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Garner is one of the most visited parks in the Texas State Park system. Garner has over 600 campsites. The weather so far has been perfect for camping - warm days and cool nights. Needless to say, the park is over 90% full. That is a lot of folks.
If you like people watching, then this would be the park for you. If you prefer quiet solitude, don't visit this park during the summer or any holiday weekend. Like the last time we were here, we are camping in the Live Oak Camping Area. This time we chose a campsite that was far away from the public restrooms. As a result, we got a nicer campsite and the campsites around us are quieter - more trailers, fewer tents.
Like the first time we were here, there were armadillos wandering the campgrounds in search of food.
One nice aspect of the park being real busy is that everything is open. The above visitor center is an information and park store located by the Shady Meadows Camping Area. They sell all of the same stuff you might find in the ranger station. By the way, the ranger station is now distributing a "Hiking Trail Map." A bad picture of the map is shown below. The map has a number of hiking trails overlaid on a topographical map. This here is a mighty fine map.
I used the map to pick out an interesting route. Starting at the Pavilion & Gift Shop, I walked up the Madrone Walkway to the park road.
The Madrone walkway runs behind the Pavilion & Gift Shop.
Crossed the road to the trail head for the Bridges Trail.
Walked past the Big Cedar which looks to be about the same size as a Juniper around campsite 354 in the Live Oak Camping Area. Could just be the angle?
Anyways, past the champion cedar and up, up, up to the Scenic Overlook at the Painted Rock. What a terrific view. This is definitely worth the climb.
The views keep changing as you walk around the crown of the hill. Each turn brings some new aspect to the view that is precious.
Then I walked on to the Crystal Cave. Yes, it is a cave. But no, there don't appear to be any crystals in the cave. Quite a bit of graffiti.
Quite a bit of graffiti in the Crystal Cave.
Copyright © 2005 Larry Pearson - All Rights Reserved