During our PCS from hell, we were looking for things to do to get us out of the hotel room. (Preferably something cheap or free, since a month in a hotel put a strain on our bank account.)
Texas has beautiful state parks and I was eager to find one close to Fort Hood for a good hike.
We settled on Colorado Bend State Park. It’s about an hour away from Fort Hood and home to a beautiful Texas waterfall!
We busted through Colorado Bend State Park armed with 2 kids & a glass of sweet tea.
Funny…until we got to the rock climbing section.
Consider this a cautionary tale and don’t make the same mistakes that we did!
Don’t Underestimate the Heat
After years of Carolina hikes, mostly surrounded by trees and their glorious shade, we were completely unprepared for our new landscape.
It was early November and hovering just under 80 degrees, which isn’t bad for a southern autumn hike.
However, the lack of shade on the way to Gorman Falls made this hike surprisingly hot!
It wasn’t too terrible for us, but it’s not something I would sign up for in July. So, make sure you check the temps and take plenty of water with you when you go.
The ‘Steep Descent’ is Also Slippery
According to the state park’s website, this is a “3-mile round-trip hike over rough and rocky terrain, with a steep descent near the falls.”
And while that is a very accurate description, we were completely unprepared for that steep descent!
We passed several groups of people with backpacks full of gear, hiking boots, those hiking sticks thingies, first aid kits, etc. And I stupidly thought, “Wow, isn’t that a bit much?”
LOL…..the joke was on ME. Because that ‘steep descent’ was just shy of needing ropes and special equipment.
Not only was the descent steep, but the rock face was also extremely slippery, even though it was dry as a bone.
Due to thousands and thousands of people walking on it over the years, the rocks are worn almost completely smooth. Thankfully, there is a cable guard rail to hold on to.
We made it down safely, even me in my completely inadequate shoes. Who wears Converse sneakers to hike in anyway??? But it was very slow going and pretty sketchy in a couple places.
Going back up wasn’t nearly as bad (ya know, except for being completely out of breath).
Gorman Falls Could be a Little Underwhelming
I could get kicked out of Texas for this next part, but in the spirit of full honesty; Gorman Falls was a little underwhelming.
Maybe it’s because we just came from North Carolina – the land of waterfalls, where rushing beauties like Looking Glass Falls are right beside the road for everyone to see. Or perhaps we saw Gorman Falls when it was a little dry and there wasn’t much water rushing over the edge? But I wasn’t super impressed by this waterfall.
I mean, it was definitely still worth the trip, it just wasn’t as majestic as I was expecting.
This could also be due in part to REALLY pretty pictures I saw on Instagram prior to our trip. However, nearly ALL of those pictures are taken from the vantage point of people standing IN the river. We hiked to Gorman Falls, instead of coming in by kayak or canoe and didn’t have any extra clothes for getting wet.
Just don’t be surprised if the waterfall doesn’t live up to your expectations.
Despite all of our preparedness shortcomings, we had a great time!
Colorado Bend is a gorgeous park and we can’t wait to explore more of it! I’m even considering another trip where we paddle to Gorman Falls. (I’ll update if we do!)
I was afraid that my family wouldn’t go on another impromptu adventure again after this hot mess hike, but the girls have asked me multiple times if we can find another waterfall.