After the holidays, many people’s thoughts turn to starting the new year with healthy habits, such as getting more exercise. One great way to start is by walking and one of the most beautiful spots in the state to enjoy a walk is on the trails at Possum Kingdom Lake.
The trails provide 16 miles of paths for exercise and exploration. Both hiking and mountain biking is allowed throughout the trail system that includes 12 trailheads. Water fountains and restrooms are available at locations throughout the trail system, but hikers are encouraged to bring drinking water for use on the trails. Lookouts with cedar benches for resting and soaking in all that nature has to offer are also found throughout the trail system
“Lookouts are always an attraction, as well as natural terrain and wildlife,” said Blake Kettler, project manager for Possum Kingdom Lake. “As far as safety goes, with the trails being shaded by tree cover, there may still be the potential for ice on the rocks (during colder winter days).”
Signs located throughout the trails provide details about the area’s wildlife, history and geology. Dogs are welcome on the trails with their owners, but you must keep them on a leash and cannot allow them to wander off the trails. People should also be sure to stay on the trails for their own safety. Not only can the terrain off the trails sometimes become treacherous, animals native to the area including a variety of different species of birds, whitetail deer, turkeys, raccoons, opossums, foxes, snakes, skunks, and lizards, should only be viewed from a distance.
The area offers a stunning display of the natural beauty of the Brazos River basin. Among the most scenic vistas for visitors hiking or biking the trails is Johnson Peak, which offers a commanding view of the reservoir, along with a rest area, so people can stop and enjoy the natural surroundings for a while.
Exercise options on the trail are available for a wide range of abilities. There is a vertical rise of 300 feet on portions of the trail, so be sure you are ready for physical exertion in some areas. Those who have a medical condition should talk with their physician before walking or biking the trails. The trails have a natural surface which can be affected by weather, and during weather extremes, the trails are subject to closure.
For maximum enjoyment of the trails, be sure to follow the following guidelines:
- While trash bins are located at trailheads, they are not available on the trails. You should carry any trash you have with you and dispose of it in the containers where they are provided.
- Those riding the trails should wear helmets for added safety.
- If you encounter animals on the trail, keep your distance and do not feed them. Wild animals can be unpredictable and may attack if approached or provoked.
- Staying on the clearly marked main trail areas will help to ensure your safety.
- Also for safety purposes, camping and campfires are not allowed on the trails. Designated campsites and fire rings are located at intervals throughout the system.
For added safety, Kettler advised those visiting the trails to bring their cell phones in case of emergency, and to report any suspicious or unsafe conditions. For help or to report any concerns, the Possum Kingdom Lake Office can be reached at 940-779-2321 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. After hours, PK visitors who need assistance should call 9-1-1.
A map of the trails, along with public use areas nearby, can be found here. Nineteen scenic lookouts are located throughout the trail system.