What is the least-visited state park in Texas? Here’s the top 10 countdown for 2023

AUSTIN (KXAN) — From mountains and canyons to forests and swamps, the vast scale of Texas provides so many natural wonders.

Across the Lone Star State, there are 86 state parks, natural areas and historic sites currently operated by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

The first parks were opened to the public in the 1930s and the newest, Old Tunnel State Park, opened in 2012. TPWD also has plans to develop five sites into future state parks.

Fairfield Lake State Park, meanwhile, closed to the public on June 4, after the property was sold to a private developer.

TPWD splits the state into seven ‘natural regions,’ each of which is home to several state parks. The Prairies & Lakes region is home to 22 parks, more than any other region. The South Texas Plains region is home to the fewest, with seven parks.

Across the system, state parks welcomed more than 9.2 million visitors in Fiscal Year 2023, a 4.3% decrease from the previous fiscal year. The Prairies & Lakes region recorded the most visitors, with more than 3 million across its 22 parks.

The Hill Country region welcomed more than 2.2 million visitors across 16 parks, while the Gulf Coast and Panhandle Plains regions each saw more than 1 million visitors.

State parks in the Big Bend Country region saw the fewest number of visitors, with around 420,000. Those numbers do not include visitors to Big Bend National Park, which alone saw more than half a million visitors in 2022.

But which individual state park gets the most visitors? Explore for yourself using our interactive table below, or keep scrolling to see our top 10 countdown.

Top 10 least-visited Texas state parks

Note: The TPWD-operated Wyler Aerial Tramway is not included in the list below because it’s been closed since April 2020 due to safety concerns. TPWD says it is working with local partners to determine the future of the tramway.

10. Old Tunnel State Park

Old Tunnel State Park (Texas Parks and Wildlife Department photo)
Old Tunnel State Park (Texas Parks and Wildlife Department photo)

TPWD calls Old Tunnel State Park a “bat haven.” The former railroad tunnel provides a seasonal home to more than 3 million bats. The park welcomed 23,351 visitors in FY 2023, a 27% decrease from FY 2022.

9. Fort Boggy State Park

Fort Boggy State Park (Texas Parks and Wildlife Department photo)
Fort Boggy State Park (Texas Parks and Wildlife Department photo)

“A tranquil patchwork of woods, fields and water.” That’s how TPWD describes Fort Boggy State Park, with its trails, primitive campsites and cabins and a lake. The park welcomed 19,434 visitors in FY 2023, a 10% increase over FY 2022.

8. Mission Tejas State Park

Mission Tejas State Park (Texas Parks and Wildlife Department photo)
Mission Tejas State Park (Texas Parks and Wildlife Department photo)

At Mission Tejas State Park, TPWD says you can “enjoy the peace of the Pineywoods and glimpses of the past.” The park sits at the north end of the Davy Crockett National Forest. The park welcomed 16,083 visitors in FY 2023, a 13% decrease from FY 2022.

7. Big Bend Ranch State Park

Big Bend Ranch State Park (Texas Parks and Wildlife Department photo)
Big Bend Ranch State Park (Texas Parks and Wildlife Department photo)

TPWD calls Big Bend Ranch State Park “the other side of nowhere.” The remote park boasts “rugged mountains, steep canyons, amazing views, unparalleled night skies and solitude in a high desert setting.” The park welcomed 14,891 visitors in FY 2023, a 12% decrease from FY 2022.

6. Resaca de la Palma State Park

Resaca de la Palma State Park (Texas Parks and Wildlife Department photo)
Resaca de la Palma State Park (Texas Parks and Wildlife Department photo)

Referred to as a “Rio Grande treasure,” Resaca de la Palma State Park is a “semi-tropical paradise,” TPWD says, offering a peaceful refuge for people and wildlife. The park welcomed 14,427 visitors in FY 2023, a 29% increase over FY 2022.

5. Fort Leaton State Historic Site

Fort Leaton State Historic Site (Texas Parks and Wildlife Department photo)
Fort Leaton State Historic Site (Texas Parks and Wildlife Department photo)

The Fort Leaton State Historic Site is the site of a former pioneer trading post near the U.S.-Mexico border. The site welcomed 8,352 visitors in FY 2023, a 51% increase over FY 2022.

4. Kickapoo Cavern State Park

Kickapoo Cavern State Park (Texas Parks and Wildlife Department photo)
Kickapoo Cavern State Park (Texas Parks and Wildlife Department photo)

Kickapoo Cavern State Park is a “lightly-developed park” with caves, birds, bats and trails. TPWD says to bring a sense of wonder and a spirit of adventure. The park welcomed 8,245 visitors in FY 2023, a 2% decrease from FY 2022.

3. Indian Lodge

Indian Lodge (Texas Parks and Wildlife Department photo)
Indian Lodge (Texas Parks and Wildlife Department photo)

Described as a “welcome oasis in West Texas,” Indian Lodge offers rustic charm, yet modern comfort, according to TPWD. The lodge is a full-service hotel within Davis Mountains State Park. The lodge welcomed 7,324 visitors in FY 2023, a 79% decrease from FY 2022. Note: Indian Lodge closed for renovations in January 2023 and is set to reopen in January 2024.

2. Devils River State Natural Area

Devils River State Natural Area (Texas Parks and Wildlife Department photo)
Devils River State Natural Area (Texas Parks and Wildlife Department photo)

TPWD says Devils River State Natural Area boasts “one of the most pristine rivers in Texas” and features spring-fed water tumbling pasts rugged ridges, scenic canyons and brushy banks. “It’s not easy to get here, but it’s worth the effort.” The park welcomed 5,096 visitors in FY 2023, a 2% increase over FY 2022.

1. Devil’s Sinkhole State Natural Area

Devil's Sinkhole State Natural Area (Texas Parks and Wildlife Department photo)
Devil’s Sinkhole State Natural Area (Texas Parks and Wildlife Department photo)

Devil’s Sinkhole State Natural Area is home one of the largest colonies of Mexican free-tailed bats in the state. About 3 million bats emerge from the sinkhole in search of food on warm nights. Access to the site is only by guided tour. The park welcomed 903 visitors in FY 2023, a 29% increase over FY 2022.

We also looked at the most-visited state parks across Texas. Click here to see our top 10 countdown.

Related Posts

65a406f92200003200ad4ac0

Thousands Of Demonstrators March For Palestine Across The World

WASHINGTON (AP) — Thousands of demonstrators converged opposite the White House on Saturday to call for an end to Israeli military action in Gaza, while children joined…

65a3302a2300003100806e60

Massive Gas Outage Threatens Millions Of Americans’ Energy Supplies Amid Arctic Storm

Emergency shutdown at a natural gas storage facility in Washington state threatens mass blackouts.

65a302dd2300005500806e58

Prankster Tries To Give Ron DeSantis Participation Trophy At Iowa Event

“We’re proud of you for trying,” Davram Stiefler of The Good Liars comedy duo told DeSantis.

65a3198e240000320027f385

Chicago Bulls Fans Boo As Jerry Krause's Widow Accepts Honor In His Place

The team’s former general manager died in 2017.

65a2fb7e2300005600806e55

Viral Rapper Says He’s Innocent After Kidnapping Allegations

A viral Texas rapper is claiming his innocence after being accused of kidnapping a pregnant woman and keeping her locked in his garage. Lee Carter, 52, better…

65a2c9d72200005300fb00fc

Bills-Steelers Playoff Game Postponed Amid Forecast For Dangerous Winter Weather

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — A potentially dangerous winter storm forecast to hit the Buffalo region over the weekend led the NFL on Saturday to push back the…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *