Saturday, March 20 And Sunday, March 21, 2021
Kickapoo Cavern State Park is blessed with excellent trails of varying degrees of difficulty. The trails taken on this visit were selected for shortness and ease of hiking. These hikes were part of a camping trip to this park.
Seargeant Memorial Trail – 0.7 Miles
The Seargeant Memorial Trail is a short loop trail that goes from the campground/ranger station area up to a hill top vista and back. There are some moderately steep rocky areas on the trail.
Tommy Seargeant, a rancher and county judge, gave the land for Kickapoo Cavern State Park to the State of Texas. The above plaque is at the trail’s vista.
The vista has a shade shelter and picnic table.
The ranger station and campground areas are visible. The Barbado Ridge Trail runs along the ridge in the background.
Pine Canyon Loop, Vireo Vista and Armadillo Lookout Trail – 3 Miles
An easy two hour walk with a vista point was put together from the park road, Pine Canyon Loop, Vireo Vista and Armadillo Lookout Trail. The only doubling back was the short Armadillo Lookout Trail segment. Total length not counting the park road was roughly three miles.
Pine Canyon Loop – 1.9 Miles
The Pine Canyon Loop trailhead marker is in the Indigo Creek Group Camping Area. The trailhead is actually located behind the campsite (seen on the left). Walk toward the campsite while keeping to the right of the fire pit.
Walking toward the back of the campsite, the trail comes into view. Trailhead placement behind campsites is unfortunate. It forces hikers to walk through another person’s occupied campsite, a rude and inappropriate behavior according to many campers.
The trail crosses and re-crosses a number of dry creek beds.
The trail crosses this dry creek a number of times. Presumably the smaller creeks feed into this larger one. Flooding should be a concern with heavy rains.
The trail is well marked and obvious. In places where the trail might be less obvious, rocks are lined up along the trail side.
Trails often follow old ranch roads.
Signs of the old ranch are abundant. The above auto filling water trough provided water for the sheep before the ranching operation became a state park.
Pine Canyon Loop is easy and has very little elevation change. The only hard parts, if one were to call them that, are the places where the trail crosses the larger dry creek bed.
The Pine Canyon Loop ends at Indigo Creek Trail. Vireo Vista continues on where Pine Canyon Loop ends.
Vireo Vista Trail – 0.4 Miles
As a trail, Vireo Vista isn’t as well marked as Pine Canyon Loop. It doesn’t appear to based on an old ranch road either.
Vireo Vista is more path like than ranch road like. In the above picture, the trail meanders off from the lower left hand corner. The trail is well enough travelled to be obvious. Like other trails, in areas where the trail isn’t so obvious, rocks are lined up along the sides of the trail.
The trail rises gently up to the Armadillo Lookout Trail branch and then gently falls down to the main park road where it ends.
At the end of Vireo Vista, turn right to go north along the main park road back to the campground.
Armadillo Lookout Trail – 0.64 Miles Roundtrip
The only access to Armadillo Lookout Trail is from Vireo Vista Trail. The trailhead is located close to the Vireo Vista Trail midpoint.
The trail is rocky and moderately steep in places.
Armadillo Lookout Trail is narrow. Two hikers can’t pass without one of them stepping off the trail.
At the top, hikers are rewarded with views and a bench.
From the north side of the hill, the area where the campground can be seen. Binoculars would be a plus.
The park road passes between the lookout hill and a portion of the Long Way Home Trail. The Vireo Vista and Barbado Ridge Trails both have trailheads on the park road. The trailheads aren’t visible in the picture.
This vista made the entire hike worthwhile. The views, while not well represented by the photos, are excellent and help place the park’s terrain into context. It seems like everything visible was contained within the park boundary. A park that was once a thriving successful sheep ranching operation.
Not only would I visit this park again but I would also hike this set of trails again. That is, I would hike them again after hiking the Barbado Ridge Trail and The Long Way Home Trail for the first time.
Hope to see you on the road ahead!