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One Sweet Hiking Tour: Honey Creek State Natural Area

 

Honey Creek State Natural Area

You have likely heard of Guadalupe River State Park, but do you know about Honey Creek State Natural Area? We had the opportunity to take a private tour of the preserve this past week…and WOW! It is a real Hill Country treasure! The guides were incredibly knowledgeable and personable, and the landscape was varied, beautiful and very surprising. If you’re planning on being in the Boerne area on a Saturday morning and need to get moving, hop on a tour to expand your Hill Country flora and fauna knowledge and get some exercise!

What to Expect-

Honey Creek State Natural Area is open for tours every Saturday at 9:00 AM and run approximately 2.5 hours depending on how inquisitive you group is. The trails in the preserve are defined, but are not paved or substantially improved. There are a team of about 10 volunteer guides that are all well versed in the preserve’s history and habitats. Most are certified Master Naturalists and lead tours in teams of two.

The tour of Honey Creek State Natural Area is free, but a $2 per person (or $5 per family) donation is recommended. I will say that the tour was fabulous and worth much more.

Access to the Honey Creek State Natural Area is within Guadalupe River State Park. (Directions) Once you have arrived at the state park and paid the park entry fee you will travel less than a mile on the main park road and take a right just past the Park Host campsite. The turn is clearly marked and park ranger will provide a map and verbal instructions if you tell them that the Honey Creek Tour is your goal.

Our Experience

Our tour guides for the day (J.W. and Wilt) shared vast amounts of information about German, Indian and Prehistoric history of the land that is now the natural area. Both are certified Master Naturalists and encouraged everyone to ask questions about anything in the natural world. We had several dialogues about an assortment of trees, grasses, shrubs, mammals, birds, insects, rocks and more.

Prior to hitting the trail, the group gathered on the front lawn of the historic Rust House and told tales of the property’s past in the mini amphitheater. As 

we hit the trail, both guides shared tidbits of information about different plants and animals that we saw or heard. There were several stops along the tour that had obviously been orchestrated to share specific lessons, tales and nuggets of information. These breaks are ideal for a little cool down and a sip of water also. We went LIVE on Facebook for the first half hour of the tour. Check it out!

Having grown up in the Texas Hill Country and spent many weekends hiking in parks, including Guadalupe River State Park, my expectations for this facility were that we would see more of the same rocky shores that we are familiar with along the Guadalupe River and plenty of live oak and cedar (ash juniper). Surprisingly, this was not entirely the case at all! Our decent to Honey Creek revealed cypress trees draped with Spanish moss, palmetto palms mixed in among the preserved shrubbery and a layer of lily pads hugging the banks of the creek. Words can’t describe the beauty or my feeling of surprise as we made our way into the cooler riparian zone. This is an environment I would have expected a little further east of here.

Leaving the creek behind us, we headed up the most extreme part of the trail. It wasn’t particularly challenging for me, however the “steps” that have been crafted into the hill side may be tricky for someone with rough knees or struggles walking.

How to Prepare

As with any hiking outing in Texas, it’s wise to check the weather in advance and dress accordingly. Sturdy walking shoes are a must. Flip flops will not fly on this outing.

Bring water and wear sun protection! There are several sunny spots as you head down to the creek and back up to the Rust House. While it’s much cooler down by Honey Creek, the Texas heat will make you thankful for both as the day warms up.

Remember: Take only pictures and leave only footprints!

What about the kids and pets?

Children are welcome and encouraged to join the tour. However, as a mom of young children myself, I’d recommend taking your own child’s hiking aptitude and patience levels into account. Jogging strollers will not handle these trails. If you have little ones that may not be able to handle a lengthy hike with multiple stops to talk about an assortment of topics, a visit to the Cibolo Nature Center may be a good alternative. The trails are shorter, they CAN get into the creek, and there are regularly scheduled children’s programs happening that may be of interest.

Pets are not welcome in the preserve. This rule is in place to help protect and preserve the natural habitat and the critters that live there.

Fun Facts from the Tour

  • Honey Creek State Natural Area is LARGER than Guadalupe River State Park.
  • Honey Creek’s headwaters are in a cave on private property near the park and the creek is only 1.5 mi. long.
  • Mustang Grapes from Texas saved the wine industry in France. These same grapes grow wild throughout the Natural area.
  • What we tend to call cedar trees is actually ash juniper. Contrary to what many locals may say, it is in fact a native species and not brought over from Europe.
  • The protected golden cheek warbler, which are very fond of using the bark of the ash juniper for its nest, are all native Texans. They may migrate and travel outside of the Lonestar State, but they breed and nest here in the “Romantic Texas Hill Country”.
  • The ash juniper berry is a popular food source for animals in the Texas Hill Country, but it is also used to flavor gin and other foods and beverages that we love.
  • Ball moss is a common site here in the trees of the Texas Hill Country. It is a bromeliad, and is actually related to the pineapple.
  • The strange brown round balls that you will occasionally find on the ground or attached to oak trees are called galls. They are created when an oak gall wasp stings the tree and lays their eggs in the tree. The tree then creates the ball around the egg and the wasps will develop inside and eventually “hatch” out.
  • Gall ink is created out of these same galls. The Declaration of Independence is signed in gall ink.

Written by: Tori Bellos, Boerne Convention and Visitors Bureau Marketing Specialist

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sat25mayAll DayFeaturedWeekend Day Weekend at Jellystone Park Hill Country(All Day: saturday) Jellystone Park Hill Country, 12915 Farm to Market 306 Canyon Lake, TX 78133 Event Organized By: Jellystone Park Hill Country Cities/Lakes/Rivers:Canyon Lake

sat25mayAll DayFeaturedMemorial Day Weekend at Jellystone Park Guadalupe(All Day: saturday) Jellystone Park Guadalupe, 2605 Junction Hwy 27 Kerrville, TX 78028 Event Organized By: Jelly Stone Park Guadalupe Cities/Lakes/Rivers:Kerrville

sat25mayAll DayFeaturedChocolate Frenzy Week at Jellystone Park Hill Country(All Day: saturday) Jellystone Park Hill Country, 12915 Farm to Market 306 Canyon Lake, TX 78133 Event Organized By: Jellystone Park Hill Country Cities/Lakes/Rivers:Canyon Lake

sat25may7:00 amFeaturedMemorial Day Parade at TJ's at The Old Forge7:00 am Tj's at The Old Forge, 807 Main St, Bandera, Texas 78003 Event Organized By: TJ's at The Old Forge Cities/Lakes/Rivers:Bandera

sat25may10:00 amFeaturedMemorial Day Weekend Scavenger Hunt at Hill Country Science Mill10:00 am Hill Country Science Mill, 101 S Lady Bird Ln Johnson City, Texas 78636 Event Organized By: Hill Country Science Mill Cities/Lakes/Rivers:Johnson City

sat25may6:00 pmFeaturedDaniel & Carlos playing at Silver Creek6:00 pm Silver Creek Beer Garden & Grille, 310 E. Main St. Fredericksburg, TX 78624 Event Organized By: Silver Creek Beer Garden & Grille Cities/Lakes/Rivers:Fredericksburg

sat25mayAll DayKerrville Folk Festival at Quiet Valley Ranch(All Day: saturday) Quiet Valley RanchCities/Lakes/Rivers:Kerrville

sat25may11:00 amFredericksburg Jaycees Crawfish at Marktplatz11:00 am Marktplatz (Market Square), 126 W Main Street Fredericksburg, TX 78624-3708Cities/Lakes/Rivers:Fredericksburg

sat25may11:00 amLakeshore Spring Fling ( Lakeshore VFD )11:00 am Lakeshore VFD, 9019 Whartons Dock Rd Bandera, Texas 78003Cities/Lakes/Rivers:Bandera

sat25may12:00 pmMemorial Day Parade at Main Street Bandera12:00 pm Bandera Main Street, Main St, Bandera, TX 78003Cities/Lakes/Rivers:Bandera

sat25may12:00 pmRedCliff playing at Altdorf Biergarten12:00 pm Altdorf Biergarten, 301 W Main St, Fredericksburg, TX 78624Cities/Lakes/Rivers:Fredericksburg

sat25may1:00 pmDuke Davis playing at Mendelbaum Cellars1:00 pm Mendelbaum Cellars, 10207 E, US-290, Fredericksburg, TX 78624Cities/Lakes/Rivers:Fredericksburg

sat25may4:00 pmLee Winright playing at Pecan Grove Store4:00 pm Pecan Grove Store, 5244 N State Hwy 16, Fredericksburg, TX 78624Cities/Lakes/Rivers:Fredericksburg

sat25may6:00 pmOff the Grid playing at Altdorf Biergarten6:00 pm Altdorf Biergarten, 301 W Main St, Fredericksburg, TX 78624Cities/Lakes/Rivers:Fredericksburg

sat25may7:00 pmDan McMurrough Quartet playing at 78624 the Bar7:00 pm 78624 The Bar, 229 E Main St, Fredericksburg, TX 78624Cities/Lakes/Rivers:Fredericksburg

sat25may7:00 pmDouble Barrel playing at West End Pizza7:00 pm West End Pizza Company, 232 WEST MAIN ST. FREDERICKSBURG, TX 78624Cities/Lakes/Rivers:Fredericksburg

sat25may7:00 pmKevin McCormick playing at The Officer’s Club7:00 pm The Officers' Club at The Hangar Hotel, 155 Airport Rd Fredericksburg, Texas 78624Cities/Lakes/Rivers:Fredericksburg

sat25may7:00 pmKimo Sabe playing at Lone Star Bar & Grill7:00 pm Lone Star Bar & Grill, 4174 W US Hwy 290 FredericksburgCities/Lakes/Rivers:Fredericksburg

sat25may7:00 pmTime Bandits playing at El Milagro7:00 pm El Milagro Twenty Twelve, 249 E Main St, Fredericksburg, TX 78624Cities/Lakes/Rivers:Fredericksburg

sat25may7:00 pmHouse Pasture presents: Memorial Day PartyFeaturing: The Turnpike Troubadours 7:00 pm House Pasture Cattle Co, 2 River Rd, Concan, TX 78838, USACities/Lakes/Rivers:Concan

sat25may8:00 pm2nd Annual Memorial Day Weekend Rockfest at Happy Cow8:00 pm Happy Cow Bar and Grill, 9103 FM 1102 New Braunfels, Texas 78130Cities/Lakes/Rivers:San Marcos

sat25may8:00 pmKiva presents: Warhead Wrex8:00 pm KIVA LOUNGE, 202 N LBJ Dr a, San Marcos, TX 78666Cities/Lakes/Rivers:San Marcos

sat25may8:00 pmBandera Prorodeo at Mansfield Park Rodeo Arena8:00 pm Mansfield Park, 2454 State Highway 16 N, Bandera, TX 78003Cities/Lakes/Rivers:Bandera

sat25may8:00 pmRockbox Theater presents: Seven Bridges - Tribute to the Eagles8:00 pm Rockbox Theater, 109 N Llano St, Fredericksburg, TX 78624Cities/Lakes/Rivers:Fredericksburg

sat25may8:30 pmTyller Gummersall Live! at Willow Creek Cafe8:30 pm Willow Creek Cafe & Club, 106 Fort McKavett St, Mason, TX 76856, USACities/Lakes/Rivers:Mason

sat25may8:30 pmWhitewater Amphitheater presents: Saturday Cody Johnson & Friends8:30 pm Whitewater Amphitheater, 11860 FM 306 New Braunfels, TX 78132Cities/Lakes/Rivers:New Braunfels

sat25may8:30 pmCrossroads Saloon music featuring: Red Carpet Chaos8:30 pm Crossroads Saloon & Steakhouse, 305 West Main Fredericksburg, Texas 78624Cities/Lakes/Rivers:Fredericksburg

sat25may8:30 pmWillow Creek Cafe presents: Tyller Gummersall8:30 pm Willow Creek Cafe & Club, 106 Fort McKavett St, Mason, TX 76856, USACities/Lakes/Rivers:Mason

sat25may9:00 pmKasey Thornton Band LIVE! at The Growling Texas Beer Bar9:00 pm The Growling Texas Beer Bar, 700 North LBJ Drive Suite 111, San Marcos, Texas 78666Cities/Lakes/Rivers:San Marcos

sat25may9:00 pmRiver Road Ice House presents: Eclipse - Tribute to Journey9:00 pm River Road Ice House, 1791 Hueco Springs Loop Rd New Braunfels, TX 78132Cities/Lakes/Rivers:New Braunfels

sat25may9:00 pmThe Growling Texas Beer Bar presents: Kasey Thornton Band9:00 pm The Growling Texas Beer Bar, 700 North LBJ Drive Suite 111, San Marcos, Texas 78666Cities/Lakes/Rivers:San Marcos

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