Day Trips: John Knox Ranch, Wimberley

Kids’ summer camp becoming a year-round destination for adults and families


Photos by Gerald E. McLeod

John Knox Ranch outside of Wimberley has hosted summer camps for kids since 1963, and now it's open to overnight guests from August 15 to May 15.

The beautifully wild 300-acre ranch encompasses an oak forest at the junction of Carpers Creek and the Blanco River. "This is a recovery story after the floods of 2015," says Chris Holmes, ranch executive director. Like most of the Blanco River Valley, the camp suffered extensive damage during the 2015 Memorial Day floods.


Owned and operated by Mission Presbytery, the summer camp is working toward becoming a year-round destination. This summer the ranch is open for overnight glamping in cabins and RV sites, or roughing it in screened shelters and primitive camping. In the fall they hope to add day-use activities, Holmes says.

As you would expect from a summer camp, the ranch is loaded with outdoor recreation. There are miles of trails for hiking and mountain biking, swimming, and fishing. It's like a miniature state park without the crowds, says Kat Yates, the ranch's marketing director.


Arguably the most beautiful spot at the ranch is Blue Hole at the creek's headwaters (not to be confused with the park with the same name in Wimberley). The deep, spring-fed pool is surrounded by limestone cliffs and towering cypress trees. "It's a beautiful swimming hole, but treacherous," Holmes says. "We'll have to work out details for a lifeguard before we can open it to the public."

John Knox Ranch is about 15 minutes outside of Wimberley. It also offers annual passes. See more info at www.johnknoxranch.org. To check on lodging availability or reserve a visit, call 830/935-4568.


1,391st in a series. Follow “Day Trips & Beyond,” a travel blog, at austinchronicle.com/daily/travel.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Mission Presbytery, John Knox Ranch, Blue Hole, camping, glamping, Chris Holmes, Kat Yates

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