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Bald Cypress and Yellow Lotus Water Plants in a Lake with Clouds Overhead at Sheldon Lake State Park

The area around northeast Harris County is renowned for its natural splendor and nowhere is this better illustrated than at the Sheldon Lake State Park and Environmental Learning Center.

Spread across some 2,800-acres, this beautiful public recreational facility and outdoor educational center is managed by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

Located around the fringes of the Sheldon Lake reservoir, the park is just a 15 minute drive from downtown Houston. Which makes it an ideal nature escape for those who want a break from the frenzy of the city.

Within this Texas state park you will find a beautiful lake, as well as several other scenic ponds and wetlands. There are also stunning prairies and woodlands that provide a nice contrast to the water.

As you would imagine the likes of fishing, boating and swimming are popular activities here. While there are some lovely hiking trails to explore too.

However, one of its main draw cards is the fantastic John Jacob Observation Tower. A fabulous and thoughtfully constructed 82-foot high wheelchair-accessible structure, which enables visitors to check out the park’s exceptional flora and fauna.


The park offers plenty of ways for guests to enjoy and make the most of its wonderful landscape.

Outlined below is just a handful of some of the various things you can see and do during your visit there.

Fishing at Sheldon Lake State Park

If you enjoy fishing, your eyes will light up when you first see the wonderful 1,200-acre Sheldon Lake.

Providing you with excellent opportunities to fish either on the shoreline or in a boat on the lake, you should have no trouble snaring crappie, bluegill, largemouth bass and both blue and channel catfish. All of which are available in abundance.

If you want to fish from the shoreline, you can do so without a licence. The best place to do this is off the fishing area which is situated off Garrett Road.

You will need a licence if you fish in a boat on the water and you will find a boat ramp on Pineland Road.

If you intend fishing with your little ones, you can chuck in a line with them from one of two catch-and-release fishing ponds.

A select number of cane poles can be borrowed from the park if you didn’t bring any with you.

Hiking at Sheldon Lake State Park

Away from the water, the park has a couple of miles of trails that showcase its varying habitats.

One of the most popular of them is the Pond Loop Trail which takes you past 28 scenic fish hatchery ponds. All of which provides a natural habitat for the park’s aquatic animals.

The appropriately named Prairie Trail and Wetland Loop takes you to a restored prairie that features stunning coastal tall-grass, as well as seasonal wetlands.

For those who prefer a shorter stroll, the Swamp Rabbit Trail provides a pleasant amble under a constantly changing tree canopy, which is particularly favored by woodpeckers.

While out and about, you can also take in the park’s commitment to eco-friendliness as evidenced by several solar panels, recycled steel pipes and water collection tanks.

Birding at Sheldon Lake State Park

As the park is home to several species, birding is another well practiced activity.

Some breeds live here all year round and can be regularly spotted, while others only stop by during the migratory period – so are much rarer to view.

Depending on when you visit Sheldon Lake State Park, you might be able to see the likes of Green-winged Teals, Yellow-billed Cuckoos, Spotted Sandpipers, Mississippi Kites and Great Crested Flycatchers.

Nature & Wildlife

For those into nature watching the park is teeming with a diverse range of animal and botanic species.

Incorporating a stunning landscape that includes everything from wildflowers and trees to plants and prairie grasses, the park is home to alligators, grasshoppers, snakes and butterflies.

The best view of this is from the 82-foot John Jacob Observation Tower. Offering fabulous panoramic views of the surrounding terrain, as well as the San Jacinto Monument and Houston skyline, this tower provides two observation decks.

One of these decks can be accessed by ramp and the other by either elevator or stairs. So it is definitely worth bringing your binoculars with you here.

When not checking out the view, you might want to take in the park’s Wildscape demonstration garden. Here you will be able to find inspiration on how to use native plants in your backyard to attract wildlife.

Pets at Sheldon Lake State Park

Pets are welcome to join you on your visit to the park. However they must be inside a crate, or kept under control on a maximum of a six foot long leash, at all times.

It is important to recognize that alligators reside within the park, so you will always need to look out for the safety of your dog.

Camping at Sheldon Lake State Park

For those who require an overnight stopover, there is no camping available directly onsite. However the nearby Sheldon Lake RV Resort will provide you with a terrific camping experience.

Situated on the Crosby Freeway, this modern and well maintained campground offers over 100 campsites for RVs, trailers and tents. Many of these sites either come with full hookups, or connections for 30-amp and 50-amp electricity.

Facilities at this campground include pull-thru sites, a dump station, laundry, flush toilets, hot showers, WiFi and storage rentals.

The San Jacinto Riverfront RV Park is another good option for those who want to camp in an RV near the lake. Nestled within the highlands, about 16 miles from the park, the campground there has over 300 campsites. All of which offer similar facilities and amenities to what is available at the Sheldon Lake RV Resort.

It also has a lovely swimming pool as well as a gym and recreational room for guests to use.

Park Location

Sheldon Lake State Park
14140 Garrett Rd
Houston, TX 77044
Phone: 281.456.2800




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