When most folks think of state parks and natural areas in Texas, things like wildlife and hiking trails come to mind. But our state parks and natural areas are ideal places to explore history as well. Archeological sites at parks like Caprock Canyons, with its Paleoindian excavation, rock art sites at Hueco Tanks east of El Paso, Seminole Canyon’s world class, 4,000 year-old shelter paintings, and the Lower Pecos style figure painted across the rocks at Devils River State Natural Area all provide a look at prehistoric, pre-statehood Texas. Elsewhere, Big Bend Ranch State Park features Fort Leaton, a fortified adobe trading post established in 1848, and Fort Richardson offers insight into our early frontier days. State parks are also repositories for Texas’ robust Civilian Conservation Corps efforts where pavilions, cabins, roads, trails, and other improvements feature a unique design style utilizing the surrounding natural elements like boulders, lumber, and stone. Evidence of CCC activity can be seen in twenty-nine parks throughout the state. After an afternoon of heritage exploration in our state parks and natural areas, you’ll still have the opportunity to hike a trail, take a swim, or just find a quiet spot to watch the sun go down.