Inks Lake State Park

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About Inks Lake State Park

You remember those ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ books that you read as a kid? Well, Inks Lake State Park is basically the real-world equivalent of those—a source of myriad light adventures on the weekend. It’s not a very big park, especially compared to others in Texas, but it is dense with activities—hiking (short, flat trails), fishing, water skiing, scuba diving, birding, and geocaching, just to start. Head to Devil’s Waterhole to gawk at waterfalls or go cliff jumping (we expected a little less paradise and a little more fire and brimstone here, but hey, we’re not complaining). Kayaks, canoes, and paddle boats are rentable for those lazy afternoons. If you are looking for long treks or adrenaline rushes, this might not be the park for you. But if you are looking to get away for a day or two and relax and recharge in good ole Mother Nature’s lap then you’d be hard-pressed to find a better choice than Inks Lake!

Campgrounds in Inks Lake

Inks Lake Campground

1. Inks Lake Campground

94% Recommend (9 Campers)

We’ve had a couple of less-than-great experiences at large campsites where you are just one plot of land amidst dozens of neighboring ones. Inks...

Mitch: Ink's Lake is my number one weekend campsite. Just over an hour from Austin, TX, this site has it all- A beautiful lake (as you...
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5 Reviews

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Hipcamper Mitch

Ink's Lake is my number one weekend campsite. Just over an hour from Austin, TX, this site has it all- A beautiful lake (as you might have guessed from the name), picturesque cliffs, miles of hiking trails and excellent facilities for campers of any level. I couldn't recommend it more.

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Hipcamper Marissa

A great place for a weekend camp with kids. A nice shallow lake bed for young kids (plus all those mussel shells to pick through!), easy hiking trails that are still entertaining for an adult, and a camp store in case you forgot anything. There's even a playground (we've never used it - always too busy romping on the rocks or in the woods), fishing piers, and a bird blind which I feel is a much overlooked feature because you have to drive out of the official entrance to get to it. It's worth the stop!

The site fills fast, so reserve your spot before heading out. I prefer the water-only sites on the west side as they seem to be less crowded and quieter.

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Hipcamper Sarah

Inks Lake was a great camping experience. Renting a canoe or kayak is a MUST! Take it to Devil's Waterhole! If you go in the morning you will see a lot of snakes basking in the sun on the banks of the lake making for great wildlife viewing!

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Hipcamper Jennifer

This place is a great weekend spot; but it's also pretty busy. I have hiked most of the area and have seen the swimming hole. I recommend tent camping because you can usually get a spot right next to the lake.

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Hipcamper Molly

I love Inks Lake. It's my favorite go to state park in Texas. The campgrounds are clean and spacious – you don't feel like you're on top of people. Definitely a great place to go during the warmer times of year to take a dip in the lake. Some of the best sunsets I've seen in Texas.

History of Inks Lake State Park

A Nice Place to Settle

A dependable water source, abundant fish and game, and the area’s natural beauty combined to make this an inviting location.

Some of the first people here were prehistoric peoples, who lived and worked along the banks of the Colorado River about 8,000 years ago. Later, Apache and Comanche Indians ranged throughout the Hill Country.

After Texas became a state, settlers began moving into the area. These settlers operated small farms or raised livestock. The main industry was livestock: cattle, sheep and goats.

The Colorado River is the largest river entirely within the state of Texas. It travels 862 miles; almost 600 billion gallons of water flow in a typical year. With the steep slopes and thin, rocky soils of the area, the river flooded frequently and with devastating results.

The river was as much a danger as a blessing for nearby residents.

The Lower Colorado River Authority built a series of six dams to help control the river. Inks Lake is second lake in the series. Two dams form its boundaries – Buchanan Dan to the north and Inks Dam to the south.

Dam construction provided needed work for local farmers and ranchers at the height of the Great Depression.

As part of the Colorado River improvements, the state legislature ordered the creation of a park on the new lake. The state parks board acquired about 1,200 acres for Inks Lake State Park in 1940. The National Park Service planned the park’s improvements, with construction by the Civilian Conservation Corps.

Imagine yourself with little food, less money and no job. This was the case for many Americans during the Great Depression.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt created the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1933. The CCC provided jobs and job skills by hiring young men to work on conservation projects. The program enrolled men between the ages of 17 and 25 who qualified for public assistance. They earned clothing, food, medical care and $30 a month; they sent most of their pay home to their families.

Inks Lake State Park

CCC Company 854 was already in the area. Work on Longhorn Cavern State Park had begun in 1932 and finished in October of 1940. The men had also built a scenic parkway, complete with bridges and culverts made of local materials, to connect that park to nearby roadways.

The company immediately began its next assignment: building facilities at Inks Lake State Park and extending the scenic parkway from Longhorn Cavern to Inks Lake.

With the approach of World War II, funding for the CCC dried up, and the Inks Lake CCC camp was abandoned on Jan. 5, 1941. Only remnants of their work remain in the park today.

The State Parks Board oversaw final construction of the park, and it opened in 1950.