Shaffer Bend is another Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) park. You know the ones I get into for 2 bucks since I am two days older than dirt! Sometimes age has its privilege.
Shaffer Bend is on the Colorado River at the very far reaches of Lake Travis. Lake Travis is currently 14% below its usual May 1st pool. The hill country and to the west are in a severe drought, and Travis is fourth in line of the Highland Lakes so there is very little water flowing into the lake.
This park is very very primitive. There are only port a potties at the camping loops and no water. The road is gravel and the trails are nowhere near connected into a hikeable loop so there was a bit of backtracking and road walking between trail heads. In fact I hiked over 6 miles in a park with only five miles of trails!
I started out on the Lakeview Trail and walked along the river for some time. Once I hit the road, I walked along it to the Cara Cara trailhead. Now before we get any farther let’s talk about Shaffer Bend.
Shaffer Bend is a 508 acre partially developed property operated by the LCRA. It has 5 miles of multiuse trails, and 2 miles of shoreline. There is water at the entrance station and a flush toilet otherwise it’s all primitive. The trails have evidently been named by the Mountain Biking Community as you will see, starting with the Cara Cara Trail. I followed this to the Dagger Trail which was the only single-track trail in the park. It is also the one that takes you to the top of the hill.
The Dagger was very steep and the sign at the top advised that it is downhill only for the bikers. Well, this was a rough one so I wouldn’t ride either way on the damn thing!
The hike up the Dagger Trail was well worth it for the view.
There were several yucca plants that were the tallest I have ever seen. I didn’t know they grew so tall!
Shaffer Bend also has a large post oak savannah. Obviously, it is big with the wild boar as they had rooted up large areas including the trail. I found areas along the Turkey and Homestead Trails that were almost impassable they were dug up so much.
I also hit the Equine Trail just to get some more miles as it is the longest in the park. I was rewarded with a great view!
You know Yellowstone has the Grand Prismatic Spring. Well, Shaffer Bend has its little cousin…. sort of. Found this tinaja to be quite striking.
Shaffer Bend. Never had been there, maybe I’ll go back sometime when the lake actually exists there. Of all the LCRA parks I have been to this was my least favorite. But hey for two bucks I got in a six-mile hike. Quite a deal in Texas.