Molly Hitchings

Pace Bend Park

Molly Hitchings
Pace Bend Park
  • Drive from Austin: 37 miles // 50 minutes
  • Where am I? Spicewood, TX -- west of Austin
  • Site recommendations: Do a first come, first serve primitive spot. No electric or super easily accessible bathrooms, but much more private. We liked spot #33
  • Note: It's $15 per car, per night. Carpool if possible! 

This weekend we made a short drive up to Pace Bend Park, a Travis County Park. This was our first time at Pace Bend and it was a very different experience than we expected, but we will get there. 

The park has 20 reservable ($20/ night) campsites that have electricity, on-site water, and updated bathrooms (with a key pad for access), and 400-ish ($15 a car per night) primitive first come, first serve sites available. The reservable spots are located on a loop on the eastern side of the park. None of them have access to the lake. The primitive spots are scattered all around the outside of the park and are located off of cove roads. The east side of the park is more beach style camping with very easy lake access (and a lot of people). The west side of the park is higher in elevation and provides good cliff jumping (be careful and always make sure you are jumping into deep enough water). However, there are only a few spots that have easy lake access on the western side. There are also primitive restrooms available throughout the park. Just a heads up, none of them have stall doors or a door to the outside. There is a location on the east side of the park off of Grisham Rd to fill up water containers for cooking, drinking, and cleaning. 

We chose a spot at the end of the N. Thurman/S. Gracy cove road. It was one of the few spots with easy water access for our kayaks and swimming. Chris got out early on Friday morning and found the best spot for us. The weather was beautiful, giving us plenty of sunshine in the early evening and led to a great night. We woke up early Saturday and spent most of the day on the water. We were joined by a few pals that came up for the day to relax as well. We drove around Pace Bend Park for a bit to check out the other spots and hiking trails. It's definitely not a place to go if you want hiking. However, it appears to be a great place for mountain biking. But we were okay spending the weekend more water-front.

Now our experience could have been dictated by Easter weekend or this could be a normal thing for Pace Bend, but our experience wasn't the best. Just to vent a little bit, it always blows my mind how inconsiderate some people can be while camping. But then again, I have to remember not everyone goes camping to have the same experience we seek. We like peace, low music, good beer, and relaxing. Unlike our neighbors across the cove who find it necessary to blast the radio out of the car sound system (commercials included). Or the dozens of people who walked directly through our campsite to get down to the water. I'm sorry, but we spent the time (and too much money) to have a solid spot. This isn't a trail, this is where we have all of our belongings and want to make dinner without having strangers brushing past our tent. JEEZ GUYS. 

Pace Bend is a great spot to spend the day or weekend close to Austin. I don't know if we'll go back for a camping weekend due to the high traffic and noise (just not our scene), but I would definitely go back to play.