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The lake view from along the Nature Trail

Fairfield Lake State Park

The lake, woodlands and wetlands of Fairfield Lake State Park attract a diversity of wildlife. In the morning, deer often graze at the edge of the woods or wander the meadows along its trails. Herons and egrets wade along the lake’s reedy shores, while Roadrunners dart across your path and into the bushes.


White-tailed deer at the edge of the woods

  • A Nature Trail (2 miles) begins across the road from the the park’s Post Oak camping area and travels through a forest of pines, oak, hickory and elm, past a brushy meadow and down to the lake. The trail is a bit of a maze, and you have to maintain your bearings as you work through several trail junctions, including a couple that don’t show up on the map. Short side trails and openings in the vegetation unveil serene views of the lake. As it tracks along the shore, the trail occasionally dives back into the forest and up and down ravines. The path follows a peninsula toward the lake and eventually curves around to return to the trail head from the opposite lakefront.
  • The Birdwatching Trail (1 mile) doesn’t look like much from the road, just a wide swath of grass heading down toward the lake, but there’s more to it. After passing a birdhouse on a tall pole, you turn into a forest with thick underbrush. Even in late summer, the air fills with the sound of birds flitting from tree to tree.

    A Roadrunner pauses in the brush

    Viewing benches and bird boxes appear on bends along the trail, and down one side trail a canopy of wire mesh forms a natural bird blind covered in vines. Near the end, where the trail comes to a broad meadow, a short lollipop loop breaks off into the deeper forest. With the lake down, the trail is not as close to the water and it shows signs of neglect, but it probably remains quite a draw for migratory birds in the spring and fall.

  • The Dockery Trail (7.5 miles) traces the perimeter of the park and is either a long forest hike or moderate horse ride. It’s not a loop, though you can shorten it at several points where it crosses the park road.

The park lies at the intersection of the East Texas pineywoods and central prairie grasslands. In addition to common woodland and wetland birds, it plays host to osprey year-round and bald eagles November through February.

The lake itself supports a large utility plant across the water from the park, but it’s not as intrusive as others, such as the one at Martin Creek Lake State Park.

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