Interesting fact: Old Tunnel State Park is the smallest State Park in Texas. But don’t let that keep you from checking it out, because it’s actually one of the Texas Hill Country’s best kept secrets.

Located about an hour out from San Antonio at 10619 Old San Antonio Road on the outskirts of Fredericksburg, Old Tunnel State Park lets you hike down to view an abandoned historical railroad tunnel. The train used to go to Fredericksburg, but the rails were pulled up in 1942.

And it just so happens that the tunnel is now home to nearly 3 million Mexican Freetail bats from May until October! That’s more bats than in San Antonio or Austin… actually more than both combined!

To see the bats, you can reserve a spot in one of the viewing areas. But note, you have to get a permit in advance, as space is extremely limited due to current restrictions. Viewing takes place in the evening.

The park is also a good place for a workout.  It features a short .5 mile trail loop. But with all the steps and elevation changes, you can really get a great workout in. The trail closes at 5 pm. So the only people allowed in after that time are those who have permits for bat viewing.


As we mentioned, Old Tunnel State Park is small, so don’t expect to do any camping here. There’s also no pets allowed, no fires, alcohol, or smoking.

When you visit, we recommend that you get a meal right around the corner at Alamo Springs Cafe, one of the best Burger Joints in Texas. It’s a great place to go for a burger and a beer.

To learn more about Old Tunnel State Park, visit the Texas Government page here.






Lynn Miller