It has been a while since Keltin and I took Bear on a good hike and we decided to head up to Lake Mineral Wells State Park recently. We go there early to beat the crowds and hopefully the heat. We actually managed fairly well on those two fronts only to nearly drowned in the humidity. It costs $7 per adult to get in to the park. After speaking to a park ranger we decided to take the Red Waterfront Trail.
The trail we chose was close to a parking lot and a restroom and the trail itself is just under a mile but it is really rocky. I don’t know how many near falls I had. Of course it probably didn’t help that I was walking the Bear. The view of the lake was fantastic from the trail though.
This lake is popular with kayakers and at the park store you can rent kayaks and canoes. The rentals are $20 for the first hour and $10 per hour after that. The kayaks are available as both solo and tandem. All rentals include: life jackets, seats, and paddles. You can even take dogs on the kayaks and canoes. We will be back for sure to explore the lake by boat and possibly to camp too. The camp has primitive sites you can hike too but they also have tent and trailer sites with water and electric.
The trail we choose led to Penitentiary Hollow. A collection of giant stones with 40 foot tall sides popular with climbers. To climb here you have to have your own gear and pay climbing fees. There were a couple of groups when we first arrived and more showed up the longer we stayed.
The hollow is beautiful, sheer walls shadowed by ancient trees creating cool pockets of shadow. Voices echo from all around even if no one can be seen. You can dive to the hollow but if you are going for the views then hiking is the way to do it.
The overlook presents a fantastic view of the lake in all its glory, surrounded but thick green growth. Kayakers in orange boats skimming across the water. The bench was a nice place to stop and write for a minute.
Bear loves to get out and hike with us but made him one hot dog. Seriously considering getting him a pack so that he can carry his own water and maybe some boots for summer hikes, I don’t want his paws to get too hot. Besides it would be funny to watch him walk in them.
I love meeting people on hikes, especially people that are happy to help take a picture that’s not a selfie. And the lady that we had take our picture is actually a wedding photographer! Yay for random happenstance.
Post hike we were starving and after a little exploration via car we parked near the park store for a picnic by the water. There are some shade trees and picnic tables right on the water. Keltin loved the homemade pickles and salsa.
The park store is fairly big and has everything you need including a small used book section and a bait vending machine. They also carry a variety of other goods from groceries to survival gear
This was a fantastic state park to visit and we will defiantly be coming back for another visit but when the weather is cooler. Have you ever visited this state park? What parks do I need to add to my *must visit* list? Happy travels!