TEXAS TRAIL OF LAKES
CORPS OF ENGINEER LAKES
When most people think of Texas they envision endless plains; others picture
mesa-framed ranchland. Some remember dense timber regions; returning tourists
may recall looming mountains, beautiful hills, or a tropical valley.
The Lone Star State is also a land of lakes! Consider that the state’s
more than 5,000 square miles of inland water are exceeded only by Alaska’s
glacier locked expanse. Millions of Texans fish the freshwaters, and when
all the swimmers, divers, boaters, and skiers are included, the total number
of lake users far exceeds the population of this growing state, because
visitors love Texas lakes also. The lakes that attract these millions range
statewide - from huge Texoma on the Oklahoma border to sprawling Falcon
and Amistad lakes on the Rio Grande border with Mexico. Sampling a few
of the best in North Central Texas, the Lakes Trail introduces some 30
blue water recreational areas in a variety of settings.
Fishing folk may expect cooperation from native species of fighting bass,
catfish, sunfish, crappie, and a starting variety of exotics, including
hybrids, foreign , and even saltwater fish.
Boating enthusiasts will find broad, open waters and secluded coves, fine
beaches and excellent services. For sightseers, wildflowers are on riotous
display many months of the year.
Reminders of pioneer people and frontier events are present at almost every
turn. Remnants of early barriers to settlement - the dense East and West
Cross Timbers - may still be seen.
Geology buffs will discover intriguing traces of an eerie past - land formed
from the Comanchean series of the lower Cretaceous system to the later
Paleocene series, marine fossils from a time when much of what is now Texas
was a clear, shallow sea, and actual footprints of dinosaurs who roamed
these landscapes 100 million years ago.
Before beginning, Trail drivers should obtain a free copy of the Texas
State Travel Guide, which provides details about pubic points of interest
and bits of history in many of the towns and cities along the route. An
Official Highway Travel Map will also prove useful to the traveler. Both
may be obtained by mail from the departmental address at the end of this
Prepare to enjoy the Texas Trail of Lakes. The starting point is Dallas,
the major metropolitan area on the route, and the route description is
presented in a clock wise direction. But the Trail can be picked up at
any point and driven in either direction.
Population is 1,006,877 and the Altitude is 512
In 1841 a single log cabin marked the site of present-day Dallas; John
Neely Bryan’s cabin can be seen today at the Dallas County Historical Plaza,
at main and Record streets, downtown.
Dallas’ attractions could fill a library - lakes, sorts, fashions, operas,
symphonies, theaters, art galleries, and fairs. For abundant details, visit
either the tourist information office in the Renaissance Tower, 1201 Main
Street, Suite 2000; the visitor center in Union Station, 400 South Houston
Street; or the entrance to West End marketplace, 603 Munger Street.
Before setting out on the trail, check out the Dallas area Lakes: White
Rock Lake offers boating, fishing, a hike and bike trail, and a scenic
drive exceptional in the spring when the redbuds and wildflowers bloom.
Smaller but also scenic, Bachman Lake, (2) along Loop 12 near Love Field,
offers pleasant picnic spots, roller skate and paddleboat rentals, and
a 3 mile hike and bike trail with 18 exercise stations.
The 2,710 acre Mountain Creek Lake, reached via U.S. 80 West, usually offers
good fishing; the adjacent city park has rest rooms, picnicking, and a
boat ramp. Just south of Mountain Creek is Joe Pool Lake, a 7,740 acre
expanse of clear water nearly ringed with parkland. For details on Pools
extensive facilities, visit the headquarters in Loyd Park, south of I-20
via Great Southwest, Harwood, and Arlington Webb road.
Also, just northeast of the city is Lake Ray Hubbard, a 22,745 acre impoundment
on the East Fork of the Trinity River. Crossed by I-30, it is an enormously
popular area for water sports, weekend cottages, and leisure homes. Anglers
seek spectacular hybrid stripers and abundant white bass.
Twenty two miles to the northwest, via Texas 114 and Texas 121, Grapevine
Lake has 60 miles of shoreline around 7,380 surface acres. The Corps of
Engineers headquarters (off Texas 121, east of Grapevine) offers information
about numerous lakeside parks, with camping, picnic, boating, and fishing
facilities. As at most such Texas lakes, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
manages the wildlife and fish resources in cooperation with the lake authority.
Walleyes have been introduced here, and excellent catches of native species
are often reported.
Another excellent lake, Lavon, lies off the Trail route but is well worth
a visit. Interpretive exhibits are at the headquarters near the dam off
Texas 78 east of Wylie. Lavon is noted among anglers for its outstanding
crappie and catfish catches. Prime large mouth bass habitat is among several
thousand acres of flooded timber. Warm water from a power plant discharge
results in faster growing fish and increased action for wintertime anglers.
The Trail north of Dallas generally follows the old Shawnee road, and Indian
trail that in the 1850s became a route for American immigrants coming to
Texas. A historical marker at Lebanon Baptist Church notes that for a short
period the trail was also used to drive Texas cattle to northern markets.
Past Frisco, the village of Little Elm lies on a north arm of Lake Lewisville.
Recreational facilities and a public boat ramp are nearby. South of the
Trail off F.M. 423 is Lake Lewisville state Park, a 638 acre park with
picnic areas, rest rooms, fishing, boating, and multiuse campsites.
The 29,700 acre lake (formerly Garza - Little Elm Reservoir) is another
extremely popular watersports site in the DFW metro area. Nearby, at the
site of a former fish hatchery, a colony of persistent beavers finally
won their battle to dam a small creek. Each night the beavers built; each
morning state employees unstopped the dam. Finally, camouflaged pipes within
the beaver dam left the beavers content with their pond and provided a
sufficient water flow to the hatchery.
Along U.S. 380 is a scenic valley panorama cradling the Elm fork of the
Population is 66,270 and the altitude is 620
Cultural attractions in Denton center around the two institutions of higher
education: the University of North Texas and Texas Woman’s University.
UNT began in 1890 as a private school. TWU, which opened 11 years later,
is the nation’s largest university for women.
Four miles south of Denton (off the Trail) , by U.S. 377, is a prominent
900 foot hill known as Pilot Knob. It was once a hideout of the notorious
Sam Bass, a nineteenth century Texas outlaw. The Denton County Chamber
of Commerce, at 414 Parkway at Carroll, a few blocks south of U.S. 380,
will provide area information.
Between Denton and Aubrey, the Trail route introduces some vies of typical
Texana - horse ranches large, small and medium sized. Well-cared for acreage’s
provide handsome backgrounds for the horses. Although most breeders raise
quarter horses, the sturdy steed favored by ranchers, there are also thoroughbreds
and occasional draft horses.
In this area, the Trail of Lakes is crossing a region known as the East
Cross Timbers - dense, narrow band of blackjack and post oak woodlands
dividing the Blackland Prairie to the east from the Grand Prairie to the
west. The timber belt was a prominent feature to early colonists and marked
the edge of frontier settlement until about 1870.
Wildflowers are abundant in springtime, and some will be seen year-round.
Bluebonnets and Indian paintbrush lead off the season. The subsequent weeks
and months yield spectacular waves of color including gaillardia, Mexican
hat, horsemint, Texas bluebells, daisies, McCartney roses, sunflowers,
asters, and gay feather. To the west, trail travelers will see the waters
of the new Lake Ray Roberts, (12) Fishing is permitted, and development
of other facilities is under way.
The village of Pilot Point, named for a timbered peak that was an early
travel landmark, was platted on Christmas Day in 1854. It grew as a bustling
trading center with mills, cotton gins, and two railroads. Note the historically
significant old bank building on the square.
The Trail continues north to Tioga, hometown of famous Western star Gene
Autry, then turns west on F.M. 922 to F.M. 372, and then proceeds along
a winding route to Gainesville as it crosses a region of Cooke County’s
earliest settlement, with views of remaining timber plots, farmland, more
horse ranches and oil productions. Since a 1926 discovery, the county has
produced more than 200 million barrels of oil.
Population is 14,256 and the altitude is 738
Gainesville, established in 1850, was first stoop on the Butterfield Overland
Mail Route. Brick streets downtown edge brick Victorian homes and public
buildings adorned by intricate masonry and ironwork. Visit the Chamber
of Commerce, at 101 South Culbeson Street, for details about lodging, dining,
recreational facilities, and festival events.
On I-35 north of the city is a Texas Travel Information Center, which is
operated year round. In Gainesville there is a four mile side trip option
to Lindsay, on U.S. 82 West. There at main and Ash streets, is Saint Peter’s
Catholic Church, (13) a splendid Romanesque cathedral with a spectacular
interior. The church was organized in 2892 by hardworking German immigrants,
and the present church building was constructed in 1918 to replace an earlier
one destroyed by a tornado. This structure was built mainly by the frugal
congregation, who salvaged old windmill towers for reinforcement beams.
Off the Trail, about 12 miles northwest of Gainseville via F.M. 1201, is
scenic Moss Lake, (14) nestled amid wooded hills. Boat ramps are easily
accessible, and fishing is usually very good.
At a highway picnic area about five miles east of Gainesville, a marker
cites the significance of this cross Timbers region. In Whitesboro, another
historical marker recalls an early ranch founded by the Diamond Brothers,
one of whom also founded the pioneer newspaper that today is the Houston
Post. The pleasant town of Whitesboro offers one of many access routes
to Lake Texoma, about 16 miles north via U.S. 377.
Population is 31,601 and the altitude is 728
Eleven years after the first courthouse was built here in 1847, it was
torn down - to settle a bet as to whether a gray goose was nesting under
it. Unfortunately, history fails to reveal the outcome of the wager. Sherman
later earned the title, "Athens of Texas" because of the unusual number
of colleges established here. Austin College, one of Teas’ oldest, was
originally established in Huntsville in 189, then moved to Sherman in 1876.
Such industrial giants as Johnson and Johnson, Grumman, Texas Instruments,
Fisher Controls, Folger, Libbey-Owens-Ford, Kraft, and Oscar Mayer have
facilities in an industrial park along U.S. 75 South.
Additional information about the area can be obtained from the Sherman
Chamber of Commerce, at 1815 Sam Rayburn, for up to the minute local details.
On the Trail route between Sherman and Denison is access to the Hagerman
National Wildlife Refuge, a major food and rest haven for migrating and
wintering waterfowl on the Big Mineral Arm of Lake Texoma.
Some 307 bird species have been recorded on the refuge, which is visited
by some 135,000 people each year. In addition to huge flocks of migrants
passing through each fall and spring, observers may see killdeer, snowy
egrets, rails, plovers, and sandpipers in the summer; and great blue herons
and other wading and shore birds in the winter. When oil was discovered
on the refuge in 1951, development proceeded with care. Today some 200
carefully maintained wells produce vital energy in harmony with the refuge’s
abundant wildlife, which utterly ignore the oil operations. Deer browse
next to nodding pump jacks; egrets and herons perch on the well structures.
From the Trail route about five miles north of Sherman, take F.M. 691 and
F.M. 1417 north to Pottsboro, then a local road to refuge headquarters.
Visitor information and bird lists are available there.
Population is 21,505 and the altitude is 767
Denison was established in 1872 as a railhead for the first rail line into
Texas from the north. To cheering crowds, the first Missouri Kansas, and
Texas (Katy) train arrived on Christmas Day, and railroading has been a
major Denison industry ever since.
Denison visitor features include the restored birthplace of Dwight D. Eisenhower,
now a state historic site; one of Texas’ most popular recreation parks,
also named for Eisenhower, located on the shore of Lake Texoma; a collection
of nineteenth century log cabins and pioneer structures at Grayson County
Frontier Village, and other sites of visitor interest.
For even more details, visit the Denison Chamber of Commerce, at 313 West
Be sure to ask about the nearby tiny community of Fink, whose name attracts
visitors in pursuit of amusing whimsy. There is even a Fink golf tourney
in June that brings together the Finks, Fincks, Finkes, and non Finks from
Lake Texoma, as some of the world’s largest reservoirs, the lake sprawls
across 89,000 acres of Texas an Oklahoma. There are some 50 public access
areas to the lake along 580 miles of shoreline. Lakeside facilities range
from picnicking and tent-camping sites to luxury hotel-marinas with special
docks for cabin cruisers. More than 10 million people visit Texoma annually.
For a panoramic view for the lake and a powerhouse tour, drive to the Denison
Dam, on US 75A (off the Trail).
Texoma fishing is often fabulous. Texas’ foremost native game fish (black
(largemouth) bass, run to lunker size ( the largest weighed more than 12.5
pounds!), but introduced Florida bass promise to grow even bigger. The
lake’s bread-and-butter fish are white (sand) bass, locally called "sandies,"
which average 2 to 3 pounds and are caught by the thousands, especially
during National Sand Bass Festival Week each June, Texoma has yielded a
word record Kentucky spotted bass (over 9 pounds), a crappie over 4 pounds,
a 116 pound blue cat, and a 124 pound flathead catfish.
Texomas’ glamour sport fish is the striped bass. Originally a saltwater
species, stripers readily adapt to fresh water, and their success in many
Texas Lakes has been phenomenal. In recent years, Texoma has been swapping
striper size records with two or three other Texas lakes. Can you imagine
using freshwater tackle and hooking one of these magnificent, silvery champions...nearly
four feet long and weighing over thirty pounds?
East of Denison, hills and wooded landscapes introduce a scenic drive that
parallels the Red River. This stretch of the Trail route changes highway
designations frequently, requiring close reference to the Trail map and
to highway Trail signs and arrows. These are tranquil rural landscapes
---rolling farmland, grassy pastures with grazing livestock, and densely
wooded plots of post oak, pecan, elm, walnut, hickory, ash, and Bois d’
arc --- a French name meaning " bow wood."
Population is 6,686 and the Altitude is 568
Founded in 1837, as Fort Inglish, the town’s name was changed to honor
James Butler Bonham, whom history calls "the bravest man at the Alamo."
An attorney from Alabama, Bonham came to Texas in 1835 to share in Texas’s
struggle for independence. During the Alamo siege, he twice slipped through
enemy lines to seek reinforcements (unsuccessfully),. the second time he
fought his way back in, even dragging his wounded mount the last few yards,
and he died with all of the other defenders. A stature on the courthouse
lawn honors this frontier patriot.
The small city has some choice visitor sites, as detailed in the state
travel guide. Foremost among them is the home and memorial library of Sam
Rayburn, a Bonham native who served as Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives
longer than any man in American history. There is also picturesque Bonham
State Park, just four miles south of town.
For information and directions to local historic and recreational sites,
stop by the chamber of commerce, in the restored railroad depot, 110 E.
The Trail route to the north soon crosses arms of Lake Bonham. An excellent
small park near the dam on the south shore provides picnic facilities and
campsites, rest rooms and trailer dump sites.
Three miles north of Ivanhoe village ( a daily stage once ran to Bonham)
is Park Road 34, leading northwest to Lake Fannin. A graveled road passes
through heavily wooded areas broken by several small clearings. Panhandle
National Grasslands of the U.S. Forest Service administers the area under
a multiple-use policy for recreation, range, watershed, and wildlife protection.
Around Lake Fannin are several picnic areas in invitingly primitive settings,
and public fishing areas on the small lake are nestled among the trees.
Two lakes lie beyond the sight of Trail travelers who are en rouge to Monkstown;
Coffee Mill Lake and Lake Crockett, both on Caddo National Grasslands.
Access to the 700 acre Coffee Mill Lake is a few miles south, via first
FM 2029, then a rather primitive local road eat. But fishing is good, and
there are picnic areas, a boat ramp, and a fishing pier. To reach Lake
Crockett, drive south on FM 100 for four miles; turn west at a stand of
loblolly pines. Visitors will find camping areas, a boat ramp, bait shop,
and Davy Crockett Lodge, with accommodations and meals at modest prices.
Area wildlife includes deer, wolves, and smaller animals; local sportsmen
call the 450 acre lake "one of the best" in Texas for duck hunting. No
skiing or swimming is allowed here.
The Trail from Monkstown swings near appropriately named Riverby, crosses
small Bois d’Arc Creek, and continues to Direct, where Indian burial grounds
have been found.
East on the Trail is Pat Mayse Lake, a Corps of Engineers impoundment.
The 5,993 acre lake, completed in 1967, offers catches of black bass, crappie,
sunfish, striped bass, channel and flathead catfish. Fish and wildlife
management is directed by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Animals
include an abundance of deer and smaller animals, plus an occasional fox.
The quail and dove populations range from good to abundant. Facilities
include several lakeside parks with boat ramps, picnic and camping sites,
rest rooms, showers, swimming beaches, and nature trails. Detailed visitor
information is available at the project office at the east end of the dam.
Much of the area now covered by Pat Mayse Lake was once Camp Maxey, a large
infantry training camp during World War II. Army air and ground Special
Service personnel trained at the camp’s elaborate infiltration course and
at "German Village" there. A marker along the trial into Paris details
the history of the camp.
Just north of Paris is access to Lake Crook. Anglers are welcome at the
1,226 acre lake, which also offers lighted picnic areas, playgrounds, and
Population is 24,699 and the Altitude is 592
Founded in 1839, the city was virtually consumed in 1916 by one of Texas’
worst fires, which destroyed the entire business district and a wide swath
of residential areas. A handsome fountain on the downtown plaza commemorates
the city’s vigorous recovery.
Paris enthusiastically bills itself "The Perfect Place - where the past
is preserved and the present is pure pleasure." Refer to the state travel
guide for a list of Paris’s public attractions, and for more details visit
the Lamar County Chamber of Commerce, 1651 Clarksville Street.
The large, modern plant that travelers see on the Trail highway leaving
Paris is a Kimberly - Clark facility that manufacturers a product vital
to many American households.....baby diapers.
The Roxton area has been the site of several significant discoveries of
prehistoric mammal skeletons.
Between the villages of Ben Franklin and Pecan Gap, the Trail ambles through
a corner of Delta County (named for its triangular shape), between the
North Sulphur and South Sulphur rivers. Settlement began early in the 1840s,
but the dense woodlands - where even experienced frontiersmen became lost
- provided outlaw hideouts for decades. The Methodist Episcopal Church
South in Ben Franklin is marked by a historical medallion.
Civil War buffs will be interested in a roadside historical marker about
a mile south of Ben Franklin that tells of Camp Rusk, a training ground
where General S. B. Maxey’s Lamar Rifles combined with militia to form
the Texas Ninth Infantry Regiment. The Ninth Marched from Camp Rusk in
December 1861 and saw bloody action from Shiloh to Chickamauga to Missionary
Another marker a mile south details an early school, Giles Academy, whose
first schoolmaster was Thomas hart Benton Hockabday. his daughter, Ela,
subsequently founded the prestigious Hockaday School for Girls, which still
operates in Dallas.
Villages on the Trail include Pecan Gap, once a stop on the Bonham - Jefferson
stage line, and Ladonia. In Ladonia, note the historic Hayden House, west
of the square on Bonham Street. The Fulton House, of the same era, is also
As the traveler nears Commerce, it is just a short side trip east of the
Trail route to one of Texas’ newest lakes’ Cooper Lake. The lake at conservation
level will have an area of 19,280 acres. Facilities are being developed
jointly by the U.S. Corps of Engineers and the Texas Parks and Wildlife
Population is 6,825 and the Altitude is 548
East Texas State University, which celebrated its centennial in 1989, is
a major cultural and economic factor in this town founded by William Jernigan
in 1853. Recreational facilities include parks, swimming pool, tennis courts,
golf-course, and abundant water-oriented activities on nearby Lake Tawakoni.
Commerce is the birthplace of General Claire Chennault, the leader of the
famous Flying Tigers of World War II in China.
Area event information is available at the chamber of commerce, located
at 1107 Main Street.
South of Commerce, the Lakes Trail passes the ETSU Agriculture Ranch and
enters an area of timbered ranches and row crops.
The village of Campbell was the site of Henry College, 1892, and, later,
Emerson College, which absorbed the earlier school. Although enrollment
exceeded expectations, two years of severe drought in the agriculturally
dependent area forced the school to close in 1906.
Lone Oak signals the approach to popular Lake Tawakoni (pronounced ta-WAK-onee).
South of Lone Oak, FM roads lead west to Wind Point Park, at the southern
tip of Pawnee Inlet - the first of many excellent fishing and watersport
facilities on the huge reservoir. Businesses that cater to fishermen and
boating enthusiasts will share their knowledge of fishing sports, techniques,
and bats that prove effective in various seasons of the year.
Off the Trail, Texas’ longest inland bridge crosses Lake Tawakoni on FM
35. A free public boat amp is at the east approach to the two-mile bridge.
Built by Texas’ Sabine River Authority, Tawakoni covers nearly 58 square
miles in three counties. Marinas dot the 200 mile shoreline, and treetops
rising in giant squares in the lake mark uncleared areas that have been
left to protect the interests of fishermen and to serve as wave suppressers.
The name Tawakoni is from a prominent Indian tribe of the Caddoan linguistic
group who lived and hunted along the Sabine River as late as 1760. Archeological
work has unearthed villages, burial grounds, and fortifications.
Skiing on Lake Tawakoni is within buoy marked areas, and speed limits are
strictly enforced throughout. Local services include radio-equipped patrol
boats and regular weather boadcasts, as well as day and night weather and
The fishing is often fabulous, and limit catches are frequently the rule
rather than the exception. Non-native species such as striped bass and
walleye regularly appear on fishermen’s stringers, but the black bass is
still king at Tawakoni. Some trophy-class blacks above 10 pounds are landed
every year, and fishing tournament groups harvest hundreds of pounds of
the battling game fish. "Barn-door" crappie are sought each spring, and
big, deep water catfish are pole and trotline prizes thoughout the year.
The Sabine River Authority headquarters at Iron Bridge Dam offers detailed
information and directions to public use areas around the lake.
Near the spillway is an impressive overlook of the vast impoundment, which
stretches far to the north and west.
From Tawakoni, through the town of Edgewood to Canton, Trail drivers will
enjoy a series of tranquil, rural landscapes. Be sure to stop by the Edgewood
Park and Museum, a group of restored structures recalling bygone days.
The easy to locate park is under the water tower.
Van Zandt County
Population is 2,949 and the Altitude is 540
A memorial on the courthouse square honors Isaac and Frances Lipscomb Van
Zandt, who were prominent in East Texas history. The serene and pleasant
square belies the fact that in 1877 residents took up arms to return the
county seat from Wills Point, whose residents had persuaded officials to
move it there since they were on the railroad. The Texas Supreme Court
decided in favor of the forceful Canton citizens, railroad or not.
Just west of the square are the Jockey Grounds, form more than a century
the scene of Texas’ best known trading days, on the first Monday of each
month (although most of the action is now on the preceding weekend). First
Monday Trade Days, as the event is called, draws thousands of browsers
to vendors who offer almost anything that has ever been bought, sold, manufactured,
grown, or dug up. The tradition began in the 1850s when judges held court
on the first Monday of each month, occasions that drew crowds of town and
country folk. For more information contact the Canton Chamber of Commerce,
270 E. Tyler Street.
The rolling countryside along the Trail between Canton and Mabank has a
picture book quality. South of Mabank the route edges Cedar Creek Reservoir.
From the Trail highway, local roads lead to public and commercial facilities
at lakeside - bait and boat services, camp and picnic areas, and boat ramps.
Here, resort oriented towns such as Gun Barrel City and Caney City attest
to the popularity of the 33,750 acre reservoir that nestles amid post oaks
and pines. The lake’s headquarters area is at the spillway south of the
village of Tool, on Texas 274 ( not on Trail map), along the west shoreline.
Population is 2,036 and the Altitude is 377
The town’s Russian name dates from 1850, when news of the Crimean War brought
to prominence that Russian city. According to local history, silver was
mined here in the 1830s.
The first Malakoff Man, a sandstone image of a human head, was found here
in 1929. Two other carvings were unearthed in 1935 and 1939. Archeologists
date the Malakoff Men as thousands of years old, contemporary with the
fossils of extinct elephants and camels. The images, now in the Texas Memorial
Museum in Austin, were recovered from a gravel pit now under Cedar Creek
The Trail between Malakoff and Corsicana crosses the Trinity River, a name
first used by Spanish explorers Alonso de Leon in 16590. Archeology has
disclosed human habitation of the area for thousands of years. Abundant
Indian villages dotted the riverbanks when European exploration began.
After Anglo-American settlement, the Trinity was plied by steamboats to
and from the Gulf of Mexico, until railroads ended the riverboat era. Watch
for an excellent picnic area in the park-like highway median near the Trinity
Oil production near Powell represents some interesting phases in petroleum
engineering. Shallow eels drilled in 1905 still produce modest amounts
of oil. Upon deeper drilling in 1923, gushers from this single, six square
mile field equaled the combined production of 10 other oil producing states.
When the gushers faded, petroleum engineers felt there was still valuable
"pay" underground, if techniques could be devised to recover it. The now
common process of water injection, begun here in 1964, revived the field,
which continues to produce today.
As the Trail approaches Corsicana, to the south the travelers can see the
waters of Richland - Chambers Reservoir. The dam was completed in 1987;
the lake was filled by 1989. Commercial facilities are still under development,
but fishing is rated as exceptional. The lake is the third largest totally
Population is 22,911 and the altitude is 411
The town and county names here recall admiration for the most prominent
Mexican Texan in Texas history; Jose Antonio Navarro. Born in San Antonio
when that city was still part of Mexico, Navarro was among the signers
of the Texas Declaration of Independence. He served the Republic of Texas,
endured several years of unjust imprisonment in a Mexico dungeon, escaped,
and returned to serve the State of Texas. All four of his sons enlisted
in the Confederate Army. The county is named for the distinguished family
and the city’s name honors the island of Corsica, birthplace of Navarro’s
For details about the historic sites and the city’s world famous fruitcake,
review Corsicana’s listing in the cities by alphabetical section. Firsthand
information about local festival events, dining opportunities, and lodging
is available at the Corsicana Chamber of Commerce, 120 North Twelfth Street.
Off the Trail but well worth a visit is popular Bardwell Lake, about 20
miles northwest of Corsicana, near Ennis. The 3,570 acre impoundment offers
water sport facilities, fishing supplies, and lakeside camps. Crappie fishing
is a favorite year round, and during the springtime spawning run, long
stringersful are brought out daily. Drift fishing for blue and channel
catfish is often productive. Black bass, sand bass, and stripers to 16
pounds can certainly make any fishermen’s day.
The next major lake near the Trail is Navarro Mills. The reservoir headquarters
on FM 667 North (not on Trail Map) has up to date information about facilities.
Navarro Mills, a 5,070 acre lake, is another spot where striped bass have
been introduced. There’s hardly a fishing thrill that compares with a striper’s
powerful streaking dive to the bottom when it’s hooked.
Between Dawson and Hubbard, watch for a slender white monument surrounded
by a wrought iron fence. It marks the Battle Creek Burial Grounds, where
a Kickapoo war party attacked a mapping party of 25 surveyors in 1838.
Eighteen of the surveyors were killed, and all seven survivors were seriously
Hubbard, named for Texas governor, R. B. Hubbard, was settled in 1881.
Baseball’s famed Grey Eagle, Tris Speaker, was born and educated here.
The first Texan in the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Speaker always returned
"home" to Hubbard in the off season; in fact, he was a lifelong Hubbard
volunteer fireman. Speaker is buried in the Hubbard cemetery.
Just east of Hillsboro, Hill College houses the Confederate Research Center,
with dioramas, photos, paintings, microfilmed records, and original documents
on the Civil War. Historic firearms and sharp edged weapons are in the
adjacent Gun Museum.
Population is 7,072 and the Altitude is 634
Hill County was explored and surveyed in 1835, but Indian resistance delayed
settlement; the city was established in 1853. The first courthouse, in
true frontier fashion, was a log cabin. The present courthouse, built in
1890, is a must on the list of sight seeing attractions, flamboyantly combining
architectural accents from Classical Revival, Italiante, and French Second
Empire. Pause for a look and a snapshot. Refer to the state travel guide
for other Hillsboro attractions, and on weekdays visit the chamber of commerce
in the restored Katy Depot, at 115 North Covington Street, for more details.
In Covington, a historical marker details the story of early settlement
and Gathings College. The marker is two blocks north of the Trail intersection
of Texas 171 and FM 67.
The scenic Trail route rambles among ranches, cropland, and poultry farms
to Blum, which was winter headquarters for the Mollie Bailey Circus in
post Civil War years. Mollie’s husband, Gus, composed, "The Old Gray Mare"
folk song when, as legend has it, a Confederate camp was nearly panicked
on the eve of the Battle of Manassas by a runaway mare with a load of tin
About 10 miles south of Blum, off the Trail via FM 2604 West, is the site
of Frontier Fort Graham, which served from 1849 to 1853. When the frontier
moved westward, the post was abandoned, leaving empty barracks subsequently
used as shelter by cattle drovers.
Population is 1,626 and the altitude is 585
Scattered settlers came with the establishment of Fort Graham in 1849,
but Whitney developed later, when the Texas Central Railroad built through
Hill County. Typical of early settlers were John and Jesse Walling, Tennesseans
who fought with Sam Houston at San Jacinto. Travelers may picnic at the
pleasant Simon Family Park adjacent to the Trail in town. Review Whitney’s
recreational opportunities in the state travel guide and visit the chamber
of commerce, at 403 South Bosque Street (Texas 22 at Tin Top Village) for
Lake Whitney and Lake Whitney State Park deserve superlatives. The abundant
visitor facilities include hiking trails, screened and open shelters, paved
trailer stands along the lake, dump stations, an airstrip, a fish cleaning
station, rest rooms, and showers. Boating, swimming, skiing, and fishing
are all popular.
Lake Whitney’s 23,560 acres stretch up the Brazos River some 50 miles.
Sixteen Corps of Engineers parks, numerous commercial camps, resorts, lodges,
and marinas line Whitney’s 225 mile shoreline. More than four million visitors
enjoy Lake Whitney each year without crowding its broad open waters and
innumerable secluded inlets. In many places cliffs edge the clear, blue
waters; deer graze lakeside meadows; scuba divers explore underwater canyons
about 100 feet deep.
Fishing is superb! Bass - black, white, sand, and those incredible saltwater
stripers - are caught in abundance, along with crappie and catfish. The
stripers here have established a tremendous population in the 15 pound
class. The project headquarters below the dam on the Trail route offers
maps and other information. Postcard like scenery appears about 13 miles
west of Whitney, on FM 219. Note the scenic gape in the range of hills
to the north.
Take a side trip across the Bosque River to Clifton, a city dating back
to 1854, with revealing influences of its Norwegian founders. The Chamber
of commerce, at 327 West Fifth Street (FM 219), will provide details about
the center of Norse settlement a few miles from town.
Between Clifton and Meridian, the Trail sweeps in broad curves through
scenic pastures, farmland, and Bosque County hills.
Population is 1,390 and the altitude is 791
A temporary log cabin courthouse was the first building in Meridian, established
July 4, 1854, when Bosque County was created. The present courthouse, on
a typical Tennessee type square, was one of the earliest permanent structures
Four miles southwest, via Texas 22, is Meridian State Park, a quiet retreat
popular with nature enthusiasts. Bank fishermen often enjoy success with
bass, crappie, and channel catfish on small meridian lake there.
More rewarding scenic vistas accent the Trail route between Meridian and
Glen Rose. Low-water crossings along the highway should be approached with
caution during rains. Twin domes on the horizons near glen Rose mark the
Comanche Peak nuclear power plant.
Population is 1,949 and the Altitude is 680
Charles Barnard established a trading post and mill here on the Paluxy
River in 2849, and the wife of a later miller named the village for the
abundant wild flowers in the area. Historic Barnard’s Mil still stands
at 315 Barnard Street, but it is now a private residence. The town has
an atmosphere of quaint, old fashioned charm. Note the frequent use of
petrified wood as a decorative building material.
In the summer months, the Somervell County Museum, at Elm and Vernon streets,
is open, with displays of relics, fossils, and local history. For more
tourist information, stop at the Chamber of Commerce, 200 Vine Street (two
block north of the Trial route). And for a picturesque site for a picnic,
or just relaxation from the concentration of driving, stoop at Big Rocks
City Park, on the Paluxy River about a mile east of downtown
About 5 miles west, via Us. 67 and F.M. 205, visitors can walk where dinosaurs
once roamed - in Dinosaur Valley State Park. Perhaps a hundred million
years ago, the earth’s largest land creatures waded here in the swamp of
a shallow sea, leaving huge tracks in limey mud. The mud became stone,
preserving the tracks. Visitors will see the tracks and replicas of the
monsters who made them. The park is unique in Texas, and a rarity in the
world. Admission is charged.
Nearby, Fossil Rim Wildlife Ranch offers a drive-through of a 1500 acre
preserve for exotic African wildlife. Admission is charged.
The Trail north of Glen Rose crosses Squaw Creek; a marker in a pleasant
roadside picnic area details the Squaw Creek Indian Fight during the Civil
War period. Another marker along the Trail cites the significance of Comanche
Lake Granbury is impounded by De Cordova Bend Dam on the Brazos River.
The 8,500 acre lake is a very popular water-sports area, since it features
numerous parks, camps, and service facilities for outdoor recreation along
its 103 mile shoreline.
The dam is named for Jacob de Cordova, a flashy entrepreneur of the 1850s
who lectured throughout the East to stimulate interest in Texas. He billed
himself "Publicity Agent for an Empire." De Cordova had earlier accumulated
Texas land scrip for a million plus acres.
Population is 4,045 and the Altitude is 725
The town’s entire square is designated as a historic district on the National
Register of Historic places. Refer to Granbury in the cities by alphabetical
listing in The Texas-On-Line. Or visit the convention and visitors bureau,
at 100 North Crockett Street. Ask about abundant historic sites and lake
recreation and cruises, plus directions to Texas’ smallest state park.
Acton. It is a monument and the grave of Davy Crockett’s second wife.
Consider a side trip to Creason, about 10 miles northeast, on US 377. North
of the village, also on US 377, is the Pate Museum of Transportation, with
an excellent collection of vintage and classic autos, military planes,
a minesweeper, and other exhibits and displays. Open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
except Mondays and holidays.
The Trail crosses Lake Granbury just north of town, spans rich bottomlands,
and enters range country en route to Weatherford.
Population is 14,804 and the Altitude is 1,052
In its early years, during the mid-nineteenth century, Weatherford was
the last outpost of civilization between Fort Worth and Fort Belknap, some
75 miles northwest in Indian country, (Fort Belknap is one of the prominent
features on the Texas Forts Trail.) This city proudly notes that Mary Martin
lived here as a child, and a bronze statue of the actress in her famed
role of Peter Pan is at the library, in southwest Weatherford on Charles
Street. Details about visitor sites and events may be found in the state
travel guide and at the chamber of commerce, in the restored Santa Fe depot,
401 Fort Worth Street (US 80).
The route between the city and Lake Weatherford is pleasantly hilly and
winding. A scenic side trip along either shore curves around blue waters
from which hills arise abruptly, especially on the western side. Several
public fishing areas are available on the lake, and commercial facilities
are also easily accessible.
A blanket of lily pads edges both sides of the Trail highway bridge as
the route crosses the Clear Fork of the Trinity River and enters ranch
country. here are some handsome quarter horse and cattle ranches, plus
country homes that, despite limited acreage, reflect a great deal of carefully
cultivated portrayals of traditional Old West images - house, barn, corral
- perhaps even a chuck wagon parked by the manicured lawn.
Four lakes are available to travelers in the area. To the north via access
roads from Texas 199 and FM 730 is 9,200 acre Eagle Mountain Lake, with
good year round fishing. A hot spot for schooling white bass in the spring
and stocked with several million walleyes, it has long been noted for water
sports. On Lake Worth is the Fort Worth Nature Center and Refuge, where
FM 1886 meets Texas 299. Nature trails on the small island lead past bird
feeding stations and animal dens to an observation tower and interpretive
center. Closed on holidays.
Other area lakes are Benbrook, about 10 miles southwest of Fort Worth via
US 377 and Lake Arlington, about 7 miles east via US 287 South. Benbrook
is another highly popular fishing lake in this metropolitan region, and
Lake Arlington hosts many sailing, power boating, and water skiing enthusiasts.
Crossing Lake Worth Bridge, an off the Trail tour on Meandering Drive lives
up to the road’s name as it wanders along the lake shore, over scenic overlooks
and shady bridges.
Population is 447,619 and the Altitude is 670
Often called the "most Texan of all Texas cities," Fort Worth offers a
fascinating variety of things to do and see, as the abundant listings in
The Texas-On-Line suggests. The city’s sobriquet, "Where the West Begins,
" is exemplified in the Stockyards area, once called the world’s largest
cattle processing and shipping points and now restored in authentic Old
West Style. Sampling only the highlights offered by the city’s parks, gardens,
museums, historic sites, and dining opportunities could fill several delightful
days. Visit the convention and visitors bureau, 200 East Fifteenth Street,
Suite 400, or the Stockyards Visitor center, 123 East Exchange Street,
for a wealth of free visitor literature and details.
Between Fort Worth and Dallas the Trail parallels I-30, along which will
be found the state’s premier concentration of tourist attractions; Six
Flags Over Texas, Trader’s Village, Palace of Wax, Ripley’s Believe It
of Not!, International Wildlife Park, Wet ‘n Wild Water Park --- and the
list goes on!!
The Arlington Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, at 921 Six Flags Drive,
offers information -- and the Texas Rangers baseball schedule. At Grand
Prairie, visit the Tourist Information Center, at 402 East Safari Parkway,
for details on this city of 80,000. And at Irving, stop at the visitors
bureau in the Irving Art Center, at 3333 North MacArthur Boulevard, Suite
200, for information on this fast growing metroplex city. The center will
have information about the Dallas Cowboys and tours of Texas Stadium, and
also about the final lake on the Lakes Trail. Lake Carolyn is different
from the others on the Trail; it is a manicured, sophisticated lake bordered
by a luxury hotel, restaurants, and shops. The lake and the famous monumental
bronze sculpture of nine mustangs crossing a flowing stream of water (pictured
on the state travel-guide) are located in Las Colinas Center, two miles
northwest of the stadium, on Texas 114.
From Texas Stadium, the Trail skirts northwest Dallas on Loop 12, where
it began. Those who have completed the Lakes Trail can speak with authority
about this fascinating area of Texas. But a word of caution; Texas’ dimensions
dwarf even this large region, and there are other parts to discover before
the whole can be measured. Against these sparkling waters, imagine desert
mountains thrusting more than a mile high, vast, green canopied forests,
moss hung bayous, and hundreds of miles of golden sands along the Gulf.
That , too, is Texas, and there are other Trails, listed within the Texas-On-Line
to guide you through every part of this fabulous State. When travel efficiency
is in everyone’s best interest, the Texas Trails are the only way to go!!!