Ratcliff Lake Davy Crockett NF

A Lunch Hike at Ratcliff Lake

We spent our lunch hike exploring the Ratcliff Lake Recreation Area in the Davy Crockett National Forest! We combined a few trails, the Lakeshore Trail, part of the 20-mile 4-C National Recreation Trail, and the Tall Pines Trail. It took us about two hours to complete 5.23 miles.


Ratcliff Lake was once a log pond and water source for the Central Coal and Coke Company Sawmill, which logged the area from 1902 to 1920. Today, it is a beautiful lake enjoyed by many people who like to fish, swim, or paddle on the lake. The Tall Pines Trail lived up to its name. Here, we saw some of the tallest pine trees in Texas.

I was Intrigued by another sawmill’s closure in the 1920s. It wasn’t due to fire but because the 4-C Mill, the trail’s namesake, had exhausted the area’s trees by 1918. In just 16 years, the mill had logged a staggering 120,000 acres of forest! Only years later, during the Great Depression, new trees were planted by the federal Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), restoring this historic spot into the beautiful forest and recreation area it is today.


Saturday, April 27, 2024


5.23 miles

Moving Time

1:55:01 hours


81 °F, clouds, sun, moderate breeze