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Weathered stumps in the shallows of Lake Bob Sandlin

Lake Bob Sandlin State Park

Lake Bob Sandlin State Park is cut from a pine and hardwood forest on the banks of a 9,400-acre lake.

An extended trail (4.5 miles) crosses through most of the park, beginning near the fishing pier complex, traveling up the cove, crossing the park road into the forest, looping around a group of primitive campsites, crossing back over the road and ending at the Fort Sherman camping area.

Cattails on the edge of Trout Pond

Cattails on the edge of Trout Pond

The first part of the trail skirts the shore of the cove before turning inland and dropping down to small bridges over a creek. On the other side of the park road the trail is relatively wide and flat and cuts through a forest of pine, oak, hickory and maple. The woods often fill with the chatter of songbirds and the sound of woodpeckers at work. About a mile into that side of the trail, you come to a crossroads, where you choose whether to go left around a loop of about a mile or bypass it with a shortcut to the right. The loop to the left takes you deeper into the woods but is the better choice.

Near the end of the loop, you come to the picturesque Trout Pond. It’s a pleasant stop, and on a recent summer hike had a surprising amount of water, considering the sad state of other ponds. Between January and March, the pond is stocked with trout with a daily limit of five. From there, it’s a short hike to the park road and an interpretive trail on the other side that covers the last stretch before the campground.

One of the most striking sites at Lake Bob Sandlin is a field of silvery tree trunks standing tall in the lake near the back of the park. They appear to stretch out to the horizon. When the water is calm, it’s an eerie sight. With their reflections, it’s hard to tell where the water ends and the sky begins.

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