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Cooler Weather: Now is the time to get out and enjoy outdoor recreation

Cooler Weather: Now is the time to get out and enjoy outdoor recreation

The cooler temps finally making the lure of the outdoors enticing. If you're looking for something fun to do outside, consider visiting one of the three Brazos River Authority reservoirs or maybe even a trek along the mighty Brazos River. 

UPPER BASIN

Possum Kingdom Lake

Located on the main stem of the Brazos River northwest of Fort Worth, there's a little something for everyone to enjoy at Possum Kingdom Lake. 

There are a multitude of water sport activities and fishing opportunities available on the water supply reservoir and some hidden gems as well.

Located in Young, Palo Pinto, Stephens, and Jack counties, Possum Kingdom Lake's Hike and Bike Trail system has 19 lookouts to enjoy the sights and get that social media-worthy picture. There are also 10 public-use areas. Nine lakeside parks offer guests access to the reservoir via boat ramps and courtesy docks. If picnics by the water are more your style, there are 112 picnic shelters amongst the public use areas to enjoy and playgrounds for the children at North D&D and Sandy Beach. And if you enjoy spending the night beneath the stars, six of Possum Kingdom Lake's public use areas include camping spots available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Possum Kingdom Lake has 16 miles of Hike and Bike Trails crisscrossing the lake's central peninsula, connecting the public use areas. Twelve trailheads are located at intervals, allowing hikers to enjoy as much or as little of the trail system as they please. There are also parking and restroom areas available at each trailhead.

Color-coded signage maps identifying "you are here" are posted throughout. The trails also feature rest areas with cedar benches as well as information displays about history, geology and animals of the area. Anyone can print off a map of the trails here or email information@brazos.org to ask for a free physical copy of the map to be mailed to you.

Adjacent to the reservoir is Possum Kingdom State Park, owned and operated by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Possum Kingdom Lake lies between three small towns of Graham, Mineral Wells and Breckenridge.

Lake Granbury

With 121 miles of shoreline, Lake Granbury combines beauty and accessibility without having to travel outside the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. 

The BRA has established five public-use areas scattered across Lake Granbury's shorelines. The city of Granbury offers City Beach along the reservoir's shores.

The reservoir's fishing piers and boat ramps are popular among visitors. The parks include boat launch ramps, fishing piers, restrooms, parking and picnic tables. Enjoy any of the camping opportunities at three of the parks, which are all free to use.

While visiting the parks, keep your eye out for some of the parks' other popular guests, including deer, geese and ducks.

The parks surrounding Lake Granbury offer the only public camping opportunities in the area. And the parks are dog-friendly; fur friends just need to be kept on a leash. 

The city of Granbury is a vibrant community with a nearby historical downtown. Granbury was named USA Today's Best Historic Small Town in America in 2019, 2020 and 2021; in 2023, it was designated the Celebration Capital of Texas. 

Hamm Creek Park 

This park is located approximately eight miles west of Rio Vista, Texas, and less than an hour from Fort Worth. The park is the only public access to the beautiful Brazos River in Johnson County. Situated below high wooded hills, this wilderness environment is home to fox, deer, turkey, armadillo, various species of birds, and fish such as bass and crappie.

Hamm Creek Park offers fishing from the bank, a boat ramp, picnic shelters, large event pavilions with electricity, playgrounds, and restrooms. It has 10 primitive camping sites, 30 camping sites with water and electricity, and 5 of those with sewer hookups. 
To reserve a camping spot, see a park map or additional information, visit here.

Lake Whitney State Park

Lake Whitney State Park is located on the Brazos River, about an hour's drive from DFW. The park is located on the banks of Lake Whitney and is operated by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. 

The state park offers boat ramps, fishing piers, playgrounds, and picnic areas. It also has more than 130 camping sites, some with full hookups, 27 screened shelters, two cabins, and two hike and bike trails. 
To make reservations and additional park information, visit this TPWD site.

CENTRAL BASIN

Cameron Park and Brazos Park East

Located in Waco on the banks of the Brazos River, these parks offer something for everyone craving fresh air and beautiful scenery. Although these parks are day use only, 6 a.m. to midnight, they offer some stunning views of the Brazos River and many opportunities for leisure activities. 

Brazos Park East features a pavilion, disc golf course, trails, and an up-close view of the cliffs along the Brazos River. The park is the site of the annual drag boat races, and the numerous horseshoe pits become very active on the weekends. 

Spanning 416 acres, Cameron Park was a gift from the William Cameron family to the City of Waco. The park has 26 miles of twisting trails ranging from beginner to expert level and is shared by hikers, bikers and equestrians. There is also a seven-mile multi-use, lighted trail that loops along the banks of the river. 

The park boasts 4-disc golf courses from 9 to 23 holes, the toughest in Brazos Park East. These courses are ranked as the 14th best disc golf destinations in Texas. There are three playgrounds, multiple picnic areas and points of interest throughout the park. 

In addition, the park is home to the Cameron Park Zoo, spanning 52 acres and housing more than 1,731 animals, representing 300 species that live naturally in the landscape. Plan your visit and learn more about the zoo programs offered here.

Along the banks of the Brazos, there is a Sculpture Zoo that spans the banks from Cameron Park Zoo to the gates of the Waco Suspension Bridge at Indian Spring Park. There are more than 40 sculptures along the one-mile route, featuring work by 17 different artists. 

Falls On The Brazos Park

This hidden gem is in Marlin, Texas, just 40 minutes southeast of Waco. Located on the Brazos River at the point of a natural, two-foot drop (fall), this park offers fishing spots, picnic areas, RV camping, primitive camping, pavilions and a playground. 

'There's even a Bald Eagle observation deck where you can try your luck at capturing sight of this majestic bird. Although small, this park is perfectly located for a weekend getaway or just a leisurely day trip. 

Lake Limestone

While Lake Limestone is not on the Brazos River, it is within the Brazos River basin. 'It's located on the upper Navasota River in Limestone, Robertson and Leon counties and is Considered some of the best fishing in Texas.

The water supply reservoir's flooded timber and abundance of aquatic vegetation offer cover for largemouth and white bass as well as crappie and catfish. Here, visitors can enjoy any of the four parks available around the lake.

The parks offer primitive camping, picnic facilities and four boat ramps for lake access. These free public-use areas are open year-round, and no reservations are needed. 

LOWER BASIN

Washington on the Brazos

For Texas history buffs, Washington on the Brazos must be on your bucket list. 

Located on 293 acres of lush parkland, the Washington on the Brazos State Historic Site gives visitors unique insights into the lives and times of the 59 delegates who met on that very spot on March 2, 1836, to make a formal declaration of 'Texas' independence from Mexico.   

From 1836 to 1846, the Republic of Texas proudly but precariously existed as a separate and unique nation. 

The pecan grove near the Brazos River offers 26 free picnic sites and two covered rental picnic pavilions. The Star of the Republic Museum is also on-site, free, and open to the public. 

Brazos River Park and Sugar Land Memorial Park

These parks are neighbors and together, they encompass 217 acres along the Brazos River in Sugar Land, Texas. The parks have over five miles of walking and biking trails, a nine-hole disc golf course, picnic tables with barbecue grills, a large playground and a pavilion. 

Next to Sugar Land Memorial Park is a six-acre dog park. Inside Brazos River Park are three ticketed activities: axe throwing, treetop adventure and zipline.

Stephen F. Austin State Park

Located 50 miles west of Houston, this park is on the Brazos River and contains 473 acres of bottomland forest, hardwood forest and ash swamp. The park offers a glimpse of the natural shifting of the Brazos River over time and allows visitors to see how far the river has moved since 1930.

The park offers 38 full RV campsites, 39 tent campsites, 25 primitive campsites, 8 screened shelters and 1 cabin. There are nine hiking and biking trails covering 5 miles, as well as a 12-mile nature trail. This park has 2 playgrounds, 3 picnic sites and offers a wildlife viewing station.

Brazos Bend State Park

This park is a nature 'lover's paradise. Located in Needville, Texas, less than an hour southwest of Houston and on the banks of the Brazos River. The park covers 4,897 acres, with an eastern boundary of 3.2 miles fronting the Brazos River. Although dominated by the Brazos River floodplain, Brazos Bend is a hodge-podge of coastal prairies, swales, oxbow lakes, freshwater marshes, and dense riparian woodlands.

The park has numerous RV camping sites, primitive camping, screened shelters, an amphitheater, bank fishing and fishing piers. There are 37 miles of hike, bike and equestrian areas on 9 trails ranging from easy to challenging. 

There are 7 lakes for fishing or viewing wildlife, with a popular resident being the American Alligator. The area is perfect for experiencing wildlife in its natural habitat.

Now that we're out of the triple-digit heat and fall weather has arrived, take a moment to enjoy being outside while exploring the Brazos River basin. 
 

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