Bastrop State Park was built in 1939 by the Civilian Conservation Corps as part of the New Deal. The City of Bastrop donated 2,100 acres to the State of Texas, and then an additional 1,450 acres in 1979. Park amenities were built using local materials, such as pine and limestone.
Bastrop was the first settlement of Stephen Austin’s ‘little colony’. Located on the El Camino Real, Mina (Mee-nah), as it was then known, was founded in 1829 on the banks of the Colorado River. The town was named after Francisco Xavier Mina, a Spanish Revolutionary war martyr. But Mina faded into history in 1837, when Felipe Enrique Nering Bogel, also known as the ‘Baron de Bastrop’ rolled into town. Bastrop had been a land commissioner in Austin and was appointed Commissioner of the Colonies by the Mexican government. Bastrop turned out to be a complete fraud, but the name stuck. Bastrop was considered as the site of the new capital, but lost to Austin by one vote.
Swimming in the park’s lake is prohibited, but during the summer a freshwater, man-made pool is open. The pool is shaped like a football with a shallow wading pool on each end. The deep end sports a diving platform. There is a large bathhouse, picnic tables, and a payphone. The pool area is grassy and shaded by pines. Lifeguards are on duty.
The park also has an amphitheater and a large meeting and dining hall, which would be ideal for wedding receptions or family reunions. The park consists of 3,500 acres of quiet, rolling park land shaded by the Lost Pines. Camping facilities ranging from tents to cabins and trailer hookups are available. There are also picnic tables, a golf course, nature studies, and hiking and interpretive trails. Bicycles are not allowed on the trails because of erosion problems. The park also has rest rooms and hot showers, and concessions. Primitive camping is permitted in the back of the park along the Lost Pines Trail.
The park headquarters has souvenirs, ice, firewood, and maps. Bastrop State Park is completely wheelchair-accessible.
Scenic Park Road 1C connects Bastrop State Park with Buescher State Park 15 miles east in Smithville. The tour is beautiful, hilly, and thick with trees. If you’re just passing through and want to get a feel for the parks, this is the way to do it.