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The Spillway Trail at Cleburne State Park in Johnson County, Texas

The Spillway Trail at Cleburne State Park. Photo: Michael Barera, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons.

Nestled on the northern fringes of Texas Hill country, Cleburne State Park is quite small by Texas state park standards. But what it lacks in size it more than makes up for in beauty and recreational opportunities.

Featuring a stunning terrain that includes rolling hills lined with various types of stately trees, the park’s main draw is the 116-acre, spring-fed Cedar Lake. A shimmering body of water that was created after the Civilian Conservation Corps built an earthen dam.

A very popular place to enjoy activities like swimming, paddling and fishing, the park also boasts several multi-purpose trails for hiking, biking and geocaching through its gorgeous landscape.

Renowned for being a pet friendly destination, Cleburne is also a haven for those who enjoy birding, with several species, including some very rare ones, calling the park home.

It is also well known for having excellent camping facilities too, with all 58 of their RV and trailer sites coming with full hookups for electricity, water and sewer. Which might go some way to explaining why it is such a popular vacation and getaway destination for those who live in Dallas, Arlington and Fort Worth. All of which is an hour’s drive or less to the park.


Visitors to the park can partake in a wide range of outdoor recreational pursuits during their time at Cleburne.
Here is a brief overview of some of the main activities you can do whilst you are there.

Lake Activities at Cleburne State Park

For those who enjoy water based activities the park provides plenty of opportunity for you to get your fix.

As the lake is quite small, boats can only operate on a non-motor or no-wake level. Therefore the likes of paddle boarding, kayaking and canoeing take center stage here. Offering you a unique view of the park’s stunning shoreline from the middle of the water.

If you don’t own, or didn’t bring your watercraft with you, the park provides the opportunity to rent them out.

Should you prefer to swim, the clear blue water is the perfect way to cool yourself off on days when the Texan heat gets too much. Just be mindful that as the lake is not lifeguarded, you will be swimming at your own risk.

Fishing at Cleburne State Park

Despite the relatively small size of Cedar Lake, fishing is a very popular activity here. Giving anglers several fishing opportunities along its shores.

Alternatively you could choose to throw in a line from the fishing pier or wading into the open water. There is even the option to fish in the middle of the lake from your watercraft too.

Wherever you choose to fish, you can do so safely in the knowledge that you aren’t required to have a fishing license. Expect to snare plenty of crappie, catfish, bluegill and largemouth bass.

Like with the watercraft, if you don’t have fishing gear with you at the park they are available to hire out.

Trails at Cleburne State Park

If you are into hiking and mountain biking there are several multi-use trails for you to tackle throughout Cleburne State Park.

Visitors wanting further information about the specifics of these trails, including their length and degrees of difficulty, should get hold of a park map when they first arrive.

However, a couple of trails you might want to attempt are the Perch point Fishing Trail, which is a mere 0.12 miles long and the Fossil Ridge Trail which is about 2.5 miles in length. Both of which showcase some of the most picturesque parts of the park.

Birding at Cleburne State Park

Given its diverse geographical landscape, the park is home to a wide range of different bird species. This makes it a haven for those who enjoy spotting as many different breeds as they can.

Depending on the time of year you visit Cleburne, you could well see the likes of the black-bellied plover, ruby-throated hummingbird, red-eyed vireo and yellow-breasted chat. So be sure to bring your binoculars with you when you come to the park.

Nature & Wildlife

Throughout the park, Cleburne is blessed with a diverse range of flora and fauna.

You’ll notice several different trees covering its jagged, white hills including oak, elm, juniper, cottonwood, ash, sycamore, mesquite, sumac and red­bud.

During the early spring you should also see several different species of wildflowers, including gorgeous blue­bonnets which blanket the open fields.

This landscape provides a natural habitat for plenty of wildlife including cottontail rabbits, white-tailed deer, ducks, turkeys and armadillos. You might also get to see coyotes, bobcats, skunks, raccoons and opossums too.

Pets at Cleburne State Park

Pets are welcome to join you at the park, although some restrictions are imposed.

To ascertain what they are, it is worth contacting the park’s main office for further details.

Camping at Cleburne State Park

For those looking for overnight camping accommodation, the park offers 58 sites across 5 separate campgrounds.

You’ll find 15 of these sites available at the Poplar Point camping area, all of which come with full hookups for 20-amp, 30-amp and 50-amp electricity, as well as water and sewer.

These sites also all have individual picnic tables, as well as fire rings with grills and lantern posts. Restrooms are also located nearby.

Over at the Shady Springs campground there are an additional 7 full hookup sites just like these available. Between them the North Creek, Cedar Grove and Keyhole areas also have a total of 36 full hookup sites that offer 20-amp or 30-amp electricity too.

If you are part of a youth group, a primitive camp can also be hired near the lake, accommodating up to 56 people.

Park Location

Cleburne State Park
5800 Park Rd 21
Cleburne, TX 76033
Phone: 817.645.4215




Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Cleburne State Park: