When it comes to state parks in Texas, few can match Fort Richardson State Park for its sheer beauty and variety.
Officially called The Fort Richardson State Park, Historic Site & Lost Creek Reservoir State Trailway, it not only has one of the longest names of all state parks in the USA, but also showcases a rich history. Which manifests itself in the fascinating collection of buildings that form the centerpiece of the park.
Formerly a US Army installation, it was named in honor of Union General Israel B. Richardson, who died during the American Civil War, at the Battle of Antietam.
Today the park is a popular attraction for history buffs, but as its name suggests the park also offers excellent opportunities for swimming and fishing, as well as several multi-use trails for hiking, biking and horse riding.
Just over an hour from Fort Worth, camping is also a popular activity here too with 40 sites, which range from those with full hookups for RVs to primitive tents sites, being available for visitors to stay at.
Visitors to Fort Richardson State Park are spoilt for choice when it comes to how they can spend their time at the park.
Here is just a small selection of some of the many things you can see and do when you are there.
Exploring Fort Richardson
One of the main draws of the park is the collection of buildings that make up the fort.
Most people who visit this reconstructed facility head to the Interpretive Center first. Before heading to the Nature Center that lies on the parade grounds.
Other buildings in the complex include the officer barracks, enlisted barracks, commissary, guard house and hospital.
Swimming at Fort Richardson State Park
Beautiful Quarry Lake is a terrific place to go for a dip when the heat of the day gets too intense.
There is no designated swimming area at the water, so you can swim anywhere you want within it. However most people tend to congregate around the northern portion of the lake which has shady trees and a sandy beach.
Despite the lake not being lifeguarded, it is pretty safe to swim here. The water level is not too deep, has virtually nothing in the way of undercurrents and also has a gentle, sloping bottom.
Should you go for a swim, there is a restroom and changing area located nearby for you to use.
Fishing at Fort Richardson State Park
Fishing tends to take place at the southern part of the lake, which is heavily-stocked with trout.
You do not need a licence to drop a line there, although a maximum of five fish per day limit is usually imposed.
Some anglers prefer to head to Lost Creek, where you should find a pool under the bridge there to fish at.
If you do not have fishing equipment with you at the park, you can loan them for free at the main office.
There is also a store near there, which sells the likes of ice, firewood and souvenirs.
Hiking at Fort Richardson State Park
Hiking is a very popular activity at the park, with much of it being contained within the nine-mile Lost Creek Reservoir State Trailway.
Mostly flat, the trail takes you past the form, as well as a collection of other landmarks of local and historical significance. This includes an old railroad depot which operated between 1898 until the 1970s.
If this trail is too long for you, the half-mile Lost Creek Nature Trail might be more to your liking. Running parallel, in a straight line, to Lost Creek, it is both wheelchair and stroller friendly. If you haven’t checked recently, there are some great stroller wagons available that really simplify taking your child on the trails.
The Prickly Pear Trail is also worth attempting. Covering a distance of 1.46 miles, it showcases the immense beauty of the Northwest Texas prairie.
Pets at Fort Richardson State Park
Pets are welcome at the park, but at all times during your stay there, you will need to ensure they are leashed and supervised.
Some other restrictions may also apply. So it’s worth contacting the park’s main office to ascertain how they might affect your overall experience there.
Camping at Fort Richardson State Park
For those who want to spend a few nights at the park, there are a range of camping options available to you across several different campsites.
At the West Camping Loop you will find 4 full hookup sites that come with either 20-amp, 30-amp or 50-amp electric, as well as water and sewer connections. There are also eight other sites here that come with hookups for water and electricity.
Some of these sites are pull-through, although most are back in. Both allow tents and RVs and are situated close to restrooms and shower facilities. All of these sites come with their own picnic tables and fire ring/grill.
Over at the East Camping Loop there are a further 18 sites that come with the same amenities, as well as hookups for water and 20-amp and 30-amp electricity.
You will also find 10 tent only campsites with water at the North Park, which is situated on Lake Jacksboro, about 3 miles from the main park. These sites are located close to a fishing pier and swimming beach and come with their own picnic tables and fire ring with grill.
For those who run youth groups there is a group camp available at the Scout Camp area that can accommodate up to 50 people. The park also offers 11 overflow campsites too, which are situated next to the parking lot.
Fort Richardson State Park
228 Park Road 61
Jacksboro, TX 76458
Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Fort Richardson State Park:
Leave A Comment