Purtis Creek is yet another lovely Texas State Park, with a few pleasant, easy trails and a nice-sized lake aimed at anglers interested in catfish, crappie and bass. I don’t fish, but I still had a peaceful time and several good walks through the woods.
I camped in one of the RV/tent sites with water and electricity, but the next time I visit I plan to reserve one of the primitive sites I passed while walking the Beaver Slide Nature Path. Each site was tidy, nicely spaced out along the shoreline and overall very inviting. My biggest objection to primitive camping in state parks is how far in you have to hike (daylight hours are precious to a photographer) but these were a just a short stroll from the parking lot–a half mile or so to the first site.
The Trails at Purtis Creek State Park
Besides the Beaver Slide Nature Path, which has some great views of the lake (especially first thing in the morning) Purtis Creek has three connected trails all named the Wolfpen Hike and Bike trail (although they use different colors on the map and are well-marked by color-coordinated signs). All were flattish and an easy stroll through the woods; there wasn’t much to see but a patch of green grass here and there, bright against the drab January woods, and along the edge of the park you get a picturesque view of a neighboring farm. I could hear the occasional gunshot in the distance, and cows mooing at the farm, but it was an otherwise quiet country walk.
Back at the lake there’s a short but interesting paved trail called the Solar Walk that goes along the dam, parallel to the road. At one end is a sign with information about the sun, and further down the trail are signs with info for each planet in our solar system, each marker representing the scaled distances between them. I thought it was a clever way to spice up an otherwise straight-forward walkway.
At the end of the Solar Walk is a short road to a large and generous day use area with tons of shaded picnic tables, a playground, a swimming area, a fishing doc, a boat ramp and a sheltered fish-cleaning station. While there were only a couple of anglers out and about while I was there I imagine the whole place fills up in the summer with swimmers and fishers and the intoxicating smell of a dozen different lunches cooking on the grills.
In the evening I made a fire (the self-service wood locker was empty, but the rangers directed me to a convenience store a couple miles down the road for wood) and spent a pleasant evening watching an unusually large number of raccoons try to sneak up on me.
Purtis Creek State Park is a peaceful getaway in the off-season and, I’m sure, an exciting destination for summering families. Five out five stars for yet another fantastic Texas State Park!