Hill Country State Natural Area 2023

Quick Facts

Dates: January 21-22

Trip-Leader: James

Location: Hill Country State Natural Area

What: One-night backpacking trip + day hiking

A Forward, by James

We planned for the trip to be a 2-night backpacking trip, but I believe it would be impossible to drive to HCSNA and hike to the campsite on Friday evening. Below is a plan that has us leaving Austin on Saturday morning instead.

If I can guarantee that fewer than 8 people will attend this trip, I can reserve a walk-in site for that night (Verde Creek Camp Area). I believe that this solution would involve a lot of moving parts, but I'm willing to hear out any arguments for leaving out on Friday

The plan I have written is the simplest plan in my opinion, but I'm very flexible if we want to do something else. This will be a fun trip no matter what!



  • Arrive at the Annex by 8 AM

  • Pack cars and leave the Annex by 9 AM

  • Drive to Hill Country State Natural Area (approx. 2h 45m)

  • Eat lunch in HCSNA overnight parking lot at 12 PM

  • Hike out by 1 PM to primitive sites (2.7 miles, approx. 1h 45m) [PATH 1]

  • Arrive at primitive sites at 2:30 PM

  • Set up camp and do campsite activities

      • Icecream Hill Loop [PATH 3]

      • Games

      • Training

  • Lights out by 10 PM


  • Wake up at 7 AM

  • Pack up camp and leave by 9 AM

  • Hike back to the car (2.57 miles, approx. 1h 30m) [PATH 2]

  • Arrive at the car by 11 AM

  • Eat lunch at the car, finish by 12 PM

  • Do a day hike!

          • Medina Loop -> Comanche Bluff Camp Area (4.5 miles), arrive back at the car around 2:30 PM [PATH 4]

          • Spring Branch -> Madrone -> Hermits -> Creek Bottom (6 miles), arrive back at the car around 3 PM [PATH 5]

          • Spring Branch -> Madrone -> Vista Ridge (6.5 miles), arrive back at the car around 3:30 PM [PATH 6]

      • Drive back to the Annex (approx. 2h 45m), arriving by 6:30 PM

      • Disperse from the Annex shortly after arrival

Meal Plan


Breakfast- Breakfast tacos (Taco Cabana?)

Lunch- BYO Backpacking

Dinner- BYO Backpacking


Breakfast- BYO Backpacking

Lunch- BYO Backpacking


  • Trail Leader- Katy

  • Navigator- Navneeth

  • Medic- Azure

  • Weather Person- Ali

  • Co-Entertainers- James & Karim



  • Ali

  • Azure

  • James

  • Katy

  • Navneeth

  • Karim


  • Sabrina

  • Steve

  • Annie


  • Bone Knapper

  • Sabrina's Car*

  • Annie's Car


  • Backpacking First Aid (James, January 9th)


  • Hammocking is allowed, 2 inch thick straps are required!

  • There is NO WATER at the campsite. There is a pond but there is a possibility it is dry right now. James will look into filtration opportunities.

  • Park Map PDF

  • Trails Map PDF


  • Finalize Headcount

  • Finalize Car Plan

  • Choose Activities

  • Assign jobs

Potential Routes

[PATH 1] (2.7 miles)

Water stash at 1.7 miles

[PATH 2] (2.57 miles)

Opportunity for lookout at 1.68 miles

[PATH 3] (2.38 miles)

[Path 4] (4.56 miles)

[PATH 5] (5.96 miles)

[PATH 6] (6.52 miles)

Directions to Campsites

From Annex

Turn left onto Wells Port Dr (0.3 miles)

Turn left onto Wells Branch Pkwy (0.4 miles)

Turn right onto S I-35 Frontage (0.6 miles)

Take ramp onto S I-35 (75 miles)

Take Exit 172 to merge on 1604 (52 miles)

Turn right on Bandera Rd (31.4 miles)

Turn left on Highway 173 (0.4 miles)

Turn right onto FM 1077 (10.1 miles)

The destination will be on the right


Turn left onto FM 1077 (10.1 miles)

Turn right onto Highway 173 (0.4 miles)

Turn left onto Bandera Rd (31.4 miles)

Get onto 1604 (52 miles)

Get onto N I-35 (75 miles)

Take exit 247 to get on N I-35 Frontage (0.6 miles)

Take left onto Wells Branch Pkwy (0.4 miles)

Take right onto Wells Port Dr (0.3 miles)

The destination will be on the right