Campsite name: Garner State Park, Texas
Camping type: Frontcountry Campground
Campsite opening hours: Check-out time is 2 pm and all sites need to be renewed by 9 am depending on availability.
Fees: $35 for full hookup, $26 for electricity or 50 Amp electricity, $22 for 30 Amp electricity, and $20 - $15 for sites with water. A park pass is required and is $8 per day per person for anyone over 13 years.
Facilities: The campground is split into two sections, Old Garner and New Garner. Download a detailed map of the campground here. Both areas are located along the Frio River. Old Garner is considered the premium area because it is located in the Pecan Grove and Oakmont areas. There are recreational activities in this area such as mini golf, paddle boats, a river dam and the deepest swimming area. The New Garner area is more secluded and is located away from the activity area so it is quieter.
Additional camping facilities include a dump station, group day use facilities, ranger station, hot showers, ranger station, picnic area, playground, visitor center, tubing and much more.
Each site features a picnic table, outdoor grill, fire ring, water and lantern posts. Pets are allowed at the campsites however they must be kept on a leash no longer than six feet and must not be left unattended.
Camping Month: The busy season is from Memorial Day weekend through to Labor Day weekend and during other holidays throughout the year. The wettest months are May and October. The January average temperature is 37 degrees and the July average is 97 degrees.
Gear: Tables, BBQ pits, heaters and fans are all available to rent from the concession building. Regular camping equipment is necessary and it is recommended to bring any watercraft, kayaks, tubes etc.. so you can utilize the Frio River during your stay.
Food: During the park's busy season the Garner Grill sells fantastic meals and snacks. However, bringing your own food is recommended if you want to eat at your campsite. Click here for home-made camping snack recommendations.
Feral hogs live in the area. No food should be left unattended and hogs can get into coolers or ice chests so these need to be kept away from anywhere that they should access.
Lookout Spot: The best view is found on the Old Mount Baldy Trail. This is the most well-known trail in Garner State Park. The time required to complete the trail is between one and two hours. You may need to clamber up some rocks because the hike has some difficult sections. A view of the Frio River is seen as you near the summit, and there is a flag at the very top.
Make sure to visit the White Rock Cave on the way up to Mount Baldy. It is adjacent to the Old Mountain Baldy route, which isn’t easy to locate on the trail maps. The Bridges Trail and Crystal Cave Trail combined provide a trek up the mountain with views of Mount Baldy. Make sure to bring a flashlight when exploring any caves.
For a detailed guide to the hiking and biking trails available in the park download the Garner State Park Trail Map.
Activities: There is so much nature to see at Garner State Park. With two caves, two mountains, two great swimming areas and lots more trails there is more than most people expect to find.
Visitors to Garner State Park can rent paddle boats, kayaks and inner tubes. The concession building even operates a tube shuttle during the busy season.
The rangers offer programs that include nature hikes, geocaching and geology educational programs. The events page has upcoming events for both kids and adults.
Click here for camping activity recommendations.
Garner State Park is one of the best places in Texas to fly fish for freshwater trout. The Frio River, which flows through the park, is annually stocked by Texas Parks and Wildlife. As a result, rainbow trout flourish in this region. The park offers great rainbow trout fishing for both novice and seasoned anglers. If you didn't bring your own, you can rent fishing gear. Visitors of all ability levels are welcome, including children.
The abundance of fauna in the Frio Canyon has long been well-known. White-tailed deer, black rock and fox squirrels, racoons, and many other species can be seen by park visitors. Among the migratory bird species that live here are eastern bluebirds, mourning doves, black and turkey vultures, and Rio Grande turkeys. Bird watching is a popular activity and the endangered Golden-cheeked Warbler nest in the area from March to July. The Black-capped Vireo also nests from April to July and can be spotted in the park.
Highlight: Swimming or floating down the Frio River is the highlight when visiting Garner State Park. The river offers 2.9 miles winding through 1,774 acres of scenic terrain. The concession building operates a tube shuttle service during the busy season. There are also private outfitters that operate tube and shuttle services throughout the area such as Frio River Outfitters which offers a 7-hour tube adventure. It is recommended to wear good water shoes that will not fall off. As the bottom of the river is rocky so adequate footwear is required. Sun protection including sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat is necessary to avoid being sunburnt. Water to remain hydrated throughout the day and it is recommended to not bring any valuables on the river. There are lockers are available at the concession area for any valuables such as keys.
Tips: Dancing is held during the summer evenings, typically from the beginning of June thru to mid-August. Off-season dances may be held at different times of the year. Since the 1940’s people have been gathering at the park's concession building for an evening of jukebox dancing. It is recommended to arrive early as the parking lot can fill up easily. The concession building and dance pavilions were built by the Civilian Conservation Corps.