In East Texas, there are over 50 lakes offering a variety of outdoor sports for vacations or weekends. These lakes provide fishing, swimming, water skiing, houseboats, jet skis, sailing and other outdoor and hiking activities.
Caddo Lake is a 25,400 acres lake and wetland on the border between Texas and Louisiana, in northern Harrison County and southern Marion County in Texas, and western Caddo Parish in Louisiana.
This lake was the only natural lake in Texas until it was artificially dammed in the early 1900s when oil was found and for flood control in 1914. A new dam replaced the old one in 1971.
Some of the cypress trees in the swamp are more than 400 years old. The average depth of the lake is 8 to 10 feet, with the deep water in the bayou averaging about 20 feet. The lake contains 71 species of fish, and it is especially good for crappie and largemouth and white bass.
Caddo Lake State Park
The denseness of the swamp creates an inviting maze for paddlers in kayaks and canoes. On the Texas side, at Caddo Lake State Park, there are 10 kayak/canoe trails, with names like Hell's Half Acre, Cathedral Trail, Old Folks Playground and Turtle Shell Trail. The trails are marked, and maps are provided. If on foot, enjoy a brisk walk on the park's 2.5 miles of trails.
The 500-acre park features 46 campsites, ranging from water only to full hookup sites. Historic two-to-six person cabins can also be rented; another option is screened shelters.
For more information on the park, located at 245 Park Road 2, Karnack, TX, phone 903.679.3351 and visit the Caddo Lake State Park website.
Caddo Lake National Wildlife Refuge
On October 19, 2000, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service approved the establishment of the Caddo Lake National Wildlife Refuge on portions of the Longhorn Army Ammunition Plant. The refuge purpose is the management, conservation, and protection of migratory birds and other fish and wildlife. This bottomland hardwood forest ecosystem provides essential habitat for a diversity of migratory and resident wildlife species in Texas.
The 8,416-acre Longhorn Army Ammunition Plant (LHAAP) installation is located between State Highway 43 and Caddo Lake in Karnack, Harrison County, approximately 14 miles northeast of Marshall, and approximately 40 miles northwest of Shreveport, Louisiana. The Monsanto Chemical Company selected the site in December of 1941 to produce TNT. The Thiokol Chemical Corporation, awarded a contract in 1952 for producing solid-fuel rocket motors for the army, built a facility at Longhorn for that purpose between 1953 and 1955. Rocket motors of various kinds were produced at Longhorn until early 1971.
The site is in a rural area and operated from 1942 to 1997, historically manufacturing TNT, rocket motors and various pyrotechnic items. It also played an important role in the destruction of rocket engines as part of the agreement between the United States and Russia via the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Agreement in 1987. The Longhorn Army Ammunition Plant was listed as a Superfund site on the National Priorities List on August 30, 1990.
The Caddo Lake National Wildlife Refuge and the Caddo Lake Institute restored the old armory guard station to provide information and species photos to explain to the public why portions of Caddo Lake and the refuge are one of 26 sites in the United States to be recognized as “Wetlands of International Significance” under an international treaty signed by over 150 nations.
An auto tour offers a great all-season way to see wildlife and habitats in the Refuge. By using the car as a viewing blind, visitors can often see more wildlife than on foot.
The Refuge is located northeast of Marshall in Harrison County, just to east of Caddo Lake State Park. Read more about the Caddo Lake National Wildlife Refuge at the FWS and phone 903.679.9143
More about the history of the Wildlife Refuge and Longhorn Army Ammunition Plant at KETK (September 22, 2023)
|Uncertain Texas ... close to Caddo Lake
City Limit - Pop 85
|Uncertain Texas ... near Caddo Lake,
Karnack and Jefferson
It is located on U.S. Highway 59 and Texas Highway 49. The Jefferson Zip Code is 75657, and its Area Code is 903. Its population in 2020 is about 2,000 residents.
Jefferson became a port of entry into the Republic of Texas and then the State of Texas. It was a major shipping port for agricultural products, especially cotton. Obstructions were removed from Big Cypress Bayou in 1845, allowing steamboats to reach Jefferson from New Orleans. Jefferson’s "Golden Era" as a steamboat port lasted from 1845 until 1875.
Today, Jefferson is a tourism center, with popular attractions including Jay Gould's railroad car, the Jefferson Historical Society Museum, Sterne Fountain, the Jefferson Carnegie Library, Excelsior House, and the bayous formed by Big Cypress Bayou located in and around the city.
A trip to Jefferson is a journey back through time to a bustling 19th century riverport. Jefferson is a great locale with antique shops lining the original brick streets, horse-drawn carriage tours, and boat trips down the bayous and around Caddo Lake.
||Things to Do in Jefferson
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Hotel and B&B Information for Jefferson
Visitors to Jefferson can choose between a wide variety of excellent B&Bs and other lodging. Jefferson offers hotels and bed & breakfasts, including those listed and reviewed below at TripAdvisor.
Vacation Home Rentals in Jefferson