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definition - Hill_Country_State_Natural_Area

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Hill Country State Natural Area

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Hill Country State Natural Area
LocationBandera County, TexasMedina County, Texas
Coordinates29°37′40″N 099°10′50″W / 29.62778°N 99.18056°W / 29.62778; -99.18056Coordinates: 29°37′40″N 099°10′50″W / 29.62778°N 99.18056°W / 29.62778; -99.18056
Area5,369 acres (2,173 ha)
Governing bodyTexas Parks and Wildlife Department

Hill Country State Natural Area is a state park in Bandera County, Texas in the United States. Hill Country State Natural Area is a multi-use park within the Texas Hill Country.



Hill Country State Natural Area is located this is 10 miles (16 km) southwest of Bandera, Texas, 20 miles (32 km) north of Hondo, Texas, and 45 miles (72 km) west-northwest of San Antonio. The park is located on the border of Bandera County and Medina County.

Geography and Geology

The park lies approximately ten miles north of the Balcones escarpment and within the Balcones Fault Zone. The Woodard Cave Fault, a minor normal fault, runs through the park with a generally east-west trend. Uplifting along the fault line at the park has resulted in about a two-hundred foot difference in elevation between the hilltops in the southern third of the park and the higher northern part. The terrain of the park consists of eroded limestone hills and mesas, typical landforms of the Hill Country. There are also relatively flat bottomland areas surrounding the small creeks that drain the property. The elevation within the park ranges from approximately 1,280 to 2,000 feet (390 to 610 m). The local bedrock is exposed throughout much of the park. The highest hilltops in the park and the lower hills in the southern part of the park are capped by fairly resistant limestone of the Fort Terret formation within the Edwards Group, which is the dominant bedrock of the Edwards Plateau to the north. The rest of the park lies atop the softer, more easily eroded Upper Glen Rose Formation, also a limestone. Both are flat-lying, fossiliferous formations dating from the Cretaceous Period.

Flora and Fauna

The park supports eight recognized plant community types and over 450 plant species. The majority of the park is covered by live oak-Ashe juniper woodlands, live oak savannah, Texas oak woodlands, and open grasslands composed primarily of sideoats grama and little bluestem. Smaller communities include stands of lacey oak, pecan-sugarberry associations, and gamagrass-switchgrass grasslands, as well as fields of sotol. The natural vegetation of the park, like much of the hill country, has suffered from human interference and invasion by exotic King Ranch bluestem grass and invasive native Ashe juniper. The park also contains opportunities for bird watching. Over 160 species of birds have been sighted in the park, including two endangered bird species, the golden-cheeked warbler and the black-capped vireo [1]. As in much of the Hill Country, white-tailed deer are common, and the park is opened for deer hunting a few weekends each winter.


The land within the park has been inhabited for several thousand years, and a number of Native American artifacts have been found within the park, including human remains. After the arrival of European settlers in the mid the park land functioned as a working ranch. The bottomlands were converted to croplands and the remainder was used for grazing. The initial land for Hill Country State Natural Area was acquired between 1976 and 1982 through donations by Louise Merrick. The park was opened to the public in 1984 with 4,753 acres (1,923 ha). In 1986 a further 616 acres (249 ha) were acquired, bringing the total size to 5,369 acres (2,173 ha).


Hill Country State Natural Area has over 40 miles (64 km) of multi-use trails and permits hiking, biking and horseback riding. Several dude ranches abut the park and regularly lead trail rides through the park. An intermittent creek runs through the park, allowing for swimming and fishing when water levels are high enough. The park also hosts the annual Bandera 100 km ultramarathon run in January [2]


Hill Country State Natural Area has been designated by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department as a state natural area rather than a state park. This designation indicates that the site is meant to remain relatively undeveloped and natural, compared to a typical state park. Camping is limited to nine walk-in campsites, three small hike-in camping areas, and five equestrian campsites with horse pens. All campsites and camping areas lack sewer, electric, and potable water hookups. The park also has one group camping area and a group lodge with electric hookups, but these also lack potable water.

Nearby Parks


  1. ^ Lockwood, Mark. April 1995. “Birds of Hill Country State Natural Area: a Field Checklist. Natural Resources Program, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Austin, Texas.
  2. ^ [1], TejasTrails.com.

External links


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