What To Expect When Visiting Lake Arrowhead State Park (TEXAS): Home Of The Black Tail Prairie Dog
I have passed by the sign to Lake Arrowhead State Park probably hundreds of times and never stopped in. It was always intriguing, but like most places in your own backyard you tend to neglect sometimes the most obvious places to stop in for some rest and relaxation while trying to run off to the next big adventure up the road. But finally I had enough and just had to make a stop after seeing somethings online which swayed me to take the short exit off Highway 287 in North Texas.
Pulling into the park, I honestly didn’t know what to expect. I have heard about this park mostly as a fishing destination, however what really brought me to the park were the Prairie Dogs. Yes, you heard me right… the Prairie Dogs. I am an animal lover, and anytime I get an opportunity to see so many cute free roaming animals, I simply cannot pass
I pulled in mid-day and was greeted by the Park Ranger who extended a map and trail map and gave me a brief understanding of the points of interest. Day use was only $4, something I felt would be totally worth the value for being able to have a day away. I mean, where else can you enjoy an entire day away for under $10?
The roads of the park are paved and wide enough for two lanes of traffic. I could easily see why boaters and RVers alike would enjoy coming out to the property based on how well maintained the roadways were. I first trolled through the campground itself to check out the three different options for camping.
I will say that of the camping options I would by far prefer the improved campsites at this campground. While primitive camping is great and I typically camp without amenities, I found that the primitive camping sites here had much higher grass and no fire rings or items which could be used for such. In this area of North Texas, the high grasses typically attract snakes, rattlesnakes specifically, so I couldn’t see myself trying to call this area home when other areas were just a few dollars more and were not only improved but also maintained at a higher standard. Price points varied from $10 for primitive camping to $22 with full hookups.
As I moved forward toward the lake a bit more the day use area was wide open with great lake views from all angles. The fishing pier and beach were along the same shoreline and because of recent rains the water levels were very high. This brought many of the critters right up to the grass including several breeds of waterfowl. And perhaps it was because of the recent rains, or perhaps it was because of the amount of in and out traffic leaving behind food, but this area was filled with Prairie Dog mounds and some very bold little furry friends.
I spent the better part of an hour grabbing some great photos of the infamous residents, the Black Tailed Prairie Dog, almost within petting distance. They were not fearful at all and instead were very curious and comical.
Leaving this area I moved on to the other side of the day use are which had a large boat ramp with plenty of parking for trailers, a basketball court, playground, picnic shelters and canoe and kayak rentals. This area seemed to be the busiest area in the park with several people out chatting after coming off the lake, some people having a late lunch under the shelters and even a family which looked like they had been swimming.
While this is not the most improved campground and facility I have seen at a Texas park and while I am sure they do have some room to work on modernizing, as a whole I would give the experience here five stars. The staff I encountered while at the park were all very friendly, the access to the lake was plentiful, the programs they offer were many and there were enough campsites to suit the needs of campers even on busy holiday weekends.
Check out the Disc Golf course which runs alongside both the Onion Creek Trail and Dragonfly Trails.
Get your supplies before you come out to the campground in neighboring communities Wichita Falls, Jolly or Henrietta. Though the entry station sells firewood there are no additional supplies sold on the grounds.
Bring your camera and go to the beach! This area is the most populated by the Prairie Dogs and will make for some of the most lasting memories of the park. This area is a MUST SEE!!