Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine   





When you launch your canoe from the shore of Caddo Lake State Park, you enter a place of ethereal beauty. As your paddle dips silently into the water, you’re propelled through a maze of slow-moving bayous, wetlands and backwaters.

Spanish moss drapes from majestic trees in a flooded bald cypress forest. Lily pads provide resting spots for frogs or turtles, and great blue herons fly from tree to tree.

A series of paddling trails offers routes and destinations at Caddo Lake, or you can just paddle around to your heart’s content. Paddling trail routes are marked with reflective yellow signs attached to trees and posts. Canoe rentals are available at the state park.

“Caddo Lake State Park is a great jumping-off point to access over 50 miles of fantastic paddling,” says park interpretive specialist Dustin Schrock. “Within the park, we have Sawmill Pond, which is great for beginners and is beautiful in its own right.”

Getting out on the water provides visitors a way to be fully immersed in the sights, sounds and feelings of the lake.

“Definitely the best way to experience Caddo Lake is to paddle,” Schrock says. “There’s a sense of adventure and mystery, but it’s also accessible. You can almost feel the living swamp when you’re out there. And when the sun backlights those cypress trees, it makes a really epic photo.” 

Caddo Calling

Caddo Lake State Park offers a quiet retreat on the banks of Big Cypress Bayou.



Hop in a canoe or kayak to explore beautiful Lake Raven (kayak rentals available). Keep an eye out for gators!



Campsites and screened shelters are available, or book a stay in one of the park’s historic CCC-built cabins.



Experience both the history and the natural diversity of the park on 3 miles of trails. Three major habitat types (bottomlands, mesic and uplands) support a diversity of wildlife.

Caddo Lake State Park

  565 Park Road 2
Karnac, TX 75661

  Park Admission $4;
Kids 12 and under: Free


  (903) 679-3351

Reserving passes online or by phone before visiting is encouraged.

 Russell Roe   Chase Fountain | TPWD; Inset from top: Sandy Dunham Photography x2; Jennifer M Ramos

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