Ratcliff Lake Recreation Area was built in 1936 by the Civilian Conservation Corps. It surrounds a picturesque 45-acre lake that was once a log pond and a source of water for the Central Coal and Coke Company sawmill which operated from 1902 to 1920.
The facility is open year-round and includes a large campground, picnic areas, a reservable amphitheater, a swim area and many opportunities for outdoor recreation. Camping is available year-round.
The Davy Crockett National Forest, named for the legendary pioneer, contains more than 160,000 acres of East Texas woodlands, streams, recreation areas and wildlife habitat. Located in Houston and Trinity Counties, the forest is centrally located within the Neches and Trinity River basins.
Swimming, fishing, hunting, hiking and picnicking are the area's main activities. The designated swimming area and playground provides much fun for the kids (no lifeguard on duty).
Fishing piers are available for anglers to try for largemouth bass, bream and channel/blue catfish. Only electric motors are allowed on the lake. Principal game for hunting on the national forest includes squirrel, deer, quail, dove, turkey and waterfowl.
Three main hiking trails can be accessed from the facility: the 1.5-mile Tall Pines, 0.75-mile Trail Tamers and the 20-mile Four C, which winds through many types of forests to a scenic overlook.
Learn more about recreation in the national forest.
Ratcliff Lake has 56 campsites, both first-come, first-served and reservable. Campsites in Dogwood Loop have electrical hookups and can accommodate vehicles up to 50 ft. Flush toilets, hot and cold showers and trash bins are also provided. Two picnic shelters and an amphitheater are also reservable.
The day-use area has 17 single family picnicking units, a swimming area, flush toilets, two wooden fishing piers, one earthen pier, one fishing platform and a boat ramp.
The campground is heavily forested with loblolly pine, oak and other hardwoods, and surrounds Ratcliff Lake. A wide variety of wildlife exists in the area, including the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker.
The Big Slough Wilderness Area, located along the Neches River about five miles north of Ratcliff, is free of modern development and gives the visitor a place for solitude and primitive experiences.
ADA Access: N
Great campground in the Pineywoods of east Texas. Stayed 14 days in site 20 on Dogwood loop. Nice size sites with plenty of room between. Restrooms and showers clean, though showers do need some repair. Plenty of walking/hiking trails and wood for fires. Swim area looks nice, though we visited in November so we didn't swim. Can see the foundation for the old mill in back of the park.
The campground is located in the Davy Crockett National Forest, with spots located around the edges of a small lake. Although we could occasionally hear noise from the highway, it was mostly peaceful and quiet. The campgrounds are spacious, with tent platforms, poles to hang trash, and large picnic tables. The bathrooms were amazingly clean and with camp hosts and park rangers on site, we always had help with anything we needed. We hiked and kayaked (with our own boats) and it was all just lovely. I would go back for sure!
We rolled in at night, but woke up to a forest of breathtaking loblolly pines! The camp sites are very nice and spatious with plenty of room between your site and your neighbors site. Very clean, nice bathrooms. We loved it.
Beautiful place! We are at campsite 10 right on the lake. Breathtaking tall trees. Well kept clean campsites with a fire pit. The park host brought over firewood right to our site. No need to buy firewood at all. Plenty of cut wood around the park. Easy kid friendly hiking trails around the park. Restrooms were immaculate. So peaceful and quiet at night. I am smitten.
East Texas weather is so unpredictable. When we arrived at camp it was nice and sunny, so my friend and I decided to walk our dogs. On our walk we got caught in the middle of a down pour! We laughed our way back to camp and waited out the rest of the storm in our cars. It cleared up quickly and we were back out in the wild. We took an inflatable kayak out on the lake. Decent little lake. People were in the swimming area. Would camp here again.
This is a nice little campground and a pretty little east Texas lake. It is clean and everyone we met was friendly. The tent sites don’t have electric but include a picnic table and fire pit. We had a great visit!
I spent about 5 days in Sam Houston National Forest. The campsite was pretty good in my opinion. Yes, there is plenty of sites here as this is a big National forest. I came here with my boyfriend and friend and there was plenty of room. The only downside was that it was really difficult to find dry firewood. At night it was really chilly with a breeze blowing across. The neighboring site were very respectful in talking with a low voice especially because they had a big group. The sites were quite close with only bushes dividing up the camps with a 5 second walk. We were able to visit Huntsville state park on the east side of Sam Houston National forest the next week
Well spaced out, but not huge sites (both RV hookup electric and Non "tent only") which allow you to not really spread out, but at least people aren't on top of you. Like most campgrounds you have your standard table and fire ring, but you also have access to flush toilets and showers.
The recreation area also rents out canoes and has pretty good fishing or you can make sure of thee swimming area and the tons of trails for some short nice hikes or a long trek through the region.