Take a Hike
Twists and Turns
Playground Trail at San Angelo State Park
Distance: 2 miles (one-way) • Difficulty Level: 4/5 • Approximate Time: 1 hour (hiking)
San Angelo State Park has been described by trail runners as fast, low-lying desert-like terrain that has produced some of the faster ultra-distance times in Texas. Of the more than 50 miles of trails in the park, some are fast, and some are fun, and some are both fast and fun. One of those is the Playground Trail, a 2-mile trail full of twists, turns, rolling hills and quick straightaways.
The trail is open to hikers, bikers and equestrian riders. Lace up your shoes or hop onto your saddle of choice to take on the Playground Trail.
You’ll have to take some other trails to reach Playground. A popular starting point is the Burkett Trailhead, where trails (the Roller Coaster Trail is one option) will lead to an intersection with signs for Potts Creek Trail, Playground Trail and Playground Bypass.
The bypass will take you up, over and straight across the flat top of a hill with an old picnic area. However, taking the bypass cheats you of a fair warning of things to come as the main trail jets up the hill and then back down before wrapping around the bottom and taking you back up the other side.
From there, the trail goes through old creek and lake beds that may hold small pools of water from any recent rains. The low-lying areas here stay greener and lusher than the more arid parts of the park. As you climb out, the trail traverses the original edges of O.C. Fisher Reservoir, an area now covered by a sea of dead mesquites reaching up through the native grasses and shrubs. Along the way, the trail will split into technical sections for the more adventurous or bypasses for those looking to mind their step, always rejoining the main trail.
After 1.5 miles, the trail reaches Bell’s Point Scenic Overlook. Here you can take in the view as you eat a snack, hydrate and rest your feet for the return trip. To complete the entire trail, continue for another half-mile until Playground Trail merges into Flintstone Village Trail.
Adam Sauceda Chase Fountain | TPWD
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