Years and years ago, the great plains of western North Texas were used for cattle grazing, homesteading, and by Native Americans as hunting grounds. Today, the roughly 20,000 acres of grassland has been designated as a national park and is protected from further development. While there are some homes and ranches, the majority of the grasslands is open for outdoor recreation.
Just a short hour from Fort Worth Texas, the grasslands provide the people of DFW a quick day trip to the great outdoors, or a long weekend in the bush.
What Makes It Great
Heading into the LBJ National Grasslands, you might be confused upon entering the park by the houses that appear occasionally along the road in. Don’t let this fool you though, as approximately 75 miles of multi-use trail provides ample access to this huge protected area. With so much trail to explore, backpackers will find bliss in the backcountry as they hike deeper into the wilderness. There are several marked campsites, but the greatest adventure is in finding your own. Camping along the trails is permitted in unmarked spots, but packing out what you pack in is of utmost importance.
Recreation opportunity in this park is endless. While campers flock here for the beauty of the grasslands and serenity of the wooded areas – fishermen, hunters, hikers, and equestrian enthusiasts will find these sports a popular attraction as well. Public hunting is allowed during designated hunting seasons, and packing into camp and find game is a common practice in the area. The network of trails provides for plenty of options to explore the backcountry, and will keep you finding new spots every time you return.
Who is Going to Love It
Weekend warriors will find this park to suit their needs for a quick backpacking & camping trip. With the length of trails throughout the park, a quick hike in – hike out is possible to do in a weekend. Although the trails are relatively flat, the sheer distance will provide a challenge for the backpacker looking to train for a longer adventure. For those enthusiasts looking for less primitive camping, Black Creek Lake is the site of choice. Because it prohibits horses from using this section of the park there is less traffic and more privacy. Wooded sites line the Black Creek, while tent pads are found near the lake that the creek feeds. Fishing at this spot is also popular, as carp, catfish, and bass can be caught at all times of the year.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
From Fort Worth, take Hwy 287 for nearly an hour until you reach Decatur. Take Hwy 380 east and immediately turn left on FM Rt. 730. This road will take you directly into the park where you can choose your route from there. Three miles in you will see signs for Black Creek Lake that are easy to follow. For the Tadra Point trailhead, head 9 miles down FM Rt. 730 until you reach Rt. 2461. Go left on this road, and then an immediate right, and you’ll be taken to the signs for the trailhead.