Beautiful Lake Whitney, created by the dam on the main stem of the Brazos River and comprising the northeast border of Bosque County, has been a drawing card for tourists and a local favorite for more than half a century. One of the state’s larger man-made lakes, Lake Whitney and Lake Whitney State Park are popular destinations for those who enjoy camping, fishing, or water activities of any kind.
The lake is located near the ruins of the former Towash village, an early Texas settlement inundated by Lake Whitney. Towash was named for the chief of the Hainai Indians, who first settled the area about 1835.
The lake, located 15 miles east of Clifton, is operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Funding for the lake and dam project was initially approved by Congress in 1941. But the outbreak of World War II put the project on hold. Actual construction of the dam began in 1947, and was completed in 1951. The lake has 15,760 surface acres and 250 miles of shoreline. Lake Whitney State Park was opened in the 1965 and is 955 acres in size. The park is a popular site for swimming, camping, hiking, picnicking, boating, fishing, water skiing, scuba diving, and birding, among others.
Lake Whitney is a fisherman’s paradise. Whitney is considered one of Texas’ clearest lakes, and the waters host many fish species, including striped and white bass, smallmouth bass and trophy bluefish. For the birding enthusiast, the lake is home to some 200 species of birds; including the wild turkey and bald eagle. The park’s beauty is enhances by tall native grasses, live oaks, post oaks/blackjack oak and cedar. In the springtime, the park blooms with 40 varieties of wildflowers including bluebonnets, Indian paintbrush and evening primrose. Common animals found in the park include the white-tailed deer, squirrels, raccoons, coyotes, fox, and even bobcat.
The lake includes 15 campgrounds, 13 boat ramps, restroom facilities with and without showers, picnic sites both with and without shelters, campsites with water and some with shelters; pull-through campsites without shade shelters with water and electricity, a trailer dump station, a group recreation hall with kitchen, and a group camp with a dining hall and eight screened shelters. The park also boasts walking trails and an airstrip.
Camping fees vary and entrance fees are required. Gates at the park are locked at 10 p.m. and opened at 8 a.m. The busy season is March through October and the park is open seven days a week, except during public hunts. For information please call (254) 694-3793 for same-day reservations, or (512) 389-8900 for other reservations. Or visit the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.