The trail along the river – an extended picnic area – starts with lush green banks and then opens on a stoney beach with a limestone bluff as a backdrop. Further downstream, the river widens and picks up the pace as it courses over the rocks and into a small stretch of rapids. The cypress trunks have the heft and wrinkles that come with age, with knots of roots above the ground woven into enormous ropes. In spring and early summer, the trail is lined with wildflowers. Sycamores, elms, willows pecans and hackberrys grow on the adjacent bottomland.
Behind the park’s Discovery Center and small stone amphitheater is a stoney path punctuated by clumps wildflowers and prickly pear cactus with their sturdy bright yellow blooms.
Several other hikes among the park’s 1,938 acres – dubbed loops 1, 2 and 3 – wind through an upland Hill Country landscape of limestone paths lined with oak and juniper. For part of its length, the Loop 3 Trail tracks along a high bluff overlooking the Guadalupe River and rolling hills that reach to the horizon, though vegetation obscures the river most of the way.
A more primitive experience is available in the Honey Creek State Natural Area, which is adjacent to the park and accessible only on guided tours each Saturday at 9 AM. The two miles of trails there have a diversity of plants and animals in distinct habitats, from the juniper, live oak and Texas persimmon of the dry, rocky hills to the Texas palmetto, columbine and maidenhair fern that grow among the creek’s wet rocks.
Among the wildlife of special interest at Honey Creek are Cagle’s map turtle, the Guadalupe bass, four-lined skink, Green Kingfisher and Honey Creek Cave salamander.