Bastrop State Park

bastrop state park

100 Park road 1-A - Bastrop, Texas 78602                                       Jamie Creacy - Superintendent                                                                                          512.321.2101

What was once a lush and dense pine forest, Bastrop State park is on a the long road to recovery after the Labor Day fires of 2011 DEVASTATED over 90% of the park. This and the lack of mature tree growth paired with the 2015 expansion and development of SH71 has left the campsites of Bastrop State Park exposed to a fair bit of road noise. The sites for camping are situated just a stone's throw from the highway, a THOROUGHFARE that is frequented by both passenger vehicle traffic and 18 wheeled trucks alike.  

The thinned areas, where forest once stood, do allow for better sky exposure for astronomical viewing, however it doesn't do much for your peace of mind when you set to turn in for the night.  despite the close proximity to austin and the growing population of bastrop, the state park manages a modest 5.0 on the bortle scale. The hilly terrain and existing trees limit the Eastern sky and block visibility from on average 20 degrees down to the horizon. The western sky is a bit more forgiving with visibility from 10 degrees up. camping in the main area, where your vehicle is less than five feet from camp, is not suggested as it places you closest to the highway noise.  If you are willing to walk your scope and gear about 30 meters there is a more secluded clearing of sites in the back of Copperas Creek Camping area. Sites #46-49 yield level camp areas with good sky exposure and the least amount of noise.

as you can see on the map below, there are additional camping sites in the deer run area, however these are built up on slopes and put you in direct line of sight of SH71.  The same goes for the RV areas. We have identified Sites #16-21 on piney hill as ideal locations over all should noise not be a problem.  They are high on a hill top with almost 360 degrees of sky down to the horizon.  This would be a great location if you are camping out of a small RV or vehicle that would muffle some of the sound. Though I will note that this location has the potential for exposure to wind so tie downs would be advised.  However, if you are looking for an ideal spot for solar observing then this is your spot! 

Your campsites run $20-25 per night and the park has a $5 entrance fee.  Please note as with all state parks this fee is waived for all children 12 and under and to anyone possessing an active Texas state parks pass.

CAMPSITE #48, West facing and level backing up to a sparse tree lined ridge. Second site to the right from the foot bridge.

Tucked into the background is Site #49.  It is level and offers access to as much sky as the other three sites and backs up nicely to a corner outcropping over the creek below.

Though the park is still recovering from the fires and recent floods, it is none the less majestic in its towering pines and rolling terrain.  What once was a lush and dense forest will become once more with time and care.  Don't let the sound of the nearby highway deter you from at least getting in some daytime solar observing or hiking.

Site #46 is level, north facing and set off to the side from the other three sites suggested.

On your immediate right after stepping off of the foot bridge, site #47 is the closest and most accessible to the parking area.