Lake Somerville State Park
Guide

Introduction

Lake Somerville State Park is a true escape with an abundance of wildlife, creeks, and the lake. Located just over an hour and a half from both Austin and Houston, the park is full of activities for any type of outdoor enthusiast. There are nearly 40 miles of trails throughout the park, each providing views of the scenery and wildlife. You may even catch a glimpse of an alligator! The 11,630-acre lake provides endless activities, including fishing, boating, and swimming.

Lake Somerville is a reservoir that was constructed for flood control during the 1960s. Located on Yegua Creek, it is 20 miles upstream from the Brazos River. There are many smaller creeks and streams that feed into Lake Somerville in addition to Yegua Creek. The lake began to fill in 1967 when water impoundment began. The state park itself opened in 1970 after leasing the land from the federal government, and today is a popular year-round recreation destination.

The state park has four units: Birch Creek, Nails Creek, Lake Somerville Trailway, and Somerville Public Hunting Land. Of the four units, both Birch Creek and Nails Creek offer camping suitable for RVs, tents, equestrians, and groups. The busy season at Lake Somerville State Park runs from the first weekend in March through the Fourth of July, and it is open all year round.

RV Rentals in Lake Somerville State Park

Transportation

Driving

Driving to and from Lake Somerville is super easy since it is located only a few miles away from the town of Somerville and is close by to major highways. Since the park is a little different from most state parks, multiple sections can be accessed from different roads. Most of the visitors will head to the Birch Creek Unit first since it is the largest unit of the park.

To access the Birch Creek unit, you’ll take Highway 60 to Park Road 57, which brings you to the state park’s entrance. Along the way, you’ll pass through towns and cities where you can pick up supplies if needed. If you are coming from the west, you’ll encounter a wide corner and will pass under a narrow railroad bridge on Highway 60. The road becomes very narrow and curves as you pass under the bridge, but widens after. This can hazardous depending on the size of your RV, especially at night. If coming from the east, you’ll turn onto Highway 60 after these hazards.

The Nails Creek unit is accessible from a different route than Birch Creek. Nails Creek is located off of FM-180. There aren’t any hazards to be aware of when driving to the Nails Creek unit. Like Birch Creek, you’ll pass through small cities and towns along the drive if you need to stop for fuel or supplies. Once inside either unit, you’ll find it easy to drive through with any vehicle type or RV size. Pay attention to the posted speed limit signs once inside the park. The campsites are back-in only at both state park units. You’ll find the parking pads to be mostly level.

Parking

Public Transportation

Campgrounds and parking in Lake Somerville State Park

Campsites in Lake Somerville State Park

Reservations camping

Nails Creek Unit

A smaller camping unit than Birch Creek, Nails Creek is located around 13 miles away from the Birch Creek Unit on the southwestern edge of the lake. There are 20 RV-friendly campsites that are equipped with water and electrical hookups for you to enjoy in the Nails Creek Unit, along with equestrian-friendly and tent-only campsites.

Like at Birch Creek, none of the sites are equipped with sewer hookups, but there is a dump station in the park that you are welcome to use. All sites are also equipped with a fire ring with a grill, picnic table, and lantern pole. Campground-wide amenities include restrooms, showers, and easy lake access. Pets are allowed in the Nails Creek Unit, but they must be leashed.

Since there are only 20 sites available with electric and water hookups, it is recommended that you make a reservation before your arrival.

Birch Creek Unit

Lake Somerville State Park’s Birch Creek unit is the largest of the two campgrounds within the park and a great choice to call home during your trip. Birch Creek consists of 94 RV-friendly campsites with water and electric hookups for RVs to use, along with extra equestrian sites. There are no campsites with sewer hookups; however, there is a dump station within the park for your convenience. All campsites are supplied with a picnic table, a fire ring with grill, and a lantern pole.

Most of the sites in the campground are wooded so that you will have some privacy from your neighboring campers. Campground-wide amenities include restrooms, showers, and easy lake access. Pets are allowed in the Birch Creek Unit, but they must be kept on a leash at all times.

Reservations can be made online prior to your arrival, so if you are planning to stay in the Birch Creek Unit, you should book a reservation to ensure that you will have a place to stay.

First-come first-served

First-Come, First Served Camping

If you are interested in doing some first-come, first-served camping during your stay at Lake Somerville State Park, there are 18 hike-in sites that can only be used on a first-come, first-served basis. These sites are located outside of the two main camping units and are totally primitive, so there won't be any electrical hookups or water collection points available. No fires can be lit at these sites either, so keep that in mind before deciding to stay here.

There are no RVs allowed in the hike-in-only sites, but any sites that are unreserved in the Nails Creek or Birch Creek units can be used on a first-come, first-served basis too.

Alternate camping

Equestrian Camping

Thinking about bringing a horse with you to Lake Somerville State Park? The park is well set up for equestrian camping with both units featuring sites suitable for equestrian camping. There are a total of 40 campsites that are equestrian-friendly, including 17 in the Nails Creek unit that are equipped with electric hookups.

The remaining sites have no hookups available, but there are water collection points located very close to each of them. Some of the amenities available for equestrian campers include horse corrals, hitching posts, and horse pens.

If you feel like doing some primitive camping, you can also take your horse out to one of the hike-in only sites and set up camp there during your stay, but there won't be any equestrian-specific amenities at these campsites.

Group Camping

There is one group campsite available at Lake Somerville State Park for those traveling to the park with a large group of people. Located in the Birch Creek Unit, the group campsite is large enough to accommodate up to 160 guests and is equipped with 30-amp electric hookups. The campsite is also pet-friendly, and RVs are allowed to use the site too.

Along with the group campsite, there is also a group camping dining hall that can be reserved for an extra fee. Within the hall, you will be able to use the full kitchen, but no cooking utensils are provided.

Reservations for the group campsite must be made in advance prior to your arrival and can be done so by calling the park or using the Birch Creek Unit reservation page.

Tent-Only Camping

For visitors to Lake Somerville State Park who are looking for tent-only sites, you can find them in the Nails Creek Unit. Here there are ten tent-only sites, all of which are primitive with no hookups available. The sites are located near two ponds and can accommodate up to eight people per site. Pets are allowed at these tent-only campsites, and reservations can be made online prior to your arrival.

Tent campers are also allowed to use any of the electric sites in either camping units, so there are plenty of options as to where you can stay during your visit.

Seasonal activities in Lake Somerville State Park

Off-Season

Outdoor Games

If looking for casual fun or friendly competition with friends or family, both Birch Creek and Nails Creek units have horseshoes and volleyball pits. If you left your horseshoes or volleyball behind, the Birch Creek unit has some of each available for rent. You cannot rent equipment from Nails Creek, so keep that in mind if you are looking to play some outdoor games and don't have any equipment.

Birding

Over 200 species of birds have been known to visit the state park, making it a great spot for bird watching. There are many common species year-round such as the northern cardinal and turkey vulture. Other species, like the great horned owl and the ruby-throated hummingbird, only visit during certain seasons or are considered a rare sighting. No matter the time of year, you’re sure to see many different types of birds out on the trails and even at your campsite.

Hiking

With over 40 miles of trails, there is no shortage of hiking options available at Lake Somerville State Park. Trek over to the Lake Somerville Trailway which connects the Birch Creek and Nails Creek units. The Lake Somerville Trailway alone offers 26 miles of trails which include many loops. While out hiking you'll pass by water crossings as well vistas overlooking the lake. The trails are open to mountain bikes and equestrians, so keep an eye out and share the trails.

In-Season

Mountain Biking

If you love to ride, make sure you check out the miles and miles of interconnected trails that Lake Somerville State Park has to offer. While you are out mountain biking, there is plenty of beautiful scenery, including scenic overlooks to take in that are near Lake Somerville. All of the trails in the park are open to mountain bikes, so while riding, be sure to share the path with hikers and equestrians.

Boating

The 11,630-acre Lake Somerville is the main attraction for visitors to the park, and there are plenty of activities available to fill a hot day. Both Birch Creek and Nails Creek have a boat ramp to drop in your boat or jet skis onto the lake, and there are no motorized boating limits that have been put in place. If you’re looking to go kayaking or canoeing, both units have these watercraft available to rent with life vests included with the rentals.

Fishing

Lake Somerville is great for fishing and is home to plenty of bass, crappie, and catfish. A fishing license is not required to fish from the shore or jetty; however, if fishing from a boat, a license is necessary. There is a boat ramp at both state park units if you want to get out on the water, and fishing gear rentals are available from the park’s headquarters.

Find the perfect campsite.