It seems as though Martin Dies Jr. State Park has become an annual event for us. This year and last year we spent the second weekend in October at this lovely state park. Read on to learn more about this unique state park in southeast Texas.
About our stay:
|B.A. Steinhagan Reservoir at sunset|
|Hen House Campsite 215|
|Hen House Campsite 215|
|Our Campsite at Walnut Ridge|
|Walnut Ridge Camping Loop|
During our stay the park rangers offered several programs including: a guided paddling trip, butterfly garden program, bicycling with the ranger, and guided hikes. The rangers were friendly and made the programs entertaining to all. Make sure you check out the ranger programs on the park website as you plan your trip.
Island Trail: This easy trail follows the perimeter of the island. You will have scenic views of the lake on this short trail.
Wildlife Trail: We hiked this easy trail the same day we did the Island Trail. On this trail you will hike through the forest. On the day of our visit the mosquitos were terrible on this trail.
Slough Trail: The park map says this is a challenging trail. I did not find it challenging at all. I would say it is an easy trail that will take you one to one and half hours to walk. You will cross 16 bridges just as the park map describes, most of them are in need of repair. If you are like us and actually counted the bridges, don’t forget the bridge you cross on the park road as one. This trail is a walk through the woods and slough area. The trail is well maintained, wide, and flat. Other than tree roots that could potentially trip you, I do not see how this trail could be rated as challenging as the park map states.
Shelter Trail: This shaded short trail between the Walnut Ridge shelter area and the kayak/canoe launch area is wide and flat. We rode our bicycles on this trail.
My son likes to ride his bike on the trails. I prefer the less bumpy ride on the park roads. At Martin Dies Jr. State Park we were able to enjoy both rides. There are miles of roads to ride. The roads are flat making for an easy ride. Both the Hen House and Walnut Ridge camping areas have plenty of places on and off road to ride a bicycle. We really enjoyed riding our bicycles during our stay.
As previously mentioned our campsite was located on the slough part of the lake. We prefer to kayak on rivers and sloughs as opposed to open lake. The great thing about Martin Dies Jr. State Park is you have the option to kayak either on the lake or river/slough area. One morning during our stay we ventured out on the lake as we kayaked the Walnut Paddling Trail. That morning the winds were blowing 15-20 mph from the north. To say it was a bad choice on our part was an understatement. Embarrassingly enough, we did not make it around the entire loop that day as the waves were too much for our kayaks. We stopped at the day use area boat launch and walked back to our campsite to get the truck to haul the kayaks back to camp. The next day we kayaked on the slough/river area and had a blast fishing and exploring. We did not see an alligator during our 2021 visit as we had the previous year. I am not sure if that was a disappointment or a blessing.
A Word to the Wise:
We had a blast during our three day stay at Martin Dies Jr. State Park. However, I must warn you of the one negative thing about this state park. The MOSQUITOS are awful!! Bring whatever repellent you have to try to stop these annoying insects. We set up a fan at our campsite to keep them off of us. However when we were on our kayaks and bikes we relied on bug spray and LL Bean No Fly Zone apparel to keep mosquitos at bay.
I hope my post has helped you plan your next getaway. Don’t forget to subscribe to my blog so you don’t miss a single post.
May God bless you on all of life’s adventures.