Purtis Creek State Park
Guide

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Introduction

When you bring your RV to Purtis Creek State Park you are driving on land with history that dates back to the late 200s B.C. The park was previously home to the Wichita and Caddo tribes and later the grave of Cherokee Chief Bowl and the location of the Battle of Neches in 1839. The park was acquired in 1977 from private owners and officially opened its gates for the first time in 1988.

There are over 1,000 acres of Texan countryside in the park with a 355-acre lake in the middle of the park. The lake is packed with bass, catfish, sunfish, and crappies. You can take your motorboat on the lake and cruise along while enjoying the lovely weather in the summer. Summertime in the park offers hiking, biking, and picnicking. Off-season in the park offers fishing year-round, birding where you can spot the Cave Swallows and Northern Cardinal, and participating in nature walks to learn more about the park.

There are 59 campsites available for RV and trailers with water and electric hookups, but no sewer hookup is available. There are dump stations in the park though to provide a place to store your waste. The summers are hot, but the beautiful collection of deciduous trees provide plenty of shade and a cool breeze on hot days. The fall and winter months are cooler with low temperatures starting in late November and going to early March when the park’s peak season ends. There are so many different plants and animals that call the park home, many of which you can see on your hike on the five trails. There’s so much to discover when you bring you RV to Purtis Creek State Park.

RV Rentals in Purtis Creek State Park

Transportation in Purtis Creek State Park

Driving

Purtis Creek State Park is about an hour drive from Dallas and a 20 minute drive from Athens, by taking U.S. Highway 175 from the east and west respectively. On your way into the park, you can stop by the town of Mabank or Walton to pick up a few supplies. The park’s entrance is on FM 316 with a lovely sign to show you the way. The roads into the park are paved and each campsite offers a paved and level asphalt pad. At the park’s headquarter, you can get your park permit and an annual pass if you’re interested.

There is little elevation throughout the park, but be mindful of the occasional pothole. You are encouraged to walk or ride your bike around the park to help preserve the peaceful and relaxing atmosphere. The rainy season for the area is April through May and the park may close due to flooding. Be sure to call the park ahead of time to ask if they are open for an overnight stay in inclement weather. They may decide to only open the trails for day use if there is too much flooding in the camping areas.

Pay careful attention to the signs that warn you about snakes. If you arrive later than anticipated, check yourself in with a “Self Pay Envelope” and leave the receipt on the dash of the ranger’s station. After you check in you can pick any spot that does not have a tag and a ranger will find you in the morning to greet you.

Parking

Public Transport

Campgrounds and parking in Purtis Creek State Park

Campsites in Purtis Creek State Park

Reservations camping

Purtis Creek Campground

This campground has 59 sites with water and electric hookups available. The electric hookups provide 30 amp but not 50 amp. There is a dump station nearby due to the lack of sewer hookups. The campground is located close to the Beaver Slide Nature Path and provides a lovely view of the lake. Each site is leveled with plenty of privacy provided by the trees which shade you from the sun and create a cool spot to hang your hammock. You can also enjoy a quiet meal right at your campsite thanks to the lantern post, picnic table, and fire ring provided.

Remember that you are prohibited from bringing your own firewood and gathering firewood, but you can pick some up, along with other knick-knacks like ice cream at the camp store. If you are not sure about the rules, then pick up a park guide on your way into the park. Please pick up any trash to maintain the park's beauty. You can stay up to 14 nights and reservations are available 11 months in advance.

First-come first-served

First-Come, First-Serve Options

First-come, first-served options are available at this park, especially during the off-season. However, the availability of first-come, first-served sites may vary depending on the season and the park's capacity. Therefore, reservations are still recommended.

Alternate camping

Walk-in Campsites

If you decide you want to leave the RV behind, you can still enjoy camping at Purtis Creek State Park. There are 13 campsites that are more primitive than the others, giving you more of a "survivor" experience. These sites will require that you walk a little over half a mile in order to get there. If you don’t like walking the long distance, there are less primitive campsites that you only have to walk 10 to 15 yards to get to. There are five of these kinds of sites, and they offer a picnic table.

Seasonal activities in Purtis Creek State Park

In-Season

Canoeing

If you are itching to get out of the rig and onto the water you can rent a canoe from the park’s store year-round. Take your time to explore the 355-acre lake and observe the flora and fauna as you paddle along. Lifejackets and oars are also available for rent. The park offers paddling lessons for children through their Ranger Programs. Whether it is your first time or thirtieth on the lake, remember to leave all electronics at your campsite to prevent them from falling in by accident. If you bring a snack with you, please be mindful of the environment and take your trash with you.

Hiking

There are five beautiful trails for you to explore on your visit to the park: the Solar Walk Trail, Beaver Slide Nature Trail, and the Wolfpen Hike and Bike Trail. The Wolfpen Hike and Bike Trail Blue Loop is the longest trail in the park with a slow incline leading you to the border of the park. You can take a hike along this scenic route and enjoy the view of the entire park from one of the highest points in the park. The Solar Walk Trail is a half-mile trail that leads from the entrance of the park to the shorelines of the lake. Remember to take sunscreen and a water bottle with you and stay hydrated on the trails. Pack a pair of sturdy hiking boots and take your dog for a walk on the shaded trails.

Fishing

You can take your motorboat on the lake, but you must maintain a low speed while on the water. The park even offers overnight fishing for a small price . If you do not have a boat, then you can rent one from the camp store. The camp store also offers bait and rods. Bass are for catch and release only, but you can take home crappies, catfish and sunfish for your dinner. You do not need a license to fish from the shore or a boat in the park, so be sure to pack your rod and tackle box in your camper on your next visit.

Off-Season

Attending Nature Exploration Walks

There are seven unique nature spots noted in the park. Each spot will show you how animals use different resources for food or creating a shelter. You can see the Bluestem Prairie which Swallows and Cardinals have taken a liking to making their nest near the entrance to the park. Where the Red and Blue loop of the Wolfpen Hike and Bike Trail intersects, you can find a curious tree bent at a perfect 90-degree angle twice by nature.

Geocaching

You can take your spirit of adventure a little further and go treasure hunting with your family and friends using a geocaching device. You will need your inner pirate, a pen or pencil, sturdy walking boots, a device with GPS capabilities, a water bottle, and your own personal treasure to trade. Before you go exploring, make sure you know the rules of how to log your cache. Also be sure to leave each area undisturbed to keep the adventure alive.

Birding

Over 300 species of birds call Texas home year-round. Remember to bring your binoculars when you head out of the camper to explore the Wolfpen Hike and Bike Trail Red Loop. Pack a snack and some water with you for safe measures if you plan on spending the day out birdwatching. The other trails offer views of the American White Pelican, Red-tailed Hawk and an incredible variety of swallows. By the shoreline, you can also find Killdeers, Mallards, and Ring-billed Gulls.

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