Cedar Creek Lake

Because Life is Better at the Lake

Purtis Creek State Park offers a quick getaway


David Webb is a veteran journalist who has written for the mainstream and alternative media for three decades. He is now a freelancer who lives in the Cedar Creek Lake area.

PURTIS CREEK STATE PARK - Nature enthusiasts can enjoy even more of the wooded beauty Northeast Texas offers by taking a short drive east from Cedar Creek Lake.

The entrance to Purtis Creek State Park lies about 12 miles from Gun Barrel City on the east side of Eustace, making it a quick getaway for anyone who wants to experience nature without the trappings of development. The park occupies an area where the Wichita and Caddo Indians once roamed so it offers an educational experience as well.

The park, which is in Henderson and Van Zandt Counties, is available for both day visits and overnight camping. With a 355-acre lake, fishing piers, creeks, canoe and paddle rentals, hiking trails, picnic tables and abundant wildlife, the park appeals to a wide variety of interests.

Park Superintendent Mendy Davis said the preserve is a popular destination during the fall and winter provided the weather is pleasant, which it often is in Northeast Texas. And the recession has made the park even more attractive to Texas residents because people are reluctant to spend money traveling long distances, she said.

"We stay booked up if the weather is nice," Davis said. "It's a good time to visit the park."
There are campsites with electricity and water for recreational vehicles and travel trailers, and other areas for tent camping. Hike-in camping is also allowed for backpackers.

Even though the drought this year caused the lake level to drop between five and six feet, small boats can still be launched and the canoes can still navigate the lake and other waterways, Davis said.

"The fishing is still good," Davis said. "The park is still beautiful."

Fish in the lake include Largemouth Bass, Catfish, Carpie and Sunfish.

This fall the park is offering several educational workshops:

"Birding Basics," Saturday, Nov. 26, 3 to 4 p.m. The methods of finding and identifying birds will be taught during a hike. Participants should wear comfortable shoes and bring binoculars if they have them, otherwise the park has some to loan. Meet at the overflow camping parking lot.

"Leave No Trace," Saturday, Dec. 3, 3 to 5 p.m. Some techniques of nature photography will be taught during a hike. There will also be a hunt for items of interest in nature and a follow-up discussion. Participants should wear comfortable shoes and bring their digital cameras. Meet at the overflow camping parking lot.

"Basics of Geocaching," Saturday, Dec. 17, 3 to 4 p.m. The art of geocaching, which is a hunt using a GPS unit for buried items that have been hidden by people, will be taught. Meet at the Amphitheater.

"Stargazing," Saturday, Dec. 17, 8? to 9? p.m. The techniques of making a star wheel and how to use it will be taught. Participants will also learn about the solar system and view the night sky through a telescope. Meet at the overflow camping parking lot.

The Friends of Purtis Creek will be holding a meeting Saturday, Dec. 3, 4? p.m., where Texas Parks and Wildlife biologist Richard Ott will talk about the lake's Grass Carp population and ongoing efforts to introduce native vegetation into the lake. There will also be a discussion about an upcoming fishing tournament. Meet at the Purtis Creek State Park maintenance barn.

The address of Purtis Creek State Park is 14225 FM 316. Entrance fees at the park are $3 per person. For information about camping or other activities call 903-425-2332. Visit http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/spdest/findadest/parks/purtis_creek/

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Cedar Creek Lake Weather Forecast


Slight Chance Thunderstorms

Hi: 96

Friday Night

Mostly Clear

Lo: 76


Partly Sunny

Hi: 96

Saturday Night

Partly Cloudy

Lo: 77


Mostly Cloudy

Hi: 95

Sunday Night

Mostly Clear

Lo: 77


Slight Chance Thunderstorms

Hi: 95

Monday Night

Partly Cloudy

Lo: 76

Cedar Creek Lake Water Level (last 30 days)

Water Level on 6/23: 321.36 (-0.64)

Cedar Creek Lake Fishing Report from TPWD (Jun. 20)

Water stained to lightly stained; 84–87 degrees; 0.65’ low. Black bass are fair on Texas rigged craws near shallow cover, squarebill crankbaits and shakyheads on docks. Crappie are good on minnows on docks with brush. Catfish are fair on trotlines. White bass are good on slabs. Hybrid striper are good on slabs and topwaters.