Garner State Park – Concan, Texas

By , August 30, 2009 7:31 pm

Trip Date: November 26, 2008

Length of Stay: 3 nights

Rating: 5 of 5

Web Site: http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/spdest/findadest/parks/garner/

This was our first trip to Garner State Park and the only word to describe Garner is “awesome”.   Garner is about an hour due west of San Antonio, Texas located right off of US Highway 83 north of Uvalde, Texas.  The park rangers at Garner said that it was the #1 visited state park in all of Texas.     Here is a quote from the Texas State Park System web site about Garner

Garner State Park is 1419.8 acres (10 water acres of the Frio River) of recreational facilities in northern Uvalde County. Garner State Park is found in the northern part of Uvalde County. Located thirty miles north of Uvalde and seven miles north of Concan, Garner State Park has ten acres of riverfront. Hundreds of thousands of visitors flock here each year to enjoy its matchless vacation facilities. They swim in the clear waters of the Frio River, scoot its rapids on inner tubes, rent pedal boats, and hike its fascinating nature trails. On long summer evenings, young folks (and the young at heart) meet at the concession building for jukebox dancing every night during the summer season. Nearby is a miniature golf course, which is lighted for nighttime playing. Meals and snacks are served in the concession building, though many families prefer to take advantage of the many camping sites and do their own cooking. A limited number of cabins are available for rent. The park offers camping, hiking, nature study, picnicking, canoeing, fishing, swimming in the Frio River (unsupervised), seasonal miniature golf, paddle boat and kayak rentals (mid-March through Labor Day weekend), bike riding (surfaced).

We decided to spend Thanksgiving at Garner.  It was to be our first camping trip over Thanksgiving.   Our expectations were that the park would be fairly empty; boy were we surprised.   Garner has over 500 camp sites and it was about 95% full when we arrived on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.  We were assigned camp site # 498 which is in the Rio Frio Camping Area which is in the north area of the campground.

Even though it was late November, we had great weather.  It was cool at night and made for nice campfire weather.   The days were in the high 70’s or low 80’s.   We did a fair bit of hiking in the park, especially down by the Frio River which was a great place for exploring.

At night we had visitors….  Skunks!!   Our camp site backed up to an overgrown tree line and the little skunks would come out of the tree line and sniff around the camp site.   The first night I was coming back from the bathhouse and almost stepped on one walking down the middle of a paved path.   What an eye opening experience that was.  The little guy was not afraid at all.   Later that evening my daughter, Taylor, and I were sitting around the campfire when we heard something behind us.   We turned on the flashlight and about 4 feet behind us was a skunk!   Taylor yelled and the skunk ran off.  <grin>  The people in the site next to us would constantly toss rocks into the tree line to keep them away.  They were camping in tents and said after they went to sleep, the skunks would come scratch on their tent.   Even though the were a little annoying they were harmless and we never smelled a single skunk spray the entire time we were there.

One of the most prominent features of Garner State Park is “Old Baldy” which is a tall mountain near the south end of the park.   It has two sloped sides and one sheer flat side that faces the river.   There are numerous hiking trails for going to the top of “Old Baldy” which is a must if you are physically able.

Above is a photo of “Old Baldy” from about a mile away.

Above is a photo of the side of “Old Baldy”.  The slope facing the picture is the slide I climbed to the top on our 2nd day at Garner.  Allison and Taylor didn’t want to make the long hike, so I did alone.   Below is a series of photos take as I climbed “Old Baldy” on our 2nd day at Garner

The hike was great fun.  It took me about 2.5 hours to go up and then come back down the back side and around the mountain next to “Old Baldy”.   It was a lot of fun and I took a lot of great photos.

We spent one afternoon down near the pavilion and golf area where the low water dam is located.  We had great fun just hanging out and hiking a bit.   We took our chairs and blanket and just spread out beneath the giant oak trees and read books for a while as well.

On our 3rd day, I took a another long hike along the back side of “Old Baldy”.   Then we drove over to the “Lost Maple State Natural Area” which is about an hour north of Garner State Park.

http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/spdest/findadest/parks/lost_maples/

The Lost Maples is a small creek lined with maple trees which are very out of place in this part of Texas.   Most of the leaves had fallen already but there was some color left and it was very pretty.  We had a picnic lunch and completed a short 45 minute hike.

Our last day was filled with just more relaxation and hanging out down near the dam and pavilion.   Garner is a very special place.  It is very had to get a camp site during summer months and I have heard that the check in line during the peak season can be as long as 3 to 4 hours.   So plan your trip accordingly but don’t miss an opportunity to go to the best State Park in Texas – Garner State Park.

You can see all of our photos from Garner State Park by clicking on the following link:

http://picasaweb.google.com/cgaskins/GarnerStateParkThanksgiving2008#

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