Snakes, ticks, rain. All part of a well-rounded camping experience if you ask me. They are just part of the package that spending time in the outdoors brings. And they were all included in my awesome experience at Fairfield Lakes State Park!
I have not ventured much to east Texas, so this was new scenery to me. Fairfield Lakes State Park was one of the prettiest lakes I have seen in Texas, which says a lot considering working on various Texas lakes is my job. The entire lake was surrounded by trees. No commercial buildup. No residential buildup. Just green all around. Green, green, green. So much green! It was so peaceful and relaxing; I cannot even describe it. Such a welcome change from the lakes I am used to. If you are looking to escape the noise of city-life or other built-up lakes, put this place high on your list.
I visited the park during the late spring and found it cool enough to hike in the morning and evening, and ALMOST warm enough to swim in the heat of the day, at least for those who can brave a little bit of chilly waters. Kids should be fine to swim at the swim area. They do not seem to have any awareness of cold when it comes to water, and I just don’t get it. I wish I could harness those special powers. If you are like me, and chilly waters are not your thing, don’t worry as the park has plenty of shade to escape the heat.
One of the reasons I visit state parks is to hike. I love exploring the trails. Just walking along at your own pace, inhaling the fresh air, looking up at the birds flying over-head, then down at the holy guacamole that’s a big snake!!!! Nearly stepped right on it. Where did he come from!?!?!?! But also, HOW FREAKIN COOL!!!! A copperhead. Two steps away! He paused. We paused. He stared. We stared. Now what. I guess we all wait it out. He eventually slid across the trail and on to the other side, not a care to bother a soul. After that little experience my hike turned into a step-step-look down-look up at birds, step-step-look down-look up at birds….every stick was a potential snake. So just a reminder that we do share our world with other creatures! Important not to fear them, but to respect them! Keep your eyes peeled for our slithering friends!
The hiking trails were very pretty! Combing the Nature Trail and the Scenic Loop trails made for a good morning hike. Both are relatively easy trails, with very little elevation change and provide very pretty views of the lake. If you have a slow dog, are a birder, and are learning to identify wildflowers, it’ll take you well over two hours to do a 2.4 mile hike. But it was worth it! The Birding Trail was great in the evening. Part of the trail takes you out to this area that looks out at a cove with lots of vegetation and the opportunity to see birds. Look up for nesting birds too! A gentle rain made the final hike along the Dockery Trail and Scenic Loop even more relaxing. The trees provided a lot of protection so that only a few drops got through. Watching the rain on the lake at one of the lookout points was so peaceful, I could have stayed for hours. If you have never hiked in the rain, do it. You won’t regret it! It brings a whole new vibe to hiking and enjoying the sounds of nature. You won’t melt, I promise.
A couple of notes about this park. There were mosquitos. There were ticks (I spent the evening picking them off of my dog and later myself). There was very little cell service. But news flash, you are outdoors. Welcome to nature! Just prepare for those things and you’ll be just fine. I would love to visit this park in the warmer months to explore by paddleboard and swim. One last recommendation! On your way out, visit Cooper Farms country store and get some fresh delicious peach ice cream. Pardon me while I drool a little. And get their peach salsa and their black-eyed pea dip! So delicious and I hate black-eyed peas! Wander around their shop and check out all the goodies. Take time to enjoy the outdoors people! Find your adventure!