Caddo Lake, Louisiana & Texas, USA
Welcome to the ultimate guide to Caddo Lake — things to do, where to stay, fun facts, history, stats and more. Let’s dive in!
Topics we cover in this article:
- All About Caddo Lake
- Things to Do
- Fish Species
- Where to Stay
- Vacation Planning Tools
- Caddo Lake Map
- Statistics / Weather / Helpful Links
- Shop Caddo Lake Gifts
Looking for Caddo 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 Caddo Lake
Caddo Lake covers an impressive 26,800 acres and straddles the border of Texas and Louisiana. The lake is a maze of interconnected waterways, heavily forested bayous, sloughs, ox-bows, channels, islands, and cypress thickets. While the Louisiana side of the lake is open and expansive with depths of up to 20 feet, the Texas side is more like a swampy forest broken up into a labyrinth of smaller, shallow channels with lush green lily pads covering a large portion of the lake. This is the area of Caddo Lake that travelers find most captivating.
The subtropical climate of Caddo Lake, with hot, humid summers and mild winters, creates a place of great scenic beauty and biological diversity. The ecosystem here predates that of any other large lake in Texas, and contains stands of bald cypress trees 250 to 400 years old. Caddo Lake is an internationally protected wetland under the RAMSAR treaty and boasts the largest cypress forest in the world.
In 1914, Caddo Lake was artificially dammed for purposes of oil exploration, flood control, and water supply. A new dam replaced the old one in 1971. According to Caddo legend, the lake was formed by the 1811 New Madrid Earthquake, but most geologists now feel that Caddo Lake was formed gradually by the “Great Raft,” a 100-mile log jam on the Red River in Louisiana.
Caddo Lake is abundant with wildlife and plant life. There are 71 species of fish, the most diverse fish population in the state, including some unusual species not seen elsewhere. It is especially good for crappie and largemouth bass and white bass fishing. Caddo Lake is also home to over 250 species of birds including Great Horned Owls and Barred Owls, Great Blue Herons, Great Egrets, ducks and songbirds. The area is a bird watcher’s heaven.
A popular place to spend some time is the 484-acre Caddo Lake State Park, which is not actually on the lake but on Big Cypress Bayou, which feeds into the lake. Activities enjoyed in the park include camping, hiking, swimming, picnicking, nature study, fishing, and boating. There are pontoon boat tours on the lake and canoe rentals in the park. Approximately 2-1/2 miles of hiking trails meander through the park, some venturing through steep terrain in the forest. Nine cabins, built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps from native iron ore stone, have been refurbished and are more popular than ever. At park headquarters, you can discover the colorful history of the area including tales of Caddo Indians, the romantic steamboat era, the rise and fall of pearl hunting from the abundant mussels that flourished here, prohibition, moonshine and “beer boats.”
Caddo Lake has become a favorite spot for vacationers and filmmakers alike. The Spanish moss hanging from the ancient cypress trees creates an eerie lake scene that has inspired cinema producers to film many movies in these waterways. Caddo Lake has hosted the filming of several motion pictures such as The Long Hot Summer, The Bayou Boy, Soggy Bottom USA, Southern Comfort, Big John, Gator Bait, Universal Soldier, and others. In addition, many visitors come to the lake on annual field trips arranged by The Texas Bigfoot Research Center in search of Big Foot, the “Caddo Critter.”
Caddo Lake is a retreat from the modern day world that beckons boaters, anglers, naturalists, photographers, and sightseers to explore the lake’s unique natural wonders and will make any visitor feel as though they have taken a step back in time.
Things to Do at Caddo Lake
- Vacation Rentals
- Cabin Rentals
- Wildlife Viewing
- State Park
- Movie Theater
Fish Species Found at Caddo Lake
- Black Bass
- Largemouth Bass
- White Bass
Find Places to Stay at Caddo Lake
If you’re considering a Caddo 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 Caddo Lake Vacation
If you want to take a deeper dive to find waterfront lake cabins, cottages, condos, hotels or resorts, check out our favorite Caddo Lake lodging partners.
- VRBO – Use VRBO to find the perfect lake rental home, condo, cabin, cottage or other vacation property.
- Booking.com – One of the world’s leading digital travel companies, Booking.com 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.
- Hotels.com – With more than 325,000 hotels in 19,000-plus locations, Hotels.com 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.
Caddo Lake Statistics & Helpful Links
Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Dammed
Water Level Control: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Surface Area: 26,810 acres
Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 169 feet
Minimum Elevation (Min Pond): 0 feet
Maximum Elevation (Max Pond): 170 feet
Average Depth: 8 feet
Maximum Depth: 20 feet
Water Volume: 85,100 acre-feet
Completion Year: 1971
Drainage Area: 2,744 sq. miles
Trophic State: Eutrophic
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