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Ratcliff Lake, Lufkin

#4 of 6 in Things to do in Lufkin
Ratcliff Lake Recreation Area is a developed park within the Davy Crockett National Forest near Kennard, Texas, United States. The park surrounds a 45-acre lake that was once a mill pond and source of water for a sawmill which operated from 1902 to 1920. Ratcliff Lake Recreation Area was built in 1936 by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and is operated by the United States Forest Service (USFS). The facility is open year-round and includes a large campground, picnic areas, an amphitheater, a swim area and hiking trails.
In the late 19th century, pioneer settler J. H. Ratcliff operated a small sawmill in the virgin forests of East Texas. In 1899, the Central Coal and Coke Company of Kansas City, Missouri began buying land in the area along with the small sawmill. Central Coal and Coke eventually owned 120,000 acres of timberland. The company used Ratcliff's sawmill to produce materials to build the much larger "Four C Mill." By June 1902, the fourteen acre mill complex produced 350,000 board feet of lumber per day. By 1917, the company had cut all the larger old growth trees available. The company harvested the smaller trees between 1917 and 1920, but that could not keep the mill profitable and it ceased operation.
In October 1934, Civilian Conservation Corps Company 1803 set up camp in the area for project number F-4 to build Davy Crockett National Forest and Ratcliff Lake Recreation Area. The CCC built an earthen dam to turn the old sawmill pond into 45-acre Ratcliff Lake. They also built roads, a bath house and planted an estimated 3,000,000 trees to re-establish the forest.
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Ratcliff Lake Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
27 reviews
  • A pretty lake surrounded by a National Forest. Roped of swimming spot with a nice picnic area nearby. Clean restrooms and dressing rooms. Camping/RV sites are somewhat primitive but a few have...  more »
  • My parents were taking me there when I was 3 or 4 years old , I am 56 years old so I have been camping and swimming and having a wonderful time going there for over 50 years. my wife and I took our...  more »
  • Beautiful lake and beautiful views. I live near bigger cities so the stars were unbelievable. There is no grill, only a fire pit that has a grill-like grate welded to it but not very practical for cooking so be sure to bring your own. Bathrooms are surprisingly clean for campsite and showers are available with good water pressure. There is a gas station a couple of minutes east of the entrance and a family dollar a few minutes west so if you forget anything there's no problem. We had so much fun, and for sure will be back!
  • Nice quite campground, it's a forest campground so the price is right. Not much around, but if your are camping on the weekend you will need reservations.

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Duration:2​h 30​min