Looking to experience the beauty of nature in Texas? Look no further than Tyler State Park! This popular park is located just north of Tyler and is easily accessible from Dallas, making it a great getaway from the city. It’s about a 30-minute drive from central Tyler and even worth a weekend trip if you’re exploring the area from Dallas.
Overview of the Tyler State Park
Tyler State Park is a picturesque outdoor destination located in Smith County, Texas. Situated just north of Tyler, the park spans over 900 acres and offers visitors a diverse range of recreational activities and natural beauty to enjoy. It’s a haven for camping and immersing yourself in nature.
Tyler State Park covers a vast area of 985.5 acres and has been a state park since 1939. The land was deeded by private owners in 1934 and 1935, while original improvements were made by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC).
One of the main attractions of Tyler State Park is its stunning lake. The park is centered around a 64-acre spring-fed lake, which provides ample opportunities for fishing, swimming, and boating. Anglers can try their luck at catching bass, catfish, and sunfish in the serene waters of the lake. Boating enthusiasts can bring their own boats or rent canoes, paddleboats, or kayaks from the park to explore the lake.
Hiking and biking trails are another highlight of Tyler State Park. The park features over 13 miles of trails that wind through lush forests, rolling hills, and along the lake’s shore. These trails cater to both beginners and experienced hikers, offering a variety of difficulty levels. Nature lovers will appreciate the park’s diverse ecosystem, which includes towering pine and oak trees, vibrant wildflowers, and an abundance of wildlife.
For those who wish to extend their stay, Tyler State Park provides various camping options. The park offers campsites with water and electricity hookups, as well as more primitive campsites for a more rugged experience. Additionally, there are screened shelters available for rent, providing a comfortable alternative to traditional tent camping. The park also has picnic areas, a group pavilion, and a swimming beach for visitors to enjoy.
Tyler State Park is also known for its scenic beauty, particularly during the fall season when the foliage transforms into vibrant shades of red, orange, and gold. The park’s picturesque landscapes make it a popular spot for photography and nature enthusiasts. It’s also a fantastic place for birdwatching, as numerous bird species inhabit the area.
Keep in mind that during peak season, from March to Thanksgiving, especially on weekends, the park can get a bit crowded. If you prefer a quieter experience, consider visiting early in the morning to avoid the crowds.
Tyler State Park Admission
Visiting Tyler State Park is quite affordable and accessible. The admission fee for teens and adults ages 12 and above is $6, while children under 12 can enter for free. When you arrive at the park, head to the main entrance of the state park highway. There, you’ll find the entrance station where you can pay the entry fee and get park information.
If you prefer making reservations, you can call (512) 389-8900, but reserving online is faster and more convenient. That phone number covers the entire Texas State Park system.
If you want to enjoy unlimited visits to more than 80 state parks in Texas (including Tyler State Park) without paying entrance fees, you can buy a Texas State Parks Pass for $70 per year. This is a great cost-saving option if you plan to visit the park more often.
Upon entry, you’ll receive a map that shows hiking trails, mountain biking routes, driving paths, and other points of interest. The main road in the park forms a large loop, with various attractions branching off from it.
What to Do at Tyler State Park
There is a wide range of activities to enjoy at Tyler State Park, where the highlight is the beautiful Tyler State Park Lake. Here are some of the things to do there:
Hiking the Pineywoods
Explore the park’s extensive trail system, offering over 13 miles of paths that wind through the picturesque Pineywoods. Don’t miss the Whispering Pines Nature Trail, a family-friendly option that was originally crafted by the Civilian Conservation Corps over 70 years ago.
Grab your bike and hit the trails at Tyler State Park! Alongside hiking, you can explore the park’s trails on two wheels for some exhilarating mountain biking fun.
The Tyler State Park is a popular spot for anglers. Whether you prefer fishing onshore or on a boat, you can fish here. There are three fishing piers, boat ramps if you want to bring your boat, and boats for rent if you don’t own one. Expect to find a variety of fish species, including catfish, crappie, perch, and bass.
If you’re new to fishing, you can rent fishing equipment like rods, reels, and tackle boxes from the state park. You don’t need a fishing license to fish from shore here.
You can also take a refreshing dip in the beautiful lake at Tyler State Park. Remember to prioritize safety by sticking to designated swimming areas, swimming with others, and ensuring everyone has a water experience. If you have any concerns, don’t hesitate to approach the friendly park staff for assistance.
There are lots of water sports and water activities available at the park’s lake. Rent canoes, paddleboards, kayaks, or pedal boats for a memorable time on the water. If you bring your own boat, please adhere to the speed limit of 5mph to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. That means jet skiing, tubing, and other similar watersports are not allowed.
The park offers rich biodiversity, as lots of plants and animals call Tyler State Park their home. If you’re interested in birdwatching, you will get a great experience here. With over 200 bird species, you might spot the brown-headed nuthatch or pine warbler. Keep an eye out for the park’s bird blinds – perfect for avid birdwatchers.
You may also try to discover the joy of geocaching in Tyler State Park. This popular destination offers numerous hidden caches, turning your visit into a thrilling treasure hunt. Visit geocaching.com to learn more and embark on a virtual adventure through picturesque locations. It’s a big virtual treasure hunt that can help you discover some beautiful places!
There are designated picnic areas where you can savor your meal while taking in the beauty of nature in the park. It’s the perfect place to relax and savor a delightful picnic under the shade of towering pine trees.
It’s a fantastic way to make the most of your visit, whether you’re staying for the day or planning a full weekend getaway. Simply get your permit, pack your tent, RV, or camping gear, and you’re ready to go!
Tyler State Park offers various options for overnight stays, including campsites, cabins, and screened shelters. These accommodations require a two-night minimum stay on Fridays and Saturdays and a three-night minimum on Memorial Day and Labor Day Weekends. Let’s explore them in more detail:
Choose from different campsites suitable for tents or RVs. All these campsites feature amenities like restrooms, showers, fire pits, and picnic tables.
- Lakeview is suitable for tents and RVs, but RV campers need to use jack pads. It offers full hookup campsites with water, sewer, and electric hookups. They cost $30 a night.
- Big Pine provides similar facilities but is only for RVs (no tents allowed). It costs $26 a night to stay here.
- Cedar Point Camping Area is suitable for both RVs and tents and has electric hookups. It costs $22 per night.
2. Tent Campsites
For a more traditional camping experience, consider Dogwood Ridge, Hickory Hollow, Sumac Bend, and Red Oak camping areas. These sites are specifically designed for tents and offer water, picnic tables, restrooms, and showers. They have no electric hookups here, and these campsites cost $18 a night.
If you prefer a cabin experience, Tyler State Park has cozy cabins available. These cabins can accommodate up to four people and offer a sleeping area with a queen bed. Communal restrooms and showers are nearby, and there’s even a heater for cooler nights. The cabins cost $55 for two people, and you need to pay $4 extra for every extra person over two (maximum of four people).
4. Screened Shelters
For a rustic yet sheltered option, consider the screened shelters. These basic shelters provide electricity, lights, picnic tables, a fire ring, grill but no furniture. Showers, restrooms, and other facilities are conveniently located nearby. Screened shelters cost $30 per night and can sleep up to 8 people.
Reservation and Important Information: To secure your spot, it’s best to make a reservation in advance, especially during the busy season from March until Thanksgiving. Reservations can be made online through the park’s website. Keep in mind that minimum stays are required on weekends and major holidays.
Safety Tips: When camping, be mindful of raccoons that may attempt to access food. Store food securely and dispose of trash in designated areas.
Tyler State Park Amenities
Tyler State Park offers essential amenities to enhance your visit. While there are no dining facilities available, you’ll find restrooms and showers on-site. Remember to bring your own food and beverages for your trip.
Additional amenities at the park include a park headquarters/ranger station, a park store, a playground, a boat/watercraft rental area, a fishing equipment rental area, group day-use facilities, dumpsters, and a dump station. These amenities cater to various needs and provide convenience during your stay.
For outdoor enthusiasts, Tyler State Park provides a boat ramp, fishing pier (including a lighted fishing pier!), and picnic areas, allowing you to fully enjoy the lake and surrounding natural beauty.
Parking areas are well-marked and easily accessible, ensuring a hassle-free experience for visitors with designated parking spots.
Tyler State Park offers a wonderful escape from city life, providing a tranquil environment for outdoor activities and relaxation. Whether you’re seeking adventure on the water, exploration through trails, or simply a peaceful nature retreat, Tyler State Park has something to offer to visitors of all ages and interests.