Take a Hike
Lake Colorado City’s Roadrunner Loop Trail
Distance: 2.3 miles (5.9 with connecting trails to make a loop) • Difficulty Level: 4/5 • Approximate Time: 2 1/2 hours (hike)
Colorado City has seen its share of booms and busts. After its founding in 1880, it became known as “The Mother City of West Texas,” the biggest town between Fort Worth and El Paso. Rail cars carried off tons of bison bones to be sold in the bone trade and later shipped huge herds of cattle to market. The number of millionaires and saloons multiplied. Booms in agriculture and oil followed.
Droughts brought an end to several of the booms. To help serve the town’s water needs, Lake Colorado City was built on Morgan Creek, a tributary of the Colorado River, in 1949. In 1972, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department opened Lake Colorado City State Park, providing recreation on both land and water.
The park’s Roadrunner Loop Trail takes hikers through park habitat while offering views of the lake.
“It shows a wide variety of what the park has to offer,” says Park Superintendent Leslie McGuigan. “You’ll go through prickly pear cactus and mesquite and get some lake views. There are some good scenic overlooks on that trail. It’s a little challenging, with some elevation change. It’s a good hiking trail.”
The 2.1-mile trail starts near the rec hall; the Cactus Cut Trail heads north, while the Roadrunner Loop heads south. Stop for a break at Picnic Overlook for a great view of the lake. Rock Ridge separates the lake from a hidden pond; listen and watch for birds and other wildlife there. An old rusted pickup can be seen along one part of the trail.
“You will see a lot of animal tracks,” McGuigan says. “You’ll see fox tracks, coyote tracks, raccoon tracks, evidence of armadillos. You might see a deer.”
After a mile, the trail reaches another lake view and then circles back to the trailhead. As with the town, there may be a few ups and downs along the way.
Russell Roe; Maegan Lanham | TPWD
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