Lake Meredith National Recreation Area

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Lake Meredith National Recreation Area is located near Fritch, Texas on the windswept plains of the Texas Panhandle.  The dry grasslands have been cut by the Canadian River to create a canyon which is now a man-made reservoir.

The Sanford dam has created Lake Meredith which is the largest body of water in a 200-mile radius and supplies water to 750,000 nearby residents.  It attracts many migratory birds as well as recreationists who wish to boat, swim, fish, hunt, camp, hike, and bike ride.

The Lake Meredith National Recreation Area is free to enter, and its visitor center is open 8am to 4:30pm Monday through Friday.  The 45,000 acre park includes several entrances, though the headquarters and main recreation area is located on the East side of Lake Meredith.

I visited Lake Meredith National Recreation Area while driving between Texas and Colorado.  I split the drive into two days and gave my crazy dog Annie a chance to stretch her legs before spending the night in nearby Dumas.

With a choice of four trails, all of which were over five miles long and some overgrown according to All Trails reviews, I selected the South Turkey Creek Trail.

South Turkey Creek Trail

The South Turkey Creek Trail is 16.51 mile lollipop loop.  Naturally, having arrived around 3pm, I didn’t come close to completing the entire path.  Normally, turning around a on trail bothers me, but in this case, I was just trying get in a light amount of exercise with my mutt while on a road trip.

The compact dirt trail undulates through a rocky, southwestern terrain as it follows the lake with little shade.  As Annie and I headed out late in the day, most bikers and hikers were returning.   Wanting to let Annie off the leash, I asked one pair of hikers if there were many people on the trail.

Annie at Lake Meredith National Recreation Area

They informed me, “The farther you go, the less people.  Also there is a cool beach with lots of tree stumps.”

Armed with good intel, we hiked for about 15 minutes, passed maybe fifteen people, and thereafter, enjoyed a quiet hike.  Soon we reached a narrow spur trail which led to the sandy beach with tree stumps and shells!  I was more surprised by the shells in the middle of the plains than the trees, but both were cool to see.

shells at Lake Meredith National Recreation Area

As I inspected the apocalyptic looking landscape, Annie zig-zagged back and forth as she checked out the lakeshore.  Lucky for me she isn’t the biggest water fan, so I didn’t have to worry about wet dog smell in my car later.

beach at Lake Meredith National Recreation Area

We walked the beach for fifteen minutes and could have gone even farther.  It was quite long and likely changes with the water level.  Surprisingly, we didn’t come across any waterfowl or wildlife, but perhaps the hunters we passed scared any creatures away.

After thirty minutes out, we returned for thirty minutes back. I could easily return for longer hike with time permitting.  But for a quick outing to stretch our legs, Lake Meredith was a nice place to take a stroll in the otherwise barren landscape of the plains.  ETB

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Beth Bankhead

Former public finance professional turned travel photographer and blogger.

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