Martin Creek Lake State Park is composed of 286.9 acres, located in Rusk County, southeast of Longview. The property was acquired in 1976, and opened to the public that same year. The park is located on the 5,000 acre Martin Creek Lake, which was constructed to provide cooling water for a lignite-fired, electric power generation plant.
The area was inhabited by the Caddo Indians, and Spanish explorers until the eighteenth century. With the arrival of more and more Anglo Americans, other tribes migrated to the area such as the Choctaw, Cherokee, and Kickapoo . The roadbed of Trammel’s Trace, an Indian trail that was a major route for settlers moving to Texas from Arkansas, is still visible near the fishing pier. In 1833, Daniel Martin settled with his family near the creek called Hogan’s Bayou. He and other settlers eventually built a small fort, followed by a small town known as Harmony Hill. The town was deserted by 1900. Today, one Civil War era building remains intact, and was converted into a storage shed. Traces of the old roads that once led to Harmony Hill are still visible today, and even part of the hiking trail offered by Martin Creek Lake State Park.
Martin Creek Lake State Park offers a variety of activities such as year-round fishing; camping; wildlife observation and photography; picnicking; boating; water skiing; unsupervised lake swimming; backpacking; hiking; and interpretive programs on Saturday (when staffing allows). An annual perch fishing contest is held for children ages 4 to 12 the first Saturday every September. During the fall months, the park is particularly beautiful as the foliage puts on a magnificent color show against the loblolly pines. The park also shelters an abundant variety of wildlife including swamp rabbits, nutria, white-tail deer, raccoons, armadillos and squirrels. Anglers can enjoy year-round fishing with opportunities to catch large-mouth bass, crappie, channel catfish, perch, ball, and sunfish. Those who enjoy birding will have the opportunity to catch a glimpse of several species such as mallard ducks, great blue herons, green-backed herons, great egrets, northern cardinals, blue jays, red-headed woodpeckers, bobwhites, and northern mockingbirds.
Park facilities include restrooms with showers; hike-in primitive campsites with no drinking water available (one of the primitive areas is located on an island accessed via a charming wooden bridge); campsites with water and electricity (all have fire rings and picnic tables); screened shelters; 2 cottages (converted screened shelters which have been air-conditioned and heated, have water, electricity and bunk beds – capacity 5; a group picnic pavilion; a 1.5-mile hiking trail; a 6-mile mountain bike trail; a 4-lane concrete boat ramp; a trailer dump station; a playground; and a lighted fishing pier. Two cabins accommodate 4; no additional persons authorized. They have central air and heat, kitchen with 4-burner stove and oven, refrigerator, coffee maker, screened back porch, and outdoor smoker/cooker.
Elevation: 385 feet.
Weather: Average January minimum 35, average July maximum 94, average annual rainfall 46.5
Schedule: Open 7 days a week year-round. Gate is open from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Directions: The park is located 20 miles southeast of Longview. Travel 3.5 miles southwest of Tatum on State Highway 43, then turn south on County Road 2183.
$2 per day, per person 13 and older
Special entrance rates for holders of:
Applicable daily entrance fees are charged in addition to the campsite or facility fee. Pets are not allowed in any Texas State Park buildings. For other general pet restrictions check the Texas State Park Regulations. For park specific pet restrictions and more information contact the park at 1-800-792-1112.
Maximum 8 people per campsite unless otherwise noted. Applicable daily entrance fees are charged in addition to the campsite or facility fee.
12 – Primitive tent only campsites – Must Hike in 200 yards to campsites from parking area. These sites are located on an island. No water or restrooms available. Not all sites have a fire ring.
$8 per night
36 – Campsites with electric and water hookups:
$13 per night
15 – Premium (lake front access) Campsites with electric and water hookups:
$15 per night
7 – Campsites with (50 amp) electric and water hookups:
$17 per night
19 – Screened Shelters:
$25 per night
2 – Shelters with amenities – including A/C & heat. Sites are converted screened shelters that have water, electric, heat, A/C, picnic table, & bunk beds to sleep 5 (Can sleep eight, if customer brings additional bedding.) No kitchen or bathroom. No Pets, Pop-ups, Trailers, or Motor homes are allowed in this area:
$40 per night
2 – 4 person cabins – with A/C, heat, kitchen with stove, oven, small refrigerator, coffee pot, no microwave, living/dining area, table & 4 chairs, 2 double beds, 1 couch, & 1 roll-a-way bed. Bathroom has ADA bath, shower, toilet, & sink. Outside is a screened porch with BBQ pit, fire ring, & picnic table. Customer must provide their own bed and bath linens. No smoking allowed inside the cabins. No Pets, Pop-ups, Trailers, or Motor homes allowed. Tents are allowed outside:
$75 per night
Day Use Only Facilities
Group Picnic Pavilion (capacity 75) – Located close to the beach area & comfort station. Has picnic tables, BBQ grill, electric, lights, and water:
$50 per day