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Spring Lake Natural Area

Explore Spring Lake, then explore the Spring Lake Natural Area

Spring Lake Natural Area is a little-known 251-acre park that sits just above Spring Lake, the headwaters of the San Marcos River. It offers many miles of natural surface trails and is open to the public for hiking, biking, birding, and photography. It is a perfect companion to a visit to the Meadows Center.

Spring Lake Natural Area contains the typical meadows and woodlands found in the Edwards Plateau, with a wide variety of flora and fauna, ranging from Mexican buckeye to deer and other large mammals. The geology includes layers of the Eagle-Ford, Georgetown, Del Rio clay, and Edwards limestone. The endangered golden-cheeked warbler breeds only in central Texas and nests in the ash juniper and oak found here. To protect these rare birds, certain trails in Spring Lake Natural Area will be closed from March 1 to May 31 annually. More information about the golden-cheeked warbler is available from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.


Watch this video for step-by-step directions to the trails from the Meadows Center:

View Online Interactive Map

  • To access Spring Lake Natural Area, visit The Meadows Center at 201 San Marcos Springs Drive, San Marcos TX 78666 and someone in the ticket kiosk can point you to the trail head. Small parking fees apply at The Meadows Center; however, trail access is free and open to the public.

    To get to the trail head, you will need to cross the street (Laurel Lane) heading toward the golf course maintenance facility. As you do you will see a 3x6 inch, blue plastic trail marker (also called a blaze) nailed to a large tree across the street. Cross the street carefully (traffic comes down the hill at a fast rate of speed), and look for the next blaze on a tree within the parking area of the golf maintenance area. Keep following the blazes through the steel gate and up the hill until you see a sheltered kiosk. Now you are in Spring Lake Natural Area.

  • The City of San Marcos is working to protect the quality of life for the people of San Marcos through the acquisition and management of interconnected parks and natural areas. The San Marcos Greenbelt Alliance and other community organizations work with the City to develop trails and ensure a quality experience.

    Natural areas are geographical areas having a physical and cultural individuality developed through natural growth rather than design or planning. Please help us keep our natural areas natural by using these guidelines:

    • Leave plants and rocks in the park and take out what you find

    • All dogs must be on a leash and under your control

    • Please take dog waste out with you - bags are available at most entrances

    • Campfires, glass, motorized vehicles, and weapons are not permitted

    • Stay on the trails to prevent damage to the natural environment

    • Bicycles must yield to hikers

    • Horse riding and camping are not permitted

    • To report a problem or give a suggestion, contact San Marcos Parks and Recreation at 512-393-8400

  • For more information about Spring Lake Natural Area, check the following resources:

    City of San Marcos

    San Marcos Greenbelt Alliance