Texas Lake Trail

map of army corps campgrounds on Belton Lake pinpointed in little red icons
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Map view of campground on lake

We discovered the Texas Lakes Trail when we changed our minds about returning to our Escapees domicile at Rainbow’s End due to a sold-out RVers Bootcamp. We didn’t travel the whole trail, rather we dived into two different lakes along it and hope to return for more another day! Use the link above for visitor and event information for the lakes trail region, or click here for a PDF map of the region.

 

Liberty Hill U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Campground is an easy drive, and the roads in and out are fine with no trees in the way. There are a few sites suitable for longer big rigs like ours, but most aren’t level, so bring blocks. Park roads are great for walking and bicycling. Crowds fill it up on Weekends.

Part of the campground closes Nov. 1st. The full hookup sites in the 60s and 70s loop are popular, as well as the elec/water sites in the 90s and 100s. If spot 98 had been long enough, and the electric cord could have stretched out in front of the rig far enough, we could have had a wonderfully uninterrupted lake view all around three sides. If only the pedestals were in the middle instead of at the inside end, they would be perfect pull-in sites for lake views out the windshield. Those who like to fish would love these sites for their proximity to the waterfront.

Liberty Hill has a bad ant problem, as mentioned on their website. So we ran to Walmart and bought a small bottle of Terro and poured about a teaspoon on plastic lids we’d saved from the trash.  These we placed at two junctions of two trails, which basically surrounded the campsite. Responsibly, we kept an eye on them and removed them at night to protect other critters. Another important tip is to never leave the hose connected to the RV. The ants will climb up the hose, which connects to the plumbing. That’s like an ant freeway to the great indoors! I didn’t think of taking a video to illustrate the ant problem, but if you can visualize an ant army marching four or five abreast in never-ending columns, you might just see in your mind’s eye what it was like. They are Argentine ants, which according to Wikipedia, are a global genome group second only to humans. The colonies are HUGE! Our minimal measures worked great to keep them outside our rig.

Farther west, Belton Lake near Temple, Texas, is a nice place to stop after escaping Dallas in a southbound direction on Highway 35. While there are several Army Corps of Engineers campgrounds to choose from, only two are open year round, Live Oak and Cedar Ridge. In the late fall and winter, some loops close, but gate attendants open up sites on a first-come basis instead of turning people away. We emailed the district office via their website first, after finding no availability online for days near to and including Thanksgiving.

Live Oak Ridge Campground is roomy, with several loops to choose from. Big rigs can make it in and out to site 36 easily, especially since one of the hosts graciously climbed up on our roof to clear some low limbs. We went back a couple of weeks later and stayed in site 33, which was also nice for a big rig. The 40s loop is full of dangerously low limbs throughout and tight turns with obstacles on the back in. Our site was mostly level with good Verizon and antenna TV. Surprisingly, the satellite also worked through a canopy of trees. The only issue was campers who used our site for a shortcut to the bathhouse across the street.

Cedar Ridge Park was also roomy. We stayed in site 17, which was large, perfectly level, roomy and had good Verizon, antenna TV and Satellite. Camp hosts trimmed limbs up and back for us before our arrival. We previewed it ahead of time, and they were eager to please. Unfortunately, they missed a few limbs at the last gate before our site, so we did have some scratches to buff out. The bathhouse was a little dated, with the shower head installed at about five-feet, maybe less. Water from the men’s nozzle hits one like needles shot out at jet speed, I’m told. This site, too, was a preferred shortcut to the bath house.

Overall, we really enjoy our time at USACE campgrounds. Reservations can be made via Recreation.Gov. Call Toll Free 1-877-444-6777, or International 518-885-3639. Or do like we did and travel with no reservations! Just call the toll-free number and ask clerk for the local ranger’s number so you can ask specific questions about low tree limbs, best routes and first-come, or walk-in site availability.

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