Tyler State Park

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About Tyler State Park

Tyler State Park is known as such because it’s north of Tyler in Smith County. Or you can say that it’s named after your best friend from elementary school. Whichever version floats your boat! Speaking of boats: rent a boat (canoes, paddleboats, kayaks, bike boats and johnboats) or bring your own (5 mph speed limit) to play in the cool, 64-acre spring-fed lake that acts as the focal point for all campgrounds. Go for a dip, or try and catch dinner from the lake’s variety of crappie, perch, catfish or bass. If you’re more of a land-dweller, explore more than 13 miles of trails lined with towering 100-foot trees where the Pineywoods meets the Post Oak Savannah ecoregion. With a steamy, subtropical climate, winters tend to be mild and short with an average temperature of 46 degrees, and summer, 80 degrees. So pack your lightweight gear, and pick anytime of the year to visit!

Campgrounds in Tyler

Red Oak Campground

1. Red Oak Campground

The fourteen tent-only sites of Red Oak Campground are nestled at the southern edge of the lake. Though these sites aren’t as glamped-up as others...

Eric
Eric: Tyler State park is a short drive east of Dallas and worth it. The lake is springfed and beutiful. It is also cheap to rent...
3 Saves
Black Jack Group Trailer Campground

2. Black Jack Group Trailer Campground

The nine tent-only sites of Dogwood Ridge Campground are nestled at the southern edge of the lake. Though these sites aren’t as glamped-up as...

Sumac Bend Campground

3. Sumac Bend Campground

The eight tent-only sites of Sumac Bend Campground are nestled at the southern edge of the lake. Though these sites aren’t as glamped-up as others...

Big Pine Trailer Only Campground

4. Big Pine Trailer Only Campground

Alert the car camping crew, it’s time to lock down a long weekend at Black Jack Group Trailer Campground! It’s all glamping, all the time here....

Cedar Point Campground

5. Cedar Point Campground

Cedar Point is home to some of the fastest, tallest roller coasters in the world--whereas Cedar Point Campground is juuust a touch different. You...

Dogwood Ridge Campground

6. Dogwood Ridge Campground

The nine tent-only sites of Dogwood Ridge Campground are nestled at the southern edge of the lake. Though these sites aren’t as glamped-up as...

Hickory Hollow Campground

7. Hickory Hollow Campground

The eleven tent-only sites of Hickory Hollow Campground are nestled at the southern edge of the lake. Though these sites aren’t as glamped-up as...

Lakeview Campground

8. Lakeview Campground

It’s all about that view. And the water/electric/sewer, and the picnic table, and the nearby restrooms, and did we mention the lake? Tents and...

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Hipcamper Eric

Tyler State park is a short drive east of Dallas and worth it. The lake is springfed and beutiful. It is also cheap to rent canoes or kayaks and explore on the water. The Red Oak Campground has no electricity, but the bathrooms and showers are located at the entrance to this area. Sites 126 and 124 are larger and have easy access and views of the lake.

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Hipcamper Eric

Tyler State park is a short drive east of Dallas and worth it. The lake is springfed and beutiful. It is also cheap to rent canoes or kayaks and explore on the water. The Red Oak Campground has no electricity, but the bathrooms and showers are located at the entrance to this area. Sites 126 and 124 are larger and have easy access and views of the lake.

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Hipcamper Anthony

Stayed in #119 during an unseasonably warm January. Not as nice views as 126 or 124 but provided some distance from neighbors and still close to restroom. Trail around the lake is nice as were park personnel. We could occasionally hear noise from the cabins across the lake from site 119, but it was really minor.

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History of Tyler State Park

Plentiful resources have lured people to East Texas since prehistoric times. These resources provided food and shelter year-round for both humans and wildlife.

The first signs of humans in the region date to 10,000 B.C. Small, mobile groups of Paleo-Indians traveled through this area, hunting large, long extinct, mammals.

The Caddo brought farming and a more settled way of living to the region over 1,000 years ago. They cleared forest to grow crops, hunted local game, and created distinctive ceramic vessels.

Beginning around 1690, new groups moved into this part of Texas. The Spanish established missions, French fur traders set up trade routes, and Native American groups settled along rivers and creeks.

Smith County was created in 1846, shortly after Texas joined the United States.

The Civil War did not miss Smith County. Camp Ford housed up to 6,000 Federal prisoners. It was the largest prisoner-of-war camp west of the Mississippi. Other Confederate facilities here were an ordnance works; a medical laboratory; and a rifle works.

Main roads and rail lines bypassed the area of the present-day park, so agriculture and timber were the main land uses here. Deep ravines made farming difficult, so private landowners sold the land to the state in 1934 and 1935.

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 $25 of that home to their families.

Between 1935 and 1941, CCC men created this park. They built roads and buildings, planted trees, made check dams to control erosion, and erected an earthen dam to create the lake. They used local, natural materials for the culverts and bridges, to blend with the park’s landscape.

In the Beauchamp (beech-um) Springs area, they created group picnic grounds, a lily pond and a child’s wading pool. A man-made rock outcropping disguises the diversion of the spring to the lake.

State Parks Board architects designed the buildings here, using a more modern style than was used in most CCC parks. The CCC workers built a bathhouse, concession building, dance pavilion, boathouse and caretaker’s home. We still use several of these buildings today.

Disaster struck in 1963. Heavy rain caused a 100-foot section of the earthen dam to fail, and the lake drained. TPWD rebuilt the dam and updated the park, completing the work in 1975. The park had new screened shelters, group camp area, 120 campsites, 35 picnic sites and a new headquarters building.

The 985.5-acre Tyler State Park is north of Tyler in Smith County.