Garner State Park - RVing at Christmas

February, 2014

Garner State Park is located about 100 miles west of downtown San Antonio, Texas near the small town of Concan.

Garner State Park is a great place to go when you are RVing at Christmas. The weather can be quite cold at night, as it was during our trip, but we managed to catch a few nice afternoons.

The first night was a chilling 20 degrees, but the next day it warmed up enough for us to walk around and explore the campgrounds. About three miles of the Frio river runs through Garner. It is crystal clear with large Cypress trees lining the banks.

Garner State Park Frio River
The Frio River at Garner State Park

If you are RV camping at Christmas, you have got to set the mood, so we set up camp with our Christmas camping lights and wire Rudolph positioned nearby - as if he were watching over our camp.

Garner State Park at Christmas
Rudolph watching over our Camp

The second night was a little warmer, but still very chilly. The next morning, the temperature warmed up nicely into the mid 60s. We geared up to hike the Bridges Trail, the Foshee Trail, and the Bird Trail. It was a beautiful combination of trails, although steep in some spots. You can view a complete map of the trails at Garner State park here.

Garner State Park Crystal Cave
Garner State Park Bird Trail
Garner State Park Bridges Trail
Crystal Cave (left), the Bird Trail (top right), the Bridges Trail (bottom right)

A misty fog rolled in for the last couple of miles of the hike. The wet trail made traversing the steep downhill walk a little scary.

Garner State Park Frio River View
A view of the Frio River from the top of the Bird Trail

We got back to our RV and played dominoes inside for a few hours while we watched the cold light rain drip from our awning.

There were some tent campers next to us that looked cold, but happy enough. They had a blue tarp tied between trees to keep them dry and a fire nearby for warmth.

I gave up on winter camping as a tent camper. That was one of the reasons why we bought our RV. Winter nights, even in Texas, the temperature can get very cold, but there are lots of nice cool afternoons that are perfect for hiking. An RV allows you to take advantage of these great days without freezing at night in a tent.

Garner State Park Large Cipress Tree
Garner State Park Armadillo
Garner State Park Cypress Trees
Large Cypress Tree (left), Armadillo (top right), Frio River (bottom right)

One morning, while driving to the park headquarters, I looked around and didn't see any wildlife. All of a sudden a skunk crossed the road about 20 feet in front of my truck. I was thinking about how lucky I was to have spotted such a rare site.

At the headquarters, I proudly told the park ranger about my siting. She rolled her eyes and began telling me about what a nuisance the skunks are... :-)

Garner State Park Campsite
Garner State Park Campsite

The last morning, before packing up, I decided to try my luck fly fishing the Frio. I hiked the river in the pre-dawn light and found a spot about a mile upstream that looked perfect.

It was a fairly large hole about 5 feet deep that looked like a perfect fish habitat. After fishing for about 15 minutes, I realized that the fish were either not biting or were non-existent.

I put my fly rod down and reached for my thermos for a cup of hot coffee. I looked around and realized that for this moment I was all alone - I hadn't seen another person all morning.

The solitude of the trickling river and early morning fog was peaceful and beautiful, and the perfect way to end our Christmas RV trip to Garner State Park.

Things to do in the Area:

Visit Leakey, Texas about 10 miles north of the park. There are several restaurants and several arts/crafts stores. Visit the Frio Canyon Chamber of Commerce website for more information.

Lost Maples State Natural Area is another great Texas state park in the area.  It is located about 30 miles NNE of Garner State Park.


Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

What Next?

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