Day Trips: Muleshoe Bend Recreation Area, Spicewood

Popular mountain biking park shouldn’t be overlooked for its swimming and camping


Photos by Gerald E. McLeod

Muleshoe Bend Recreation Area outside of Spicewood has a significant following as a mountain bike playground with almost 10 miles of challenging trails, but it's also a fun destination for those who enjoy a cool swim and camping under the stars.


On the upper reaches of Lake Travis, the Lower Colorado River Authority park is a scenic mixture of open space and tree-shaded picnic and camping areas. The great lawn of the park is a treeless expanse that gently slopes into the water at the end of the peninsula that forms the muleshoe-shaped bend in the Colorado River. You can park your vehicle along the scalloped shoreline with easy access to the water, but bring your own shade. From the tree line up the hill, there are 28 primitive campsites sprinkled among the oak, juniper, and mesquite trees. Some sites are shadier than others, but all have a picnic table, barbecue grill, and fire pit. The camping spots are handed out on a first-come, first-served basis, but can be reserved online and by phone.


The trails around the park are mostly a single-track roller coaster ride. The 6.5-mile Great Escape Trail circles the park with technical loops branching off of the main trail. But Muleshoe Bend Recreation Area isn't just for knobby head bicycle riders. It's a multifaceted 654-acre recreation area with a beach, camping, and boat ramp. The park charges inexpensive admission and camping fees, and is a short distance west of Austin off TX 71. After a day of adventure, head to Opie's Barbecue in Spicewood for a filling meal. For more info or reservations, call 855/392-7638 or point your browser to www.lcra.org.


1,354th in a series. Follow “Day Trips & Beyond,” a travel blog, at austinchronicle.com/daily/travel.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Muleshoe Bend, Spicewood, LCRA, camping, biking, swimming, Opie's Barbecue

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