Northeast Texas's Caddo Lake is the only naturally formed large lake in the Lone Star State. You'll find it in the town of Uncertain.
A visit to Caddo Lake will have you entering the northeast Texas city with the sign “Uncertain, Population 150.” Don’t turn around, consult your GPS or question your arrival into this town, which was blessed with its non-committal moniker. This, folks, is one of the greatest beauties in the state.
Caddo Lake, the only naturally formed large lake in the Lone Star State (although altered by the addition of a dam in the 1900s), makes up the majority of Caddo Lake State Park. This is one state park, as well as body of water, that’s truly unforgettable. Go ahead and put this place on your nature Bucket List.
The atmosphere at Caddo, which sits on both Texas and Louisiana, is thick. Muted green Spanish moss drips from trees. Murky water winds and weaves a maze, one that is eerily quiet except for the chirps and glurgs of Mother Nature. Moisture hangs in the air and the water is filled with gators and turtles. This swampland is mysterious, dark and addicting. One visit and you will yearn to go back.
Caddo Lake covers about 25,400-acres of cypress swamp, reaching an average depth of 8 to 10 feet, and at deepest, about 20 feet. Anglers find 71 species of fish, especially crappie and largemouth and white bass. A true natural gem, the habitat includes cypress trees, American lotus, lily pads, alligators, turtles, frogs, snakes, raccoons, minks, nutria, beavers, squirrels, armadillos and white-tailed deer.
This wetland hasn’t just attracted local news, but also acclaim internationally. It, as one of only a few in the United States, is protected under the RAMSAR treaty. This agreement, initially signed in 1971, was designated to protect and provide conservation of wetlands. The RAMSAR designation was accomplished through collaborations between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, the U.S. Army, and the Caddo Lake Institute.
The name of the lake stems from the Native Americans called Caddo Indians or Caddoans, As for the name Uncertain? Local folklore says settlers couldn’t agree on a designation and thus, wrote “uncertain” where the name was to go. It stuck. No matter the city name, or the name of the lake, for rural dwellers, this is the kind of place that feeds the soul.
For more information:
Address: P.O. Box 228, Karnack, TX 75661
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All photos courtesy of Caddo Lake Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism.