Hiking to Gorman Falls, Bend
Hiking to Gorman Falls
Gorman Falls is a spectacular waterfall located next to the Colorado River in Colorado Bend State Park in the Texas Hill Country. The water comes from Gorman Springs, and cascades down leaving behind calcium deposits from the mineral rich water, which over time have grown into beautiful formations on the limestone rocks. Because of the fragility of the area, no one is allowed inside the falls area.
The hike to Gorman Falls is a little over a mile long, but it’s rugged terrain, filled with cacti, sharp rocks and steep climbs/descents to the falls. In other words, it’s amazing!
It’s a tiring hike, with little shade, so be sure to take plenty of water! Keep your camera on, because you never know when wildlife will surprise you! We walked up on 3 deer on the trail, and saw several red tailed hawks posing for pictures! If you are planning to take pictures of Gorman Falls, and after climbing all that way you are going to want pictures, go in the morning when the sun is shining on the falls.
After resting on the little observation deck, take some time to play in the river. Careful, the wet rocks can be slippery! We walked in the water, as little minnows and frogs swam away from us, and were surprised as big fish splashed in the water. It’s a great place for fishing, too! Watch for bubbles in the shallow water, a sign of where natural springs are convening with the river.
We wanted to see the top of the falls, and it’s not a long hike up. Continue back up the trail and head towards the convention center. We were able to walk almost to the edge of the waterfall! You can continue to walk along the Gorman Springs trail, or head back. We had a long day, and walked back along the park road to our car. Along the way, we passed a cave in the ground. Caving tours are arranged through Nichols Outdoor Adventures in the park. These aren’t the tourist cavern, with concrete walkways and lighting and are a great adventure!
As we were hiking out, a funny thing happened. We were met by one of the park rangers, who eyeing our kids, in a hushed tone told my husband and me that there had been reports of some bicyclers in the park, riding in the ….. nude! OH MY!!! I looked around at the sharp rocks and cactus that make up the landscape and just shook my head. We kept an eye out, but never saw HIDE NOR HAIR of the renegade riders!
The State Park offers tours of Gorman Springs, which can be arranged at the Park Headquarters. You can also access the falls from the river, but be prepared to pay the park entry fee venture into the park or on the trails. We camped at Sulphur Springs Camp just upriver, and were able to walk to the falls.
The state park offers many other trails for hikers and mountain bikers. We can’t wait to return with our bikes to ride the Spicewood Trail, and swim in Spicewood Springs! They also rent out kayaks at the park headquarters, and you can camp along the shores of the river. They offer RV camping and primitive tent camping, too. Of course, my son can’t wait to go fishing in the Colorado River, filled with catfish, bass and stocked with trout by Texas Parks and Wildlife each winter!
What else you need to know
Bring everything you need with you, including gas, it’s a long drive to the next gas station!
Before you go, check with the park for water levels and burn bans.
Once we ran out of food, we drove into Bend for some cheeseburgers from Bad Bob’s. The little store, the only store in Bend, has been there for over 85 years, and is commonly referred to as the Bend Store. I laughed as I overheard a visitor exclaim as he walked in, “I haven’t been here in 30 years, and everything looks the same!”.
Their slogan is “We have everything you need, almost.” And it’s true, while our cheeseburgers cooked we looked through old cd’s, hats and shirts proclaiming their slogan, knives, dated magazines and fishing gear. We walked out with a handful of old cd’s and a new Bad Bob’s hat sitting on my daughter’s head, as well as a bag of burgers!
We sat outside on their patio, surrounded by cow skulls and enjoyed our burgers, as neighboring chickens ran around in the street beside us. I checked my phone several times, certain that time was running a little slower here, and loving it!
Bad Bob’s offers live music every Sunday night, and brings in local bands on Friday and Saturday nights during Spring Break and the summer.
Colorado Bend State Park
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