Lake Palo Pinto Information

Palo Pinto Creek Reservoir lies in Palo Pinto County, 79 miles west of Fort Worth, in north central Texas. It covers a surface area of 2,661 acres with a maximum depth of 47 feet. Palo Pinto Municipal Water District owns Palo Pinto Creek Reservoir No. 1, and the City of Mineral Wells operates it for municipal, industrial, and recreational purposes. Palo Pinto Creek Reservoir is also commonly called "Palo Pinto Lake". 

Palo Pinto Creek Reservoir is approximately 15 miles west of Mineral Wells, Texas. Its geography is broken, hilly, and wooded in parts with sandy, gray, and black soils. This lake is sparsely inhabited with a few tiny communities around its shores. Palo Pinto Creek Reservoir’s southern arm is large with open waters, and it has a northern arm and an eastern arm. Palo Pinto Creek, a tributary of the Brazos River, feeds Palo Pinto Creek Reservoir. 

The Brazos Electric Power Cooperative, Inc. operates a peak-demand power plant on Palo Pinto Creek Reservoir, using it for cooling water. Mineral Wells is a historic Texas town that is famous for healing mineral water and the haunted Baker Hotel. Three tiny towns, Palo Pinto on the north, and Gordon and Santo on the south, surround Palo Pinto Creek Reservoir.

History of Palo Pinto Lake

Construction of Palo Pinto Creek Dam, an earth-fill dam ninety-six feet high, began in 1963, and impoundment of Palo Pinto Creek Reservoir began in 1964. Spanish explorers named Palo Pinto Creek, which roughly translates into painted stick or painted post, a reference to the juniper trees that populate the region.

At the end of the Ice Age approximately 6,000 years ago, Native American people began inhabiting the area and farmed, crafted pottery, and used domesticated dogs as beasts of burden. They planted pumpkin, squash, corn, and beans in the spring. After the autumn harvests, they took on a nomadic existence and followed buffalo herds to hunt them for food stock.

Spanish explorers discovered the Lipan Apache in today’s Palo Pinto County in the late 16th century and introduced guns and horses to them. French traders later followed, coming from Louisiana into North Texas along the Red River in the late 17th century, and then American traders entered the region after that. Comanches were moving into the territory from the west and Wichita from the north at about the same time. 

By the early 19th century, the government forced Native Americans from East Texas to settle in this area. In the summer of 1854, General Randolph B. Marcy, under orders of the United States Department of War and Interior and in accordance with an act of the Texas legislature of February 6, founded the Brazos Indian Reservation near today’s Graham, Texas, about 35 miles northwest of Palo Pinto Creek Reservoir as the crow flies. Eventually, the government removed all the Indians to Indian Territory, today’s Oklahoma. 

One of the most famous historical legends in Palo Pinto Creek Reservoir’s region lies in the haunted Baker Hotel in Mineral Wells, Texas. Some of the famous people on the Baker Hotel guest list include Judy Garland, Clark Gable, the Three Stooges, Lyndon Johnson and Lady Bird, Roy Rogers, Will Rogers, Marlene Dietrich, Mary Martin, General Pershing, Dorothy Lamour, Sammy Kaye, Jack Dempsey, Helen Keller, and Ronald Reagan.

Employees at the Baker hotel began reporting paranormal activity in the 1950s. Locals believe that TD Baker, who built the hotel, haunts the Baker Suite on the eleventh floor. Baker reportedly died in his suite, and now his ghost walks the halls of his hotel endlessly. TD had a mistress who he kept on the seventh floor, and she jumped to her death from her window. No one knows why she committed suicide. 

Witnesses report that the 11th floor of the Baker Hotel smells like TD’s cigar smoke. Visitors who witness the spirit of TD’s mistress say that her red hair, piercing green eyes, and lavender perfume are undeniable. Today the Baker Hotel is shuttered, but visitors can take The Baker Hotel Ghost Walk tour around the building, and learn the history of the hotel and Mineral Wells, Texas. 

Thurber, Texas, used to lie on the southern edge of the Palo Pinto County line. Today, Thurber is a ghost town, but at one time, it had a population of 10,000. It was established as a coal mining town in 1886. Thurber’s remote location forced its operators to recruit miners from other states and from overseas. Large numbers of men immigrated to Thurber from Austria, Belgium, Britain, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Poland, Russia, Sweden, and the United States.

Fishing Palo Pinto Lake

Predominant game fish species in Palo Pinto Creek Reservoir are hybrid striped, largemouth, and white bass, channel and flathead catfish, and white crappie. Other species include bluegill, carp, blue catfish, black drum, and redear sunfish. Anglers report that fishing is good at Palo Pinto Creek Reservoir. There are three public access boat ramps and the Lake Palo Pinto Marina and Campgrounds.

Anglers will find rocky points all around the lake and lighted boat docks at night. Standing timber also provides fish cover, but there is little aquatic vegetation. The peak-demand power plant located on this reservoir raises water temperatures when it's operating but will not provide consistent winter fishing.

Much of Palo Pinto Creek Reservoir’s shoreline is uninhabited and open to shoreline fishing. Limited fishing guides offer charters on Palo Pinto Creek Reservoir, so be sure to call in advance and book your charter early. 

Find experienced local guides on our Palo Pinto Lake Fishing Guides page. 

Boating at Palo Pinto Lake

Water recreation at Palo Pinto Creek Reservoir includes fishing, skiing, jet skiing, tubing, canoeing, and kayaking, which is always great fun on this little Texas lake. Most of the shoreline is undeveloped and open to the public. Palo Pinto Creek Reservoir is rarely crowded, which gives boaters lots of room to play around in. 

The lake’s surface is typically calm and glassy. Boaters can pull up to the Lakeside Bar and Grill, which serves great pizza along with appetizers, salads, and sandwiches. However, call first to see if they are only serving takeout or have indoor seating. Hardwood trees line its shores and provide excellent wildlife viewing opportunities. 

Find or sell a boat on our Palo Pinto Lake Boats for Sale page. 

Marinas at Palo Pinto Lake 

Lake Palo Pinto Marina and Campgrounds, located at 1921 FM 3137, Palo Pinto, TX, on the northern arm of Palo Pinto Creek Reservoir, is a publicly accessible waterfront facility that provides access to the water and space to moor or dock boats and yachts. This marina offers fuel and marine supplies, maintenance service and boat repair, and bilge and sewage pumping, plus boat rentals, and boat operation and safety instruction classes. This is the only marina on Palo Pinto Creek Reservoir.

Plan your trip to the lake by finding a marina on our Palo Pinto Lake Marinas page. 

Palo Pinto Lake Cabins and Vacation Homes

Rental cabins and bungalows are widely available at Palo Pinto Creek Reservoir, but visitors should look for theirs far in advance, and book quickly. Many options are available when it comes to vacation home rentals right on the lake, ranging in size, price, and amenities. You can find vacation homes with decks, fishing piers, private docks, grills, and modern amenities, plus much more, and some are pet friendly. 

Find the perfect vacation home on our Palo Pinto Lake Cabins page. 

Camping at Palo Pinto Lake

Lake Palo Pinto Marina and Campgrounds has 55 tent and RV camping spots with water, electricity, and sewer hookups, and contemporary amenities. It is open year round. This is the only public campground at Palo Pinto Creek Reservoir. Much of this lake’s shoreline is accessible to the public. 

Check out our list of campgrounds and RV parks for your family adventure on our Palo Pinto Lake Camping page. 

Palo Pinto Lake Hiking Trails

The closest hiking trail to Palo Pinto Creek Reservoir is at Kettle Hollow Ranch on the lake’s northernmost tip. The ranch offers miles of trails and is home to exotic hunting. Hikers can explore caves, rock formations, and catch a glimpse of the ranch’s game species of axis, blackbuck, elk, wild hogs, sika, and red stag.

Hunting Palo Pinto Lake 

Kettle Hollow Ranch on the northernmost tip of Palo Pinto Creek Reservoir offers game hunting guides for axis, blackbuck, whitetail deer, elk, wild hogs, red stag, and sika. Guest Ranch Exotic Game Hunting near Strawn, Texas, also offers hunting for aoudad, axis, American bison, blackbuck, nilgai,  wildebeest antelope, dybowski sika, eland, elk, white and spotted fallow, wild hogs, and scimitar oryx. Guest Ranch is about six miles northwest of Palo Pinto Creek Reservoir’s northern tip. 

Palo Pinto Lake Real Estate

Palo Pinto Creek Reservoir is a limited supply marketplace for waterfront homes. Tiny communities dot this lake and quite a few homes are typically available. They range in price from over one million dollars to much more affordable options. Nearby Mineral Wells, Texas, has a Walmart Supercenter, plus quaint shops and restaurants. Ft. Worth, Texas, is the nearest metroplex a little more than an hour’s drive away.

Gordon ISD, Mineral Wells ISD, and Palo Pinto ISD are the closest school districts. The only restaurant and bar on Palo Pinto Creek Reservoir is the Lakeside Bar and Grill at Lake Palo Pinto Marina and Campgrounds. Mineral Wells and Ft. Worth is where residents of the Palo Pinto Creek Reservoir will find great entertainment and shopping centers. Palo Pinto Creek Reservoir offers a peaceful existence and outdoor recreational opportunities.  

To find your dream lake home, explore our Palo Pinto Lake Homes for Sale page. 

Things to Do at Palo Pinto Lake

The main attraction at Palo Pinto Creek Reservoir is itself. There is only one eatery, the Lakeside Bar and Grill. Mineral Wells, Texas, only 15 miles northeast of the eastern shores of Palo Pinto Creek Reservoir, which offers a variety of interesting activities and historical significance of west Texas. 

Take The Baker Hotel Ghost Walk tour, where you can learn about the historical significance of the hotel, its ghostly inhabitants, and the history of the City of Mineral Wells. Downtown Mineral Wells is home to more than 20 murals featuring everything from flying pigs to human-sized butterflies and interactive murals to portrayals of local people from days gone past. 

Downtown Mineral Wells has over 100 historic buildings with boutiques, antique shops, and specialty stores, plus restaurants that offer patio dining and live music. Mineral Wells was named for and is still famous for its mineral waters. The town boomed as a health resort after 1885, when the Crazy Well was dug. The Crazy Water Bath House offers mineral baths and treatments inspired by the waters and nature.

Three museums call Mineral Wells their home. The National Vietnam War Museum has dozens of silent memorials recognizing those who served their country in the Vietnam War. This museum exhibits a half-scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C., the Camp Holloway Memorial Wall, a Meditation Garden, and a Huey Helicopter. 

The Old Jail Museum is a growing complex of historic log cabins and frontier buildings that demonstrate life in the region’s 19th century. Local artifacts fill all of its buildings. The Little Rock Schoolhouse Museum, built in 1884, housed the first public school building in Mineral Wells, and is dedicated to the preservation of the historical memorabilia of the City of Mineral Wells. 

The W.K. Gordon Center for Industrial History preserves, documents, and researches the industrial history of Thurber, Texas, which was once a thriving coal mining company town of 10,000 people and now a ghost town. Thurber was located near the southern Palo Pinto county line. Visitors can see reconstructions of Thurber’s mercantile store, livery stable, the town bandstand, the 655-seat opera house, and the Snake Saloon, which once boasted one of the largest horseshoe-shaped bars in the United States.

The Mineral Wells Fossil Park at the old City of Mineral Wells landfill’s borrow pit, which closed in the early 1990s but then revealed fossils documenting ancient sea species such as crinoids, echinoids, and other historic sea life from the Pennsylvania Period over 300 million years ago. Fossil collecting is allowed in designated areas only, and only surface collecting is allowed with small gardening tools at the park. 

Take a guided tour of Guest Ranch Exotic Game Hunting where you will see their different species of antelope, buffalo, deer, and sheep. The best times to go on this tour are early mornings and late afternoons, and the cost of the tours begin at $35.00.

Check out the Palo Pinto Mountain State Park that comprises 4,871 acres of former ranch land about 23 miles west of Palo Pinto Creek Reservoir. When fully developed, this park will offer hiking, camping, fishing, stargazing, and other outdoor activities. Plateaus with beautiful vistas overlook sheltered canyons. Palo Pinto Creek winds through the northern border of the park. A dam on Russell Creek impounds the 90-acre Tucker Lake, the centerpiece of the park. Plans for the park include an extensive network of multi use trails for hikers, mountain bikers, and horseback riders. Trails will lead to remote areas of the park with expansive vistas.

Plan your next trip on our What To Do At Palo Pinto Lake page.

Palo Pinto Lake Weather & Climate

Palo Pinto Creek Reservoir sees an average of 33 inches of rain, with one inch of snow, and 238 days of sunshine per year. The winter low in January is 31 degrees with a summer high in July of 96 degrees. April, May, and October are the most comfortable months for this region.

Keep an eye on the skies with our Palo Pinto Lake Weather Forecast page. 

Palo Pinto Creek Reservoir Zip Codes

Palo Pinto County: 76068, 76429, 76449, 76472, 76475, 76484.

Palo Pinto Creek Reservoir Flora and Fauna

Palo Pinto Creek Reservoir is marked by stands of cedar, elm, juniper, live oak, mesquite, and native pecan trees. A variety of shorebirds fly in during their spring and fall migrations, plus quail, dove, and numerous species of other birds are present. Expect to see common sightings of whitetail deer, wild hogs, and wild turkeys. Its terrain is broken, hilly, and wooded in parts with sandy, gray, and black soils. Caves and rock formations are all over in Palo Pinto County. Palo Pinto County is known by many as North Texas’s Hill Country.

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Lake Palo Pinto Current Weather Alerts

There are no active watches, warnings or advisories.


Lake Palo Pinto Weather Forecast


Chance Thunderstorms

Hi: 88

Thursday Night

Mostly Clear

Lo: 73


Partly Sunny

Hi: 95

Friday Night

Mostly Clear

Lo: 70


Slight Chance Thunderstorms

Hi: 94

Saturday Night

Mostly Clear

Lo: 75



Hi: 98

Sunday Night


Lo: 67

Lake Palo Pinto Water Level (last 30 days)

Water Level on 5/23: 863.02 (-3.98)