Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine   




Twilight Terrors

After the sun sets but before the night is fully dark, there’s an in-between space — a twilight time when, according to fairy tales and folklore, the line between the natural and the supernatural world thins. Legends say that magic is heightened at places that sit on the border between two things. 

Lockhart State Park is such a place: on the outskirts of Austin, at the edge of town. Head toward the historic rec hall, then descend the hill into darkness. A visit during the Halloween season might spawn an encounter with faeries … or fright.

Since 2021, the state park has teamed up with Lockhart High School’s theater department to host the Trail of Terror. Student actors dressed in costume present a series of eerie vignettes along a half-mile loop. Stand at the edge of the wood, and you’ll hear screams and laughter in equal measure. For those brave enough to walk the trail, flickering lights provide faint illumination as the sound of off-key calliope music drifts through the air. Be prepared to encounter creepy clowns, zombie mimes or human-animal hybrids. In past years, hikers have been chased by a deranged monkey on a tricycle or a chainsaw-wielding carny.

Ghouls and goblins aren’t the only things provoking fright and delight along the trail. Listen closely as you wander, and you’ll hear birds, insects and other night creatures. Last year, some of the biggest frights came from a pair of armadillos whose rustling raised quite a few goosebumps.

This year’s Trail of Terror runs Oct. 26-28 from 7-9:30 p.m. and is free with your park admission. Groups leave in 5-minute increments, and reservations are required (secure your spot online on the park website). If the trail’s frights scare up an appetite, grab snacks from the theater’s Booster Club parents, who have a booth onsite.   

Non-boo To-dos

Frights not your fancy? There’s plenty more to explore at the park.


Par for the course

The park operates a nine-hole golf course built by the CCC and WPA. Green fees are just $10.


The view from above

Enjoy great hilltop views from the terrace of the historic group recreation hall.


What’s biting?

Test your luck fishing for bass, catfish and sunfish year-round in Clear Fork Creek.

Lockhart State Park

  2012 State Park Road Lockhart, TX 78644

  Entrance fee: $3 Daily Children 12 and under:free


  (512) 398-3479

 Nathan Adams   Maegan Lanham | TPWD

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