Ferns in Bastrop State Park

Photo by Chase A. Fountain, courtesy Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

In September 2011, the most destructive wildfire in Texas history raged through the loblolly pines of Bastrop State Park. The deadly fire burned 32,000 acres in the area—including 96 percent of the 6,565-acre park.

What: Bastrop State Park
When: 100 Park Road 1A, Bastrop
When: Year-round
Bastrop State Park website

And like salt in a wound, 2015 brought more devastation: Flooding led to a dam failure on the park’s 10-acre lake, and another wildfire scorched an additional 4,600 acres. It will take a generation or more for the beloved Lost Pines ecosystem to recover, but nature has already set the course with new springtime signs of greenery, young loblolly pines dotting the forest floor, and wildlife once again making the park home. The chance to witness this regrowth up-close comes but once a lifetime; book one of the park’s 14 historic cabins—firefighters saved these special sites, built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s—and enjoy the park’s striking beauty while it continues on its long road to recovery.

Get more Texas in your inbox

Sign up for our newsletters and never miss a moment of what’s happening around the state.