Bastrop State Park - Lost Pines Trail

7.00 Miles
750 Feet
3point5stars (3.67)41
2stars (2.22)
3stars (3.10)
More Info

Getting there: From Austin head east on Highway 71. Take the Loop 150 exit and continue east to the intersection with Highway 21. The entrance to the park is in the middle of the Y-split in the road. Once in the park turn left at the T-section in the road past the ranger station. Continue on State Park Road 1A until it intersects with State Park Road 1C. Turn right to continue on Road 1A and look for the parking area on the right soon afterward.

The Hike: The Lost Pines Hiking trail is an enjoyable stroll through a forested area resembling East Texas, right here in the Hillcountry. The hike starts at the waypoint "Trailhead" which is right across the street from the parking area. From here the path descends into the small valley of a creek. The forest is thickest at these lower elevations due to the increased moisture from the creek.

Yes, there's a trail here.  If you have trouble seeing it look for the trail blazes on the trees.
Yes, there's a trail here. If you have trouble seeing it look for the trail blazes on the trees.
On the opposite side of the creek the trail rises to the waypoint "Overlook Junction". Here the trail splits into two. Either direction will work, but on our trip an oncoming group from the left sent us to the right in search of a quieter walk. Generally speaking, the closer to the trailhead you hike the more people you'll encounter. There is ample solitude on the back end of this hike.

The numerous ponds that dot the landscape are favorite Houston Toad breeding grounds.
The numerous ponds that dot the landscape are favorite Houston Toad breeding grounds.
The trail heads south crossing the creek that's creating this valley in the process. At no time during our hike did any stream present a barrier. Typically traversal was over a dry creek bed or picking a dry spot between puddles of standing water.

At waypoint "Pond 1" the trail comes upon a pond, the first of many along this trail. These small, tranquil ponds are ideal habitat for the endangered Houston Toad. The Toad can be found in only 9 counties in Texas and is found nowhere else on Earth. Bastrop State Park has the largest known concentration of toads and thus is vital for the species' survival. Texas Parks and Wildlife recently purchased an additional tract of land to the north of the park for additional Houston Toad Habitat. At this time it's not certain when or if that additional land will be included in Bastrop State Park or set aside as a wildlife preserve.

Most of the trail consists of east terrain, though a few spots are mildly steep.
Most of the trail consists of east terrain, though a few spots are mildly steep.
Trailhead Junction, like Overlook Junction, splits the trail. To the right there's a scouting camp area and a quicker access to State Road 1A. We turn left and head east, away from the more crowded areas of the park. Note nearby the rock outcropping - it's the only one that you'll see on the hike. Most of the hike will consist of rolling hills with thick layers of loomy soil. There's also an orienteering flag here, to give you an idea of what orienteering adherents look for in the park.

The trail crosses a jeep path at the waypoint "Road Cross 1". From this point eastward hikers may set up camp anywhere along the trail, provided that suitable setbacks from the trail itself and water sources are maintained. Later in the hike the trail also crosses what is marked as County Road 180. However, this dirt road is scarcely larger than the first dirt trail and we never saw any vehicle on any of them. Despite this, one should always proceed with caution at such crossings.

Dead trees, or snags, are not an eyesore.  They're a natural part of a forest's cycle of rebirth.
Dead trees, or snags, are not an eyesore. They're a natural part of a forest's cycle of rebirth.
The official park map does not indicate the crossing at the waypoint "Power Lines". Here large, high-tension power lines cut through the park north-south. To keep trees from tangling with the lines or restricting the power companies ability to service the line all trees under the towers have been removed, so there's a large swathe of grass running through the forest.

Soon after re-entering the forest we came upon one of our favorite portions of the hike. A glade of large pine trees here keeps the floor brush to a minimum and the tree spacing is a bit larger than elsewhere. One almost gets the feeling of being in an old growth forest. Since we're just about as far away from the trailhead as this trail will lead us, this quiet spot was a ideal place to stop for a rest and a snack.

The farther away from the trailhead you travel the fewer people you'll encounter.  This backpacker and his dog were one of the few.
The farther away from the trailhead you travel the fewer people you'll encounter. This backpacker and his dog were one of the few.
As the trail turns to the north in preparation for the homestretch the path plays a game of tag with the creek that runs here. For the next mile or so the trail will cross the creek no less than 10 times starting at the waypoint "Creek Crossings".

The route back includes some climbing to make up for all of the downhill we enjoyed on the way out, however, it's very tame by Hillcountry standards. And when at the top of the ridge overlooking the creek valley below one is afforded some great views of the forest below.

We head back to the start by continuing west and then retracing our footsteps down and up the creek valley when we get back to Overlook Junction. Overall, this is a great hike and one highly recommended. While the official park map indicates that this hike should be about 8 miles (less the .6 mile spur from Trailhead Junction to State Park Road 1A) we found the distance to be more in the area of 7 miles using our GPS. We'll take along the GPS on a future trip and see whether or not we get different results.

at the lookout
the old lookout bldg (Photo by jimmy peace)
along the trail
ferns and deadwood (Photo by jimmy peace)
along the trail
starting from the lookout area (Photo by jimmy peace)
the washed out road
this is what is left when the dike broke a yr ago (Photo by jimmy peace)
ashes and burned trees, (Photo by jimmy peace)
A forest of dead trees on the Purple Trail
Lots of dead pines, plus some living oaks and an exuberantly fruitful yaupon on the Purple Trail on the east side of the park. (Photo by plectrudis)
New bridge & winter grasses
The park has built new bridges on the Red Trail creek crossings. The grasses are wearing their winter colors, which adds to the sense of desolation. (Photo by plectrudis)
Arrestingly primitive-looking CCC-built overlook
The fat columns on this CCC-built overlook resemble some sort of Neolithic monument. (Photo by plectrudis)
View of the trail
Nice and dry this year. (Photo by Eveline)
CCC Pavilion
Coming up the trail the pavilion sit on top the hill. (Photo by Eveline)
Taking a break in the rain.
The girls resting on a rock outcropping. (Photo by Eveline)
(Photo by Miles)

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Log Entries
pine trees slowly coming back
By jimmy peace on 6/23/2019
Rating: 3point5stars Difficulty: 2stars Solitude: 4stars
Distance: 2.10 Miles Duration: 1 hour

it will take yrs  but they are slowly coming back 

By JJohnjacobsen on 2/13/2018
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 2stars Solitude: 3stars
Distance: 6.00 Miles Duration: N/A
By nobody on 10/1/2016
Rating: 1star Difficulty: 1star Solitude: 1star
Distance: N/A Duration: N/A

As of October 1, 2016 the Lost Pines trail is entirely closed. The website shows a portion of it open, but that is out of date.

we have lost such a good park
By jimmy peace on 7/17/2016
Rating: 1star Difficulty: halfstar Solitude: 1point5stars
Distance: 1.30 Miles Duration: N/A

even now with the lake gone, there isnt anything, i did hike the burned out areas, tho, 

Lovely in a desolate, eerie way
By plectrudis on 12/30/2015
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 2point5stars Solitude: 2stars
Distance: 6.50 Miles Duration: N/A

I hiked the outer loop of Bastrop State Park's trails today. You wouldn't so much say that the fire damage was still visible as that it remains the dominating feature of the park. There are dead trees everywhere--standing and fallen. In some areas, it's a forest of bare, whitened trunks. 

The Red Trail weaves through the floor of a large ravine or small valley, crossing a small rust-colored stream repeatedly, and the whole thing feels strangely unearthly or primeval.

But there are signs of recovery. Grasses have moved in to take advantage of all the newly available sunlight, as have yaupons and povertyweed. Post oaks and blackjack oaks, coppiced by the fire, have put out thickets of new sprouts. And pine saplings are growing in, if a little hesitantly and unevenly. Most are 5 feet or smaller, but in some favored spots there were small groves that were 10 or 12 feet tall.  It's worth visiting just to see how the forest repairs itself.

The hike was a nice blend of valley and ridgetop ecosystems, and it provided some comfortable flat areas, with a little variety provided by some not-too-terribly-taxing hills.

Side note: the park's Copperas Creek camping area has the nicest restrooms I've ever seen in a state or national park in my entire life.

By johnbivona on 4/23/2011
Rating: 3stars Difficulty: 2point5stars Solitude: 2point5stars
Distance: 7.50 Miles Duration: N/A

My gf and I hiked this trail on Saturday.  The trail is well marked and relatively flat.  It was a 90 deg F day and we really needed the extra water we packed with us.  You will see lots of fire damage for years past brush fires inside the park.  But don't let this stop you from experiencing the hike, there was plenty of plant life and green leaves on the trees. 

Great hike in the forest
By texaskdog on 1/8/2011
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 2point5stars Solitude: 3stars
Distance: 7.00 Miles Duration: 3 hours

Bit off a little bit too much (very sore today), would have started at the dirt road and done 4.5 miles had I known we could break it up.  We saw more people on this hike than most hikes.  Maybe a dozen over 3 hours so still not a lot.  No water running in the creek. A bit of a hill coming back up but not really too much of one.  Was a lot of fun and the trees are huge.  Take the map they give you at the front as it breaks up the mileage.  Now costs $4 each.

Geocaching At Bastrop State Park
By Miles on 3/26/2010
Rating: 5stars Difficulty: 3stars Solitude: 5stars
Distance: 3.00 Miles Duration: N/A

Some Shots from a day of Geocaching at Bastrop State Park,and some of the stuff I found.

Lost in the Loblolly Pines
By austinali27 on 3/2/2010
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 2stars Solitude: 5stars
Distance: 7.00 Miles Duration: N/A

My dog and I had a great time on this hike!  I grew up in Maine so seeing so many pines trees was quite a trip.  I didn't see a single animal, and only heard one bird but all in all it was beautiful.  There is a part of the trail that as a sandy was wonderful:) 

We started out on the Purple trail and one of the trail markers had fallen over so we didn't know which way to go.  We ended up doing the Orange trail which worked out perfectly to get back to the car. 

Only saw one family on the hike and two people on 4 wheelers.  Great time!

Full purple trail took Park Road 1A back to my truck.
By Spofforth on 1/30/2010
Rating: 3stars Difficulty: 2stars Solitude: 3stars
Distance: 7.00 Miles Duration: 2 hours, 50 minutes

Nice long hike in a pine woods.  A little mucky toards the end (I started at the Lost Pines Overlook) because of all the rain but all the creeks were all crossable.  Some time when I get an earlier start I will do the full loop purple and red trails.

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