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Public Safety Closure: Ratcliff Lake Recreation Area is temporarily closed to extreme rainfall and the threat of falling trees. Customers will be notified of cancellations and refunds.

For more information, please call the Ranger's office at (936)665-2299 or visit www.fs.usda.gov/texas.


Status: Open through Thu Dec 31 2015   Season Dates


Ratcliff Lake Recreation Area was built in 1936 by the Civilian Conservation Corps. It surrounds a picturesque 45-acre lake that was once a log pond and a source of water for the Central Coal and Coke Company sawmill which operated from 1902 to 1920.

The facility is open year-round and includes a large campground, picnic areas, a reservable amphitheater, a swim area and many opportunities for outdoor recreation. Camping is available year-round.

The Davy Crockett National Forest, named for the legendary pioneer, contains more than 160,000 acres of East Texas woodlands, streams, recreation areas and wildlife habitat. Located in Houston and Trinity Counties, the forest is centrally located within the Neches and Trinity River basins.

Natural Features:

The campground is heavily forested with loblolly pine, oak and other hardwoods, and surrounds Ratcliff Lake. A wide variety of wildlife exists in the area, including the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker.


Swimming, fishing, hunting, hiking and picnicking are the area's main activities. The designated swimming area and playground provides much fun for the kids (no lifeguard on duty).

Fishing piers are available for anglers to try for largemouth bass, bream and channel/blue catfish. Only electric motors are allowed on the lake. Principal game for hunting on the national forest includes squirrel, deer, quail, dove, turkey and waterfowl.

Three main hiking trails can be accessed from the facility: the 1.5-mile Tall Pines, 0.75-mile Trail Tamers and the 20-mile Four C, which winds through many types of forests to a scenic overlook.

Learn more about recreation in the national forest.


Ratcliff Lake has 56 campsites, both first-come, first-served and reservable. Campsites in Dogwood Loop have electrical hookups and can accommodate vehicles up to 50 ft. Flush toilets, hot and cold showers and trash bins are also provided. Two picnic shelters and an amphitheater are also reservable.
The day-use area has 17 single family picnicking units, a swimming area, flush toilets, two wooden fishing piers, one earthen pier, one fishing platform and a boat ramp.

Nearby Attractions:

The Big Slough Wilderness Area, located along the Neches River about five miles north of Ratcliff, is free of modern development and gives the visitor a place for solitude and primitive experiences.

Activities and Amenities

Within Facility
  • Accessible Picnic Shelters
  • Accessible Swimming
  • Amphitheater
  • Biking
  • Birding
  • Boat Ramp
  • Boating
  • Campfire Rings
  • Drinking Water
  • Dump Station
  • Electric Hookups
  • Fishing
  • Fishing Pier
  • Flush Toilets
  • Hiking
  • Historic Sites
  • Host
  • Lake Access
  • Parking Area
  • Paved Parking Spurs
  • Paved Roads
  • Picnic Area
  • Playground
  • Swimming
  • Trailheads
  • Trash Collection
  • Wildlife Viewing
Greater Than 1 Mile
  • Hunting
Within 10 Miles
  • Bank
  • Horseback Riding
Know Before You Go
  • This facility has first-come, first-served sites
  • The Day-use fee at Ratcliff is $3.00 per vehicle and is required for all day-use activities including the Group Shelters and Amphitheater.
  • Limit one RV unit (fifth-wheel, motorhome, trailer or pop-up) or two tents per site; each extra vehicle is charged $3 and may need to parked in an additional parking area away from the camping loop.
  • No gas motors allowed on the lake
  • ATVs or ORVs are not allowed on the ground in the recreation area or any other location on the Davy Crocket National Forest.
  • Picnic shelter is for day use only; no overnight camping allowed
  • Amphitheater site has no tables or grills
  • Click here for information about National Forests and Grasslands in Texas
  • Don't Move Firewood: Help protect our forests! Prevent the spread of tree-killing pests by obtaining firewood at or near your destination and burning it on-site. Moving firewood is illegal in some states. Visit dontmovefirewood.org to learn more.

Getting There:

GPS Info. (Latitude, Longitude):
31.38833, -95.155
31°23'18"N, 95°9'18"W

From Crockett, take State Highway 7 east for 15 miles. The recreation area is on the left between the towns of Ratcliff and Kennard.

Contact Information:

Mailing Address:

18551 State Highway 7 East
KENNARD  TX  75487

Phone Number:

Information:  (936)655-2299
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