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Web site: www.tpwd.state.tx.us
This Old Campsite
This Old Campsite
Hill Country State Natural Area Location Map
Hill Country State Natural Area
              "Where the Road Ends and the West Begins"

Tucked away in the rugged terrain southwest of Bandera, Texas is Hill Country State Natural Area, an undeveloped and secluded retreat that caters to all types of park visitors.  Approximately 35 miles of dirt roads and primitive trails wind up grassy valleys, cross spring-fed streams, and climb steep limestone hills.  Hikers, mountain bikers and equestrian types enjoy exploring the trails.  Backcountry camping areas are offered for backpackers and the equestrian types.  Because facilities here are primitive, supplies must be carried in and out.

The park consist of 5,300+ acres of beautiful Texas Hill Country.  The facilities within this area consist of Hiking Trails, Equestrian Trails, Group Camp Facilities, Biking Trails, Nature Viewing and Tent Camp Sites.  The camping consist of primitive walk-in tent sites, primitive equestrian and backpack camping area.  There is a group lodge with a furnished 3 bedroom one bath.  The lodge has beds, bunk beds, a/c, heat, barbecue pit and is equipped for equestrian use.  There is an equestrian group camp with campground pavilion.  This camp area is restricted to 20 rigs and the pavilion to 50 people.  Picknicking is available with tables and fire rings.  For those who like to fish, bass and catfish can be caught in West Verde Creek.  Swimming is premitted in creek pools.

A little history:  The Hill Country State Natural Area was a gift to the state from Louise Lindsey Merrick.  After her husbands death she donated the 4,753 acres, know as the Bar-O Ranch to the state of Texas.

She began turning the land over to the state in 1976.  The acreage began moving in sevenths, into state hands.  The transfer of ownership was planned to take seven years for tax reasons.

By 1982, the transaction was complete.  Louise deeded the land to the state with the provisiion that the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department convert it to a state natural area.  Under these provisions it was written into the deed that the land is "to be kept far removed and untouched by modern civilization, where everything is preserved intact, yet put to a useful prupose."

In 1987, an additional 617 acres were purchased from adjacent land owner Pat Boyle, making the total 5,300 acres of park.

The park is home to a wide variety of native Texas wildlife, two known endangered bird species and varied vegetation.  The mission is to conserve the current and historic Ranch layout and protect the existing flora and fauna, thus providing a protected natural area as intact and as historically accurate as possible for future generations to enjoy.

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