San Angelo State Park

Trail
50.00 Miles
N/A
$4.00
4stars (4.27)309
1star (1.12)
4point5stars (4.61)
N/A
Yes
N/A
N/A
San Angelo
Tom Green
More Info
Photos
Cottontail Rabbit
Commonly seen in the past, rarely seen in the present - the Cottontail Rabbit. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Mist on the Reservoir
Rain from the day before and a cold front this morning, helped produce mist above the Reservoir. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Buddies on the Branch
The Scissortail seemed content to listen to the male Pyrrhuloxia sing for a mate. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Doing the Strut
These Toms were strutting their stuff but I saw no hens - I guess they were just practicing their moves. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Always Look Around
I've been informed bees do this when they move to a new hive. These were seen on a mesquite tree a few feet from the trail I hiked on. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Watch Where You Throw Your Trash!
Found these three juvenile raccoons, huddled together and very scared, in an empty park dumpster. Put a big branch in and went on my hike since I couldn't coax them out. When I finished my hike, I was happy to discover they had vacated. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Resting Pair
I wouldn't be surprised if a nest appears in this tree sometime in the near future. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Contrails
Interesting scene of airplane contrails and no upper winds. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Scenic Loop View
As can be seen at the North Scenic Loop, there is water in the North Concho River which feeds into the reservoir. Also note the abundance of green algae in the water - not a good thing! (Photo by MikeHikes)
The Yellow Flowers are Making an Appearance
Almost all of the flowers I saw today were yellow. Can't wait to see the cactus in bloom as well! (Photo by MikeHikes)
Nice Day at the Park
It was a very nice day at the park! (Photo by MikeHikes)
Early Bloomer
The only agarita bush in bloom in the whole park -VERY early in my opinion. (Photo by MikeHikes)

Only showing last 12 photos. View All Photos

Log Entries
North Shore Bell's Trailhead to Cougar Outlook and back
By MikeHikes on 5/16/2019
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 1star Solitude: 5stars
Distance: 9.60 Miles Duration: 4 hours, 20 minutes

Out       Bell's Trailhead > Shady Trail > Trailhead to Trailhead (S) > North Scenic Loop > South Slick Rock > Lower Ghost Camp Trail > River Bend Camp Area > Lower Ghost Camp Trail (S) > service road (50 meters) > River Bend (100 meters) > Javalina > Cougar Outlook         3.5 miles

Return   Cougar Outlook > service road (W) > River Bend (NW) > Badlands > service road (N 50 meters) > Dinosaur Trail (N) > Dinosaur Tracks Viewing Area > Dinosaur Trail (N) > service road (N) > Bell's Trailhead   6.1 miles

Temp started at 69, ended at 80.  Overcast then partly cloudy with light to intermittent winds.

I hiked this in reverse order than I normally do and have decided I'll do it the way I'm used to for future hikes.  The trails were dry with some spots wet with morning dew.  The majority of the trails have been groomed and leveled fairly recently but there are a few areas that are in dire need of grooming, specifically the South Slick Rock Trail and the portion of Lower Ghost Camp Trail that is below the River Bend Camp Area.  Vegetation is very high and in a few places, the trail was not visible.

The water continues to flow in the North Concho River but no water fowl were seen in the wet areas.  As a matter of fact, not many birds were spotted today while I hiked. I saw a couple of Whitetail deer, numerous park longhorns and a pair of javalinas.  I startled the javalinas as I walked past them hidden in the brush; one became pretty agitated so I continued my hike at a slightly brisker pace until we had some distance between us. 

The flowers still display their colors and the butterflies are very numerous. I find it ironic when I hear, or read, about locals who will drive for hours so they can "see flowers" yet they won't drive a few minutes/miles to the park, get out of their car, walk the trails and see more flowers than they would from their car as it whizzes down the road.

One interesting, and sad, find - a lone cicada was on Javalina Trail and seemed to be on his/her last legs.  I assume it hatched too early and will, unfortunately, die a lonely death as I've neither seen, nor heard, any other cicadas. 

It was a good hike although not what I had hoped for with regard to picture taking.

NOTES

Water and shade available at the camping area near Bell's Trailhead.

Water, shade, info kiosk and dry toilets available at River Bend Camping Area.

Shade, info kiosk and a bicycle repair station available at Cougar Outlook.

Shade and info kiosk available at Dinosaur Tracks Viewing Area.  IMPORTANT - the water faucet has been turned OFF and I have no idea if/when it will be turned on again - the problem has been reported to park personnel.

South Shore Playground Parking Area to Burkett Park and Roadrunner Loop
By MikeHikes on 5/13/2019
Rating: 4point5stars Difficulty: 1star Solitude: 5stars
Distance: 9.50 Miles Duration: 4 hours, 30 minutes

Leg 1 -  Playground parking area > Chaparral > Winding Snake > Burkett Park         2.9 miles

Leg 2 -  Burkett Park > WS to LL Connector > Lanky Lackey > Nature Loop > Horny Toad > Talley Valley > Chaparral > Playground parking area      3.5 miles

Leg 3 -  Playground parking area > Roadrunner Loop > Playground parking area    3.1 miles

Temp started at 50, ended at 75.  Sunny, slight breeze.  Humid at first then drier air.

Today's hike could be entitled "There Will Be Mud".  After some always welcome rain on Saturday, I started early to get sunrise photos of O.C. Fisher with morning fog (photo attached).  Then I began my hike - the trails were "wet to muddy" for the entire hike.  Of course with the rain, comes vegetation growth which means high, wet grass.  My feet and sandals were caked in mud but seeing so many different birds made the hike enjoyable. In addition to seeing all the "usual suspects", I was pleased to see numerous Dicksissels and Nighthawks; both of which I haven't seen for some time.  I also saw a Painted Bunting, a pair of Killdeer and a solitary Great Blue Heron by the reservoir - no photos attached but a couple of good photos are on my hard drive.

The flowers continue to blossom but the Indian Blankets are slowly fading; a few Mexican Hats were spotted and will soon take up the "red flower" spot at the park.  More cactus blooms are on visible as well.  Bee brush, always giving off a pleasant scent, are thicker and as full of buzzing bees and other insects as I've ever seen them.

The biggest bonus though was watching a female Grey Fox while I was hiking.  She walked onto the trail about 20 meters in front of me, stopped and saw me.  After watching for a few seconds, she walked along the trail for a bit before disappearing into a pile of junipers and cactus.  I waited for her to come back out or go into a more pictureesque spot but she never did.  rather than continue to wait  for her, I left her in peace.

A very good hike!

NOTES

Water, shade, info kiosk and toilets available at Playground Parking Area.

Water, shade, info kiosk and dry toilets available at Burkett Park.

Water and shade are available at various campsites parallel to portion of Roadrunner Loop.  There is a toilet available at the Loop's mid-point.

 

Park Mid-section Burkett Park to Cougar Lookout Loop
By MikeHikes on 5/6/2019
Rating: 4point5stars Difficulty: 1star Solitude: 5stars
Distance: 10.40 Miles Duration: 4 hours, 40 minutes

Leg 1 -  Burkett Park > Burkett Trail > (East) Potts Creek > Armadillo (E) > Playground > Bell's Point > Playground (N) > Flintstone > 5 Points Junction     3.5 miles

Leg 2 -  5 Points Junction > River Bend (N) > service road (E) > Cougar Lookout > Flintstone (S) > 5 Points Junction     2.6 miles

Leg 3 -  5 Points Junction > Turkey Creek > Armadillo (W) > West Potts Creek > Roller Coaster > WS to LL Connector > Burkett Park     4.3 miles

Temp started at 68, ended at 83.  Sunny, with a light breeze which gradually became a steady breeze about half way through the hike.

Flowers were everywhere!  Yellow, red, blue, purple, white - it didn't matter, they were all in abundance.  The bee brush is blooming and a few cactus flowers are beginning to open.  Unfortunately, I missed the Lace Cactus bloom and only saw the withered flowers. 

The trails for the most part, have been groomed and are in very good repair but there are a few notable exceptions - specifically, Armadillo Trail heading East/North as well as part of the Playground Trail.  Armadillo, in particular, has vegetation completely covering the trail so it was a matter of being very careful where I placed my feet - no desire to step on any of the park residents, whether poisonous or not!  The same can be said for some of the portions of Playground Trail located between the junction of Armadillo and Playground and South of Bell's Point.  It looks like park personnel will have to use hand held weed whackers to clear the brush.

I saw numerous birds, a few lizards and some of the park's longhorns. I'll say it again - the longhorns will leave you alone if you leave them alone ESPECIALLY if there are calves around (like there were today).  Although I've seen no snakes so far this year, I found the remains of two snakes - both long dead and in the process of being consumed by insects; surprising to me, a large group of small butterflies were feasting on the remains of a 3-4 ft long coachwhip that was partly opened.  These same small butterflies are seen on piles of dung - seems Nature lets nothing go to waste.

This hike bumps me up on the Texas Hiking website roster for miles hiked from #3 to #2 - give me a few years and I may surpass #1.  I didn't realize until a few minutes ago, I was already #2 in miles hiked on the national Hiking Trailhead website.

NOTES

Water, shade, info kiosk and dry toilets available at Burkett Park.  This will be the last time I mention this - the water at Burkett looks "chalky" but its safe to drink - I've suffered no ill effects after consuming it on my last few hikes.

Water and shade available at Bell's Point.

Water, shade, and info kiosk available at 5 Points Junction.

Shade, info kiosk and a bicycle repair station available at Cougar Lookout.

South Shore Playground Parking Area to Burkett Park and back
By MikeHikes on 5/1/2019
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 1star Solitude: 5stars
Distance: 7.30 Miles Duration: 3 hours, 20 minutes

Out      Playground parking area > Chaparral > Red Dam Loop > Chaparral > Winding Snake > Burkett Park        3.4 miles

Return  Burkett park > WS to LL Connector > Lanky Lackey > Nature Loop > Tasajilla Flats > Playground parking area     3.9 miles

Temp in the low 70's, overcast and h-u-m-i-d with sporadic, light winds.

Trails were damp with morning dew in places but dry otherwise.  Vegetation continues to grow but the trails are easy to see - even when the vegetation is chest high (as on portions of Winding Snake).  Numerous birds were out and singing for mates, the wild flowers, in all colors, are in bloom including bee brush; butterflies were feasting on all the flowers and bee brush. 

The moisture laden air dampened any traffic noises so all I heard were the birds singing as I hiked the trails in perfect solitude. It doesn't get better than this!

NOTES

Water, shade, info kiosk and toilets available at Playground parking area.

Water, shade, info kiosk and dry toilets available at Burkett Park.  The water is still "milky" but has no odor or discernible taste; I've suffered no ill effects after drinking it.

 

North Shore Park Extension
By MikeHikes on 4/18/2019
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: halfstar Solitude: 5stars
Distance: 6.10 Miles Duration: 3 hours, 30 minutes

Route - Park at the restrooms by the North Shore entrance then exit the park on foot and cross FM2288.  You will see a swinging gate that grants access to the park.  Round trip mileage is 6 miles.

Temps in the low 70's, partly cloudy then sunny, with fairly strong N by NW winds.

Once or twice a year, I hike this route which does not follow a named trail; instead, the trail is an old dirt road which fades into a single dirt trail as you walk deeper into the park.  There are numerous cow/animal trails crisscrossing the entire section of the park, nonetheless, the trail can be found if you look for it.  The trail ends at the fence line of a house on private property.  I recommend you come back the same way although you can follow another trail that runs parallel to the original trail for about 1/2 mile before you have to cut back to the original trail.

The main trail runs roughly parallel to the North Concho River - this river feeds into O.C. Fisher Reservoir located in the main section of the park.  It is recommended you stay on the North side of the river since private property runs along the river on the South side.  Additionally, the north side also has more trees and vegetation than the south side. Depending on the time of year, the vegetation may be thicker and higher than you'd expect. There are usually numerous members of the park's longhorn herd in the area so be aware of them - they'll leave you alone if you leave them alone.

As to the hike itself - this is one of the better hikes at the park to see birds you don't normally see elsewhere in the park due to the proximity of the river, the amount of shade trees and large swatches of grass and flowers.  Being west Texas, the river may or may not have water in it (it has quite a bit of water at the moment) which will affect the number and variety of birds you'll see. 

Ducks, Great Blue Herons, a Crested Caracara, Kingbirds, Vermillion Flycatchers, Western Bluebirds as well as sparrows, house finches and other birds were seen.  No animals besides the longhorn cattle were spotted and I saw my first reptile of the year - a lizard. 

The trail was overgrown with vegetation but fairly easy to hike on.  I made numerous forays along animal trails to the river as I looked for birds.  Some of these trails led to overlooks of the river, others took me to the river itself.  Caution is advised because these trails are NOT MAINTAINED and, some that go to the river, are fairly steep and slippery with loose dirt.

NOTES -

Before going on the hike, I STRONGLY RECOMMEND you talk to park personnel to ensure the area is open to hiking since it is sometimes closed due to hunting when other portions of the park are still open.  Additionally, it doesn't hurt to let them know you plan to be there hiking.

I recommend you look at this portion of the park using Google Earth (imagery is listed as 2019).  If the imagery date is correct, the photos were taken in January or February since the trail is easily seen and not obscured by vegetation.

Water, info kiosk and toilets available at the North Shore entrance (where you should park).  THERE IS NO WATER OR SANITARY FACILITIES AVAILABLE ON THE ROUTE.  Make sure you take plenty of water and bring your own paper in case "nature calls".

North Shore Bell's Trailhead to Cougar Lookout and back
By MikeHikes on 4/11/2019
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 1star Solitude: 5stars
Distance: 10.00 Miles Duration: 4 hours

Out      Bell's Trailhead > Trailhead to Trailhead (S) > Dinosaur Trail > Dinosaur Tracks Viewing Area > Dinosaur Trail > Upper Big Hill > Dinosaur Trail (S) > service road (NW) 50 meters > Badlands > River Bend Trail > service road (NE) > Cougar Lookout       6.1 miles

Return  Cougar Lookout > Javalina > River Bend (NW) 100 meters > service road (NE) > Lower Ghost Camp Trail > River Bend Ghost Camp > Lower Ghost Camp Trail > South Slick Rock > Trailhead to Trailhead (N) > Rocky Creek > service road (N) > Shady Trail > Bell's Trailhead    3.9 miles

Temp started at 67, ended at 76.  Sunny with a 15mph steady westerly wind.

Very pleasant day for a hike.  Yesterday, the temp tied the record high at 99 degrees, today it was 76 due to a cold front that moved in last night. 

The yellow flowers are back!  Large portions of the park have yellow and purple flowers in abundance.  There were numerous butterflies, including a few Monarchs, but not many bees.  There were many birds  and I saw my "first for this year" Western Bluebird as well as a Kingbird. 

The native vegetation is growing and some portions of the trails are shaggy.  Nonetheless, the trails are easy to see and hike on.

 

NOTES

Water available at the campsites near Bell's Trailhead.  I advise you to have plenty of water before hiking.

Water, shade and info kiosk available at Dinosaur Tracks Viewing Area. 

    IMPORTANT - Although there is a water faucet here that has provided water in the past, there has been NO WATER AVAILABLE for at least three weeks (or more).  Don't know when, if ever, the water will be available.

Shade, info kiosk and a bicycle repair station available at Cougar Lookout.

Water, shade, info kiosk and dry toilets available at River Bend Ghost Camp. 

    CAUTION is advised if you use the toilets due to insects, reptiles and possibly no TP available.

Park Mid-section Burkett Park to 5 Points Junction Loop
By MikeHikes on 3/27/2019
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 1star Solitude: 4point5stars
Distance: 6.50 Miles Duration: 3 hours, 30 minutes

Out     Burkett Park > WS to LL Connector > Roller Coaster > West Potts Creek > Armadillo > Turkey Creek > 5 Points Junction    4.0 miles

Return 5 Points Junction > Flintstone (S) > service road (NNE) > service road (SSE) > Burkett Trail > Burkett Park     2.5 miles

Temps started in low 60's, ended in low 70's.  Slight overcast with somewhat steady breeze.

An easy hike along dry and easy to see trails.  The yellow flowers are still present but the blue/purple flowers are multiplying in number.  There was a faint perfume to the air but since the agaritas have lost their blooms, the scent is faint.  In the near future, Bee Brush will have it's tiny, white vanilla scented flowers blooming.

Saw a large Javalina run across the trail about 30 yards in front of me - I readied the camera to capture a photo of the "family" but no family appeared.  Numerous birds were singing, the trails were nice and the weather was great - a very nice hike!

NOTES

Water, shade, info kiosk and dry toilets available at Burkett Park.

Water, shade and info kiosk available at 5 Points Junction.

South Shore Playground Parking Area to Armadillo Ridge Figure 8
By MikeHikes on 3/21/2019
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 1star Solitude: 5stars
Distance: 11.10 Miles Duration: 4 hours, 30 minutes

Leg 1 -  Playground parking area > Chaparral > Red Dam Loop > Chaparral > Winding Snake > Burkett Park       3.4 miles

Leg 2 -  Burkett Park > WS to LL Connector > Roller Coaster > West Potts Creek > Armadillo > (East) Potts Creek > Burkett Trail > Burkett Park     3.8 miles

Leg 3 -  Burkett Park > WS to LL Connector > Lanky Lackey > Nature Loop > Tasajilla Flats > Playground parking area    3.9 miles

Temp started at 60, ended at 72.  Partly cloudy to slight overcast.  Sporadic, light SW breeze.

Pleasant hike with numerous birds singing and lots of flowers blooming.  Yellow is the predominant flower color followed by patches of blue/purple flowers with spots of white and orange flowers seen as well.  Butterflies and blue dragonflies were out as well as other, less appreciated bugs such as flies and gnats. 

The trails are easy to see and were dry with the exception of a few wet spots on the Red Dam Loop as well as near the western end of West Potts Creek trail.  On the "dry" trails, the rocky soil has become loose in places so caution is advised when going up or down an incline (such as Roller Coaster); very easy to fall or twist an ankle by stepping on the wrong piece of soil.

NOTES

Water, shade, info kiosk and toilets available at Playground parking area.

Water, shade, info kiosk and dry toilets available at Burkett Park.

    IMPORTANT - the water at Burkett Park looks "chalky" or mineralized however, it doesn't have an odor or taste so it's safe to drink. 

North Shore Bell's Trailhead to River Bend Ghost Camp Loop
By MikeHikes on 3/14/2019
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 1star Solitude: 3point5stars
Distance: 7.10 Miles Duration: 3 hours, 15 minutes

Out      Bell's Trailhead > Trailhead to Trailhead (S 50 meters) > Dinosaur Trail > Dinosaur tracks Viewing Area > Dinosaur Trail > Upper Big Hill > service road (100 meters) > Badlands Trail > River Bend Trail > Lower Ghost Camp trail > River Bend Ghost Camp    5.3 miles

Return  River Bend Ghost Camp > Lower Ghost Camp trail > South Slick Rock > Trailhead to Trailhead (N) > North Scenic Loop > Trailhead to Trailhead > Shady Trail > Bell's Trailhead   1.8 miles

Temp started at 52, ended at 62.  Sunny with strong NNW winds at 10-15 mph.

A shorter than usual, easy hike along trails that were 90% dry and 10% damp.  Saw more people on the trails so I assume it was due to Spring Break.  Singing birds were heard and seen but I saw no wild life or reptiles, i.e. rattlesnakes.  Earlier this week, strong winds blew through the area and because of this, I found numerous, already dead, mesquite branches laying all over the trails.  There is quite a bit of water in the Concho River and it's slowly flowing into the O.C.Fisher Reservoir.  As usual, a bag of trash was collected while I hiked.  Not much else to report.

NOTES

Water available at campsites near Bell's Trailhead.

Water, shade and info kiosk available at Dinosaur Tracks Viewing Area. 

    IMPORTANT - NO WATER available today.  I reported it and the camp host said he'd check the faucet.  Strongly advise anyone to take their own water.

Water, shade, info kiosk and dry toilets available at the River Bend Ghost Camp. 

    CAUTION - watch for snakes and insects (wasps) before using the dry toilets.  TP may not be available.

Park Mid-Section Burkett Park to 5 Points Junction Loop
By MikeHikes on 3/7/2019
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: halfstar Solitude: 4point5stars
Distance: 8.30 Miles Duration: 3 hours, 45 minutes

Out      Burkett park > WS to LL Connector > Roller Coaster > West Potts Creek > Armadillo > Turkey Creek > 5 Points Junction      4.4 miles

Return  5 Points Junction > Flintstone (S) > Playground > Bell's Point > Playground > Armadillo > East Potts Creek > Burkett Trail > Burkett Park    3.9 miles

Temps started at 60, ended at 72.  Overcast, steady SW wind at 10-15 mph.

An easy, leisurely hike today along dry and easy to see trails. Recently, the park was closed for controlled burns and then a cold snap hit the area so no hikes for me in two weeks!  Last time I was out, the agaritas were just beginning to bloom and scent the air; today, I was glad to see numerous agarita bushes in various stages of blooming.  Although the scent they released was not overwhelming, nonetheless, it was still present at various places along the trails.

Lots of birds but most were not singing.  I saw a couple of raptors high in the sky as well as an American Kestrel perched in a tree so that may be the reason.  No animals or reptiles were seen.

No evidence of the controlled burn along my route and the park is beginning to "green out" but not overly so. 

NOTES

Water, shade, info kiosk and dry toilets available at Burkett Park.

Water, shade and info kiosk available at 5 Points Junction.

Water and shade available at Bell's Point.

IMPORTANT - The info kiosk maps are still out of date - trust the new, park trails map given (free) at the South Shore gate.

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