Nestled in North Central Texas, the LBJ Grasslands is one of several locations in the state named for former President Lyndon B Johnson. The Grasslands are a vast piece of land set aside for the preservations of the native plants and wildlife which allow visitors to get out and enjoy the wilderness uniquely through hiking, camping, fishing and exploring.
The grasslands are marked by green gates scattered throughout the country, indicating any entrances to the usable area. In many of these areas farmers are allowed to share the land, thus you will often find cattle roaming in the areas. For this reason, the Grasslands are a bit different than a typical experience at other National or State sites.
Within the Grasslands you can find many camping options. Most notably you will find camping near some of the smaller lakes. Black Creek Lake, is one such option, which allows visitors to enjoy the lakeside access while also making a night or weekend of their endeavor.
Primitive camping can be found on the back side of the lake, as locals call it, this is the area which has absolutely no improvements, no official fire rings, and nothing more than a nice place to access the area. On this side you will find many spaces which have been used throughout the years, typically with grasses pushed down and make shift fire rings dug into the ground.
When the lake is low, this area is a bit harder to launch a small vessel from, however it does provide wonderful access for fishing. Large shade trees create a wonderful retreat from summer heat and a small access path hiking trail lines the banks and allows you to explore.
To access this camping and outdoor location you will want to drive slowly, the road in is a bit bumpy in places, but otherwise well maintained. During rains they do experience frequent washout.
Once you have arrived, there are no kiosks, no maps, no ranger, and for this reason, they do ask that you be very mindful of the area and take with you everything you bring in. A large point at the end of the road is perfect for day use patrons as it allows ample area to turn around and when lake is higher is considered to be an excellent primitive launch area.
Throughout the years, I have visited this location numerous times. It often is available for camping with the rarity of closure. This area is known by locals as a great fishing locations, so it does fill up on weekends with day use, especially when the improved camping and launch zones are closed.
In the area in addition to the occasional cow, you will note that there are many other animals which call this more remote location home. Amongst those be very mindful of snakes during much of the year. Awareness is key.
- The closest communities are Alvord or Decatur, make sure you stop in one of these to pick up supplies before coming to the area.
- There are no toilets here so make sure you are able to remove your waste from the area.
- Bring a kayak! This lake is a smaller location and perfect for kayaks. From this area you will easily be able to launch a kayak when the waters are higher and from the hiking area just a few hundred yards from the parking area the ground is a bit lower making it great for when the level of the lake is a bit lower.
There are two sides to Black Creek Lake both a part of the LBJ Grasslands. I have reviewed the improved side previously with its amenities however I wanted to make sure I included this as well.
The primitive side camping does not include any amenities or marked sites. You will often find that when you enter the cattle guard and gate to this area that you will wind around and see various vehicles parked in what look to be little pull ins around the shoreline where they launch small boats or fish off the shore.
There used to be a rope swing in this area that would swing into the water however it has broken so many times it is hard to count and currently is not there.
This area is open range so as you enter you might encounter someones cows roaming but typically at the camping area you won't see to many.
The biggest difference I have found between the two sides is this side can sometimes be a bit more overgrown and thus more snakes. I am sure there are plenty on the other side as well but here I have encountered a lot more, which I am deathly afraid of ironically.
Typically you see overnighters in vans of off road vehicles here not a lot of tents but a few off and on when the gate is open. Which brings me to the next issue, sometimes the gate is not able to be accessed, not sure why but from time to time it will not be open when you are looking to get in so you will be rallied to the improved side.
The campground itself is fairly small. We showed up and i think there was anout about 6 other campsites. We set up about 10’ from the water and had a great time. Woke up fished anout then walked around the lake through a makeshift trail.