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 it 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 from fishing to 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.
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. While the park is open year round, the peak season runs from the first weekend in March through the Fourth of July. Be sure to make a reservation online or by calling the state park’s office prior to your visit.
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 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 this 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.
Lake Somerville State Park’s Birch Creek unit has 99 campsites with water and 30 or 50-amp electricity hookups. Equestrian sites are also available with water and electricity. There are no campsites with sewer hookups, however there are dump stations within the park. All campsites have a picnic table, fire ring with grill, and lantern pole. The sites are wooded, providing privacy from your neighbors.
The Birch Creek unit also has a group RV area available to reserve. This area hosts 14 campsites with water and electric hookups and another 6 campsites with water hookups only. Other amenities in the group area include a view and access to the lake, a dump station, an outdoor grill, fire ring, and picnic tables. There is also a dining hall available for overnight rental.
Pets are allowed, but must be kept on a leash at all times. There are also bathroom facilities with showers throughout the park unit.
A smaller unit than Birch Creek, the Nails Creek unit has 20 campsites with water and 30 or 50-amp electricity hookups. Another 10 sites have water only hookups. Equestrian sites with water and electric hookups are also available for reservation. Like at Birch Creek, none of the sites have sewer hookups though there is a dump station in the park. These wooded sites also include a fire ring with grill, picnic table, and lantern pole are at each site.
Pets are allowed on a leash only. Bathroom facilities with showers are available in the unit.
Lake Somerville is great for fishing and is host to 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. Did you forget your gear? Fishing gear is available to borrow from the park’s headquarters.
The 11,630-acre Lake Somerville offers plenty of activities to fill a hot day. Both Birch Creek and Nails Creek have a boat ramp to drop in your boat or jet skis. If you’re looking to go kayaking or canoeing, both units have them available to rent. Life vests are included with the rentals. You may also swim off the shore of Lake Somerville. Keep in mind when out on the water that there is no lifeguard on duty throughout the state park.
Ride through the miles and miles of interconnected trails that Lake Somerville State Park has to offer. While mountain biking, there is plenty of beautiful scenery, including scenic overlooks to take in. All of the trails are open to mountain bikes. While riding, be sure to share the trail with hikers and equestrians.
With over 40 miles of trails, there is no shortage of hiking options available. 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. Plenty of wildlife may be spotted as well. The trails are open to mountain bikes and equestrians, so keep an eye out and share the trails.
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 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.
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.