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Palmetto State Park
Gonzales, Texas

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With over 500 species of flora identified within its boundaries, 178-acre Palmetto State Park is noted for its lush and diverse plant life. Not surprisingly, over 239 bird species have been observed in the park, including American crow, pied billed grebe, barred owl, great blue heron, crested caracara and various songbirds. Many bird species winter in the area, including the yellow-bellied sapsucker, American goldfinch, and numerous varieties of sparrow. Coyotes, armadillos, white-tail deer and other wildlife are also present.

Approximately 3 total miles of hiking trails are available, including an all-weather path which provides easy access to the river. Developed (RV) and tent campsites are available for overnight visitors. The park's namesake, the dwarf palmetto, can best be viewed by hiking the leisurely 1/3 mile Palmetto Nature Trail which leads through Ottine Swamp. An informative and attractively-illustrated guide to the nature trail is provided at the trailhead.

Other recreation opportunities at Palmetto include camping, fishing, picnicking and nature study. For water recreation, both the Oxbow Lake and San Marcos River offer opportunities for swimming, tubing and canoeing; pedal boats can be rented from the park store.

Visit the park in early June each year to see some of the best canoeists in the State compete in the annual Texas Water Safari. The challenging race covers 260 miles of Texas rivers and bays, earning it the title "world's toughest boat race". The next Texas Water Safari begins June 12, 2004 at San Marcos' Aquarena Center. The San Marcos River crossing within Palmetto State Park is the fourth checkpoint (25 hour mark) in the challenging 100 hour race.

Shannon's Notebook

Pedal boats on Oxbow Lake
Serene Oxbow Lake
Copyright © Justin W. Moore
See more photos at OutdoorPhoto.com
Justin and I have hiked both the Palmetto Trail and the River Trail. The latter follows the waters of the San Marcos River through stands of towering cypress and hardwood trees, many of which are eerily draped with Spanish moss and woody vines. The mud boils, extinct since the early 1970's, are located on this trail. While hiking, we spied several armadillos and woodpeckers; although we didn't have any difficulty, spring and summer visitors should consider wearing insect repellent.

For more information, read our trip report:

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Approximately 7 miles southeast of Luling on U.S. Highway 183 to Park Road 11 which takes you into the park and the village of Ottine.
Map of Park's Location

For GPS Users: N 29° 35.22'   W 097° 34.92' (WGS84/NAD83)
Convert to another coordinate sytem or map datum (Courtesy of Jeeep.com)


Open 7 days a week from 8 AM to 10 PM for day use activities.


A park entrance fee is charged per day -- $2 per person for adults 13 years of age and older. (Texas residents age 65 or older pay only $1 per person.) Listed fees may not be accurate year-round due to seasonal changes. Contact the park directly to confirm fees.

Campsite and other facility fees are in addition to the park entrance fee.

Visit parks often? Learn about the $70 Texas State Parks Pass which exempts the passholder, and the passengers in their vehicle, from the entrance fees at all Texas State Parks.



Consult TPWD's Park Events Calendar for information on upcoming events at this park.


Click for Gonzales, Texas Forecast

Volunteer Opportunities

Contact the Friends of Palmetto State Park, the officially recognized non-profit support group of Palmetto State Park, at 124 North Hamilton, Gonzales, TX 78629.

Contact Information

The park is managed by the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department.

Texas Parks & Wildlife Department Palmetto State Park
78 Park Road 11 South
Gonzales, Texas 78629-5810

Ranger Station: (830)672-3266
Email: palmetto.park@tpwd.state.tx.us
TPWD Park Info: 1-800-792-1112

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