It has been a few years since we have visited this great park. With it being only 45 minutes from Fort Worth, we decided to go back for a visit as the kids were itching to climb on some rocks. Before we headed out into the trails the standard bathroom break was up first. As with most state parks, they do a great job taking care of their over visited restrooms and we found our restroom visit to be just as nice. Though I was a little perturbed as I was carrying our 3 year-old on my hip up to the restroom, and turned around to make sure the others were coming and waited a few minutes longer. This is when he decided to pee all on the side of my shirt. Good thing for him, we always bring several changes of clothes, but of course I didn't have an extra shirt. A mother walked in on me washing my shirt with the parks soap and water with it still on my body, and she laughed and stated that she totally has been there. After everyone used the restroom and I managed to soak half my shirt with water, we had snack in their really neat picnic area. All of the picnic areas are nestled in a wooded area. Some of the picnic tables are your standard metal ones, while others sit up high looking over the lake and are made of stone. After snack, we wound our way down some steep stone steps into Penitentiary Hollow, which is a natural rock climbing spot.
At the time, rock climbing was shut down due to recent rains, but people were still allowed to get on the smaller rocks. The kids had a blast exploring the crevices in the rock walls and getting on top of the rocks and logs. After we explored the hollow, we headed down the path that parallels the lake and went down to a fishing dock where we found a father and his two young daughters fishing. We then headed up the trail that wound back to the parking lot where we had our van. On our way in we saw a small beach, the park store and boat dock and went back over there to check it out. The 4 year-old and I went to look around the docks, the store, and the fishing area and then came back to play with the others in the sand at the beach. After about 30 minutes of beach time, we headed back home for some much needed dinner and rest.
Having worked at Dinosaur Valley State Park in Glen Rose, TX for a few years until a few months ago, I have never needed a park pass as all employees and their families have free entrance to all state parks. And after visiting many city parks the last few months and deciding to visit a state park this weekend, we made sure to get our first one and were super excited about it. The pass is a great way to support our parks, is only $70, and with 4 adults in our family, will soon pay for itself after a few visits.
Since the park has such a great website already, I encourage you to check it out for all of your information needs on Lake Mineral Wells State Park.