It took 20 years of development, including weathering a flood and a World War, but in 1956 the community of Huntsville, Texas, finally got their own state park. Located just 10 miles south of town, in the Sam Houston National Forest, this 2,000-acre park of pine and hardwood forest is situated around man-made Lake Raven. Today, locals and visitors alike flock to Huntsville State Park for its hiking trails, water recreation and prolific wildlife. With so many outdoor activities to choose from, a good first stop is the park’s Nature Center. Here you can get information about the local flora and fauna, including the more than 250 species of birds, plus a variety of mammals and alligators, that make the park their home.
Campers at Huntsville State Park have access to 160 tent and RV campsites in three camp areas near the shore of Lake Raven: Prairie Branch, Raven Hill and Coloneh. Full- and partial-hookup RV sites are available, and can accommodate vehicles/trailers up to 60 feet. All sites are equipped with picnic tables, grills, and lantern posts, and drinking water faucets are shared between sites; some sites are ADA accessible. Each camp area provides flush restrooms, showers, playgrounds, picnic areas near the lake, fishing piers, and boat launches. There is a dump station located in the Raven Hill camp area. The park also has two camping cabins for rent. Campsite rates range from $15–$25/night, plus park entrance fee; cabins are $60/night, plus entrance fee.
When you’re ready to play on the water, head down to the lakeshore where you can take a dip in the designated swim area, rent a canoe or kayak (or put in your own) for paddling around the lake, or cast a line for crappie, perch and largemouth bass. A shop near the Prairie Branch day-use area has groceries, ice, fishing supplies and beverages. If you’re up for some roaming or wildlife watching, pick up a trail map and birding guide and go explore more than 20 miles of multiuse paths and nature walks. From the park’s bird blind, you can scan for a variety of songbirds and waterfowl. The park also offers ranger-led nature programs, and there are Junior Ranger activities for the kids.
Huntsville State Park was my basecamp for hiking the Lone Star Trail.
I camped in the water only section of the camp, which was nice, but most of it was on a slant, which can be an issue when it rains. The campsites all had tables, fire rings, water spouts, and a hook
The nearby bathrooms were clean and there were showers. In the same section, there is a pier you can fish off of and a small playground.
At the enterance or with the park hosts, you can buy firewood at $5 for 10 pieces of wood, which is a great deal! Most places have the price at $1 per piece of wood.
There is a nice day use that has tables and bbq pits. You can be in the forest or by the water.
There is a boat ramp you can use and there is a swimming area with a raft to jump off of. However, there are alligators in the water, but the park rangers are good about checking on their activity.
There are a few trails in the park, but I wasn't able to hike any on this visit.
I did visit the nearby stature of Sam Houston. It is free to visit and is billed as the tallest statue of an American Hero anywhere in the world. It's worth checking out.
Huntsville Park was an absolute blast. Be sure to throw your trash away in the provided dumpsters before night fall. We had a visitor (coyote or similar) who tried to break into our camper. Thankfully, our dogs scared it away.
Fishing was good, so was kayaking!
Friendly neighbors as well.
We've camped here a few times and I've made a couple day trips. I LOVE this park! I'm a fan of hiking and canoeing while my husband likes to fish. This sprawling park has it all! There are a few different trials of varying lengths. They are nice and have some great views. I'm a fan of loops, and there are a few to hike here. The park offers canoe rentals and they have a good size lake to explore. The lake it smooth and has some fun little areas to explore. The fishing is good. My husband caught mostly sunfish. But the best is the alligator sightings! They are fairly common, which makes fishing an adventure. My camp in our school-bus-turned-RV and those spots are great. They have good showers. There are different t camp grounds, and we prefer the Prairie Branch. We typically try to get the spot next to the dock! For tent campers they also have shelters with power and lights. This is definitely my favorite park.
Lots of little critters came to visit us while we were there. The sites were pretty small but there was space for a tent, a fire ring and a table. There are also bathrooms for the campground so you don't have to "take a hike". We were a short walk from the water and there are lots of hiking trails along the hills a short distance away. It was a good weekend trip.
Good medium hiking up the namesake of the park with some other trails too but the park isn’t very big so really just one night here was ok for us. The drive-up camping was nice but felt kind of small. The heat in mid June was awful but thank god for the shade shelters, showers, and water.
Nice little lake, good escape from Houston, pine trees, kayaking, quiet, clean, loads of trails. Hillier than expected but we found plenty of great places to hammock so it was ok. We later learned you can hire a guided horseback ride from the park, would have been fun. Campsites were all in the perfect spot along the water
I've previously reviewed the park and enjoy staying there. The Chinquapin trail is a favorite offering a 6+ mile loop around Lake Raven. The caution is that there were some strong storms during the spring of 2016 and there are some blowdowns that have not yet been cleared. I know that water only campsites 101-104 are affected but there may be others.
Campsites wer on the small side and were a little on the small side. This place is great otherwise with restrooms, fire rings and tables for your other needs. The sites were clean and well maintained. Be careful as you drive because there is a lot of wildlife. I almost ran over a squirrel
We went Thursday - Saturday, and will go again during the week to avoid crowds.
The check-in process is a bit troublesome if you're picky about getting a good tent site- you can't reserve specific sites ahead of time. Also, your visit will cost you more than listed on the website because they charge entrance fees for each person on top of the campsite rental. That was an unpleasant surprise. The only other unpleasant surprise is that the campground store is closed on Thursdays. Lesson learned- bring your own Snickers!
However, the scenery, quietness, and availability of rental boats was wonderful. We camped in tent site #70, and I would grab that one again in a heartbeat. The 70's sites have water access and beautiful views, and are generous with their square footage. Plenty of trees down there to hang hammocks and clotheslines on, and more than one flat spot for tents on each site.
I normally would not devote a whole paragraph to restrooms at a state park, but I will this time. These were the CLEANEST restrooms I've ever seen at a state park, and the most updated. The stalls had modern dividers, the toilets all had clean, functional seats, the showers had separate bench areas with lots of hooks, plus normal faucets you could just turn on once (as opposed to having to push a button every minute), and the sinks also had great faucets with good pressure and reliable water temperatures. Very easy to use.
All our issues with this park were related to unexpected costs and logistics, but the park facilities were fabulous. We will definitely be back!
Huntsville is a great spot to visit, whether you're looking for a day trip or overnight. People are certainly catching on to the charm of the park so going during the week or a school year weekend (non-holiday) is the best bet to avoid crowds. Lots of good camp and RV space. The gem of Huntsville is its well-marked trail system. Whether a casual walker or ultrarunner, there are trails of every ability and distance to be found. They are color-coded with posted maps that are easy to follow. Prepare to take on a few hills and rocky/rooted areas, but well worth escaping the city for a bit in the nicely shaded woods.