Lake Mineral Wells State Park & Trailway

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Lake Mineral Wells State Park & Trailway is one of eighty parks in the State of Texas and is operated by the Texas Parks & Wildlife.  It is located just 45 minutes west of Fort Worth, approximately 1.5 hours west of Dallas, and within five minutes of Mineral Wells, a town known for its healing waters in the 1900’s. 

The park includes a lake, twelve miles of trails, several campgrounds including 20 sites for equestrians, a rock-climbing area, and boat rentals from flat-bottom boats with trolling motors to paddle boards.  There is also a 20-mile trailway which connects the park to Mineral Wells and the City of Weatherford.

Annie and I visited the park for hiking and hiked most of the twelve miles of trails over two days and followed the trailway toward Mineral Wells until we ran into a current trail closure.

Cross Timbers Camping Area

Upon our arrival, we set up camp in the equestrian campground at the site I reserved online.  Despite not having a horse, I selected this campground as there were less campers which would cull Annie’s disposition to bark at passersby. If I had to do it over again, I’d likely pick a regular site as these spots were like parallel parking on the side of the road.  Regardless, the campgrounds were quiet except for the visiting deer which really get Annie worked up!

Blue Waterfront Trail

Since we arrived in the afternoon and darkness comes early in the winter, we only tackled one short hike our first day in the park.  It was a 1.5-mile stroll along the Blue Waterfront Trail. The trail weaves between the lake’s western edge and the camp loops in the shade of trees. Occasionally, you almost have to walk through people’s campsites which seemed invading, but the campers didn’t seem to mind. It was nice to stretch our legs.

Annie on Blue Waterfront Trail in Lake Mineral Wells State Park

Cross Timbers Trails

The following day, we connected tons of trails together to create a loop a little over 7 miles.  The loop trail began next to the equestrian campground and included most of the black, orange, green, yellow, and maroon Cross Timbers Trail.  The terrain varied with each one.  Some were single track, and some were wide enough for two hikers or a horse. 

Some were slightly rocky and technical while others were smooth.  Some trails passed through grassy meadows while others wend through the trees.  There was even an old military road used for training at Fort Wolters in the mix.  That’s where we spotted a family of wild boars ahead.  Fortunately, Annie was busy sniffing something else, so she didn’t even notice them. 

While the open grassland trails were easier to hike with exception of deep sand occasionally, the rocky single track through the trees was much prettier.  I loved seeing the fall color as the windy winter was approaching.

Red Waterfront Trail

My favorite trail, despite the relentless cobwebs, was the Red Waterfront Trail which we hiked on our final day in the park. The short 0.8 mile undulating path followed the lake’s eastern edge through the fall foliage to Penitentiary Hollow.  The steep sheer walls are magnificent, and it sort of feels like you are in a penitentiary until you can find the stairs up to the parking area!  I was content to just wander through the rock formations, but climbers are drawn to the area to scale the walls. 


Since the Red Waterfront Trail was so short, we also ventured out on the Trailway which was a combination of intermittent gravel and paved paths.  Unfortunately, we only made it a few miles to the Vietnam Memorial Park as we ran into a trail closure. 

The landscaped grounds of the park feature a variety of memorials including a half-scale replica of the wall in Washington, DC.  There is also a Huey Helicopter as the vast majority of helicopter pilots were trained at Fort Wolters!

Mineral Wells

In addition to enjoying the trails at Mineral Wells State Park & Trailway, we also wandered the Town of Mineral Wells.  It is a quiet place and no longer the South’s premier health resort of the early 1900’s when visitors flocked to the town for the healing waters.

Famous Mineral Water Company – Home of Crazy Water

That said, main street invited a few worthy stops.  The first being at the Famous Mineral Water Company.  Legend has it, that in 1881 a crazy lady with dementia would sit by one of the first wells dug in Mineral Wells and drink mineral water all day.  As a result, she became not so crazy anymore and the well was dubbed the Crazy Well.  Soon 3,000 people seeked a cure from the mineral waters and paid 10 cents a glass to Billy Wiggins and James Lynch, the owners.

One of the customers was Ed Dismuke. He found the mineral water cured his ailing stomach.  Consequently, he established the Famous Mineral Water Company in 1904, home to Crazy Water.  By 1909, Mineral Wells grew to four bathing houses, 7 wells and pavilions, 2 sanitariums, and 46 hotels and boarding houses.  Four years later, there were 21 mineral water companies.

Crazy Water

Mineral Wells was hard hit by the Great Depression and WWII as visitors could no longer travel for the healing waters. Most water companies closed, but Ed Dismuke’s company remained in business while focusing on crystals that could be added to tap water in one’s home.  As the mineral water craze faded, Mineral Wells became dependent on Fort Wolters.

Upon Ed Dismuke’s death at 97, his widow sold the company.  It has passed through the hands of many owners, but still remains today.  Now the company offers 4 types of Crazy Water and Crazy Fizz.  You can taste each one in the store, and I highly recommend consulting with a store clerk as one version is so full of minerals, it tends to act as a laxative.  I liked Crazy 2 the best which is a blend of Crazy 1 and Crazy 3.  Only one bottle didn’t cure my ailments, but perhaps the locals, who have it delivered to their homes, see a difference in their health!

The Market at 76067

Also in town, is The Market at 76067.  This two story, 12,000 square foot show room features over 100 vendors.  You can find anything from homemade gluten free pasta, to an oil and vinegar bar, to ornaments and home décor, to clothes.  There is something for everyone, including the non-shopper like me.

Brazos Market & Bistro

After a stroll through the market, I grabbed a healthy meal at Brazos Market & Bistro. I chose the stuffed avocado with chicken salad.  An entire avocado on a bed of lettuce stuffed with chicken salad only cost $8.99.  Most the time you can hardly get a few slices of avocado on a salad that costs $15.99!

avocado stuffed with chicken salad

Mineral Wells Fossil Park

Before heading back to Dallas, I made one more stop at the Mineral Wells Fossil Park.  This big ditch is out in the middle of nowhere, and at first, I wasn’t too enthusiastic about my visit.  But then I started spotting all the tiny fossils of ancient sea species including brachiopods, clams, corals, and trilobites.  And while there are some rules to follow, you can take them with you. This is a fossil lover’s dream!

fossils in Mineral Wells

Overall, I enjoyed my three days at Lake Mineral Wells State Park and look forward to seeing the current revitalizing plans of old buildings in downtown Mineral Wells. And who doesn’t like a place with a street named after them?!?  ETB

E Bankhead Hwy sign

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Beth Bankhead

Former public finance professional turned award winning travel blogger and photographer sharing the earth's beauty one word and image at a time.

12 thoughts on “Lake Mineral Wells State Park & Trailway

  1. You didn’t mention anything about the Baker Hotel, it’s hard to miss. Thirteen stories of bricks. They are remodeling the structure.

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