Bardwell Lake, Texas, USA

Also known as:  Lake Bardwell

Welcome to the ultimate guide for history, statistics, local fun facts and the best things to do at Bardwell Lake.

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Bardwell Lake visitor and community guide

Lake Locations: USA - Southwest - Texas - Prairies and Lakes -

Bardwell Lake is a vast, sparkling palate of wet and wild opportunity near Ennis, Texas, not far from the hustle and bustle of Dallas-Fort Worth. The lake is one of the Lone Star State’s best kept secrets for relaxation and recreation for the entire family. From great fishing to camping and water sports, 3,570-acre Lake Bardwell attracts more than 500,000 visitors annually and beckons to become your destination of choice in north Texas.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers constructed Bardwell Lake Dam across the Waxahachie Creek in Ellis County from 1963 to 1965. The Lake Bardwell project was authorized under the Flood Control Act of 1960 for the purpose of protecting the city of Ennis from catastrophic flooding. The lake is a multi-purpose reservoir that also provides water to the cities of Ennis and Waxahachie through the Trinity River Authority. Since its inception, however, Bardwell Lake has become a celebrated destination for tourists across the state, becoming an impressive site for fishing and recreation.

The Army Corps of Engineers operates five recreational areas around Bardwell Lake with facilities for camping, picnicking, hiking, biking, horseback riding, and swimming: Love Park, Little Mustang Park, Mott Park, Waxahachie Creek Park, and High View Park. All parks provide boat ramps with parking. The Texas Parks & Wildlife Department provides an additional state-operated boat ramp. Boaters can also access Lake Bardwell at High View Marina.

For visitors who want to spend their nights under the stars, camping is available at Bardwell Lake from April 1 through September 30 at High View Park, Mott Park, and Waxahachie Creek Park. Mott and Waxahachie have pull through campsites for RV enthusiasts who want to enjoy the serene backdrop of the lake’s natural surroundings without forfeiting the amenities of home. Clean restroom and showering facilities, water and electricity hookups are available for overnight guests. Reservations are recommended.

The Lake Bardwell trail system provides plenty of opportunities for hiking, biking, and horseback riding. There are over 13 miles of trails through forests, meadows, and croplands along Waxahachie Creek. The Bardwell Lake Equestrian and Multiuse Trail opened to the public in 2003, offering 2,000 acres at the north end of Waxahachie Creek Park. The trail features equestrian campsites with electrical service, water hook-ups, and horse barns. After a day of fun-filled land activities, visitors can cool off in the water at three sandy beaches located at High View Park, Mott Park, and Love Parks.

A bounty awaits fishing enthusiasts as White and Hybrid-Striped Bass, Crappie and Catfish are the catch of the day at Lake Bardwell. Sunfish and Largemouth Bass are also spotted at the lake, particularly in the warmer months of the year. While the entire lake enjoys an excellent fishing experience, the north end is a fisherman’s best bet with the increased presence of hydrilla, an aquatic plant providing vegetation and habitation. Bring your boat and cast off at one of seven boat launches or enjoy covered fishing at High View Marina.

In addition to offering great fun, a trip to Bardwell Lake is also affordable, with day and annual passes available for nominal fees. With ample natural beauty and a wide variety of activity options to choose from, it is hard to believe such a pristine destination is only a short drive outside of Dallas-Fort Worth. Venture out today and discover the great outdoors in the Lone Star State.

Custom Bardwell Lake house decor

Read our full review of these personalized lake house signs.

Things to do at Bardwell Lake

  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Camping
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Horseback Riding
  • Wildlife Viewing

Fish species found at Bardwell Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Catfish
  • Crappie
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Striped Bass
  • Sunfish

Best hotels and vacation rentals at Bardwell Lake

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Bardwell Lake photo gallery

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Bardwell Lake statistics & helpful links


Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Surface Area: 3,570 acres

Shoreline Length: 25 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 421 feet

Minimum Elevation (Min Pond): 0 feet

Maximum Elevation (Max Pond): 439 feet

Maximum Depth: 43 feet

Water Volume: 42,800 acre-feet

Completion Year: 1965

Drainage Area: 178 sq. miles

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