Lost Maples State Natural Area – When we think of the leaves changing color in the fall we usually don’t think San Antonio. But if you head Northwest for a drive under two hours, you can see colorful leaves at Lost Maples.
The Lost Maples State Natural Area is near Vanderpool and Utopia, Texas.
The state natural area is known for its many maple trees, those that aren’t normally found in the area. Most maple trees are found in the north or northeast side of the country. The parks superintendent, Lisa Fitzsimmos, showed KSAT 12 around the park and gave the history on how the trees ended up in the Texas Hill Country.
“These maples weren’t supposed to be here,” Fitzsimmos said. “These maples, during the ice age, they were all up north and during the melting the seeds and stuff came down to this area, and they found a perfect habitat in these canyon walls. They are lost because they are not where they originally came from.”
It’s important to note that these aren’t the typical maple trees you see up north -- these are big tooth maples where the leaves have three prongs and are smaller.
Other trees that are changing colors at the park include the Texas Red Oak and Sicamore Trees.
The best time of year to see them is November -- when we went we had just missed those beautiful red leaves on the maple trees -- as high winds blew off the last of the red leaves.
“We had a prolonged summer we had hot temperatures all the way through September,” Fitzsimmos said. “October came, and we started feeling like fall and then we had a hard freeze."
It kind of stunned them I think but the sun came back out and they continued their transformation process,” she said.
Generally the peak season is the middle two weekends of November, and this year it was right on time.
“Even though the maples are on the ground, it’s still a beautiful time to come out,” Fitzsimmos said. “We’ve got nice water flowing in our creeks and the trees, the hill sides ablaze with color.”
The superintendent said this time of year is extremely busy. She says it’s best to reserve your day pass online a couple of days in advance.
The park can only let so many people in at a time, and she said she wouldn’t want people to drive all the way out and get turned away.