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Lake Arrowhead State Park

Enjoy great fishing and a non-annoying variety of pop-ups.

By Marian Edwards

Pop-ups on a computer monitor certainly bedevil every user. But, consider a pop-up of a different kind: stepping out of your tent at Lake Arrowhead State park to get the morning coffee going, you stretch to un-kink muscles that are still familiarizing themselves with an air mattress and sleeping bag … and suddenly, there’s the black-tailed prairie dog pop-up. Your furry neighbors with the inquisitive eyes inhabit an underground world of tunnels and chambers, popping up to survey their surroundings and forage for food, keeping one eye out for predators. Spend the morning watching their antics at the park’s Prairie Dog Town before heading to the eight-lane boat ramp to launch and enjoy water skiing or personal watercraft on 16,000-acre Lake Arrowhead.

Located just southeast of Wichita Falls, the 524-acre Lake Arrowhead State Park is a favorite for anglers in the North Central Plains area. The park is popular with many locals who fish for crappie, bass, perch and catfish on a daily basis, either from the pier, or on the lake near the oil well derricks that offer an environment that is friendly to fish. Many Wichita Falls residents purchase the State Parks Pass, allowing them entry into the park every day. That, and bait, are their only expenses; there’s no license required when fishing from the shore in a state park. A convenient fish cleaning station is near the lighted fishing pier; a beginner can even borrow tackle from the park headquarters.

Lake Arrowhead is a popular spot for equestrian outings also. The equestrian area at the park offers four campsites with 50 amp service, water, restrooms and a group pavilion along with four covered stalls, a fire ring, picnic table, tie rail and corral. (You have to supply the horse.) The day-use horseback riding area encompasses 300 acres and is rider-friendly with restrooms and potable water. The park also welcomes disk-golfers with an 18-hole course and an additional five miles of trails for casual hiking.

Whether on horseback, bicycle or foot, an excursion through the rolling prairie and mesquite trees, hackberries and cottonwoods is an opportunity to spot eagles, herons, egrets, white-tailed deer and wild turkeys. The park is also along the monarch butterfly fly-way. Bobcats and the occasional mountain lion have been spotted by park staff, and coyotes keep the prairie dog population under control. Cool off with a swim in the lake on the unsupervised beach or enjoy a shady picnic.

Lake Arrowhead State Park hosts riders overnight as they stop along the route of the Hotter N’Hell One Hundred bicycle ride in August. In the fall, the staff welcomes day-hunters who camp here while they pursue dove and quail in the area. No hunting is allowed in the park.

Enjoy your neighborhood pop-ups when you camp at Lake Arrowhead. Where else can you enjoy drinking your morning coffee with prairie dogs?

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