Lost Maples West Trail Loop

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Lost Maples State Natural Area

Lost Maples West Trail Loop is a 7 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Vanderpool, Texas that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, nature trips, and bird watching and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Distance: 7.0 miles Elevation Gain: 839 feet Route Type: Loop

dog friendly

camping

hiking

nature trips

bird watching

cave

forest

lake

wild flowers

Texas State Parks are open for day use. Due to COVID-19 parks require reservations. You must reserve and print day passes before you arrive, wear a face mask, practice social distancing in the park, and limit groups to 5 or less. More info can be found here: https://tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/ The route begins by a walk back to picnic ground entrance, crossing Can Creek where it flows into the Sabinal River, then going up Can Creek to the dam and "The Pond", cross at another pond, continue to the sign at the optional loop. Take a side canyon and creek. Then a steep climb with one switch-back to the top of the caprock. A dogleg along a somewhat grassy but mostly treeless caprock leads to a more gradual but rock-strewn descent to mostly rock-bottomed Dry Can Creek. Cliffs, boulders, water-scoured holes. Finally a ledge trail above the steep, deep ravine that Dry Can becomes, descending back to Can Creek. Cross Can & backtrack to picnic area. This park is beloved for its red and yellow fall foliage, owed mainly to its "lost" biota of Uvalde bigtooth maples, & for its birding, featuring the black-capped vireo and golden-cheeked warbler, but it can be crowded in the fall and access may even become limited. Site of annual volksmarch and daily YRE walk.

hiking
11 days ago

Loved this trail! Walked to the lake and a little past (abt 2mi down) with my mom and blind dog. Had just rained the night before the so beautiful streams to cool the pup.

hiking
21 days ago

Awesome hike, trail really changes in winter can see further into underbrush. Love the elevation changes and silence.

hiking
23 days ago

This hike is one I grew up doing as a kid and decades later it’s not lost its appeal. I was out there on 4/25, the week the parks reopened, and the limited entries to the park made it particularly enjoyable with less people. The temps were also 55-78 high that day, so starting early was perfection. The hike is rated accurately as moderate, more so because of length and some decent ascent and descent sprinkled throughout. Fall is my favorite time here when the leaves are changing colors, but the spring offers beautiful views of the Texas hill country along with a great workout if you’re looking to escape the city.

1 month ago

I am a beginner and this was my first real trail and it was a great challenge. Passed by this trail on the way to Garner and to my surprise I found this area much more pleasant . if you are going in from the East trail it's very pleasent and quiet ,steep climb up but the views are worth it .

hiking
rocky
scramble
3 months ago

Route, rock, and roll up and down the mystic loop that is the west trail. Watch out for handsome squirrels, shiny rocks, and misty morning hills. Save some stamina for the sudden steep scrambles to the top of the ridge-line where you'll find some sneaky fire ants and the only chemical toilet on this side of the trail. Primitive Campsite H - The camping clearings are peaceful and provide ample hammock hookup space. You can settle into any little nook among the trees or post up out in the open to enjoy a wide expanse of stars. You're not far off the trail, but you feel like you're hidden deep in the woods. Also, SUPER clean. Not a trace of humanity, as if aliens had made a clearing and left it for us to enjoy. Enjoy the peace, quiet, and the smell of a real forest that seems as though it doesn't belong in Texas. This park will remind you of your favorite park back in your home state. As you walk down the trail, you make think you've found the "ponds", but you'll be wrong. Wait, and keep walking, and you'll find strikingly clear ponds with flora and fishies galore. Approach quietly, because there are jumpy and sneaky fast turtles who will give you the stink eye and swim into the abyss if you stare too long. The Ranger HQ provides for all your maple merch but not your snack desires. Unless you exclusively want to eat s'mores, stop at the local Lost Maples Country Store to satisfy your snack cravings.

hiking
4 months ago

This trail is great! Uphills and downhills but not too hard, not many scenic overlooks but still many things to look at, a few spots with a bit of water, a few creek crossings with reliable enough stepping rocks. Took a star off mostly because the last little 2.5 mile loop bit was a little pointless- steep hill up but no view, mostly just rocks and scrub. Fine if you want to walk more but it doesnt really add anything to the walk. the whole trail has decent markers, but me always being paranoid that I'm going the wrong way, I kept track on this app. the whole trail took about 4.5 hours for us, stopped for lunch and pictures. overall, very reccomended for those that need more than a flat trail but not crazy hiking connoisseurs.

hiking
4 months ago

Day 2 crew 8787

hiking
4 months ago

Very nice hike. Trekking poles or open hiking sandals recommended for traversing the creeks.

hiking
4 months ago

Welcome to winter in Texas. To create a relatively flat hike we took the North Fork of the West Loop. The Trail meandered along the river with a few crossings. The Crossings had stepping stones. A very nice, gentle hike.

hiking
muddy
rocky
5 months ago

Great hike if you are looking for solitude over the “wow factor” of the more crowded East Trail. This trail had it’s own bit of wow following the steep rocky climb near mystic canyon. Great views and no jockeying with the flip flop and sandal crowd to enjoy the beauty. If you are interested in getting in a good steady hike AND see the gorgeousness that is Lost Maples I recommend the West Trail. The only reason it got 4 stars instead of 5 was the fact that we still managed to sense the crowds so it fell just short of the solitude we like. Also ran into a few points that were poorly marked .

rocky
5 months ago

We did this hike but in reverse from the description, heading west at the creek the going counterclockwise to the pond. Large part of trail is in creek bed or crosses back and forth. Can be confusing to follow but easier if creek is dry. We skipped the extra loop. This direction was better on my knees. Colors weren't spectacular but this was a less crowded hike during a popular time

hiking
rocky
scramble
6 months ago

Great hike, colors not as vivid due to the lack of rain this year. Still a great day to hike in Lost Maples!

hiking
fee
rocky
6 months ago

hiking
rocky
6 months ago

hiking
rocky
7 months ago

Recorded route for me included distance from/to RV campground at the beginning/end. Excellent trail but the trail could use a few more directional arrows where trail crosses / merges onto / diverges out of dry creek beds / washed rock. Also note that steep parts of the trail are rocky so best traversed with at least one good knee and a good walking stick. The West trail is slightly less scenic than East trail, however does offer a little more shade. West trail seems to have a few less hikers on it if you are looking to enjoy the peace of a hike. About 6-ish or so water crossings but easily accomplished on well placed large boulders. Enjoy.

hiking
rocky
7 months ago

hiking
over grown
rocky
10 months ago

Husband and I completed the West trail & the West Loop trail. Lots of rock, at least 1/2 of the trails are rock. Trails are not well marked, specially (what may be) dried creek beds. We would start off one way only to reach dead end & turn back. Not a lot of great open views but appreciated that because it provided shade from hot Texas sun. Definitely wear study shoes & pay attention to map/app. If you hike in summer months like we did, it is even more important to bring lots of water. I would do this trail again but in October to April, when is when I usually visit Lost Maples with family and do the East Trail. 3 stars is for being super rocky and lack of markings.

hiking
11 months ago

Beautiful tails and easy to navigate not because of signs just easy. Lots of rules and a little more crowded than we liked. You also can’t camp at camp C, which is the nicest camp.

hiking
off trail
rocky
Mon May 27 2019

Wed May 22 2019

great hike

hiking
rocky
Sun Mar 24 2019

Great trail some steep parts but only to highest part on trail. Lots of water throughout multiple terrains to navigate. Feet can stay dry some water crossings.

backpacking
Mon Jan 07 2019

I backpacked the East and West loops with two of my college-age kids last weekend (Thursday through Saturday.) We arrived at Lost Maples around 3pm, paid our fees, and headed to the West Loop trail head -- took the clockwise direction. It took less than an hour to get to primitive area F, where we stayed the night. We had a lazy morning on Friday and continued the West Loop over to "The Ponds", where the loops join. From there we picked up the West Loop trail and got into primitive area A in time to cook dinner and pitch camp. The trails were very well maintained and surprisingly litter-free. The climbs were very steep, but doable -- I really appreciated having my hiking poles. Note that the lower elevation sections are along creek beds -- lots of stream crossings plus seeps and springs mean your shoes will get at least a little wet. We camped at primitive area F -- almost. It turns out the actual area F was a few hundred feet further down the trail. Look for a second sign. Nevertheless, we were virtually alone -- only one other camper there on a Thursday night. There are few trees, so the night sky was spectacular -- the kids got up at midnight to watch a meteor shower. And the sun warmed the campsite very quickly in the morning -- nice, in January. There is a composting toilet on the main trail, about a 5 minute walk back from F which saves having to dodge prickly pears in the dark. While I pumped water, my kids did the lollypop loop that extends this trail by a couple of miles -- they report that there's no much worth seeing up there. Highlight of the hike: the Mystic Canyon section -- really beautiful creek.

Fri Nov 30 2018

Very rocky and hard to determine where the trail actually is in many spots. Good views and nice shade and a lot less crowded. Just needs better markers for the trail and make sure you have very sturdy hiking shoes.

hiking
Sat Nov 03 2018

I’ve done this in June and December. December was much preferred!

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