There are quite a few state parks in Texas and Colorado Bend is one of them. Located in the Hill Country in the heart of Texas, Colorado Bend State Park offers a lot of interesting trails for hiking and biking as well as camping sites. We’re not the camping type, we prefer the comfort of a bed but we do like to be outdoors and enjoy nature.
Guide to the trail to Gorman Falls at Colorado Bend State Park
First, get your permit ($5) at the self-pay station at the park’s entrance. Watch out for it, it’s easy to miss. Then drive to the Gorman Falls are parking lot.
Slather sunscreen, put your hat on and grab your water. Texas Parks & Wildlife recommends a quart of water per hour of activity.
At first, the trail seems quite easy. The terrain is flat, you walk along a marked path, and trees here and there provide much welcome shade. Vegetation consists mostly of scrub and cacti, with clusters of colorful wildflowers.
As you walk, the path becomes rocky. Be cautious and watch where you put your feet, you certainly don’t want to trip and fall face down onto the cacti! Ouch! The path not only becomes rockier, it starts to wind up and down and the shade becomes scarcer. Take plenty of water breaks and ignore the athletic types running past you.
Another thing you should be aware and careful of is rattlers. They are native to this area, so don’t ever pick up rocks, for instance, or reach down holes. Nope. Not a good idea.
Now the path becomes rather steep. The descent to Gorman Falls can be a hairy experiment if, like me, you wear running shoes, because they slip on the slick rocks. Thankfully, you can hang on to the ropes (and maybe even to the posts, ahem!) to do the last bit.
You can hear the cadence of water falling from a distance. You get down to the observation deck but cannot see much for the dense vegetation obstructs your view. You walk here and there, trying to get a good view. You wait for the other tourists to go away so you can snap a photo. You walk a few yards down to the Colorado River, a wide ribbon of water encased between hills, and snap some more pictures.
Now you have to walk up the slick rocks, holding on to the ropes, and go up the winding trail, along the sea of cacti, past the flat areas in the blinding sun of the Texas summer.
Congratulations, you made it back to the starting point!
According to the Texas Parks and Wildlife brochure, the Gorman Falls Trail is 1.1 miles long (but it seemed a lot longer to me!) and it takes 1.5 hours to complete. The level of difficulty is “challenging.” I agree.