Nestled in the rolling, scrubby prairie of the Palo Pinto Mountains west of Fort Worth, Mineral Wells State Park is a fun place to visit - if
you're into having lots of activities available to you during a State Park stay. As the park surrounds Lake Mineral Wells, there's ample
opportunity to fish, swim and hike. The lime and sand stone exposures of the hills provide excellent material for rock climbers, of which
there are a ton every weekend.

The park is also a stop along the Texas State Trail, an old railroad bed that now serves as a walk and bike path. It stretches for twenty miles
between the Parker County seat, Weatherford, and downtown Mineral Wells. The halfway point is the small town of Garner. Having ridden
the trail numerous times, I recommend beginning the trail either in Mineral Wells, at the state park , or at Garner. This is because the
railroad grade climbs gently but steadily for about six miles east of Garner before cresting at ca. 1,200 feet. While the slope is NOT
cumbersome, it is tiresome, so it's best to challenge the long uphill climb before you get too winded. Thereafter, it's smooth sailing all the
way back west. Check the state park's
website for trail info.

Mineral Wells is worth a visit in its own right, because it used to be *the* place for Dallasites to visit a health spa. The mineral-rich water
from the Crazy wells surrounding the town brought the rich and famous to this small town, and there's ample evidence of Mineral Wells's
high-flying past.
From Fort Worth, take Interstate 30 west towards Mineral Wells. The highway  will merge with and
becomes Interstate 20. At Weatherford, take the US Highway 180 exit west. Continue about 10
miles west of Weatherford to the entrance of
Lake Mineral Wells State Park.

Location of trail heads:
Weatherford: off FM 920/ Peaster Highway (look for signs)
Garner: north of US 180, on FM 113
Lake Mineral Wells State Park: inside park, south of lake
Mineral Wells: Depot between SW 3rd & SW 5th streets, just west of US 281/ S Oak Avenue
The Texas State Trail
Pillars from an old railroad platform make an excellent station for a picnic lunch along the trail.
Lake Mineral Wells State Park & Trail
Questions or comments? E-mail me: robin@redriverhistorian.com
I once found this carved stone with the inscription "Davy Crockett 1936" along the bike trail. I have no idea what is was for.
A relic from the period when the trail was the right-of-way for the Fort Worth & Denver City Railroad.
The trail is beautiful. But make sure to bring plenty of water, because it can also get very hot!
A view from the trail: Flat Rock crossing, which pioneers traversed on their way westwards (the flat rock is the limestone, not the concrete).
How to
get there
A Texas & Pacific train chugs on the tracks before the rails were made into trails in this photograph from the 1940s (Denver Public Library).