Lost Maples East Trail Loop is a 11.1 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Vanderpool, Texas that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.
Sabinal River canyon, isolated maple trees, boulders & cliffs, steep climb The route begins on the "Maples Trail" on the Sabinal River. There is a short stint through boulders below a cliff. Then a wide meandering primitive road that crosses and recrosses this mostly dry or very shallow river, often below a canopy of maples. Elaborately carved cliffs, including "The Grotto" with its fern-festooned drip springs, are attractions. A steep, rock-covered ascent to the caprock provides some "rock 'n roll". On top, an overlook of the central valley entry of the Park. Another overlook down a sheer cliff into the Can Creek canyon and the campground at "The Pond" and its dam. Next a steep rock-'n-rolly road descending to The Pond. The route crosses the dam and bypasses some small waterfalls below the dam. Then a couple of foot-stone crossings of Can Creek and a view of a hawk's nest on the cliffs as you return on a primitive road back to the start point at the picnic grounds on the Sabinal River. Site of annual volksmarch and daily YRE walk.
Gorgeous hike, but definitely a moderate trail
I did the full loop, West trail to east trail. great hike, lots of variety and some fun scrambling/boulder hopping. About 8 miles all together. Stunning views from the ridge really reward the climb up. I had gorgeous weather, too.
Decent views. Monkey rock was pretty cool. Massive amount of butterflies in early September. Wading across streams was refreshing.
My husband and I did this hike 3 years ago in the fall and loved it. The fallen maple leaves everywhere were beautiful. We brought out dog along too. there is a steep incline with white rocks in the direct sun. we didn't realize the rocks were as hot as they were and once we reached the top/dirt again, our dog refused to walk. The pads of his feet had blistered and rubbed completely off from the hot rocks! We felt terrible of course. Bandaged him up, camped over night at the top and hiked back down the next morning with him in my husbands backpack. He's 45lbs! It was an experience we'll never forget. So moral of the story is "be aware of hot rocks when you decide to bring your pups along!"
My favorite Texas hike thus far (even though it was not Fall). Combination of riparian areas and sweeping vistas from atop the ridgeline make this hike worth the work. Unique geologic formations and plant communities are worthy of exploration. Trails were well maintained and the park was not crowded (am certain it is crowded in the Fall). Bring plenty of water and proper footwear (you will need to protect your ankles on steep ascent and descent).
Lost Maples State Park was such a treat to hike, and for us, a hidden gem. Everyone knows that you go to Lost Maples for fall colors. But the purple mountain laurels that grow in springtime are so fragrant that, especially once you reach the highest elevation of the east loop trail, the scent is overwhelming. The waters were also crystal clear, which I guess I didn't expect... though to be honest, we didn't expect any water, so this was a treat!
Great trail, a bit rocky when going up the hill, but worth it for the beautiful scenery.