Bardwell Lake, Texas, USA

Also known as:  Lake Bardwell

Welcome to the ultimate guide to Bardwell Lake — things to do, where to stay, fun facts, history, stats and more. Let’s dive in!

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Looking for Bardwell Lake cabins or other accommodations? Save time and use this interactive map to find, compare and book at the best rates. Or explore our comprehensive list of favorite travel partners.

All About Bardwell Lake

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.

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

Find Places to Stay at Bardwell Lake

If you’re considering a Bardwell Lake lake house rental or hotel, we’ve made it super easy to find the best rates and compare vacation accommodations at a glance. Save time using this interactive map below.

Recommended Sites to Book a Bardwell Lake Vacation

If you want to take a deeper dive to find waterfront lake cabins, cottages, condos, hotels or resorts, check out our favorite Bardwell Lake lodging partners.

  • VRBO – Use VRBO to find the perfect lake rental home, condo, cabin, cottage or other vacation property.
  • – One of the world’s leading digital travel companies, connects travelers to everything from cozy B&Bs to luxury resorts.
  • Expedia – Expedia is a popular online travel agency with more than 140,000 lodging properties worldwide.
  • – With more than 325,000 hotels in 19,000-plus locations, is an industry leader in online accommodations.
  • TripAdvisor – Read traveler reviews and compare prices on hotels, vacation rentals and more at TripAdvisor.
  • Trivago – Trivago helps travelers compare deals for hotels and other accommodations from a variety of booking sites.
  • KAYAK – KAYAK scours hundreds of other travel websites at once to find the best deals on hotels and other travel-related services.
  • RVshare –RVshare connects travelers interested in renting a motorhome with owners who have RVs to rent.
  • CampSpot – Campspot offers premier RV resorts, family campgrounds, cabins and glamping options across North America.

Note: These are affiliate links so we may earn a small commission if you book through them. While there is no extra cost to you, it helps provide resources to keep our site running (thank you)! You can read our full disclosure policy here.

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

We strive to keep the information on LakeLubbers as accurate as possible. However, if you’ve found something in this article that needs updating, we’d certainly love to hear from you! Please fill out our Content Correction form.

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Captain / First Mate Custom 20 oz Tumbler

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Personalized My Boat My Rules Unisex T-Shirt

Custom Lake Coffee Mug - On Lake Time

On Lake Time Custom Coffee Mug – 11oz or 15oz


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