A beautiful lake with a historically rich landscape, lying on the windswept high Plains of the Texas panhandle, on the northern side of Amarillo, Lake Meredith National Recreation Area is a one of Texas' premium relaxation hot spots. Spread across nearly 50,000 acres of diverse landscape, the recreation area's main attraction is Lake Meredith itself, a 10,000 acre artificial reservoir that provides visitors with tons of recreational opportunities and also provides drinking water to 11 cities in Texas.
The spot was named a National Recreation Area in 1990 by congress, making it available for public outdoor recreation. The large lake area and diverse landscape create extensive recreational opportunities for visitors of all ages. There are hiking trails of all kinds in the area, with the lake providing swimming, boating and fishing opportunities. It's a haven for natural life which includes some of Texas' most unique wildlife and plants which visitors get to see up close.
Water sports are by far the most popular activities at Lake Meredith. The extra large lake area makes the beach popular with visitors all year round. The lake attracts swimmers, boaters, scuba divers, windsurfers, and water skiiers. Lake Meredith is also one of Texas' most popular angling spots. The reservoir has a diverse fish community to suit every kind of angler that comes to the lake. From bass to catfish, walleye, sunfish, and panfish, the lake has a wide range of sport fish available.
Lake Meredith is also known for its wonderful camping options. The resort has 13 different campgrounds with comfortable campsites that ensure a premium experience for visitors. Once you park your camper at Lake Meredith, there is a ton of recreational activities all around the park for different age groups and all sorts of nature lovers, making Lake Meredith one of America's gems.
Lake Meredith can be accessed through a few different routes. Main roads leading to the resort include Texas Route 136 from Amarillo, FM 1913 from the west, and Texas Route 152 near the north end of the resort. A side road off US Highway 287 leads to the resort's OTV area. The roads in the region are all well paved and vehicle-friendly. The dirt roads and unpaved roads are also vehicle-friendly.
No fees are required to access the park although a few permits may be mandatory. The park headquarters is in Fritch and maps of the resort can be purchased there. Its an easy drive from HQ to other parts of the recreation area, sign posts also provide necessary directions to road users.
Situated southwest of McBride, Mullinaw Campground has largely undeveloped sites which have a few picnic tables, some firewood, fire rings, and vault toilets. One benefit of this campground is the Mullinaw Creek Trail system located nearby, and the intersecting chain of three different paths totalling 6.3 miles of trails for horseback riding, hiking and biking. The site is a little remote, although some other campgrounds are within walking distance. This campground is open all year.
This campground is located in the off-roading area of the park, well removed from the rest of the park. It is located on the northwestern fringe of the recreational area.
Access to the shoreline is difficult but this campground offers the best views of Lake Meredith. The grounds come with vault toilets (no flush) , picnic tables and grills, but no drinking water on site, so campers are advised to bring plenty of water with them when they camp here. The campground remains open all year.
This campground is situated on a bluff offering views of Lake Meredith right on the Sanford Yake Road. Each of the ten RV-friendly campsites have neat picnic areas, shade and a few grills. The sites also offer electric and water hookups.
There is just one central bathhouse with clean water available and a few flush toilets, which are available seasonally.
There is an RV dump station nearby as well as one public boating ramp at the Marina. This campground is open all year and is one of the easier ones to access with an RV or trailer.
This campground offers scenic lake views and its close proximity to the lake is the major benefit of camping at Fritch Fortress. Each campsites has picnic tables, shade shelters and a couple of grills. A bathhouse with running water and flush toilets is available and opened seasonally.
There are no RV hookups, but there is a RV waste dump station nearby. Campers enjoy no camping fees and the campground is open all year.
Lake Meredith has a few family-friendly hiking trails which run through various parts of the region, giving visitors different views of the lake. Harbor Bay Trail, South Turkey Creek Trail, Davis Canyon Trail, and Mullinaw Trail are the four major trails at the park. Bring your hiking boots and binoculars to Lake Meredith for a premium hiking experience.
Harbor Bay Trail covers 5.23 miles from Harbor Bay to Meredith Way. It is a moderate hike with several steep slopes and switchbacks. Mullinaw Trail covers 4.3 miles, its an easy hike with a mostly flat landscape and very few slopes or hills to climb. South Turkey Creek Trail starts at Harbor Bay and covers 6.17 miles and offers the best lake views of all the trails. Davis Canyon Trail is a moderate 6.4 mile trail with a few slopes and offers great birding opportunities.
There are two designated off-roading areas at the recreation area; one at Blue Creek and the other at Rosita Flat. All-terrain vehicles can be rented at the park's vehicle vendor, personal vehicles can also be used granted they have the required license and permits to operate in Texas.
Riders are required to stay within OTV area and strictly below 3,000 feet elevation. Riders must also wear an approved helmet and safety eye goggles. There are no stores or taps at the OTV area, so riders are advised to take their own refreshment while off-roading.
Lake Meredith is home to hundreds of wildlife species that have inhabited the region for centuries and adapted to its climate and ecosystem. Lake Meredith offers habitat to two deer species, as well as mountain lions and bobcats. Coyotes are the most commonly spotted predators here with their primary prey, cotton tail rabbits, also very common all over the park.
Wild birds and reptiles are also easily spotted on the grasslands of Lake Meredith. Road runners, wild turkeys, bald eagles, and bobwhites can be spotted while hiking and boating at the resort. Rattle snakes and numerous lizard species could be encountered while hiking. Wildlife can also be seen in the off-roading area.
Boating at Lake Meredith is arguanly the most popular water sports at the resort. Whether by personal boat or using rentals, millions of tourists enjoy the waters and experience the lake's beauty by boating. There are five boat ramps at the lake located at Sanford-Yake, Cedar Canyon and Harbor, Fritch Fortress, and Blue West, here are no fees for boating at the lake.
There are vendors that rent watercraft at the lake, personal boats are to be registered according to state laws. Children under 13 are prohibited from personally operating watercraft unless accompanied by an adult.
The large lake area at the resort has several designated swimming areas. Swimming areas areas are roped off and watercraft are prohibited for safety reasons. Most campgrounds have a designated swimming area close by. Cedar Canyon is a popular swimming destination for park visitors due to its steady tide and current during the day.
Spring Canyon is also a swimming hotspot at Lake Meredith. Visitors are to be extremely careful when swimming and diving at the lake due to its rocky nature. All parts of the lake are open for night swimming except Spring Canyon and night swimmers are advised not to go down to the lake alone for safety reasons.
There are numerous fishing docks around the shores of Lake Meredith. The large lake offers anglers a wide range of sport fish to catch. Walleye are the primary catch at the lake, with a healthy small bass population also present. White bass are also very common, especially during summer months.
Some parts of the reservoir are rocky beneath the surface which is perfect for catching small bass and some salmon. Yellow perch and largemouth bass are also common catches at the lake. The lake's fish population is replenished at intervals during the year by a local fishery. The resort has a lot of fishing regulations, so anglers should ensure they are familiar with the fishing handbook before trying to catch anything.