cypress trees in the marsh


Caddo Lake State Park is a Texas state park located near the Texas/Louisiana border and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in this region. It has over 50 miles of paddling trails for kayaks, canoes, and paddle boards. The park also offers some inter-tangled hiking trails.

Caddo Lake State Park has 46 campsites, ranging from water only to full hookup sites. It also offers several screened shelters, and 9 CCC cabins. RV sites offer a picnic table, tent pad, lantern hook, and a fire pit.

They also offer trash service- putting a stinky dumpster by someone’s campsite, rather than in the nearby parking lot.

I understand that Caddo lake is one of the largest natural lakes in Texas, but the park is built in a swampy inlet. This CCC camp was apparently built to showcase this unique environment of cypress trees and the marshes. Caddo Lake is a popular fishing lake, and is close to 20 feet at its deepest point, while the average depth is 8-10 feet. You do not need a fishing license to fish from shore or pier in a Texas state park, but you will need a license to fish from a boat.

There was a lot of highway noise, and even train noise, in Squirrel Haven campground. I understand that Armadillo Run campground is even worse. The sites are unlevel, and very unkempt. The sites are fairly spacious, however, and the overgrown brush gives more privacy. Yet, being from the Ozark Mountains, I was not overly thrilled by a “forest setting”. It’s kind of like camping in my backyard.

Caddo Lake State Park

Cell service was weak, at 1-2 bars, but antenna TV was awesome. I would say this park is probably not big rig friendly. There were also mosquitoes in December. I personally think it might be better to plan this park as a day trip, but then they charge $4 admission for adults.

Caddo Lake State Park

I would not recommend this park for children due to alligators, overgrown brush, the swampy lake, lack of a swimming area, the playground inconveniently located far away at the top of the hill, etc. etc.

Of course, overgrown brush and fallen trees are of no concern when camping in alligator country.

Caddo Lake State Park, 245 Park Road 2, Karnack, TX 75661

32°40’49.13″N, 94°10’34.53″W

From Marshall, Take Highway 43 North 15 miles, turn right onto FM 2198 for 1/2 mile, then turn left onto Park Road 2.

From Atlanta, Take Highway 43 south for 31 miles, turn left onto FM 2198 for 1/2 mile, then turn left on Park Road 2.

Don’t trust your GPS. For some reason, many of them lead you right past the entrance to the park, and 5 miles down to the lake. You won’t notice the large entrance to the park, because you will be looking at the hairpin curve in front of you. After turning onto FM 2198, do not go more than 1/2 mile, or past the curve.

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