2 miles to park headquarters. DeLorme: Texas Atlas & Gazetteer: Page 78 A5. GPS: N
29 35.367' / W 97 34.920'
See the remnants of hot springs, which, in the 1930s, people thought cured polio. From the trailhead,
pass a small clearing where a few dwarf palmettos are growing beneath taller trees. The woods contin-
ue for the balance of the hike and furnish welcome shade.
After completing a couple of turns, come to a sign on the left that indicates the presence of a mud
boil. Look hard—there is no boiling mud, just a wet depression in the ground near the sign. Prior to the
1970s, this area was wetter and had more thermal activity, including hot springs that created mud
boils. This activity probably ended due to changes brought about by the widespread drilling for oil and
At the turn of the century, the swamp was a major attraction to visitors seeking the healing powers
of the hot springs. The Warm Springs Foundation in Ottine was established in 1937, to use the waters
in the treatment of polio. Many artesian wells and flowing springs can still be found in the park today.
The trail squiggles around and the terrain remains flat. Head east past the south side of the modern
camping area and skirt campsites #9 to #19. Heavy woods and undergrowth keep the campground
from view. Although raccoons are normally nocturnal animals, a few “beggars” may be seen gathering
food near the campground. The palmettos have all but disappeared here; they've been replaced by oak,
elm, and hackberry trees. Stray paths intercept the trail. Pass a gully on the right and continue right as
another stray path branches off.
The trail veers to the right and heads into a marshy area near the San Marcos River. This is an area
alive with sound, including the hum of insects, the beeping of frogs, and the calls of numerous birds
being heard but not seen.
At the next branch take the right leg, which leads to a short but steep grade. This is the first minor
change in elevation. The campground is on the right, and several paths lead to campsite #9. At the top
of the incline, continue straight and backtrack to the trailhead.