White Rock Lake, Texas, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - Southwest - Texas - Prairies and Lakes -

Located northeast of the City of Dallas, White Rock Lake is an artificial reservoir built to supply drinking water to the residents of Dallas. Its construction began in March 1910 and was completed more than a year later in October 1911. White Rock Lake was formed by damming White Rock Creek; its waters exit the lake over a spillway into the Trinity River. Due to the ever-increasing water demands of Dallas residents, a second lake, Lake Dallas (now Lewisville Lake) was created in 1929. Today, White Rock Lake provides a portion of Dallas’ drinking water and cooling waters at a steam-electric generating plant. Spreading out over 1088 acres with more than 9 miles of shoreline, White Rock Lake also serves as a recreation and cultural mecca for residents and visitors alike.

The area around White Rock Lake has seen enormous change since its completion in 1911. In 1927, the lake was nicknamed the “People’s Playground”. The City of Dallas began to provide amenities to the visitors such as a bath house, bathing beach, and a boat house to boost the lake’s popularity. A few years later, the City of Dallas furnished the park with picnic tables constructed of concrete and stone.

Up until the 1950s White Rock Lake was a popular spot for Dallas residents. Residents not only enjoyed the scenic beauty and the cool breeze but also indulged in swimming, fishing, even dancing on the floating Bonnie Barge. Howver, due to a ban on swimming and high-speed motor boats in the 1950s, White Rock Lake’s popularity decreased. During the next 20 years the lake was in a state of decline. Then, beginning in the 1970s, plans were drawn for the preservation of the natural beauty of the lake.

In 1971 the first “Run the Rock” marathon was held to draw the public back to White Rock Lake. This event is a Boston marathon qualifier. In 1980 the Bath House, one of the first Art Deco buildings in the Southwest, was renovated into the Bath House Cultural Center, serving artists and independent theatres of Dallas. The Center presents art exhibits, theatrical performances, concerts, festivals, workshops, and lectures. The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden, located on the southeastern shore of White Rock Lake, offers 66 acres of gardens and fountains with a view of the lake and the Dallas skyline. A new visitors’ center was built in 2002. “Dallas Blooms”, the largest outdoor floral festival in the Southwest, features more than 400,000 spring-blooming bulbs.

White Rock Lake Park now has 6 playgrounds and more than 200 picnic tables. It has a Hike and Bike Trail, a designated bird-watching area, rental facilities and fishing piers. The Park even has a “dog park” where pets can roam free and enjoy their own swimming area. Sailing is a popular lake activity. The Corinthian Sailing Club sponsors Sunday afternoon races, annual regattas, and sailing lessons. The Southern Methodist University (SMU) Sailing Club also uses White Rock Lake for team practice.

Due to efforts of the City of Dallas to preserve the natural state of the lake, White Rock Lake can now proudly boast to be home for a wide variety of flora and fauna. With 19 types of fish swimming in its waters, it is an angler’s delight with catches of channel catfish, white crappie, and largemouth bass. Anglers can use electric trolling motors or motor boats with a 9.9-horsepower limit. Every fall, visitors and residents alike await the arrival of migrating white pelicans that spend the winter at White Rock Lake.

The area surrounding the White Rock Lake has become a desired residential area of Dallas such as Lake Park Estates, Forest Hills and Lakewood. Various senior living communities are also located close to the lake. Today, White Rock Lake has regained its popularity and is a favorite destination for both young and old. Due to the continued efforts of the city and volunteer organizations, efforts continue to fully restore White Rock Lake for its 100th anniversary in 2010.

Things to do at White Rock Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Birding
  • Playground

Fish species found at White Rock Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Catfish
  • Channel Catfish
  • Crappie
  • Largemouth Bass
  • White Crappie

White Rock Lake Photo Gallery

White Rock Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: City of Dallas

Surface Area: 1,088 acres

Shoreline Length: 10 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 458 feet

Maximum Depth: 18 feet

Water Volume: 18,158 acre-feet

Completion Year: 1911

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Trophic State | LakeLubbers

Trophic State measures the level of algae and nutrients in a lake.

An oligotrophic lake is very clear (blue in color) and does not support much plant or fish life. A hyper-oligotrophic lake is the clearest of all lakes, and is nearly devoid of plants and fish.

A mesotrophic lake is slightly green and supports a moderate degree of plant and fish life. A lake's most desired trophic state is generally this mid-point - the mesotrophic state.

A eutrophic lake is somewhat murky and supports a large amount of plant and fish life. A hypereutrophic lake is clouded with algae, plant life, and fish life. A eutrophic or hyper-eutrophic lake can be difficult to navigate by boat - and is often an unpleasant place to swim.

The use of phosphorus-rich and nitrogen-rich fertilizer on lawns and golf courses surrounding a lake can cause it to become eutrophic or hypereutrophic.


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Catchment or Drainage Area | LakeLubbers

This is the surrounding area that drains into a lake, including land, rivers and their tributaries. This is also known as the lake's "catchment basin".

Small lakes at the highest peaks of mountains have small drainage areas. The world's oceans have the largest drainage areas.


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Lake-Area Population | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated number of people who live in a house with a view of a lake, plus those who self-describe the lake as their home, for example: "I live at Smith Mountain Lake."


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Water Residence Time | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated time that it takes for an amount of water equal to the entire volume of a lake to flow out of - or evaporate from - the lake.

Residence Time can be as short as a few days for fast-flowing small lakes, and can exceed 100 years for slow-flowing large lakes.


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Completion Year | LakeLubbers

This is the year that a reservoir was first filled to the reservoir's normal elevation - or the year that a natural lake was first dammed. A large reservoir can take more than a year to fill after its dam is first closed.

The Grand Anicut in southern India is generally considered the world's oldest dam that still operates. Grand Anicut was constructed in the second century BC. It now impounds an irrigation network that includes roughly one million acres.

You can find many of the the world's newest reservoirs on LakeLubbers. Many of the world's oldest reservoirs appear on the last page of that list.


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Water Volume | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated volume of water that a lake contains -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. By this measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal.

You can find many of the the world's largest lakes (by water volume) on LakeLubbers.

Water Volume can be measured in acre-feet, in cubic miles, or in cubic kilometers. One acre-foot is the amount of water needed to cover one acre (43,560 square feet) to a depth of one foot. One cubic mile equals 3,379,200 acre-feet. One cubic kilometer equals 810,713 acre-feet.

1 acre-foot is equal to 325,851 US gallons. Siberia's Lake Baikal contains about 6,276,367,740,000,000 gallons of freshwater - nearly 1 million gallons for every living person on earth.

The other - and more widely used - measure of a lake's size is the lake's surface acreage. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is North America's Lake Superior.


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Maximum Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated greatest depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. The world's deepest lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal; that lake's maximum depth is estimated at 5,314 feet.

You can find many of the the world's deepest lakes on LakeLubbers. If you select the last page of that list, you will find the (maximum depth of) the shallowest lakes in our database.


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Average Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated average depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. If the water volume and surface area of a lake are known, an estimate of the lake's average depth can be calculated:

Water volume ÷ Surface Area = Average Depth

Example: 1,000,000 acre-feet ÷ 20,000 acres = 50 feet average depth


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Maximum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's highest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can occur during flooding. A lake's highest possible maximum elevation is usually the top of the lake's dam or spillway.

At lakes that include residential development, government regulations usually forbid the construction of homes below a lake's maximum elevation.


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Minimum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's lowest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can be reasonably expected to occur. Low lake levels can occur due to deliberate seasonal draw downs for irrigation or impending snow melt, reduced water inflows, drought and evaporation, residential or commercial water demands, and hydropower generation.

Some lakes' minimum and maximum elevations are virtually the same. Lakes that generate hydropower may vary by several feet - according to power demand. Lakes whose primary purpose is to prevent flooding can seasonally vary by 100 feet or more.

When some lakes reach their minimum elevation, their boat ramps may not be long enough to permit boat access - and boats docked on shallow parts of the lake may end up on dry ground. In those cases, kayakers and shore-based anglers may be among the few happy recreational users of the lake.


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Normal Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's normal water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level. For a reservoir, this water level is also known as "full pond" or "full pool".

You can find many of the world's highest-elevated lakes on LakeLubbers. Lakes with the lowest elevations (known by LakeLubbers) are shown on the final page of that list.


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Shoreline Length | LakeLubbers

This is the length of the exterior shoreline around a lake - measured at the lake's normal elevation. The shoreline length can be considerably shorter or longer when lake water levels are lower or higher than normal.

A lake with many coves has a much longer shoreline than a lake of similar surface area that is nearly circular in shape.

When known, the shoreline miles that we report in our statistics include only the lake's exterior shoreline, and exclude the shorelines of islands located within a lake's boundaries. In lakes with many islands, those islands' combined shorelines may exceed a lake's exterior shoreline.

You can find many of the world's longest-shoreline lakes on Lakelubbers.


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Surface Area | LakeLubbers

This is the area (acreage, square kilometers, etc.) of the top surface area of a lake - measured at a lake's normal elevation. The surface area can be considerably smaller or larger when lake levels are lower or higher than normal. North America's Lake Superior is the world's largest freshwater lake by this measure.

The other measure of a lake's size is the lake's water volume. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Lake Baikal in Siberia.

You can find many of the world's largest lakes (acres) on Lakelubbers. There is no widely-accepted minimum surface area that defines a lake. What Lakelubbers describes as a lake, you might call a pond. The smallest lake that Lakelubbers currently includes is Hawaii's 2-acre Lake Waiau.


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Water Level Control | LakeLubbers

This is the organization that controls water releases or outflows from the lake or reservoir. In the USA, this is often the US Army Corps of Engineers, a power company, a municipal water system, an irrigation district, or a paper manufacturing company. In the case of private or gated lakes, a homeowners' association may be the lake's controlling authority.

Many lakes cross borders, including North America's Great Lakes. The control of such lakes and their coveted freshwater may be amicably shared - or hotly disputed.

"Water wars" continue at many lakes as growing populations and crop irrigation needs compete for the freshwater that lakes contain.


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Lake Type | LakeLubbers

There are 3 basic types of lakes that are currently included on LakeLubbers. 2 types may be dammed or not dammed, producing 5 classifications.

- A Reservoir is a man-made freshwater lake that is usually created by damming rivers.

- A Natural Freshwater Lake occurs naturally - often by glacial activity - and has a salinity of less than 30 parts per thousand. It may be dammed to produce electricity or for other reasons.

- A Natural Saltwater Lake occurs naturally and has a salinity of more than 30 parts per thousand (ppt). It may be dammed.

"Brackish" water may be categorized as freshwater or saltwater, depending on its salt content (salinity). Oligohaline water has less than 15 ppt of salt. Mesohaline water has 15-29 ppt. Polyhaline has 30-335 ppt.


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