Day Trips: Lake Arrowhead State Park, Wichita Falls

Finding the charms of North Texas’ relaxing recreational area on the water

photos by Gerald E. McLeod

Lake Arrowhead State Park, 15 miles south of Wichita Falls, isn't a particularly pretty park, but it has charisma. The park's colorful sunsets, dark night skies, and cool waters make the 524-acre green space appealing despite being covered in a forest of spindly mesquite trees.

Park Superintendent Adam Bowers says the mesquite savanna has taken over the grasslands of the park in a generation. A naturalized species, mesquite seeds were brought from South Texas with the cattle drives and have spread across North Texas ever since.

On a sunny afternoon, a beaver sat on the riprap covering the shoreline at the lighted fishing pier, preening its thick brown fur. It was cautiously watching the few people in the day-use area before diving into the water to keep a comfortable distance from the two-legged interlopers.

Bowers says they'll occasionally see beavers in the coves that line the park's shoreline. Sometimes an adult will be with little ones.

Beavers are fairly common in Texas waters. Around lakes they'll burrow into the banks instead of building dams. The bucktoothed herbivores' favorite food is the inner bark of cottonwood and willow trees, or aquatic plants. April to May is birthing season with litters of one to eight kits.

The 16,200-acre lake on the Little Wichita River is popular with fishermen for its crappie, bass, and catfish. Anglers don't need a fishing license in the park, but they do if fishing from a boat.

The park's 72 campsites are generally well-separated by the thick underbrush. More than 5 miles of multiuse trails wind along the shore, and the 18-hole disc golf course is one of the best in the region. The day-use area has a large swimming beach as well as picnic shelters.

1,649th in a series. Everywhere is a day trip from somewhere: Follow “Day Trips & Beyond,” a travel blog, at

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Lake Arrowhead State Park, Wichita Falls, Adam Bowers, Little Wichita River

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