In March we cancelled a trip to Atlanta State Park because of weather. We heard great things about the park, located near Texarcana (or the ArkLaPlex as we heard on the radio), so this time we were determined to make the trip because the long holiday weekend would give us extra time to make the drive. Almost the whole time we’ve lived in Texas I can count the number of times its rained on one hand, but Thursday and Friday the rain was pouring down, and Texas really doesn’t know how to deal with so much water… the streets were flooded and traffic came to a dead stop, but we decided to leave anyway knowing that Atlanta looked relatively clear on weather.com.
What should’ve been a 3 hour trip ended up being about 5. You know its bad when 18 wheelers are pulled over on the road waiting for the weather to pass — visibility was low, but because people were pulling over, the road was clear so we drove on. Then we almost ran out of gas, but thankfully found an Exxon. Then we had to swerve to miss running over an armadillo. And one more time for a raccoon.
It was about 11pm when we got to the park and thankfully they have great signs! We found a good spot (#18, pull-through with full hook ups) on the Knights Bluff part of the camp (as opposed to the White Oak Ridge branch which is water and electric only). Sites 16 -23 are pull-throughs and across from them are sites 10-15 which are back-in sites. All the sites have a picnic table, a grill, a fire pit, and are paved but with a little yard – some with huge trees, others cleared a bit. The sites are spread out more than at Lake Tawakoni and relatively flat. The grill and fire pits in all the sites are a bit worn, but we made them work.
Sites 15 and 16 are closest to the lake, but also closest to the rental party area which was fully occupied the whole weekend and loud. Even being 3 sites away from the area, we could still clearly hear the noise.
On our second day we rode our bikes to the White Oak Ridge part which is on a hill up a windy road with tighter corners, but the spots were beautiful. Because of the road and the hill, the spots were scattered around which we really liked. Next time we visit, we’ll definitely stay on this side of the park. I think with a large 5th wheel and possibly a longer trailer towing a boat, it might be a rough ride, but maybe worth checking out if you don’t mind just water and electric.
The Nature Trail on our side of the park was beautiful. It was a mile one way to the lake and it was like walking through a forest in the northeast — huge pine trees, vines, evergreens… and then it just opens up to the lake (which is huge). Unfortunately the swimming area was closed this weekend due to flooding from the week’s heavy rains, but the lake looked great — and there were a lot of people fishing in the mornings.
The Park Headquarters is a nice little office with fire starter kits in case you forgot yours, maps of other state parks in the region and most importantly, coffee mugs. You can also rent canoes (although there about $40 a day).
As a side note, Lucy’s been taking classes at our local PetSmart because although she listens to us pretty well, because she’s a rescue we’re sometimes concerned about how she’ll handle seeing things like raccoons in the wild. At dog school we’re concentrating on getting her attention if she’s fixated on something else and having her come to us when called. So far, school is paying off. After 4 classes she’s doing amazingly well. If you’re not sure how your dog will handle the distractions of a campsite, I recommend a few classes!