Buescher State Park Review & Pictures (Smithville, TX, USA)

Buescher State Park is a smaller state park in hill country Texas featuring towering pine trees and a serene lake! If you live around the La Grange, Texas area, you may be missing out on some great and short trails.

Link: Texas Parks & Wildlife Site

Address:78 Park Road 11 South, Gonzales, TX 78629-5180

  • 2.1 hours from Houston, 1.7 hours from San Antonio, 45 minutes from Austin

Price: $5 daily entrance fee, overnight camping sites available from $12/night

Buescher State Park
Trail map sign at the scenic overlook.

Pine Gulch Trail

The largest trail in the park is called Pine Gulch and is 3.91 miles over relatively hilly terrain and pinewood forests. Considering that most of Texas is flat, this geographic spot of hill country is special and unique.

Scenic Overlook
The scenic overlook and parking lot for the trailhead.
Parking lot
The parking lot doubles as a good place for a pre or post hiking picnic.

First Impressions

We started on the trail by heading north east and were initially disappointed by loud road noise and relatively lame scenery. I love hearing the natural sounds of the trail so my pet peeve is when a trail has road noise (which is the case for the first 0.8 miles of the trail). Push through!

Pine Gulch Trail
Desert & Forest, all in one trail.
Tree
Signs of hungry forest residents.
Trail Swamp
There is a small swamp off to the side of the trail, probably only there after heavy rains.
More trail pictures
I like taking vertical pictures of the trail because it captures everything from trail to sky.
Flowers
Flowers.

Second Impressions

As you make it about 1 mile onto the trail you are absorbed into the beautiful forest atmosphere. More pictures:

Lens flare
Michael Bay-esque lens flare.
Fallen Tree
Ultimate tree bro. Go home Woody, you’re drunk.
Roads across trail
ARGHHHH roads across the trail!
Metal Bark
Anyone know why they installed metal plates inside bark? Probably to protect tree from infection.
Buddy
Friendly reminder to myself to always bring a trail backpack or you will end up using a purse.
Mother Nature
Some trees collapsed into this valley.
Carnage
Carnage // Different Angle.

From this point on the trail kept getting better!

Pines
Pines providing fresh oxygen.
Baby tree
Baby tree
Lizard.
Lizard!
Real Tree
Real trees have curves.
Sharp Curve
For some reason I found this sign to be hilarious. There were several mountain bikers on the trail and hopefully they followed the sign’s advice.
Dirt
Cue “Dirt” by Florida Georgia Line.

Buescher State Park Lake

There is a nice 25-acre lake available for fishing and canoe rentals. It’s worth noting that there was some barbecue pits next to the lake and it would have been a great spot to grill!

According to the fishing tip sheet for the lake, there is a healthy population of largemouth bass, channel catfish, blue catfish, sunfish, and rainbow trout. The park also has very lenient daily limits, allowing you to keep up to 5 fish of each type (and unlimited sunfish). Definitely wish I would have brought my fishing rod!

Buescher State Park Lake
Tranquil lake. And lots of minnows near the shore.

Review and Recommendations

There was a lot of great aspects of the park that made up for the road noise near the start of the trail. It seemed like every step on the trail was in a better direction. There was some really beautiful views of the pine forest and juxtaposition with the dusty desert sections of trail.

This is a great park for families and mountain bikers. I plan on going back to the park and bringing a mountain bike to experience what may be a more thrilling experience.

Another aspect of the park I missed by not bringing proper equipment was the fishing. Had I researched how great the fishing rules are there I would have brought my fishing setup in a heartbeat.

Ultimately, if you are within an hour of the park it is worth the visit but this park is not worth being the only destination of a 1+ hour trip.

Signs of a good hike:

Dirty ankles.
Dirty ankles.