Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine   




Horsing Around

Texas has a long history with horses. Spanish conquistadors traversed the state by horseback. Herds of wild mustangs roamed free. Horse-riding Comanches ruled the Plains, and cowboys used horses to drive cattle north.

Texas still has a love affair with the horse, and the state park system offers several places for horse and rider to spend some time on the trail.

Lake Somerville State Park and Trailway contains more than 40 miles of trail, with the majority open to equestrian use (bring your own horse), including a 13-mile trailway west of the lake. Bridge damage from a 2015 flood means riders can’t connect the park units on the north and south sides of the lake as they once could, but there are still plenty of trails to enjoy.

The trailway and related trails cross through yaupon, post oak, hickory and blackjack oak forests, and pass scenic overlooks and water crossings. Pockets of prairie are interspersed, with rainbows of color splashing across the landscape during spring’s wildflower season.

Along the trailway, 350-acre Flag Pond serves as a home to birds and other wildlife. Several miles of loops and spur trails, including Yegua Creek’s picturesque Sandy Slough Trail and a loop around Flag Pond, offer even greater riding opportunities.

Bring your camping gear if you want a real Texas horseback adventure — the trailway contains a primitive equestrian campsite (accessed from Birch Creek).

Equestrian sites are also available at the main park units, and a new drive-up equestrian campsite is opening in the trailway area to offer greater access there. 

Somerville Splash

Located between Austin and Houston, Lake Somerville offers fun on the lake and on shore.



Lake Somerville has more than 11,000 acres of water to explore by motorized boat, kayak, canoe or sailboat.


Birding and Wildlife

Many species of birds and wildlife make their homes here, including white-tailed deer, fox, coyote, bobcat, river otter, beaver, alligator, rabbit, waterfowl and quail.



White bass anglers are drawn to the lake and creek during the spring spawning run; there’s good fishing for hybrid striped bass, channel catfish and crappie as well.

Lake Somerville State Park

  Birch Creek Unit
14222 Park Road 57
Somerville, TX 77879

  Nails Creek Unit
6280 FM 180
Ledbetter, TX 78946

  Park Admission $5 Daily;
Kids 12 and under: Free


  (979) 535-7763

  (979) 289-2392

Reserving passes online or by phone before visiting is recommended.

 Russell Roe   Earl Nottingham | TPWD; Inset  Eric W Pohl x2; Earl Nottingham | TPWD

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