Did you know that the largest Cypress forest in the world is in East Texas? Caddo Lake is a 25,400-acre lake and bayou on the Texas/Louisiana border. The lake was named after the Native Americans who dwelled in the area until the 19th century, the Caddoans.
While it's unclear how the lake was formed, it's widely believed that it was created from the New Madrid earthquakes in 1811, which led to blocking in the Red River. The Caddo legend followed this sentiment, saying that the Great Spirit caused an earthquake after disobedience from their chief. Regardless, seeing the flooded cypress trees covered in moss has made Caddo Lake a popular tourist destination over the years.
Since 1993, the Caddo Lake Institute has been working on preserving the area. Caddo Lake State Park and Wildlife Management Area even become one of less than 20 areas in the country protected by the Ramsar Convention. The international treaty in 1971 was focused on wetlands conservation and sustainable use.
One of the most notable things about Caddo Lake is that there have been numerous Bigfoot "sightings" over the years. People are so passionate about Bigfoot's existence in the area, that there are annual conferences in Jefferson as well as regular excursions through the woods looking for proof. During the '70s, there was also said to be a "Caddo Critter" living in the woods.
There are numerous places to stay in the Caddo Lake area. Texas towns around the lake include Karnack, Texas (childhood home of Lady Bird Johnson) and Uncertain, Texas. The Spanish moss hanging from the trees creates a very mysterious but beautiful atmosphere. There's no doubt that the natural lake is one of the most picturesque spots in the state.
If you're looking for somewhere to stay that will give you plenty of amenities, Shady Glade Resort offers a full marina, boat ramp, fishing pier, cabins and more. Guests get free kayaks and canoes as well. Johnson's Ranch Marina is another option to stop by for a canoe, kayak, to rent a boat, or grab a beer while stocking up on bait and fuel.
Make sure you make your way through Caddo Lake State Park. Paddling your way by boat through the bayous and sloughs of the stunning Caddo Lake will be something you'll never forget. Make sure to bring a camera so you can capture the Bald Cypress trees in and surrounding the water. Just make sure to beware of alligators!