Hill Country State Natural Area
Things to Do
Tucked away in the rugged terrain southwest of Bandera is Hill Country State Natural Area, an undeveloped and secluded retreat. Approximately 40 miles of multiuse trails wind up grassy valleys, cross spring-fed streams, and climb steep limestone hills. Equestrians, hikers and mountain bikers can enjoy exploring the trails. Primitive and back country camping areas are available to equestrian and non-equestrian campers.
Swimming and fishing are not available at this time due to extremely low water levels. Please contact the park for the latest conditions.
Recreational activity centers around 40 miles of designated, multiuse trails. The park offers a back country setting for activities such as primitive camping, backpacking, mountain biking, hiking, , and nature viewing.
This park is located 12 miles southwest of the town of Bandera on FM 1077, 52 miles northwest of San Antonio. Formerly the Bar-O Ranch, this 5400-acre site provides a back country setting. Visitors may bring their own horses (must have current Coggins.) The park offers 40 miles of designated, multi-use trails open to backpacking, primitive camping, horseback riding, and mountain bicycling. The terrain ranges from flat, broad, creek bottoms to steep, rocky canyons up to 2000 feet in elevation. Well water is available for horses but visitors should bring their own drinking water. Hitching posts are provided, and parking is allowed around the perimeter of the designated equestrian area. The park does not provide horses.
Chapa's Camp is a group camp and has a capacity for a large number of people. It is in a 10-acre, shaded area and has a large barn with a concrete floor and electricity. There is water for horses, fire rings, picnic tables, a picket line, approximately 12 horse stalls, and a vault toilet nearby. Reservations are required.
At the Trailhead Campground there are 6 primitive equestrian sites. These have picnic tables, fire rings, pens, water for horses, 2 - 40' pull-through and 4 - 40’ back-in parking spots for horse trailers, and a vault toilet in the area. These have access to the 40 mile trail system.
A group lodge is available for equestrian or non-equestrian use and will sleep 12 persons. It has 4 bedrooms, two with queen size beds, one with two twins and a dorm room with 3 twins. The lodge has, one and a half bathrooms, kitchen with a stove and refrigerator, and seating for 12; central heating and air-conditioning; porch; a separate covered barbecue pit, and 5 stalls, 2 pens and corrals for horses. Towels, bed linens and cooking utensils are not furnished. Use of the equestrian arena is in addition to the group lodge rental.
Bar O is a primitive day use facility that is set up for equine activities, although it is popular with campers too, and is located across from the park headquarters in 6 shaded acres. It has a water trough, fire rings, and a flushing toilet. The Bar O has limited facilities for securing your horses at hitching posts.
Fires may be built in fire rings only and dead wood can be collected off the ground; however, park officials recommend bringing your own firewood because dead wood is scarce, and the cutting of standing timber is prohibited. Trash has to be packed out for disposal, including all hay and animal byproducts.
Due to water conservation measures, no horse washing is currently allowed.
- Be sure to bring drinking water; potable water is not available; all water must be treated.
- Campfires permitted in fire rings only, except during burn bans.
- As with all Texas State Parks, pets must be on leashes no longer than 6 feet (strictly enforced).
- Trails may be subject to closure during wet conditions.
- We are a primitive park, back to nature - so we say "If you think you need it, we don't have it, so you'll need to bring it!"
Outfitters & Guide Services
Various adjacent ranches offer horse rentals, tours, and other accommodations through the natural area. For information call the Bandera County Convention and Visitors bureau at 1-800-364-3883 or visit their website at
The park offers a variety of educational opportunities. Check the calendar for upcoming events or contact the park for special tours.
Volunteer Information: For information on volunteer opportunities contact the park or their friends group: Go here for information on volunteer and Park Host opportunities at other Texas State Parks., P.O. Box 2282, Bandera, TX 78003.
Nearby interests are and Garner State Park; ; Kerrville-Schreiner Park; numerous dude ranches; kayak/tube rentals on the Medina River; regional rodeos; and other special events in the towns of Bandera, Medina and Pipe Creek. For more information on this area, visit the Bandera County Convention and Visitors Bureau web site at www.banderacowboycapital.com