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Camping at Old Tunnel State Park

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Overview of Old Tunnel State Park

Old Tunnel State Park is a Texas state park located in Kendall and Gillespie Counties, not far from Fredericksburg. It features the Old Tunnel, a historic railroad tunnel that is home to a large bat colony. This park is an excellent spot for viewing bat emergences in the summer and early fall.

Bat Emergence

Key Attraction: The park's primary attraction is the nightly bat emergence from May through October. Visitors come to watch as millions of Mexican free-tailed bats emerge from the tunnel at dusk to forage for food.

Viewing Options:

  • Upper Viewing Area: Open to visitors for free, offering a good view of the bat flight.
  • Lower Viewing Deck: Guided tours are available for a more intimate viewing experience. There may be a fee, and reservations are recommended due to limited space.

Trails and Walking

Even though the park is small, it offers a nature trail where visitors can enjoy a leisurely walk and observe the local flora and wildlife during the day.

Visitor Center and Educational Programs

The park features a visitor center where guests can learn about the history of the old railroad tunnel and the bat colony. Educational programs are often available, particularly during peak bat-watching season.

Hours of Operation

Old Tunnel State Park is open year-round, but hours may vary by season, and the bat emergence viewing times change depending on the time of year.

Facilities

Facilities at the park are basic, since it's a small park primarily focused on the bat emergence event, but it does provide restrooms and picnic areas.

Camping

There is no camping available at Old Tunnel State Park. Visitors looking to camp can find campsites in the nearby state parks or private campgrounds in the region.

Admission and Fees

There may be no entrance fee for the park itself, but donations are welcome. Fees are charged for the guided tours to the lower viewing area.

Reservation and Contact Information

For the most current information on reservations for lower deck viewing, fees, and park programs:

  • Call: The park office for up-to-date information and bookings.
  • Online: Visit the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department website for online reservations and additional details.

Accessibility

The upper viewing area is wheelchair accessible. However, the lower deck may not be accessible to those with mobility impairments due to the steep pathway.

Local Weather

The local weather can vary, with hot and humid conditions in the summer and mild to cool temperatures in the winter. It's always best to check the weather before planning a trip and dress accordingly.

Wildlife Protection

Visitors are encouraged to respect wildlife by keeping a safe distance and not disturbing the bats or any other animals they may encounter in the park.

Rules and Regulations

To ensure the safety of wildlife and enjoyment for all visitors:

  • Stay on designated paths and viewing areas.
  • Follow the instructions of park staff during guided tours.
  • No pets allowed on the lower viewing area during bat emergence.
  • Refrain from using lights or flash photography during bat emergence, as it can disrupt the bats.

Additional Activities in the Area

Visitors might also enjoy exploring nearby attractions in Fredericksburg and the surrounding Hill Country, which offer a range of activities from hiking and biking to wine tasting and shopping.

Map of Campgrounds in Old Tunnel State Park
Campgrounds in Old Tunnel State Park
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