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A fishing pier at Martin Creek Lake State Park in Rusk County, Texas, United States.

A fishing pier at Martin Creek Lake State Park. Photo: Larry D. Moore, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons.

Many Texas state parks are centered around a body of water that provides wonderful opportunities to enjoy activities like boating, paddling, swimming and fishing.

Situated in East Texas, just a 30 minute drive from Henderson and Longview, Martin Creek Lake State Park ranks up there as one of the best of them.

Although relatively small at just 286-acres, this well maintained and developed recreational area provides an idyllic escape into nature. The lake is calm and serene and its shoreline can be accessed at several points, on account of an attractive network of trails that run through it.

For those into nature, a diverse range of flora and fauna call the park home. Much of which can be explored via one of the park’s interpretive programs.

Should you want to stay for the weekend, or a few days longer, there are two RV campgrounds available. Both of which offer hookups for water and electricity, as well as primitive tent camping sites.

Activities

Park visitors can partake in several outdoor recreational pursuits during their time at Martin Creek Lake State Park.
Outlined below are further details about what you can do during your time there.

Boating at Martin Creek Lake State Park

One of the park’s main draw cards is the excellent opportunities for boating that take place on its lake.

Boats with motors are permitted, so you will be able to enjoy jet and water skiing until your heart is content. There are also boat ramps available around the shoreline to make it easier to launch your vessel onto the water.

For those into kayaking, canoeing and paddling the lake’s comely and tranquil shoreline is beautiful to explore at your leisure.

If you didn’t bring watercraft with you to the park, you can rent a canoe from the main office which is situated close to the water.

Fishing at Lake Martin Creek Lake State Park

Martin Creek Lake State Park is such a good spot for fishing, that even anglers from the adjacent state of Louisiana visit it for the opportunity to cast a line.

The lake’s sparkling waters are populated with an abundance of catfish, sunfish, crappie and largemouth bass.

Throughout the year, but especially in late winter and early spring, it is a noted spot for bass tournaments in particular.

If you do intend to fish at the park, you won’t need a license to do so from the shore, although you will if you drop a line from a boat in the middle of the water.

Hiking at Martin Creek Lake State Park

Winding through the park are a network of hiking trails that showcase its stunning terrain. Many of these take you through picturesque and scenic hardwood forests of pine and loblolly.

One of the most popular trails to tackle is the Island Trail loop which involves you crossing a bridge. The Harmony Hill trail will also take you to a cemetery that has graves which date back to the early 19th century.

As the summers in Texas can get unbearably hot, the best time to hike at the park is during the milder times of the year. Whenever you do choose to hike, be sure to bring plenty of water with you and wear appropriate hiking boots.

Attending Interpretive Programs at Martin Creek Lake State Park

For those after a proper, guided and structured tour of the natural sights found within the park, it is well worth partaking in a ranger led interpretive program.

By doing this you will be shown, and provided with more information, about a diverse range of wildlife species and plant life.

Tours are run throughout the year, but usually on Saturdays. For ease of reference, whilst on one, you will also be able to download the park’s interpretive guide.

Nature & Wildlife

The park is home to a diverse range of wildlife.

Some of the species you can expect to see, especially on the hiking trails are white-tail deer, gophers, nutria, armadillos and swamp rabbits.

Many species of birds also reside within the park, either permanently or seasonally. If you bring your binoculars along with you, expect to see the likes of great egrets, bobwhites, great blue herons, northern cardinals and green-backed herons.

Pets at Martin Creek Lake State Park

Visitors are welcome to bring pets with them to the park, although they will need to be supervised and also restrained on a leash at all times during their stay.

Other restrictions with regards to their presence may also be in place. So you would be well advised to contact the park’s main office to clarify what they are.

Camping at Martin Creek Lake State Park

Overall there are two main campgrounds within the park. These include Bee Tree and Broken Bowl.

Situated adjacent to each other they both offer exactly the same amenities of hookups for water and electricity.

Overall 7 sites come with 50-amp electricity connections and 51 sites come with 30-amp connections.

Additionally, all of these sites come with a picnic table, as well as a fire ring with a grill. There are also comfort stations with flush toilets and hot showers available.

Within a 200 yard walk of the main parking area you will also find 12 primitive campsites available. Some of these have a fire ring, although no water or restrooms are available here.

One of the best features of these campgrounds is their proximity to the main hiking trails, which start from just outside both. The main areas of the park are also within easy walking distance too.

As both campgrounds are very popular, it is worth making a reservation, especially for the full hookup sites, as early as you can. As they have a tendency to fill up fast.

Park Location

Martin Creek Lake State Park
9515 Co Rd 2181D
Tatum, TX 75691
Phone: 903.836.4336

Website
Reservations

Map

Video

Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Martin Creek Lake State Park: