Ratcliff Lake inside Davy Crockett National Forest

Ratcliff Lake is just 35 minutes from Lazy Pines Texas cabins and is a great place to hike and spend the day.  You can explore the lake or hike the 20 mile Four C National Recreation Trail.

Let’s start with the scenic drive!  I am really falling in love with the trees in East Texas!  It’s so different than North Texas where I live.  Within minutes of leaving Lazy Pines, you are in the Davy Crockett National Forest and surrounded by these lovely views.  Search for “Ratcliff Recreation Area” on your GPS for the best route.

Ratcliff Lake is accessed from inside the National Forest, so you’ll pay a very minimal $3 fee at the park entrance.  NOTE:  The entrance is not manned so bring cash.  You’ll see a sign with park fees listed (for camping and such) and then a log with a plastic bag that has payment envelopes & car tag. Fill out the envelope, put your cash inside, rip off the car tag, and place the envelope in the cash box. 

Just ahead, you’ll find two parking lots.  The one on the right faces the lake and the one of the left is the trailhead for the Four C National Recreation Trail. 

In the summer, you can swim in the marked area of the lake that has a small sandy beach.  Although there are signs for gators nearby, so I’d swim at your own risk!  Dogs are not allowed to swim in this area.

If you walk along the lakefront to the left, you’ll come to the “Lakeshore Trail”.  This is a short trail with wooden bridges in a forested area that will take you to another road & some camping sites.  It’s about 10 minutes to the road (very short).  We visited in the fall (first weekend in December) and the leaves were changing colors and very scenic!  Note:  Bring tick spray!  We forgot to put some on the dogs and we found a few on them later!

Click here to watch a video montage of our walk along the lakefront and Lakeshore trail.

For those who prefer a much longer hike, you can park in the lot across the street from the lakefront.  You’ll see the trailhead for the 20 mile Four C National Recreation Trail.  The next time we visit, we’ll explore this trail and report back!

Lazy Pines Cabins are centrally located near FIVE different State Parks & National Forests.  Read our blog here that gives a high level overview of each.

Our cabins welcome all travelers and nature enthusiasts, but especially those who travel with their dogs!  All of our cabins are fully fenced, we don’t charge any pet fees, and there are no size limitations.  If you are looking for a cabin in East Texas as a central base to explore the area, reserve your cabin here.

One Comment

  1. National Forests & State Parks near Lazy Pines Texas - Lazy Pines

    […] The Davy Crocket National Forest covers nearly 160,000 acres of woodlands and lakes.  Within the forest, lies the Ratcliff Lake Recreation Area which has a lake and a 20 mile trail called the “Four C National Recreation Trail”.  The south end of the trail begins at the lake and the north end of the trail ends at the Neches Bluff overlook with panoramic views.  Ratcliff Lake is approximately 35 minutes from Lazy Pines.  NOTE:  The Forest Service states that a portion of the northern trail has been closed since 2019. Read our detailed blog on Ractliff Lake here. […]

Comments are closed.