Lake Ray Roberts has 5 park units. In May I visited 2 of them and viewed the trail head of another. The trail head was for the Ray Roberts Greenbelt Corridor – North End. The entrance is accessible from the same area as the Isle du Bois unit. It is behind the dam on the other side of the lake and was blooming with wild flowers.
It is also 20 miles long and the South end is not accessible from Highway 380 as it usually is due to flooding. Since I did not make this hike I cannot share at this date whether or not flooding makes it a very short 20 miles or if it is a long 20 miles.
I am running behind in my local state parks and did not originally have this particular park unit planned for May, but it seemed like a good choice since I needed to get to some local parks. I still plan on visiting 2 more this month. We will see if that happens 🙂
Here is a pic showing the whole park system which may be helpful in understanding why there are 5 units –
Isle du Bois – This was the unit I visited 1st. I live less than 20 miles away and was pretty clueless as to the massive reservoir system that is in place here. I think this happens when we live in our pre-defined world of home and work and not much else besides the chosen entertainment. It has been noted elsewhere on this site that I had never even been to 1 state park prior to this year. It shouldn’t be too much of a surprise that I was not aware of the lake. I drove across a different lake everyday to work and thought it was THE big one in my local vicinity . That was incorrect. I also didn’t venture that far north in my adventures. I was probably most aware of the Greenbelt signs from Hwy 380 and once I visit Jordan Park – I may remember that I had been to a wedding there a few years ago. And I will probably not go to the Sanger Marina Unit since it appears that it is primarily a marina. And I don’t have a boat, nor do I fish.
What I noted about both units is their variety of trails. Both have miles of paved trails along with the primitive various levels of challenging trails. Anyone should be able to find a path that suits their preferences. And luckily for this post I have looked up a point of my confusion on the DORBA trail heads. I was confused because both units have DORBA trails. How can that be? Well it is because all of the Dallas Off-Road Bicycle Association trails go by that name. The difference is the park or location. Who knew. Lots of learning without even trying. I think I confused the new park attendant too when I asked if the trail met up the other one, on the other side of the lake. My bad.
I don’t know about you but I always find town and street names interesting in their origin. (Not to say that I have not already seen and grew up around elm forks to wonder just how many elm trees there are out there) I bring this up because as a part of the educational signage on my hike explained that Ray Roberts sat in three distinct ecological zones. Grand Prairie, Cross Timbers and Blackland Prairie. The first is the name of a large city in this area and the second being a major street. I can only assume that there are some blacklands out there.
Both units had the same signage with a few specialty selections. Such as an original fence from the first homesteaders in the region.
I originally walked by this fence thinking nothing of it until I read the sign.
Johnson Branch – was the 2nd unit visited a few days after the first. The same well maintained and variety of trails. Along with a lot more camping spots. Note that there were a lot of campers already at this park in the middle of the week. The fishing must be good! A few pics from the trail. Note that the dogs didn’t make these trips but the paved paths would have been perfect for the dog in the stroller. (And the girl pushing the dog in the stroller)