Never heard of PK? Here’s the 411

You may know it from spending long summer days traveling along its 219 miles worth of cliff-filled shoreline or from its appearance in the title of an ominous ‘90s song. Nestled on the Brazos River just northwest of the Dallas Fort Worth metroplex lies Possum Kingdom Lake, one of the most idyllic reservoirs in all of Texas.

Whether you are a lifelong resident at the reservoir or plan to make your first trip this year, there is plenty that you may not know about Possum Kingdom Lake.

To help celebrate the reservoir’s 80th birthday, let’s get the 411 on Possum Kingdom Lake.

A Quick History Lesson

Possum Kingdom Lake was the first reservoir built by the Brazos River Authority. But how did the lake get its unique name? The most consistent story is that the reservoir resides in an area that used to be called the “Possum Kingdom.” The hills of Palo Pinto County were a popular area for the fur and hide business, as the terrain was dotted with possums and raccoons. The name “Possum Kingdom” became more and more popular in the area and ended up influencing the name of the reservoir.

If you thought you recognized the reservoir’s name from somewhere else, you might be thinking of the Toadies song named “Possum Kingdom” from their album “Rubberneck.” They never actually say the words “Possum Kingdom” in the song itself, but they do mention a walk around the lake that you might want to avoid — check out the lyrics here.

Plan Your Visit

Possum Kingdom Lake is open to the public for recreational use, whether it’s water or land-based. The reservoir receives millions of recreational visitors annually, and major activities include fishing, water skiing, scuba diving and hiking on its award-winning hike and mountain bike trail system. The Brazos River Authority provides 10 public use or park areas with different amenities, including public fishing piers, public boat ramps, children’s playgrounds and a total of 400 campsites.

Most parks at Possum Kingdom Lake are free to use year-round North D&D and Sandy Beach charge a small fee during the summer months. The parks feature ample camping sites and sheltered picnic tables from the wooded areas right up to the lakefront and are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Each of Possum Kingdom Lake’s parks offer different amenities, including fire rings, cooking grills, restrooms, showers, access to trailheads and more.

If you are looking for scenic overnight camping spots, check out Scenic Cove Campground, Downtown PK, North and South D&D, Bug Beach, River Park and West Side Park. Each of these areas offers different amenities that make for a perfect vacationing spot for the whole family.

Visitors to BRA public use areas may stay for up to 10 consecutive days. Campers, boat trailers and autos may be parked in designated areas; however, for everyone’s safety, all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), utility terrain vehicles (UTVs), dirt bikes, and golf carts are not allowed on most BRA property. According to state laws, no vehicles may be driven in dry areas of the lakebed. Campfires are allowed in fire rings, and cooking is available on provided grills; however, no fireworks are permitted on BRA property Protected swim areas are available at North D&D, Bug Beach and Sandy Beach; but, cliff diving from a height of 20 feet or more is prohibited. You can review BRA rules here.

Possum Kingdom Lake is the only BRA reservoir that has an airport. The Possum Kingdom Airport is located on the east side of the reservoir and is available to all residents and visitors. The airport is equipped with runway lights, restrooms, 19 hangars and long-term vehicle parking.

If you are driving by the reservoir and want a great view of the mighty Morris Sheppard Dam, Observation Point Park at 301 Observation Point Road provides widespread scenery of the reservoir and the dam. There are restrooms available at the point, and the area is open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

There are two convenience stations at the reservoir, located on the west and east sides, that can take larger trash items, like tires, batteries, stoves and more for locals or visitors. Caudill Convenience Station is located off Highway 1148 on the west side, and Lange Convenience Station is located off Rock Creek Loop. For hours and more information, click here.

Get Active at Possum Kingdom

Looking for a little bit of recreation action? Whether you live on the reservoir or are visiting for a couple of days, boating is just one of many ways you can enjoy the glistening waters of Possum Kingdom Lake. The BRA provides several boat ramps and courtesy docks in and around the public use areas. You can fish from your boat or water ski around, as there is plenty of room to do it on Possum Kingdom’s 17,700 acres of water.

Texas anglers know that Possum Kingdom Lake is a prime location to cast their lines. There are plenty of different types of fish to catch, like largemouth, striped and white bass, white crappie and channel and blue catfish. Many people also like to fish in the Brazos River just below Possum Kingdom’s Morris Sheppard Dam.

The extensive PK Hike and Bike Trail network goes across Possum Kingdom Lake’s central peninsula, connecting the reservoir’s public areas with 16 miles of paths. The wide trails are suitable for hikers with a wide range of abilities, averaging a 5 to 20-degree slope. You can enjoy the beautiful sights and sounds of nature along the winding trails or at one of the 19 lookouts. A part of the trail winds up to the top of Johnson Peak, where a scenic rest area is equipped with benches.

From mountain bikers to avid boaters or those who simply enjoy spending time in the great outdoors, Possum Kingdom Lake offers an extraordinary experience to all who visit. Don’t believe us? Check out this vintage postcard and what it has to say about Possum Kingdom Lake or Morris Sheppard Lake and Dam.

“Morris Sheppard Lake and Dam. Northwest of Mineral Wells, Texas, is one of the South’s finest recreation spots. This body of water is 65 miles long and has 310 miles of scenic shoreline. Fishing, Bathing, Camping and Swimming, and other outdoor recreational features bring pleasure to thousands who avail themselves of this opportunity.”

The Texas Parks & Wildlife Department owns and operates the Possum Kingdom State Park, located on the west side of the lake. Reservations are recommended for both camping and day use. Click here to learn more about the state park.