I was able to book one week here with a full hook up site after getting a recommendation from a camper in New Mexico. This state park is on the border near Texas and is quite close to Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge. The biggest attraction is probably the huge lake, Tom Sneed Reservoir, which is approximately 10 square miles. Most of the campers we encountered were there with their fishing boats and rods.
The full hookup sites are on the upper side of Mountain Shade campground against the mountain and the electric/water only sites are on the lower or lake side of the campground. There is also a smaller campground by the marina called Otter Creek which is only electric/water. 50 amp sewer sites are $30, 30 amp sewer sites are $25, 50 amp non-sewer sites are $27, and 30 amp non-sewer sites are $22. We spent four nights at a 30 amp sewer site. Then, because I wanted a lake view from my bedroom window, I moved to a non-sewer site the last 3 days, right by the lake with an unobstructed view. Although we didn’t have sewer hookups the last 3 nights, there is a convenient dump station on the way out.
The best feature for dog owners, in my opinion, is the mile long heritage trail that winds along the lake and down to the marina. It’s paved and easy walking with signs along the way describing historical and naturalistic features of the area. Unfortunately, we were at the state park during a week of heavy rains so parts of the trail were inaccessible. Some of the lakeside picnic areas and tent areas were also under water while we were there and there was no beach to be found.
There is ample space between sites and some sites even feature a small private meadow tucked away. I didn’t have anyone next to me either at the upper site or the lower site but even if someone had checked in, we wouldn’t have felt crowded. The campground map shows walking trails but we couldn’t find any with the exception of the paved heritage trail. I have a feeling these other trails are through the tall grasses so I would be hesitant to take dogs.
I’m sure this is a beautiful and popular place during the summer. Some amenities include a swimming beach, children’s playground, kayaks and golf carts that can be rented, and a small gift shop. The campground manager (who lives on site) and the campground hosts were all very hospitable and they make sure that campers are happy and issues are addressed.
There were a number of different bird species we were able to enjoy, including a small family of geese with the two tiniest goslings. Mom and dad always swam one in front and one in back of the little family and they were very protective when I walked by with the dogs. We also spotted water snakes three times but I don’t know what species they were. If you don’t want to deal with wildlife or wild plants as you walk your dogs, there are plenty of mowed and paved areas.
The showers are pay showers and, as I was in a non-sewer site for 3 days, I wanted to take advantage of the hot showers. I didn’t know they were pay so had to walk back to get my quarters. Six quarters will give you a nice long hot shower. But the showers weren’t very clean. Be aware you will be standing in a puddle of muddy water when you use them.
Not any fault of the manager or hosts, and they were fairly active with meeting needs immediately, but some of the campers didn’t feel they had to follow the dog rules. I actually did have to complain to the host about one camper. Turns out he was a friend of the manager. The manager talked with him and then called me to tell me he dealt with it. Although I rarely make complaints, I was glad to see the follow-through on this.
This is a beautiful lake with both wide open spaces and grass covered hills. Get reservations during the summer season as I’m sure it fills up fast.