James Choate ( 1, 2, & 3

1. Confusion Research Center (
2. Sierra Club, Central Texas Chapter (
3. Texas Rock Climbing Meetup (

NOTE: When we are hosting this event through Sierra Club, membership or donations are not required. This event is open to the public and has no charges associated with it.

Image Source: San Marcos Greenbelt Alliance

The San Marcos Greenbelt Alliance has this to say about the Purgatory Creek Natural Area,

“The 570-acre Purgatory Creek Natural Area is within the Edwards Aquifer recharge zone, is home to Purgatory Creek, and includes upland meadows, canyon bluffs of 40 feet or more, dense juniper thickets, champion oaks, and a flood control dam. Several areas within this natural area are habitat for golden-cheeked warblers and black-capped vireos. Passive recreation opportunities support a trail along the narrows of the frequently dry Purgatory Creek bed that runs through this natural area.”

We’ll meet at the Upper Purgatory trail head and hike 4.1 miles, about two hours, to the Lower Purgatory trail head. After taking a short break, there are stores across the street where food and beverages can be obtained, we’ll hike back to our starting point. Total trip time should be about four hours or a little longer (depends on how long we break mid way).

Warning - To get to the trailhead you need to drive over a dirt road that will not pass cars with low ground clearance.


Take IH 35 south to San Marcos, looking for exit 202. At the intersection of the access road and Wonder World street you will turn right onto Wonder World. Proceed down Wonder World until you pass through the Hunter Rd. intersection, you’ll want to get in the left lane as soon as possible. At the Craddock Ave. intersection you’ll turn left into a very short dead end paved stretch, there will be a dirt access road to the right. Proceed down that dirt road until you get to the dead end at the Upper Purgatory trailhead.

Image Source: Google Maps

Required Equipment:

You’ll want to wear sturdy, non-open toed shoes or boots, bring water, and possibly a snack. Most of the trail is in woods across three ridges, but there are a couple of open areas that you may need a hat for. The trail itself is studded with rocks and footing can be achallenge at times.



Suggestions for Further Reading