Abilene State Park
Awake to find a wooded oasis on the banks of Elm Creek in the midst of the Texas Midwest, located just south of the city of Abilene. Pecan, red oak, cottonwood and elm trees arch over the campground. A historic water tower and observation deck constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps with rust-colored sandstone overlook the large swimming pool (closed for the 2014 season), a popular summertime attraction, and white-tailed deer and other wildlife can be spotted along a wooded hiking trail.
Things to Do
Abilene State Park offers several diverse outdoor recreation opportunities. From RV-compatible campsites with water and electric hookups to tent camping sites, screened shelters, a new Lake House Cabin, and even yurts (large canvas tents with furniture and flooring), Abilene State Park has lots of overnight camping options. There are trails for hiking and nature study, as well as a large swimming pool and pavilion built by the CCC decades ago, which still provides visitors with great summertime swimming and a separate wading pool for children. The swimming pool is closed through 2014, due to repair work.
Fishing at Buffalo Wallow pond, hiking, boating and picnicking are available at adjacent Lake Abilene—the newest section of the park—as well as biking on park roads. Water activities such as fishing, boating, and swimming are not currently available at Lake Abilene due to drought.
The park also features a playground, a group dining facility and a game area with a sand volleyball pit, horseshoe pit, basketball goal, and large open area for activities like baseball, soccer, football and kite flying. A one-mile nature trail, plus an ADA-compliant, 1/2-mile trail, are also available at the main park area.
Held both on- and off-site. Nature trail tours are given upon request. Check the calendar for upcoming events and programs.
Get more information on the Civilian Conservation Corps, which helped develop this park and numerous others over 70 years ago, by visiting our CCC page that includes the interactive online exhibits and education resource, “The Look of Nature: Designing Texas State Parks During the Great Depression” and “A New Deal for Texas Parks."
- Interpretive Guide to Abilene State Park
- Ask about the Junior Ranger Explorer Packs available for free checkout at the park!
The park rents barbecue pits. We also participate in the Angler Education “Tackle Loaner Program”: individuals can borrow rods, reels and tackle boxes with hooks, sinkers and bobbers. Canoe and kayak rentals are currently unavailable due to low lake levels.
Nearby attractions include Fort Griffin State Historic Site and Buffalo Gap, which was the original Taylor County seat (1878) and one of the early frontier settlements that the famous Butterfield Stage Route (also called the Southern Overland Mail Route) passed through. Buffalo Gap was also situated on the Western or Goodnight-Loving Trail, the route along which pioneer Texas cattlemen drove their herds to the Kansas railhead. This traffic is understandable, considering Buffalo Gap lies at a natural pass through a chain of hills.
Other nearby points of interest include Lake Abilene; the Grace Cultural Center with the Abilene Fine Arts Museum, Historical Museum and Children's Museum; Paramount Theater; Abilene Zoological Gardens; Dyess Air Force Base's vintage aircraft; Buffalo Gap Historic Village; and a monthly art walk in downtown Abilene.