West Texas normally is not this pretty. But Possum Kingdom Lake is one of the oldest and largest reservoirs in the Brazos River Basin. So today, Possum Kingdom Lake is more like a natural lake than an artificial one. So, people who take their RVs to Possum Kingdom State Park can expect lots of nautical nonsense. However, that’s just the beginning.
With some 300 miles of shoreline, there are lots of land-based things to do at Possum Kingdom Lake as well. The facilities, especially the RV campground, are very nice. Furthermore, the hiking trails are very well-marked, the wildflowers are gorgeous in the spring, and much of the original Civilian Conservation Corps structures are still in use.
Above all, Possum Kingdom State Park is a camping park. There’s a reason both the YMCA and Boy Scouts of America come here year after year. Possum Kingdom State Park is designed for campers, and it’s especially designed for RVs.
In case you’re wondering, there are several versions of the “how did Possum Kingdom Lake get its name” story. Park rangers will be glad to bring you up to speed on the various theories.
RV Rentals in Possum Kingdom State Park
Transportation in Possum Kingdom State Park
Possum Kingdom Lake is about halfway between Fort Worth and Abilene. That’s about the line where Texas topography changes from blackland prairie and small hills to flat and arid semi-desert. From Fort Worth, you can take the direct route, which is basically Interstate 20 to Highway 16. Or, you can take the scenic northern route through Mineral Wells, Palo Pinto, Metcalf Gap, and a few other small towns. Most RVers like to take their rigs on the scenic route. U.S. Highway 180 is, for the most part, wide and well-maintained. When you get closer to the park, you’ll have to take some smaller farm-to-market roads. But hey, getting there is half the fun.
Once you get to Possum Kingdom State Park, there is not a whole lot of RV parking because not much is needed. There are so many RV sites and everything is so close that you may not do much driving. There are some parking areas next to the main boat launch, near the fishing pier and marina, and near the main hiking trails.
If you need a GPS address, and you probably will because of the aforementioned FM road web, use 3901 St Park Rd 33, Caddo, TX 76429.
Campgrounds and parking in Possum Kingdom State Park
Campsites in Possum Kingdom State Park
The Spanish Oaks Campground features 21 RV sites that stretch from the fishing pier all the way to the swimming area, so there’s plenty of elbow room. You'll love the amazing views of Possum Kingdom Lake right from your campsite. Each site has a 20/30/50 amp electrical hookup and a water hookup. Your site will have a grill, fire pit, and picnic table for your enjoyment. Amenities include a shower/restroom facility, children’s play area, large picnic area, and a camp store that has groceries, fishing supplies, gasoline and gifts. Pets are welcome. Reservations can be made up to five months in advance.
Shady Grove features 40 water and electric hookup RV sites that are open during the peak season but closed during the winter. Many of these sites offer amazing front row views of Possum Kingdom Lake. Your site will have a grill, fire pit, and picnic table for your enjoyment. The sites are arranged in a loop around a restroom/shower area. Pets are welcome. Reservations can be made up to five months in advance.
Lakeview Camping Area/Chaparral Trail Camping Area
These locations offer mixed RV and tent camping with gorgeous views of Possum Kingdom Lake. Combined, the two camps have 25 water-only spots. These camps are closed during the winter. Your site will have a grill, fire pit, and picnic table for your enjoyment. Restrooms are nearby, and the Possum Kingdom State Park RV dump station is in the Lakeview Camping Area. Chaparral Trail has a children’s play area. Your pets are welcome to join you. Reservations can be made up to five months in advance.
Seasonal activities in Possum Kingdom State Park
The fishing pier is located near the park store and, quite conveniently, a fish cleaning station. Anglers do not need licenses to fish from shore. Some algae outbreaks in the early 2000s disrupted fishing for a while. But today, bass, crappie, and catfish are quite abundant. Late summer and early fall is a good time for bass because that’s when the underwater vegetation grows out the most. Stick to depths around 20 feet and use light line. For catfish, try fishing Costello Island and using live bait. Crappie like the piers and docks, especially in the spring.
The boat launch is between the Lakeview and Shady Grove Campgrounds. Personal watercraft are not allowed near the swimming area and there are some no-wake zones here and there. But other than that, Possum Kingdom Lake is a great place for power boating. The crowds are never too bad, since the lake covers so much acreage (20,000 of them to be exact). If you prefer kayaking or canoeing, that’s definitely okay too. Stick close to the shoreline, especially around the fishing pier and swimming area. Boards, canoes, skis, and other watercraft and water equipment are available for rent at the marina. Boating slips are available as well.
At Possum Kingdom Lake, the water usually warms up in March and stays warm until well into the fall. The swimming area is on the west side of the park, far away from the boat launch, marina, fishing pier, and other busy park areas. That’s a nice bonus. No lifeguard is on duty, so it’s best to swim with a buddy. But the water is fairly tranquil most of the time, and since Possum Kingdom Lake is artificial, there are almost no underwater drop-offs. In addition to swimming, scuba diving and snorkeling are also popular at Possum Kingdom State Park.
Wildlife Viewing and Bird Watching
Don't forget to pack those binoculars in the rig. Lots of deer live at the park, and many of them are not too shy around people. The popular Possum Kingdom Lake longhorns are in San Angelo while the park continues to recover from some wildfires, but they should be back soon. There are lots of raccoons and armadillo foraging about for most of the year.
There are a few less-desirable animals as well, such as rattlesnakes and skunk. But these critters hardly ever get close to the water or the hiking trails.
Possum Kingdom Lake is also a good place to find birds. The area attracts both water and prairie birds. Look for the endangered golden-cheeked warbler as well as Goldenfronted Woodpeckers, Canyon Wrens, Painted Buntings, Dickcissels, Canyon Towhees, Rufouscrowned Sparrows, Mississippi Kites, Wood Ducks, Wild Turkey, Greater Roadrunners, Common Poorwills, Scissor-tailed Flycatchers, Black-capped Vireos, and Grasshopper Sparrows.
You are in store for some excellent hiking during your RV trip to this state park. The moderate Lakeview Trail is a good place to see wildflowers in the spring. They usually bloom between mid-March and the end of April. Climb up to the Longhorn Trail Overlook for an even better view of things. If you want more of a challenge, try the steep Chaparral Ridge Trail. If you look closely, you may catch a glimpse of the Fish Sculpture. You have to see this thing to believe it. The Longhorn Trail is a rugged, in-between trail that travels over some of the highest points in the Park.
Take a break from your RV and try one of the primitive or semi-primitive campsites for a night or two. The primitive campground is open all year. You must walk a half-mile to the bathroom. That’s what we call primitive. There are also 55 water-only campsites that close during the winter. Some sites have their own drinking water spigots, and some are shared water sites. If it’s too much for you, don’t worry. Your RV beckons a short distance away.