Tranquil Tejas...Mission Tejas State Park

Our family has a tradition that on January 1st we hike at a state park as a way of bringing in the new year. In 2015 Texas state parks began their "First Day Hikes" program as a means of encouraging people to start the new year off right. (Maybe they heard about our family tradition & thought it was a good idea...) State parks around the state of Texas have ranger led hikes as well as a few state parks offer canoeing or fun runs. This year we spent January 1st at Mission Tejas State Park with Ranger Josh on a 1 mile ranger led hike. 

Where is Mission Tejas State Park?
Mission Tejas State Park is located at 120 State Park Road 44 Grapeland, Texas 75844. Mission Tejas State Park is just off State Hwy 21 (El Camino Real) 15 miles east of Grapeland,Texas in the rolling hills of East Texas. Mission Tejas State Park is in a remote area with the nearest town having a population of approximately 1,400.  You will find Mission Tejas to be a tranquil place where you can slow down and enjoy life away from cell phones & other distractions in your everyday life. 

What is Mission Tejas?
Mission Tejas State Park was created in 1934 by the Civilian Conservation Corps to remember the first Spanish mission in Texas built in 1690, Mission San Francisco de los Tejas. A visit to the park will provide you the opportunity to to see a replica of the original mission. You can also revel at the industriousness of the Rice Family as you tour the Rice Family home that was built on the El Camino Real by hand in 1828.  After you learn the history by touring the mission & family home get out on the trail and enjoy the over 600 acres of pure East Texas beauty of Mission Tejas State Park! 

What is the cost for visiting Mission Tejas State Park?
Daily entrance fees are $2 per person for persons aged 13 and up, children 12 and under FREE! If you would like a year pass to all 90 of Texas' state parks you can purchase one from any state park for $70 per year.  This will get you and your family into any state park for 1 year for free.  The Texas Parklands Pass is also available with 50% off entry for residents age 65+, 50% off entry for permanently disabled individuals, 100% off entry for anyone born before Sep. 1, 1930,  & 100% off entry for disabled veterans.

What did the ranger led hike include?
The first day hike with Ranger Josh was fabulous!  He was very knowledgeable about the state park & the wildlife that calls it home. We met Josh at the playground at 10 AM for the 1 mile guided hike.  At first it seemed that only our family would be on the hike.  However, others began showing up on the brisk January morning & in total we had 11 people from all over Texas on our hike. We hiked the nature trail around the pond, up Cemetary Hill Trail, over to Steep Step Trail, & back around Big Pine Trail to our starting point. Ranger Josh explained different plants and animals on the trail as we hiked. The information Ranger Josh provided was informative without being advanced.  The two children (aged 8 to 12) on our hike were engaged & interested in the information presented. Questions were encouraged from all members of the group. After the hike I told my husband the things Josh pointed out to us I would never have noticed if I were hiking the trail myself. The hike was easy to moderate because you do have a steep hill to climb up & steep steps you must traverse down.  I recommend bringing a hiking stick for this hike due to the hilly terrain. 

Mission Tejas State Park has many ranger programs throughout the year. Some of the offerings include ranger led hikes, geocaching, stargazing, wildlife found in the state park, & survival skills to name a few.  To find out more about current events at Mission Tejas State Park visit their events website. 

What other activities are available at Mission Tejas State Park?
Pond with bench for enjoying the beauty of your surroundings.
In addition to ranger led programs, hiking, & touring historical homes Mission Tejas offers picnicking, geocaching, & fishing.  Picnic tables are plentiful or you can rent a covered pavilion for large parties. If you liked playing hide & seek then you will LOVE geocaching! There are 7 caches hidden throughout the park that can be found using GPS coordinates.  If you do not have GPS units, the park will rent one to you for FREE for the length of your stay. There is a small pond for fishing.  If you do not have fishing poles, Mission Tejas has 24 you can use for FREE for the length of your stay. 
View of campsites from park road.

Are there cabins or campsites at Mission Tejas State Park?
There are no cabins at Mission Tejas State park.  There are 17 campsites nestled in the beautiful trees of east Texas. Sites available range from water only for $9 per night plus daily entrance fee,  to water, electricity, & sewer for $15 per night plus daily entry fee. Remember to bring your food & drink for your stay because you are a minimum of 20 minutes from the nearest grocery or convenience store. 

After our ranger led hike we hiked more trails on our own.  Our first day of 2016 was invigorating and tranquil thanks to our time spent at Mission Tejas State Park! To find out more about Mission Tejas State Park visit their website or Facebook page.
Mission San Francisco de los Tejas est.1690.
Visit our video link at the top of the page to see footage from our trips.

May God bless you on all of your travels.