Chasing waterfalls became one of our favorite things in North Carolina. We never dreamed we would be able to continue that when we got to Texas. However, Chalk Ridge Falls is only 30 minutes from Fort Hood and it is our favorite Texas hike so far!
This isn’t our first Texas waterfall. We hiked to Gorman Falls in October, but we liked Chalk Ridge Falls better. Not only was the hike less challenging, but the waterfall was MUCH easier to access and we could swim!
Here are 3 reasons you should add Chalk Ridge Falls to your Fort Hood bucket list!
It’s an Easy Hike
The hike to Chalk Ridge Falls was much easier than other waterfall hikes that we’ve taken in the past. I’m still not sure how long the hike is. According to All Trails, the out and back hike is a 2.5 mile walk, but another source I found said 1.3 miles. And yet another source said that the waterfall was only 0.25 miles from the parking lot. There’s no way for me to know for sure, but I feel like it’s a mile or less round-trip. My kids (8 & 10) had no issue with it at all.
Unlike the hike to Gorman Falls, the trails along the Lampasas River in Belton was mostly shaded. This made the hike much more enjoyable, since we weren’t baking in the Texas sun.
Plus, unlike the hike we took to Otter Falls in North Carolina, the trail to Chalk Ridge Falls only gains 85 feet in elevation, so it wasn’t super tiring. We still had plenty of energy left to swim and play at the waterfall, instead of being worn out and dreading the walk back to the car.
With that being said, there are some things that could make this hike difficult for some people. It was very wet after a rain when we went and it was very muddy. This isn’t too much of an issue, but the trail down to the falls was pretty steep and the mud could make it slippery and could cause a fall. Also, there are several sections that contain stairs. So, keep that in mind if anyone in your group has an issue with those.
It Has a Cool Bridge
This is something that we had seen pictures of online (mostly Instagram) and my kids were so excited to see it in real life!
This swinging cable bridge (I guess technically it’s called a suspension bridge) moves and creaks beneath you as you cross over. It made us feel like we were in an adventure movie!
We took several pictures and videos. And my kids ran across it 2 or 3 times before we moved on down the trail.
You Can Swim!
Probably the BEST part of this hike was that we could get in the water and swim at the base of the waterfall.
The water comes from a natural spring at the back of the park, so not only is it cool and refreshing, but it’s clear and beautiful. On top of the fall it’s less than knee deep, so perfect for wading and sitting to enjoy the view.
At the bottom of the waterfall, the river is pretty shallow, but opens up to a deeper spot that is at least chest deep.
The only thing I would do differently is to bring water shoes! The bottom of the river is nothing but rocks and was painful to stand on. We ended up just wearing our tennis shoes and dried them out when we got home.
There were several other groups that were there at the same time as us, but it didn’t feel overly crowded and there was plenty of room for the kids to play.
We will definitely be returning (multiple times!) to Chalk Ridge Falls for more hiking and swimming throughout the summer. And we can’t wait to take some of our out of town guests on this fun Fort Hood Adventure!