Sitting on about 550 acres, you can spend your days hiking, paddling, camping, and all around relaxing when you head over near Karnack to visit Caddo Lake State Park!
Caddo Lake State Park opened back in 1934 on July 4, with private land donated by Lady Bird Johnson’s father. Construction continued on the park, by the Civilian Conservation Corps, until March 1937. This construction included trails and cabins that would become staples of the park.
“Our visitors love to come and get in the water here, they love to take their canoes and kayaks out and enjoy our Saw Mill Pond,” said Park Interpreter Dustin Schrock. “Visitors can take their boat, kayak, or canoe to the lake by river.”
There are over 50 miles of paddling trails that you can use throughout Caddo Lake and the Big Cypress Bayou, or you can enjoy heading out to the lake while you’re visiting the park, it’s 4 river miles to get out to the main lake. You can bring your own canoe or kayak, or rent one while you’re visiting the park.
“Our park is very accessible, for whatever skill level you have. As far as paddling goes, or hiking, we have what you’re looking for,” said Schrock. “If you are a new beginner paddler you can hang out in the pond for an hour. Say you’re a more experienced paddler, and you really want to go explore the mysterious Caddo Lake, you can. It just depends on your skill level, but we have what you’re looking for.”
If you prefer to stay on dry land, you still have options for activities! Fishing is a popular activity while visiting if you want to hang out on the pier, and you do not need a fishing license to fish from shore in a state park. You can take a boat and head into the greater lake area to fish, or stay right in the state park.
When asked his favorite part of the park, Ranger Schrock had this to say, “I like to take a calming walk, and really enjoy the sounds that I’m hearing, the birds, cicadas, or the frogs. That changes throughout the day, depending on the heat too, it can change what you’re hearing. I find it very peaceful to walk through the forest.”
If you’d like to stay overnight, you can choose between the historic cabins (those cabins mentioned earlier that the Civilian Conservation Corps built in the 1930s), traditional camping that can include water and electricity, or a screened shelter.
The daily fee to come into the park is $4 for adults and free for children 12 years and under.
The Caddo Lake State Park office Hours are from 8:00 AM - 4:45 PM daily, with some holiday exceptions. Make sure you make your reservations if coming during the busy season (March - November).
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