Texas Hill Country Camping

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Slo4x4

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So my wife has NEVER been camping. So me being a person that wants to overland and see the beauty of this country i'm needing to start with the basics to work my wife into longer trips. We live in Houston area and we have a couple weeks off end of September and beginning of October. I've hear Lost Maples and Garner are beautiful in the fall. We are wanting to just kind of stick around the hill country area. Looking for places to do mild trails(Truck) if possible, do some hiking, probably going to need camp sites with restrooms unfortunately. Does anybody that's camped this area have their favorite spots or hidden spots in the area? I really want to make this a success lol. Probably making this a 3-5 day thing. Any help would be appreciated. Booking sites seems to not be an option, all i see is "walk ups" which I've never heard of before, but then again i grew up in Missouri so they do things different up there.

Thanks
 

TahoePPV

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Lost Maples is pretty cool. In a normal year fall reservations must be made far in advance because of the colors. This year, who knows. Lol.
The campground is small, and has about 30 spaces. You can do tent or trailer. We found some fun dirt county roads a couple of months ago that you could spend a day having fun on.
 

Ben Cleveland

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No public trails in the hill country-its just not a thing. Even public access camping spots that aren't a state park are almost non-existent. Honestly not a thing in Texas in general. Be very careful especially in the hill country, all land is private land, and esp if you're a little ways out on a county road, people are a mite suspicious of random strangers. NEVER drive off the actual public road when going through the hill country. You are almost certainly going to be trespassing, and that's not something you want to be doing.

Your best bet to do some actual wheeling and camping is going to an offroad park with camping. Hidden Falls is pretty popular, I've never been there though. Wolf Caves near Mason is great, went there with some buddies a month ago. But Wolf Caves is actual wheeling-the white trail just going around the perimeter of the park offered some fun small challenges-and we all bashed our skids pretty good throughout the day. I don't have a ton of 4x4 wheeling experience, and don't have a ton of armor or a winch, I wouldn't go there without a second vehicle and a spotter who knew more than I did. Not sure how that applies to you, that's just me. If the tundra in your profile is your truck, its prob a bit too big for a lot of the Wolf Caves trails.

Sounds like you're more wanting to do camping/sightseeing, when me and my wife want to do that we just pick a direction and let google maps take us there "avoiding highways". If you're driving through the hill country, it will be interesting.

Also, keep in mind online reservations for state parks in central Texas book up months in advance, especially after COVID had them shut down for a while. If you have a RTT or trailer you'll basically be limited to RV or spots with at least electrical. If you've got a regular tent you can do the walk in spots, but you'll be possibly hauling your stuff a few hundred yards, or even a 1/4 mile in a couple of cases.

Hill Country Natural Area near Tarpley is nice and removed from the beaten path, some creek crossings on some of the county roads in that area, and Tarpley has a great burger joint. It won't feel remote like wilderness, but its definitely got that quiet, small Texas town feel to it.

There's a hill country sightseeing route posted somewhere on Overland Bound and Expedition portal, all the same thing. If you feel like playing with GAIA or your offroad navigation app of choice, importing/exporting map files etc, its a nice day plus long drive, and really quiet roads. Everything except the offroad parks mentioned are all maintained dirt county roads, with some creek crossings in the mix. Pretty tame, but also still very removed from things like gas stations and food/water. Not too far driving, but if you were to break down on one of those roads it would suck. No need for extra fuel or anything, just gas up before you get way off.
 

Slo4x4

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No public trails in the hill country-its just not a thing. Even public access camping spots that aren't a state park are almost non-existent. Honestly not a thing in Texas in general. Be very careful especially in the hill country, all land is private land, and esp if you're a little ways out on a county road, people are a mite suspicious of random strangers. NEVER drive off the actual public road when going through the hill country. You are almost certainly going to be trespassing, and that's not something you want to be doing.

Your best bet to do some actual wheeling and camping is going to an offroad park with camping. Hidden Falls is pretty popular, I've never been there though. Wolf Caves near Mason is great, went there with some buddies a month ago. But Wolf Caves is actual wheeling-the white trail just going around the perimeter of the park offered some fun small challenges-and we all bashed our skids pretty good throughout the day. I don't have a ton of 4x4 wheeling experience, and don't have a ton of armor or a winch, I wouldn't go there without a second vehicle and a spotter who knew more than I did. Not sure how that applies to you, that's just me. If the tundra in your profile is your truck, its prob a bit too big for a lot of the Wolf Caves trails.

Sounds like you're more wanting to do camping/sightseeing, when me and my wife want to do that we just pick a direction and let google maps take us there "avoiding highways". If you're driving through the hill country, it will be interesting.

Also, keep in mind online reservations for state parks in central Texas book up months in advance, especially after COVID had them shut down for a while. If you have a RTT or trailer you'll basically be limited to RV or spots with at least electrical. If you've got a regular tent you can do the walk in spots, but you'll be possibly hauling your stuff a few hundred yards, or even a 1/4 mile in a couple of cases.

Hill Country Natural Area near Tarpley is nice and removed from the beaten path, some creek crossings on some of the county roads in that area, and Tarpley has a great burger joint. It won't feel remote like wilderness, but its definitely got that quiet, small Texas town feel to it.

There's a hill country sightseeing route posted somewhere on Overland Bound and Expedition portal, all the same thing. If you feel like playing with GAIA or your offroad navigation app of choice, importing/exporting map files etc, its a nice day plus long drive, and really quiet roads. Everything except the offroad parks mentioned are all maintained dirt county roads, with some creek crossings in the mix. Pretty tame, but also still very removed from things like gas stations and food/water. Not too far driving, but if you were to break down on one of those roads it would suck. No need for extra fuel or anything, just gas up before you get way off.
Thank you very much for taking the time to say all this. That in a nut shell answered all the questions I had for the most part. Again, this is a getting the feet wet experience and testing out gear to see what we still need or do not need so ill be ground camping in a tent but would like electrical at least to bring some creature comforts, unless I get a portable battery setup then i wont need electrical but i want it to be a fairly fun experience before we really start hacking away at the luxury's.

Thanks again for the info, I've been trying to watch videos, blogs and read about as much stuff as i can, Texas is just a unique place for outdoors people and coming from a more northern state its frustrating at times lol
 

Slo4x4

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Not sure if any of you use the BFGoodrich Ontrail app but I created the "Texas Hill Country Overland Route". I finally found a map of it on GPS and recreated it on that app. So if you use the app give it a try. I wont be able to go test it out for myself for a couple more months
 

Damolokai

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Have you considered the details and information for the Texas Overland Loop? I've done it twice.

 

Slo4x4

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Have you considered the details and information for the Texas Overland Loop? I've done it twice.

I’ll work on it next week when I have multiple screens to work off of. I’ll do as many Texas maps as I can if I have the route details.
 

North American Sojourner

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Not sure if any of you use the BFGoodrich Ontrail app but I created the "Texas Hill Country Overland Route". I finally found a map of it on GPS and recreated it on that app. So if you use the app give it a try. I wont be able to go test it out for myself for a couple more months

Have you considered the details and information for the Texas Overland Loop? I've done it twice.

This may be a better question for Admin, but are these routes on the Overland Bound App and can we load them there.
Zim
 

TxWhiteOut

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Have you considered the details and information for the Texas Overland Loop? I've done it twice.

New to Overland Bound, but I've been overlanding for years now. What can you tell me about your experience with The Hill Country Loop. I live on a couple hours away from what's mapped out on the app.
 
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Damolokai

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Have you considered the details and information for the Texas Overland Loop? I've done it twice.

New to Overland Bound, but I've been overlanding for years now. What can you tell me about your experience with The Hill Country Loop. I live on a couple hours away from what's mapped out on the app.
That article is pretty spot on to what I experienced, and recommendations were worth noting. Didn’t run into anything a JKU with Kings/Evo Double Throwdown and 37s couldn’t take on. But also thought any daily 4x4 driver could do this loop easy. However note the weather, if there was some significant rain some of the water crossings might be of concern. We did have to pull a stuck 2x4 out of river bed. Lol he thought he could wheel through the soft stuff without 4WD. Did most of the loop in 2WD. Only did 4Hi at the water crossings. Overall the loop was easy and full of worthwhile real Texas sights.
 
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