Colorado Bend State Park 2024

Dallas Sierra Club
invites you to our spring outing in the Hill Country!

Colorado Bend State Park

Friday, April 12 – Sunday, April 14, 2024


Trip Leader: Liz Wheelan,,  214-207-4997

Campers of ALL ages and abilities are welcome for this weekend adventure at one of the most scenic state parks and beautiful group campsites in Texas. Read this complete trip description, send in your reservation, and join the fun!

Leave your work and worries behind. Relax and enjoy fellowship and fun in a beautiful landscape bordered by the Colorado River. Pack your tent, camp chair, hiking shoes, bike, kayak, telescope -- whatever you do, join us!


Colorado Bend State Park Group Campsite

This park is In the Hill Country on the Colorado River, near Bend, Texas, between Lampasas and San Saba (3 ½ - 4 hours from Dallas). The park features 60-foot Gorman Falls, Spicewood Springs and miles of trails over limestone hills laced by cedars. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department website,, features more park information, pictures, and trail descriptions.

Participants may put up their tents in the Riverside Group Campsite any time after 2pm Friday. (Sorry, no RVs or pets.) You’ll park about 75 yards from the site and carry your gear down a short embankment to our huge grassy area, complete with tree canopy shading the large picnic tables. There’s plenty of tent space on the thick, open lawn. Drinking water and a composting toilet are within ¼ mile. (No other amenities.) On Saturday, participants may go on a hike led by Sierra Club leaders or explore on their own. Depending on interest and number of sign-ups, Sierra Club leader led hike options may include:

  1. River and Lemons Ridge Trails, 2.8 total miles via the riverside and gentle limestone hills dotted with cedars.
  2. Spicewood Springs Trail, 2.4 miles, with a possible dip in a clear, shallow creek if it’s warm enough.
  3. Gorman Falls, a cascade of rivulets and ferns, one of the higher falls in Texas. 3-mile roundtrip hike to and from the falls with possibly an optional additional mile for cliffside views above the falls.
  4. Tie Slide Trail to Tie Slide Overlook and back. The park has miles of trails that may be combined to suit you. This is a great place for everyone from families and beginners to stroll to backpackers wanting to test a backpack, boots, legs and other gear for the upcoming hiking season.

Note – caving and all other optional activities offered by the park are on your own, at your own risk and not part of this outing.

Transportation / Arrival:

Drive yourself or ride share. Sierra Club policy prohibits leaders from assigning or arranging car pools but shortly before the trip we will send out an email, then happily provide information about who’s willing to drive and who’s looking for a ride so you can coordinate shared rides. Arrange cost-sharing for your car group before the trip. Our campsite will be available at 2 PM on Friday. The outing begins when the trip leaders arrive at the campsite mid-afternoon that day. Transportation and any activities you do at the park before or after our outing or away from a led group are on your own, at your own risk and not part of the Sierra Club outing.

Directions / Gas:

You can drive to the park via I-35 and Waco, but a route via Glen Rose, Hico, Evant, Lometa and Bend takes only minutes longer. The latter route is more scenic and less frazzled if you enjoy navigating roads less traveled. Plot your own course and have access to a road map. The “town” of Bend is actually a very small convenience store called Bend General Store (formerly “Bad Bob’s”) and has no gas pumps. Fill up with gas long before you near the park entrance.

Trip Fee:

The fee for this outing is only $20 per person. Kids 12 and under who are accompanied by their parent(s)/guardian are free but must have reservations (see below). 

Additional Cost:

Upon arrival at the Park, participants will have to pay their own park entrance fees ($5 per day, age 13 and older, or free with State Park Pass). You do not need to secure any day passes for the park before the outing. A list of our group’s participant names and arrival dates will be provided by the Trip Leader to the Park as part of our group reservation.

To Register:

PRE-REGISTRATION REQUIRED for EACH PARTICIPANT: Reservations will be accepted until Wednesday, April 10 or the trip fills, whichever occurs first. Sorry, no “show-ups” or “walk-ons” may join the group. Space is limited so make your reservations as soon as possible.

After reading all of the information on this page, if you want to go on this trip, follow these steps:

  1. Fill Out Forms: Open this PDF. It has three forms, a general information form, a trip participation form and a medical form. You can print these forms and fill them out by hand, or you can fill them out on your computer and then print and sign them, or you can download the form, fill them out on your computer and save them. A complete set of forms are required for each participant, including minors.
  2. Pay for the trip: The fee for this trip is $20.00 per person. Click here for payment options. The trip fee covers expenses for the group campsite, expenses for the Dallas Sierra Club's outings program and the conservation projects of the Dallas Sierra Club.
  3. Send your forms and payment:  Send your forms and payment (if paying by check or money order) to Liz Wheelan, 8820 Southwestern Blvd, #1007, Dallas, TX 75206 OR email your forms (the pdf you filled out) to (and mail only check).

Your registration will be confirmed by email or phone. Please contact the Trip Leader if you do not receive an email confirming your reservation after a week of when it was mailed. It is your responsibility to notify us before the trip if your medical information or circumstances change after you send in your trip forms.

Cancellations / Refunds:

The trip fee is non-refundable but please notify the trip leader if you can't make it.

If the Sierra Club cancels the outing for any reason, your $20.00 trip fee will be refunded in full, but Sierra Club is not responsible for and will not refund any payments you may have made for travel, lodging, or other expenses.


Parents/Legal Guardians must complete all trip forms on behalf of their minor child(ren). Kids age 17 and younger must be accompanied by a parent or designated adult who will accompany them at all times during the weekend. A Medical Treatment Authorization & Consent form must also be provided for all youth participants who are under the supervision of a non-parent adult. (As space allows - contact the Trip Leader for more information.)

End of Outing:

The organized outing ends after breakfast Sunday morning. All participants are welcome to stay in the park longer on Sunday (on your own) to enjoy the park features.

Flooding Alert:

Park personnel may close the park road and/or evacuate the park due to isolation by water over the main entrance road. Trip leaders will attempt to send out an email to alert participants of any closure.

Food and Gear:

This outing involves tent camping and optional hiking. A day pack will suffice for hiking, although it’s a perfect place to carry a full pack if you want practice for a future backpacking trip. Each person is responsible for bringing his or her own equipment and food. We offer gear guidelines here, but you’re invited to contact a trip leader before departure with any questions you may have about gear. Bring a tent and ground cloth, sleeping bag, sleeping pad for comfort, containerized fuel and stove (do not plan on individual campfire or grill), cookware, water containers for use while hiking and to carry water to campsite, strong whistle, headlamp or flashlight, toilet paper/kit, garbage bag, and your personal first-aid and health items. Bring layers of clothing. Normal temperatures are around 75 degrees during the day and 55 during the night, but record extremes vary by about fifteen degrees. Rain is always possible, so bring rain gear. Don’t forget a hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, bug spray and a towel if you plan a dip. (Swimming is not part of the outing and would be at your own risk.) Wet crossings and slick rock are probable on the Spicewood Springs Trail and cacti abound on other trails, so we recommend you wear long pants, sturdy boots or hiking shoes. Flip flops, slip-ons, sandals or flat city shoes are not suitable for many of the park’s trails. Hiking poles are useful. Bring meals and snacks for the entire time you’ll be in camp and on the trail. Plan to cook on your stove since individual fires may not be allowed. Keep in mind we’ll have limited/shared table space for cooking. Participants are expected to clean up after themselves, keeping the campsite clean. PLAN AHEAD - there are no grocery or supply stores nearby. The closest store to the park is the Bend General Store (formerly “Bad Bob’s”), a small store outside the park entrance which has a limited selection of basic items and a food truck some weekends. (Also available - a “snipe hunt license and discounted wedding for $43.88”!)

A word of caution:

Like any outdoor venue, the Park has various creepy crawlers. Participants should always stay alert and aware of their surroundings and keep tent doors zipped. Don’t leave shoes or other items on the ground unattended.

Yes, a few rules and expectations:

PETS, SMOKING, MUSIC PLAYERS, AND FIREARMS ARE NOT ALLOWED, for safety and in consideration of others. Leave the batteries at home and enjoy nature! Public consumption of alcohol is illegal in state parks. Participants are expected to be respectful of others and adhere to park quiet hours. Cell phone coverage in the park is very limited. If you must take a call, please do it out of the range of others. No earbuds while hiking with our group – we want you to be in tune with your surroundings and others in our group. Leave No Trace behavior (low-impact wilderness ethics) are expected of all participants.

Experience and Conditioning:

We want you to have fun and be safe. Participants in normal good health will find suitable hike itineraries, provided they bring appropriate footwear, clothing and skin protection. If uncertain about preparedness, discuss your personal situation early with the trip leader. The trip leaders reserve the right to determine whether a hike is suitable for a prospective participant, based on equipment, general health or other factors.


Colorado Bend SP is in a very remote area. We’ll be hiking in an area where rescue is time-consuming. The nearest hospital is many miles away and any evacuation may be by helicopter. Trip leaders have first aid training but are not medical professionals. Participants are encouraged to bring personal first aid supplies and a basic knowledge of how to deal with emergencies. Medical information you provide may be shared with medical professionals who treat you in the event of injury or sickness. Inform leaders if you have a medical condition such as controlled diabetes, heart problems or allergic reactions that could require special treatment in an emergency. Carry necessary medications on your person and let the leader know where you store them. If you’re extremely allergic to bee stings, poison ivy or anything else that we may encounter, ask your doctor if you should be carrying an antidote kit. If you’re lost without your corrective lenses, bring a spare. The trip leaders are in charge of the trip program and reserve the right to change the planned hikes due to group capabilities, weather or safety concerns. It’s important for group safety to follow the leaders’ directions. By failing to do so, you assume the risks and consequences that result. The group should stay together to minimize the chances of someone getting lost or an injured person going unaided. If you want to leave the led group (the leader and those participants following the leader) for separate day hiking, you do so at your own risk. If you choose to take that risk, please don’t hike alone. If you leave the led group, you should hike in parties of at least three people, and tell the leader your planned route and time of return. If someone is injured while away from the led group, leave one person and all of the party’s food and warm clothing with the injured person, and send all of the others for help at either the trailhead or the base camp. Participants who leave the led group against leader advice will be asked to sign out of the trip, and are no longer part of the outing. Don’t expect the group or the leader to do more than notify public authorities if you don’t return. The leader’s responsibility is to those who are following him or her, not to those who choose to follow a different route and put themselves at risk. If you get lost, stop on a trail and wait to be found; don’t wander aimlessly. When day hiking, bring a jacket, rain gear, hat, water, food, map and compass, flashlight, first-aid kit, matches and strong whistle.

If you twist an ankle or get lost, these essentials could save your life if you must spend the night away from camp. Leaders are not allowed to search for missing persons at night, and cannot put others in the group at risk to look for a lost participant. The Dallas Group of the Sierra Club has conducted outings for over forty years without serious injuries. If you’re in reasonably good physical condition, select a hike matching your abilities and don’t do anything foolish, this trip will be reasonably safe. The above cautions and disclosures of risk are intended to give you the information necessary to make an informed decision about whether you should participate. We want everyone who participates to be safe and careful so we can all have a good time.


The only dumb questions are those not asked!
If you have any questions, please contact the Trip Leader: Liz Wheelan at or 214-207-4997

California Seller of Travel Law: Sierra Club is a California nonprofit corporation. California has a "Seller of Travel" law that requires us to post this notice:
CST 2087766-40. Registration as a seller of travel does not constitute approval by the State of California.