For the first time in 25 years, a new state park is set to open in North Texas. The Palo Pinto Mountains State Park — located about 75 miles west of Fort Worth — will open at the end of the year in coordination with the centennial celebration of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD).
As part of the 100th anniversary, the TPWD is hosting a series of events including ranger-guided walks and hikes across 89 state parks. We thought we’d take part in our own celebration by highlighting the state parks around North Texas, starting with the newest addition in Palo Pinto.
Before we hit the trails, let’s learn a bit more about what we’re celebrating.
- The Texas State Parks program was created in 1923, but it was initially conceptualized as a collection of roadside attractions for travelers. It wasn’t until Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal that the program expanded, resulting in more than 50 parks.
- Today, the park system encompass more than 630,000 acres across 89 parks.
- There are currently 10 atate parks in North Texas and the opening of Palo Pinto will make 11.
- The state acknowledges that much of its parkland is located on the lands of Indigenous peoples. Learn more about Native American history in Texas.
Palo Pinto Mountains State Park
Known as the “hill country of the north,” the park will sit on 5,000 acres of land with several 1,400-ft peaks, the 90-acre Tucker Lake, and two creeks. There will also be 18 miles of hiking, biking, and horse riding trails, along with four campgrounds.
Bennett Partners will work on design elements for the visitor center, playscape, equestrian campground, and camping loop. According to TPWD, the buildings will be light on the land and blend in with the pristine forests of live oaks, post oaks, and pecan trees.
Private funds raised by the Texas Parks & Wildlife Foundation and Field & Future by H-E-B will be leveraged with $21 million in public funds to construct the roads, utilities, buildings, and other facilities necessary to open the park.
Fundraising is still underway, and officials are hoping for a soft opening by late 2023.