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December at state parks in the Highland Lakes

Go on a Last or First Day Hike at Texas State Parks in the Highland Lakes. Pictured is a view from the Woodland Trail at Inks Lake State Park. Staff photo by Dakota Morrissiey

Enjoy Christmas amid nature at Texas State Parks in the Highland Lakes. Inks Lake State Park, Pedernales Falls State Park, Enchanted Rock State Natural Area, and Lyndon B. Johnson State Park and Historic Site have holiday events scheduled for December 2022 (and into New Year's Day).

Parks can fill up quickly, so consider booking a day pass online before you visit.

INKS LAKE STATE PARK

Located at 3630 Park Road 4 West near Burnet. Daily entrance is $7 for ages 13 and older and free for children 12 and younger. Call the park at 512-793-2223 or visit its webpage for details.

Cowboy Coffee — Start your morning off with a fresh cup of coffee and a friendly chat with a park ranger. Learn how cowboys got their caffeine and enjoy a dutch oven treat. Takes place from 9-10 a.m. Dec. 3, Dec. 10, Dec. 17, and Dec. 31.

Nature Journaling — No need to be Picasso. Explore the benefits of sketching the great outdoors. Takes place from 11:30 a.m. to noon Dec. 3 and Dec. 24.

Guided Nature Hike — Take a park ranger-led, 0.2-mile hike to Devil's Waterhole to learn about native plants and local geology. Hikes are 1-2 p.m. Dec. 3, Dec. 17, Dec. 24, and Dec. 31.

Campfire Chat — Gather around the fire to find out what's going on at Inks Lake State Park. Takes place from 5-6 p.m. Dec. 3, Dec. 17, and Dec. 24.

Tracks and Scat — Learn how to identify animals by what the leave behind. Takes place from 11 a.m. to noon Dec. 4, Dec. 11, and Dec. 18.

Skins and Skulls — Learn how an animal's fur pattern and skull structure help it survive. Examine specimens. Takes place from 1-2 p.m. Dec. 4, Dec. 11, and Dec. 18.

Holiday Festival of Lights — Campers are invited to decorate their sites for the holidays on the weekend before Christmas. You could win a prize! Judging starts at 6 p.m. Dec. 17.

Park Reading Ranger — Listen to Ranger Jamie Langham read a different story every month followed by crafts. Takes place from 4-5 p.m. Dec. 24.

First Day Hike, Bike, Run, Paddle — Start off 2023 by being active in the outdoors. Hike at 11 p.m. Dec. 31 through midnight Jan. 1; run at 8:30 a.m. Jan. 1; bike ride at 11 a.m. Jan. 1; and paddle at 2 p.m. Jan. 1.

PEDERNALES FALLS STATE PARK

Located at 2585 Park Road 6026 near Johnson City. Daily entrance is $6 for ages 13 and older and free for ages 12 and younger. Call the park at 830-868-7304 or visit its webpage for details.

Prehistoric Hunting: The Atlatl — See how ancient Texans hunted before the bow and arrow. Ages 8 and older can participate. Adult supervision required for ages 17 and younger. Takes place from 1-2 p.m. Dec. 3, 11 a.m. to noon Dec. 10, 1-2 p.m. Dec. 11, 11 a.m. to noon Dec. 24, and 10-11 a.m. Dec. 30.

Skins, Skulls, Scales and Scat — See, feel, and smell examples of Texas Hill Country wildlife by what is left behind. Takes place from 3-4 p.m. Dec. 3, noon to 1 p.m. Dec. 18, and 11 a.m. to noon Dec. 31.

Marvels of the Moon — Take a close look at the moon's surface and listen to different tales about its origins. Takes place from 6-7 p.m. Dec. 3.

Flint, Floods, and Fossils — Learn about the geology of the falls. Takes place from 10-11 a.m. Dec. 4 and 9-10 a.m. Dec. 11.

Santa's Workshop — Build birdhouses for the park's feathered friends. Open to adults and children. Takes place from 2-3 p.m. Dec. 10 and Dec. 17.

Stories in the Stars — A Star Theater program with the stories and legends behind seasonal constellations. Takes place from 6-7 p.m. Dec. 10.

Star Party — The Austin Astronomic Society shares its telescopes and knowledge during a night of stargazing. Takes place from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Dec. 17.

Wildlife Hike — Learn about the animals in the park on a 2-mile hike. Takes place from 11 a.m. to noon Dec. 23.

Christmastime Constellations — Gaze at the winter sky. Takes place from 6-7 p.m. Dec. 23 and Dec. 24.

Falls and Fossils — Discover the secrets behind the Pedernales Falls. Takes place from 1-2 p.m. Dec. 30.

Last Day Hike — Spend New Year's Eve hiking and reflecting on the past year. Takes place from 4:30-6:30 p.m. Dec. 31.

First Day Hike — Get off on the right foot in 2023 on a hike. Guided hikes are 8:30 a.m., noon, and 3 p.m. Jan. 1.

Hiking Through History — A journey through time starting in modern history and ending with 300-million-year-old fossils. Takes place from 10-11 a.m. Jan. 2.

ENCHANTED ROCK STATE NATURAL AREA

Located at 16710 RR 965 in Fredericksburg. Daily entrance is $8 for ages 13 and older and free for ages 12 and younger. The park quickly reaches capacity, so reservations are encouraged and also required on weekends, holidays, and school breaks. Call the park at 830-685-3636 or visit its webpage for details.

There are no December events scheduled, but you can enjoy a First Day Guided Summit Hike and a First Day Scenic Overlook Hike on Jan. 1.

LYNDON B. JOHNSON STATE PARK AND HISTORIC SITE

Located at 199 Park Road 152 in Stonewall. Entrance is free. Call the park at 830-644-2252 or visit its website.

Tree Lighting — Enjoy a 53-year-old tradition started by President and Mrs. Johnson. Features carolers, a live nativity, Santa Claus, refreshments, and the lighting of the park's tree. Takes place from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Dec. 18.

First Day Hike — A walk back in time (and forward into 2023). Takes place from 10-11 a.m. Jan. 1.

For more state park events, visit the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department website. And check out the Highland Lakes Hiking Guide before you head out for useful information.

editor@thepicayune.com

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