Swimming and watersports on Lake Ray Roberts draw visitors to this state park to cool off from the Texas heat. A clean and well-maintained beach area, full-service marina, and available rentals for canoeing and kayaking make Ray Roberts Lake State Park a frequent getaway for a day trip or a weekend of camping. There are also 20 miles of hiking, biking and equestrian trails that offer a range of outdoor activities.
About an hour’s drive north of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, Ray Roberts Lake State Park is comprised of two smaller state park units – the Isle du Bois Unit on the south side of the lake and the Johnson Branch Unit on the north – in addition to the 20 mile Greenbelt, marina, Lodge and several additional boat launches. Isle du Bois is the more frequented side of the park, with more direct access from the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
Camping and Lodging
Both the Isle du Bois and Johnson Branch Unit have more than 100 campsites available each. While there are no true primitive campsites, overnight guests can choose between walk-in sites or sites with water and electrical access. The Isle du Bois Unit also has 14 equestrian campsites available for up to eight people/horses total per site. The park maintains strict regulations for check-in, check-out, and quiet times, so plan to confirm reservations and times with the park office before arrival. For those who prefer an overnight stay with modern conveniences, nearby Lantana Resort offers additional – and more plush – accommodations.
Of the 20 miles of multiuse Greenbelt trails, 12 are accessible to walkers and bikers, with additional hiking and backpacking opportunities in the Johnson Ranch Unit and Isle du Bois Unit. Three separate access points allow visitors to enter the Greenbelt, whose trails are located in a wilderness corridor and are rated “easy to moderate” in difficulty for walkers/hikers. The west end of the Greenbelt trail connects to the Isle du Bois Unit.
Mountain bikers are welcome on the trails at Johnson Branch and Isle du Bois, as well as on the Greenbelt. The most popular/challenging ride with advanced bikers is the Isle du Bois trail. Of the five loops that make up the rocky Isle du Bois trail, Loop D is the most technically difficult. Intermediate level riders can avoid Loop D by staying to the left at every turn on the trail.
Paddle sports are popular on Lake Ray Roberts and the Elm Fork branch of the Trinity River that runs through the Greenbelt. Canoe, kayak, and paddleboats are available for rent, or guests are welcome to bring their own.
Swimming in Lake Ray Roberts draws visitors to the park from March through November, but particularly during the hot summer months. All swimming and water activities are unsupervised by a lifeguard, but must be restricted to designated swimming areas. Lakefront beach access is available to guests, but is restricted for dogs and horses that are otherwise welcome in the park.
Know Before You Go
Ray Roberts Lake State Park is comprised of two separate parks, plus the Greenbelt and additional water access points. Pay close attention to maps, amenities and activities that vary between each area to avoid confusion and make the most out of a day or overnight trip.
Regulations are STICTLY enforced by park police, particularly regarding quiet time after 10 p.m., alcohol consumption, and accessing restricted areas.