Springtime in Texas isn’t measured by when the weather gets warmer or when the trees get their leaves. No, there is only one thing that tells us that spring is upon us. Bluebonnets. Glorious bluebonnets.
Here in North Texas, we’ve had a lot of rain this spring and it has made for a great wildflower year. Normally, people travel to the Texas Hill Country to see the best flowers but this year it seems we have them beat. We knew we wanted to enjoy nature and seek out a few bluebonnets, so we headed for one of our state treasures – Cleburne State Park just south of Fort Worth.
One of the most unique features of Cleburne State Park is the Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC) built spillway. If you remember from your history lessons, the CCC was a government project during the Depression to put veterans and other men to work when there was no work to be had. They made improvements in state and national parks (like the rim cabins at Palo Duro Canyon we visited during Spring Break) and many are still standing today.
The spillway is three tiered, and it looks like it would be functional and beautiful when water was flowing through it. Despite our spring rain, North Texas is in a cycle of drought and lake levels have been down for years. There was no water flowing on the day of our visit.
It didn’t matter to the kids. They had a great time climbing the steps of one of the tiers. We were attempting to follow the spillway trail, but we didn’t find the trails to be very well marked and we ended up on the nearby CCC trail. When I say they weren’t well marked, it didn’t mean we wandered off in the middle of nowhere. The trails just seem to intertwine in several spots and we ended up on the wrong one.
There were plenty of people enjoying the lake, despite the fact that it had been very cold in the days leading up to our visit. My children were disappointed that I vetoed their water play, but that water was frigid by Texan standards. These kids seemed not to care.
There were actually plenty of people enjoying the park everywhere. It was our most packed state park visit to date. It was a nice, Spring Saturday and Cleburne State Park is pretty close to the Dallas – Fort Worth area, and it seemed quite a few large groups were in attendance.
But who could blame them. The lake is beautiful, and I bet the sandy beach is packed during the hot summer months. Unfortunately, few North Texas lakes are this clean, or have beaches this nice.
Resources : Texas Parks and Wildlife website – Cleburne State Park