CLEBURNE STATE PARK
Cleburne State Park is a 528-acre park that encompasses a lively 116-acre, spring-fed lake. Located southwest of Fort Worth, in Johnson County, the park was acquired from the city of Cleburne and private owners in 1935-36 and was opened in 1938.
Admire the juniper (cedar), oak, elm, mesquite, redbud, cottonwood, sycamore, ash and sumac trees that cover white rocky hills. In early spring, there is a carpet of bluebonnets in the open fields and many other varieties of wild flowers throughout the park. Wildlife Observation and Photography: white-tailed deer, turkey, duck, armadillo, squirrel, skunk, bobcat, swamp rabbit, cottontail rabbit, raccoon, opossum, coyote, beaver, and many species of birds. Popular fish include crappie, bass, catfish, blue gill, and red ear sunfish.
The region surrounding Cleburne State Park was a favorite hunting ground for many Indian tribesmen, since it comprised densely wooded country amidst plains and included several clear water springs. The Comanches used this area as a trail from the northwest to raid the homesteads in the south. The Indians would lead two fresh horses as they rode a third one, switching to a fresh horse as each one was winded. In this manner they would escape their pursuers.
Their concealed trail was last used for a raid on Kimbell (now known as Kimbell Bend) which, built in 1851, was the first town in Johnson County. Kimbell was established on the Chisholm Trail at its crossing on the Brazos River. Vast herds of cattle from the southern ranches in Texas crossed at Kimbell Bend going north to the markets. The park, located eight miles north of Kimbell Bend, was also a good camp site for the cowboys who drove cattle on the Chisholm Trail.
In 1934, this beautiful valley of springs was recognized as a picturesque locality for a park. A group of local businessmen, interested in its development, secured it for the State Park Board to establish a state park. In 1935, Civilian Conservation Corps (C.C.C.) Company 3804 of the federal government moved into the park site to start developing a park
The enrollees built a small earthen dam to impound the park's 116-acre lake, with a beautiful masonry, three-level spillway, then cleared a three-mile-long scenic roadway around the lake. A concession building, boathouse, and bathhouse were built in 1936, with additions in 1940.
The park residence, water tower, and interior furnishings display a variety of handcrafted wood and metal ornaments.
Whatever your camping needs may be, Cleburne State Park has a special place for your family. All campsites in the park provide a picnic table and grill along with a campfire ring for those evening get-togethers, that campers enjoy so much. Screened shelters can be found nestled in among the cedars and within view of beautiful Cedar Lake. Back-in campsites with utilities and shelters accommodate up to 8 people and combination of motor vehicles/trailers not to exceed two. Restrooms with hot showers are nearby. Group Camp consists of a 2 group barracks (men's and women's) with twin beds and mattresses; you provide bed linen and pillows. It sleeps a total of 44 people. The dining hall and kitchen seat approximately 70 people (folding tables and chairs). The kitchen is furnished with a commercial size cook stove with griddle top, commercial size refrigerator with no freezer, stainless steel sinks, cabinets, work tops and electric outlets. You furnish dishes, pots and pans and silverware. The rear of the building has a patio with a large grill and picnic tables. All buildings are heated but no air-conditioning. There are ceiling fans.
Fishing and boating the clear blue waters of Cedar Lake is a wonderful way to spend the day with your family. Boats cannot exceed a speed of 5 miles per hour on this lake and personal watercraft (i.e. jet skis, seedoos, etc.) are not allowed. Rent a paddleboat and relax on Cedar Lake's cool, clear waters.