Stephen F. Austin State Park Review & Pictures [San Felipe, TX, USA]

Stephen F. Austin park is a quiet and peaceful Texas state park with plenty of camping sites and hiking trails. One of the big pluses for us, as Houstonians, is that it is only a 45 minute drive from downtown Houston.

Link: http://tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/stephen-f-austin

Address: Park Road 38, San Felipe, TX 77473-0125

Price: $10 per night camping, $5 entrance fee per adult

Trail view
View of our first trail.

Camping at Stephen F. Austin State Park

We arrived late Friday night and began to set up our tent and campsite. A good reminder to myself: bring more than one barely-functioning flashlight next time.

The weather at night dipped down to about 45-50 degrees Fahrenheit which is plenty cold for Texans. I remember winter camping in the boy scouts with some cold Wisconsin days, where it got below freezing, but I think I’ve turned into a Texas cold-weather-wimp.

Here are some views of our majestic camping setup:

Campsite View 1
First order of the day: start a fire.
View from our site
Tucked away in the back of the camping area.

Our Hiking Route

Cottonwood Trail (0.85 miles)

We started our hike near the group hall and headed west on Cottonwood Trail. It was a pleasant and short trail that weaved through the forest inside Stephan F. Austin Park.

Charlie the dog
Charlie decided to lead the way. Always turning around to make sure we could keep up.
Brown Forest
The forest was pretty brown even after the rain that left some of the trails muddy.

Copperhead Trail (0.72 miles)

We continued our hike onto the northbound copperhead trail, my favorite trail in the park. Awesome combination of forest trees and open sky.

SFA Trail 1
Big blue Texas sky.
Great walk
Great walk!
Harry the hairy tree
Harry the hairy tree.

Brazos Bottom Trail (~0.9 miles)

This route winds along the Brazos River shore with great bayou views. Not super majestic, but about as good as Southeast Texas water gets.

Brazos View
Brazos River View.
Through the Trees.
Through the Trees.
Texas Beach
“Texas Beach”

Sycamore Trail (0.41 miles)

The muddy section of the park! We got our hiking shoes nice and muddy during this section, and Charlie got some muddy paws.

Muddy Paws.
Muddy Paws.
Cracked Earth
Cracked Earth.

Barred Owl Trail (0.64 miles)

A pleasant loop through the park and a nice walk. Contains the “scenic” overlook.

he Scenic outlook view. In my opinion there are 100+ prettier areas in the park
The Scenic outlook view. In my opinion there are 100+ prettier areas in the park!
Scenic Outlook View #1
View near the shore.
Pan-o-view
Panorama of the brown water river.
Charlie Catfishing
Charlie catfishing/noodling.

Ironwood Trail (1.04 miles)

We took the Ironwood trail back to where we parked. Yet another nice and pretty area of the park. I didn’t take any pictures so you’ll have to go and see it for yourself!

Back at Camp

Lazy lunch on a perfect day.

Progresso
Progresso to the Rescue! Chicken noodle soup lunch, perhaps the easiest camping meal.

Review & Recommendations

Stephen F. Austin State Park is an awesome and accessible park for young and active families. There is nothing particularly spectular about the area, but altogether it is a great escape from Houston life (and a 40 minute drive).

I recommend loading up your car with a tent and some basic camping supplies and spending one full day and a night at the park. Follow the hiking trail in our post and you will see all the great areas of the park from slopey bayou to forest hills.

Happy camping and hiking!

Charlie Breakdancing.
Charlie Breakdancing.