Mother Neff State Park
A Legacy for Texans
Along a scenic stretch of the Leon River southwest of Waco lies Mother Neff State Park, one of Texas’ earliest state parks. Isabella Neff donated the original six acres for the park in 1921. Since then, many folks have discovered what Mother Neff knew: This is a very special place.
Things to Do
Come to the park to unwind! You can hike, picnic, camp, geocache and observe nature. Enjoy the wildflowers in the prairie and explore the canyon trails. (Due to river conditions, swimming and fishing are not allowed.)
Explore the interactive displays at our visitor center to learn more about this Central Texas treasure and its rich history.
The Leon River has flooded the lower end of the park multiple times in recent years. A new camping loop and visitor center opened in 2015 - both above the floodplain. Now the park can remain open, even when the riverfront area floods.
Our new camping loop has 20 full hookup sites (water, sewer and 50/30-amp electricity), level cement pads, and a large gathering area with a fire pit and picnic table. Or choose one of 15 tent sites near the Leon River (currently closed due to flood damage).
You can also stay in our new cabin with a campsite.
Explore nearly 3.5 miles of trails for beginners to more experienced trekkers. Trails take you to the Wash Pond, to the CCC Rock Tower, and to a cave used by the Tonkawa Indian tribe in the 1800s.
We need your help! As floodwater recedes, we need volunteers to help with cleanup and restoration. Learn more at headquarters or visit our Volunteer page.
Park rangers offer nature and history programs. Check the Events page to see the schedule, or contact the park to arrange special tours.
Junior Ranger program
Kids aged four to 12 can become a junior ranger! Complete a set of activities to earn a badge and certificate. Download the activity sheets or pick up at headquarters.
Civilian Conservation Corps
The CCC built many of the facilities at Mother Neff State Park, including park roads, the concession building and the lookout/water tower. To learn more about the CCC’s work here, stop by the Visitor Center. You can also learn more on these pages:
- History page
- The Look of Nature: Mother Neff
- A New Deal for Texas Parks (interactive exhibit)
- Nature by Design (TPWD Magazine 2012)
Prairie Restoration Project
Why isn’t the grass mowed? Native prairies and grasslands play a vital role in the overall health of an ecoregion. Learn more about our prairie restoration project on our Nature page.
Waco (32 miles) offers shopping, dining, museums and more. Be sure to visit the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum and the Cameron Park Zoo.
Temple (25 miles) has museums as well, including the Temple Railroad and Heritage Museum.
In Gatesville (23 miles), the “Spur Capital of Texas,” explore the Coryell County Museum & Historical Center.