Tranquil Trails at Possum Kingdom Lake Provide Secluded Serenity in North Texas

Johnson Peak, click to view larger image

If you are looking to get away this weekend, put the North Texas-gem Possum Kingdom Lake at the top of your to-do list.

Texans are shocked to realize the looming limestone rock formations, gorgeous glassy, see-through waters and over 16 miles of winding wilderness trails are in their own backyard.

PK Lake prides itself on its award-winning 16 miles of trails along the lake's peninsula that are preserved in their native state by Brazos River Authority maintenance crews. Visitors can take a break from the glistening waters to get in their steps. Guests can then appreciate the scenic view from a different angle via access by any of the 12 trailheads surrounding the lake.

Conveniently located only about 80 miles from the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, day-tripping to or spending a weekend at PK Lake is enjoyed by residents from all over the state. With no "main entrance," tourists can pick one of PK's conveniently located, BRA public use areas to access trails.

All the trail entrances are located along FM 2951 and Park Road 36 on the east side of the lake. These paths are not only safe for hiking and running but are also mountain bike friendly.

Apart from the peninsula trails, PK Lake also offers a quarter-mile-long trail in the BRA's West Side Park to accommodate beginner hikers.

"Scattered throughout the trail system, there are 21 scenic lookouts that provide gorgeous views of the lake," said Troy Weatherhead, BRA Possum Kingdom Lake Office project manager/program coordinator. "Most lookouts have benches that allow for a rest stop along the trails. All lookouts are identified with a sign that describes the lookout and how it got its name. Several organizations have annual events that involve the use of the trail system."

When you plan a trip to visit the trails at PK, remember the lake is within the natural habitat of numerous animals native to the area and North Texas. The trails are accessible through the BRA public use areas, taking guests through a North Texas cedar and oak forest. They boast a natural surface with a vertical rise that, in some places, is more than 300 feet, requiring physical stamina to complete. The trails are cut through natural and primitive areas, so it's important to stay on the clearly defined trails and not venture off.

Possum Kingdom Trails

Families are also invited to indulge in the natural oasis of PK Lake with their little ones. Younger family members can delight in the BRA's playgrounds at North D & D campground and Sandy Beach Park. These playsets contain swings, slides, spinners, learning panels, twisters and climbing areas, as well as meet national playground guidelines and feature the latest in child-safe playground equipment. With picnic tables built for rest stops at the top of trail lookouts, families can take a slower approach to conquering trails if parents want to explore more than just the jungle gym. Parents can educate their kids on the beautiful native Texas plants and animals that PK Lake has to share. Plus, it doesn't hurt to burn off some of the kids' energy between trips to the playground or before heading back home! For recommendations regarding some simpler, less elevated trails from PK hikers themselves, click here.

When discovering PK Lake's trail system, it is critical to remember hiking shoes, water, sunscreen, bug spray, a towel for drying off after taking a dip in the lake and any other hiking supplies (click here for more hiking supply suggestions). Unlike a neighborhood walking trail, these paths are surrounded by and weave through the wilderness, so it is important to treat them with more caution. Hikers should have their cameras ready and be alert of their surroundings! Respect wildlife and its place in the environment by being aware of the living things around you. Take pictures, but never approach or threaten the wildlife. Wildlife along the trails are not domesticated or tame.

Snorkeling and scuba diving can be enjoyable for hikers on days when the Texas weather is favorable and a break is needed from the heat. Visibility in the lake ranks very high due to the clear water that PK Lake offers.

Pets are allowed on trails and at campground sites for dog owners wanting to show their hounds the natural beauty that Texas has to offer. It costs no extra fee to bring your pup to the lake, and the campgrounds at Possum Kingdom Lake. To protect your pet and others, pets are not permitted in public swim areas. Don't forget a leash for the trails!

Remember, some things are not permitted on the trails: Littering, motorized vehicles, horses, alcoholic beverages, hunting, campfires, and cutting, removing or destroying any trees or vegetation.

Lucky for you, most parks and amenities throughout PK Lake are free!

With over 219 miles of shoreline and over 540,000 acre-feet of water, Possum Kingdom, is one of the most popular lakes in North Texas. Possum Kingdom receives over 3 million visitors annually, according to the Midland Reporter-Telegram, boasting some of the clearest water in the state as well as huge, beautiful rock formations dotting the lake.

As the Texas heat starts to slow headed into the fall season, Instagram-worthy hiking trails, mirror-like waters and striking cliffsides are just waiting to be explored.

If you go:

What: Possum Kingdom Lake Hike & Bike Trails

Where: Located in Young, Palo Pinto, Stephens, and Jack counties, Possum Kingdom Lake is located on the main stem of the Brazos River and is about 80 miles from the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.

Cost: The 10 parks at PK Lake are currently free.

More information: Go here.