Lost Maples State Natural Area

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Trails Information

Discover beauty along the river, prairie and woodlands.

Small bird perched on an Ashe juniper limb
Black-capped vireo

Known for its showy bigtooth maple trees, Lost Maples State Natural Area offers several miles of rugged hiking trails through a quiet area of sheltered canyons, spectacular views and scenic woodlands. Find a diversity of plants and wildlife as you explore this beautiful area.


All trails are hiking and biking for the first mile from the trailhead, after which all trails are hiking only.

This list may not include all trails in the park.

Trail Distance Time Difficulty Description
Maple Trail 0.4 mi. 20 min. Easy This short hike showcases a large stand of relict bigtooth maple trees. See if you can figure out how the bigtooth maple earned its name.
East-West Trail 1.0 mi. 45 min. Easy Take a hike along one of the tributaries of the Sabinal River. Enjoy the shaded spots and beautiful trees, and consider which trail you may take if you lengthen your hike - West or East.
East Trail 3.1 mi. 3 hrs. Challenging Discover bigtooth maples, bald cypress and sycamore trees along the spring-fed Sabinal River. As you transition upward on the rocky slopes, you’ll be rewarded with scenic views and spectacular rock faces. There are a couple of steep areas, so be prepared with plenty of water (32 oz. or one quart per hour of your hike) and good hiking shoes.
West Trail 3.6 mi. 3.5 hrs. Challenging Enjoy peace and quiet during this steep hike. Your efforts will lead to solitude, springs and spectacular views. Experience slightly cooler temperatures in the beautiful and shaded Mystic Canyon area. Watch your step on this hilly, rocky terrain and bring plenty of water (32 oz. or one quart per hour of your hike)!
West Loop Trail 2.9 mi. (round trip) 1.5 hrs. Moderate Venture 1/2 mile off of the West Trail and take this 1.29-mile detour into the quiet retreat of a shady Ashe juniper grove.
List of Trails

Points of Interest

GPS coordinates shown in decimal degrees.

Point Latitude Longitude Description
Monkey Rock 29.8287° -99.5696° You'll have no trouble spotting the unique limestone outcrop fondly nicknamed "monkey rock." Look for the plants growing on the cliff walls, supported by water that seeps from underground.
Grotto 29.8312° -99.5741° Enjoy the peaceful setting and cooler temperatures of this geologic wonder. Listen for the water that supports the growth of maidenhair ferns and other plants.
Scenic Overlook 29.8218° -99.5786° Detour 1/3 mile one-way to discover views of the Sabinal River valley below. Listen for the raven's croak-like call, and look for soaring vultures and zone-tailed hawks as you appreciate the view.
Pond Day-use Area 29.8265° -99.5862° This day-use-only spot is the perfect place to unwind. Bring a family picnic or your fishing pole—bass live in the pond, and we stock trout and catfish.
Spring 29.8308° -99.5940° Enjoy a break on the West Trail as you listen to the soothing trickle of the spring.
Spring 29.8323° -99.6044° As though appearing from nowhere, this spring is one of several life-sustaining springs at Lost Maples State Natural Area.
List of Points of Interest

Staying Safe

  • Know your limits. Prepare for sun and heat. Wear sunscreen, insect repellent and appropriate clothing/hiking shoes.
  • Drink plenty of water. Your body quickly loses fluids when you’re on the trail. Bring a quart of water (32 oz.) per hour of activity.
  • Tell others where you’ll be. If possible, avoid exploring alone. Tell someone where you are going and when you plan to return.
  • Wear a helmet when biking. Check with park headquarters to match the ride to your skill level. Wear a helmet to protect yourself in case of a crash.
  • You may not be able to connect. It’s a good idea to take along a cell phone and GPS unit, but don’t count on them.
  • Portions of the trail are steep and rugged. Please use caution. Trails are on unlevel terrain with loose rocks and steep steps, and traverse steep hills and creek crossings. Most trails are unsuitable for mobility aids and strollers. If you have questions about the terrain, check with park staff before your hike.

Trail Etiquette

  • Trash your trash. Keep the park natural. Pack out all of your trash and Leave No Trace.
  • Leave feeding to nature. Feeding wild animals may make them sick and more likely to harm people.
  • Take only memories and pictures. Please don’t disturb or remove any of the park’s plants, animals or artifacts.
  • Primitive camping is allowed. Check with park headquarters for information on areas where you may camp. Only containerized cooking is allowed, no charcoal.
  • Campfires are permitted only in designated rings in the water and electric camping area, but not in the primitive camping area due to potential for ground scarring and wildfires.
  • Keep pets on leashes for their safety, and to protect wildlife.