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1O Parks With Stunning Views

Check out these spots for breathtaking vistas.

By Dale Blasingame



The park featured on this month’s cover, Franklin Mountains State Park, is known for its breathtaking views, but there are plenty of other state parks that showcase the beautiful areas around them. This past summer I finished visiting all 95 state parks around Texas in one year (read my feature story here). Each month, I’ll share some of my “best of” lists here. In the spirit of the Franklin Mountains, let’s start with some additional spots for amazing landscape vistas across our great state.


Wyler Aerial Tramway

If you’re impressed by the Franklin Mountains, why not go to the top? Gondolas and a really sturdy cable will take you on a 2,600-foot ride up the east side of the mountains to Ranger Peak, where you will have a 360-degree view of three states and two countries.


Davis Mountains

The hike or drive along Skyline Drive leads you to the best views of the town of Fort Davis and the park itself, including the beautiful Indian Lodge. The state park is also only 12 miles away from the McDonald Observatory, where star parties provide views of a more celestial nature.


Palo Duro Canyon

This is my personal favorite park, and no view in Texas beats the scene from the Lighthouse at the end of a 3-mile hike. No worries, though, if you’re not into strenuous activity. You can check out Palo Duro’s beauty from an overlook at the visitors center parking lot.

Palo Duro Canyon

Lost Maples

For a look at leaves changing color, hiking in Lost Maples during the fall is a must-do for any Texan. The best view in the park is at the scenic overlook along the East Trail, where you get a bird’s-eye view of the spectacular maple trees.


Big Bend Ranch

Whether you choose to stick to the paved roads of FM 170 or venture onto the unpaved roads in the interior of the park, you can’t go wrong with these views. Make sure to check out the views from FM 170’s Big Hill and the rock formations along the Rio Grande.

Big Bend Ranch

Atlanta

I took a lunch and parked my car along the shore of Wright Patman Lake, enjoying how the waves gently rolled in against the trees. The drive into the park was just as pretty, with miles of towering trees shading parts of the road.


Enchanted Rock 

Perhaps the most popular view in all of Texas is from the top of Enchanted Rock, in the granite Llano Uplift near Fredericksburg. The climb to the top, three-quarters of a mile, is challenging, but the view is worth it. Make sure to get there early during peak season to beat the crowds.

Enchanted Rock

Caprock Canyons

If you’re lucky, you’ll get to witness the beautiful scenery of the Caprock with a special guest, a bison. Caprock Canyons is the home of the state bison herd, which adds to the majesty of this park. My favorite spot to stop and breathe in the view is just before you reach the Wild Horse Camping Area.

Caprock

Garner

The view from the Old Baldy summit is a special one, especially after the leaves change color in the fall. There’s no better spot to catch the cypress-lined Frio River and the miles of land around it. Likewise, the view of Old Baldy from the Painted Rock area is also worth your time.

Garner

Monument Hill

Monument Hill is home to perhaps the most underrated view in all of Texas. The trail from the visitors center features two fantastic overlooks: one looking down on the ruins of the old Kreische Brewery and the other over the Colorado River, with views of the rail bridge headed into La Grange.

Monument Hill

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