can account for other rare and isolated plants and animals in the canyon an in other rugged dissected portions of the Hill Country.
Bigtooth maples are close relatives of the celebrated sugar maples of commerce and, like them, may produce an impressive display of autumn foliage. The brilliance of this natural event depends on the weather conditions in September and October. Adequate rainfall, cool, crisp nights, and plenty of sunshine during this period will assure a spectacular blaze of red, yellow, and orange the first half of each November. The maple groves along the Sabinal River are the easiest to see, but visitors claim that the harder to reach stands in Hale's Hollow and along Can Creek and Dry Can Creek are the most rewarding.
For rates and reservations, call (512-389-8900)
For information only, call (800-792-1112)
Local number at the park is (830-966-3413)
This Old Campsite
This Old Campsite