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Cave, Tower and Wash Pond Trails

Mother Neff State Park

by Russell Roe

Photos by Earl Nottingham / TPWD
For the first hike in our new monthly hike feature, we’ve chosen Mother Neff State Park, our first state park. People have been coming to this special place, along the shaded banks of the Leon River, for thousands of years. The spot has an important role in Texas state park history. Isabella Neff donated 6 acres of family land to the state for use as a park, and her son, Gov. Pat Neff, took that land and inspiration to create the state park system. Thanks, Ma!

The Tower, Cave and Wash Pond trails form a sort of loop taking you to many of the park’s main attractions, including a cave and structures built by the Civilian Conservation Corps. Oak and juniper woodlands line the Tower Trail to the CCC-built rock tower, with a stone spiral staircase to the top. Interpretive signs along the way explain the notable plants of the area. There’s a bird blind, too, just a short distance from the tower. Continuing down the trail into the ravine, hikers will find a CCC-built picnic table. From here, follow the Cave Trail to see a rock shelter formerly inhabited by Native Americans. Backtrack on the Cave Trail to meet the Wash Pond Trail, which follows the creek to a natural basin expanded by the CCC. From there, it’s a short hike back to the trailhead.

Distance: 1.5 miles
Difficulty Level: 2/5
Approximate Time: 1 hour

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