It’s autumn, finally! That means we can go hiking and camping.
Happy Dance. We wanted to get away from the hustle and bustle and I think we found a great park that did just that. Here’s a little guide on the hiking offered at Fairfield State Park.
Fairfield Lake State Park is a nice retreat from the busy urban areas nearby. Nestled in a quiet section of Eastern Texas, it is surrounded by many ranches. The park offers many great fishing opportunities due to the warmers waters caused from cooling the nearby TXU power plant. It also has many trails to choose from and because the park is in Eastern Texas, it is relatively flat, making these trails a day hikers breeze. We have been to the park a couple of times and always enjoy our leisurely stroll through the woods. This last trip, I took along my point-and-shoot camera thinking it would be easier to hike with than my big camera, and it was. It’s just the image quality was no where near as good as even my camera phone! I wish now I hadn’t use it and had just used my phone. So sorry for the image quality on some of these! I did use my phone for some of them, and they are sooo much better.
When you arrive at the gate, be sure to ask for the Hiking Trail Map along with the facility map they give you. Both maps are also available on their website. The hiking map will highlight 5 points of interest that are not listed on the facilities map that you won’t want to miss! Plus it lists the distances of the trails so you can best plan your day, or days. Due note that some of the trails allow biking as well. Always yield to bikers. The Big Brown Creek Trail, which leads to the primitive campsite, and is equestrian use, is closed for now due to unsafe trail conditions.
If you are up for a good day hike, consider the Perimeter Trail, also known as the Dockery Trail. It’s 5.25 miles from one to the other. As you can gather from the name, it follows along the perimeter of the park. But use caution, as parts of this trail are on the road. Over all this is a great hike, and you can catch glimpses of the ranches around this park. It’s all very lovely. If you want to hike this out and back in one day, consider starting as early as you can. Parking for the trail head can be found across the street and outside of the park. You will still need to pay the entrance fee. This is also a good biking trail.
The Birdwatching Trail is an easy hike. I am not sure why they marked as moderate on the map. It does get a little steep at the end of the southern loop, but not terribly. According to the website, you might be able to see bald eagles at the park in the winter. We were disappointed we did not see any birds on our trip. But we did hear a few. Perhaps it was just the wrong time of year. It is still a very pretty trail.
One of the popular trails in the park is the Nature Trail. I know this by the amount of people we passed on the trail. This is also one of the bike trails and we did pass a few bikers enjoying the day. It also connects to the Perimeter Trail if you want to add to the length of your hike. This trail has wonderful views of the lake as you walk among the trees. You also don’t have to worry about walking on the road! We saw a family of raccoons while on this trail. But they were too fast for the camera.
If you do decide to hike this trail, then bring along a picnic. Around half way, there is a picnic table. Just be sure to pack out your trash! I was surprised that no one was using it. Perhaps since it’s not marked on the map, people don’t know to bring their lunch.
The Scenic Loop Trail is another wonderful trail. This one is only a half mile and is easy. You can access it from the Nature Trail or the Access Trail from the Dockery Trail. This trail is rightly named for it has some wonderful views of the lake. Just walking under the canopy of trees with the sunlight shining through and no one else around is lovely enough. I enjoyed this short hike on a lovely October day.
Since the Big Brown Creek Trail is closed due to unsafe trail conditions, I did not get to travel down it. At three miles one way, it looks like it would be a nice hike. Maybe next time.
- Always check in with a ranger to inquirer about trail conditions. It is wise to know when and where trails are out, or unsafe for passage.
- Take plenty of water.
- Tell someone where you will be and when you plan to return.
- Protect yourself from the sun with a hat, sunscreen and appropriate clothing.
- Also consider using bug spray of some kind to keep mosquitoes and ticks off of you.
- Be prepared so you can enjoy yourself.
- Keep your pets on a leash and out of the buildings.
- The trails are multi-use, so bikers and horses will take the right of way on the trails.
This is a great park for day use, or weekend camping. Bring your boat and stay the week!
Check out the official Webpage for Fairfield Lake State Park here: http://tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/fairfield-lake. The webpage can have notifications about the park, so check there, but also call to confirm the notices are still in effect. Be sure to pack your bathing suit if plan on staying longer than a day!
I hope you enjoy your stay as much as we did!
Have you ever been to Fairfield Lake State Park? Tell us about your experience in the comments. 🙂
See my other Hiking Guides: