Lake Whitney State Park is one of the largest state parks in the entire US and one of the most popular attractions for water-based holiday fun . It overlooks the glorious man-made lake, Lake Whitney. Visitors of the park are often satisfied with their stay due to the spacious, shady RV camps or sunny camps, viewing the shores of Lake Whitney and the variety of fun-packed activities they can do out in the wild or near the lake.
You can hike the one-mile trails looping around the Brazos River and fish off the river banks or on the shores of the lake. Since the lake is a man-made reservoir to accommodate the variations in the water level of the Brazos River, often you will find the lake pool level optimum for boating, fishing or even swimming.
The history of the state park is interesting and dates back almost a century. On the banks of the Brazos River, native Americans settled and cultivated their crops and fed their horses as early as the 1800s. Fifty years later, pioneers settled in Towash, a town they called after the chief of the Indian tribe who lived in the area. The pioneers helped the town to thrive. However, they moved away from the town during 1876 when the Central Texas railroad was functioning. What is left of that town is now the man-made dam and the water reservoir, Lake Whitney.
In 1951, the U.S Army Corps of Engineers decided to take matters into their own hands and dammed the Brazos River. The lake is a reservoir to over two million acre-feet of water with its 237 square miles of capacity. Visitors can enjoy various water-based activities over the lake’s 225 miles of shoreline.
In 1954, the Department of Army leased 775-acre to TPWD to be the Lake Whitney state park, so that nature’s beauty and the human-made wonder could be enjoyed by the public. The park was officially open in May 1965.
To reach the park from Interstate 35, take the Hillsboro exit. In Hillsboro, take State Highway 22 west to Whitney; then follow the signs to Lake Whitney State Park. The park is located three miles west of Whitney on FM 1244 on the shore of Lake Whitney.
Parking is only allowed in the designated area. There is available parking near the boating ramps for those who wish to go boating.
Sites #1-38 and #47-51 in the Horseshoe Camping
The park has over 100 campsites, dedicated to RV camping as well as tent camping. The RV camps are located at the back of the state park, close to the cove, where there is lots of shade. However, the view doesn’t directly overlook the lake. While you may not enjoy the lakefront in the RV campsites, you can enjoy being in the embrace of nature as you can find lots of canopy coverings in these campsites which offers plenty of shade. This is unlike the tent camps that oversee the lake but barely have shade areas, especially in the summer.
All campsites have a picnic table and a ring of fire grill spot.
There are campsites with water hooks up only, campsites with water and electricity hookups (50 Amp) and campsites with water, electricity and sewer hookups. Specify your requirements when reserving.
These sites are in the Horseshoe (#39-48), White-Tail (#52-68), Star View (#69-86), and Lake View (#111-123 and #131-137) camping areas.
These sites are in the Blue Bird (#87-98), Road Runner (#99-110) and Sunset Ridge (#124-130) camping loops.
No RVs are allowed at these campsites. They view the lakefront and are away from the wildlife and tree canopies therefore, they lack substantial shade. However, the design of the picnic tables allows for some shade over the campsite.
Since the river is at the heart of the park, the trails loop around the river. You can walk along accompanied by sound of the water or even fish on the rocky shores of the river, for a chance to catch seasonal, migrating fish. The park has two one-mile trails.
You can also view the grasslands of the little bluestem and the Indian grass in the Washita Prairie which is part of the Grand Prairie that extends from the Red River to the Colorado River. You will feel relaxed as you view beautiful isolated trees and ribbons of woodlands along the creeks feeding the Brazos River.
The Washita Prairie houses a diverse collection of flora and fauna. You will get to see lots of wildflowers masking the landscape and spot wild animals such as raccoons, deer or even armadillos in the beautiful green landscapes.
If you are a water lover, the park offers you an enjoyable range of water based activities such as fishing, swimming and boating. You can only swim in designated areas, however, since there are no life guard on duty. You are advised to observe swimming safety rules, wear floating armbands or avoid swimming if you are weak or injured.
The lake is considered a fisherman's paradise as it hosts a dense variety of fish species such as striped and white bass, smallmouth bass and trophy bluefish. Its clear water makes it an attractive location for fishing.
Enjoy the modern day treasure hunt with this geocaching feature! People often leave treasures hidden all across the parks and tag it using the GPS location. You can run a search in the area around you to find out what people have hidden! All you really need to get started is your smartphone! The cell signal in the park is great, so you can easily connect your GPS feature on our phone and let the fun begin.
Kids can enjoy the opportunity for experiencing what is it like to be a junior ranger. All you need is to claim your ranger's pack, which contains a checklist of tasks. Once completed, you can acquire a junior ranger's certificate.
As a fun and inexpensive attempt to control the populations of white deer in the absence of natural predators, the public land hunts commences biannually. A pool of qualified applicants submit their application where they get randomly selected by the computer to participate in the hunt. The park remains closed during the hunting season, which lasts for about two weeks.
The hunt provides an efficient way to control the untamed populations of white deer that may otherwise exceed the biological capacity of its habitat.
You can go boating in Lake Whitney and launch a boat for free.
The water level of the lake tends to vary with seasons. The level of the reservoir determines the usability of the boat ramp. You cannot use the boat ramp when the water level is below 522 foot.
Most of the year the water level is at a suitable level to enjoy boating in this glorious lake.
Seasonally and during certain times of the year, the park offers guided tours, with interesting narration of the history that existed in the area many years ago. The guides can also guide you to spot certain wildflowers, bird species or wildlife animals along your hike.