Fort Richardson State Park Photos
This historical location sits where the North Texas Prairies meet the Panhandle Plains near Jacksboro.
Fort Richardson State Park and Historic Site in Jacksboro, Texas, offers a relaxing and enriching all-day visit to a partially restored 19th Century frontier outpost. For people with additional time, this 450-acre site goes beyond its peep into history by providing modern recreational facilities for camping, hiking, bicycling, horseback riding, picnicking and fishing. Swimming and boating are available nearby at Lake Jacksboro and Lost Creek Reservoir. For all of these activities, visitors supply their own gear, including boats, fishing tackle, swim suits and horses.
Fort Richardson sits where the North Texas Prairies meet the Panhandle Plains—less than two hours driving time from Dallas, Abilene and Waco and about 60 minutes from Fort Worth and Wichita Falls. Times from Oklahoma City and Austin measure 3.5 and 4.5 hours, respectively. Somewhat muted in its driveway appearance, the serendipity of Fort Richardson begins immediately behind its main gatehouse.
Also read about our visit to Fort Richardson State Park and Historic Site.
Fort Richardson State Park and Historic Site sits where the North Texas Prairies meet the Panhandle Plains, less than two hours driving time from Dallas, Abilene and Waco and about 60 minutes from Fort Worth and Wichita Falls. Times from Oklahoma City and Austin measure 3.5 and 4.5 hours, respectively. Somewhat muted in its driveway appearance, the serendipity of Fort Richardson begins immediately behind its main gatehouse.
Beyond the main gatehouse of Fort Richardson State Park and Historic Site sits a mirror-surfaced lake, small, but beautiful. Shade trees over picnic tables offer a sun-guarded retreat. Fishing the Quarry Lake requires no license. The State keeps it stocked all year with catfish and keeper-sized bass. Trout join the year-around stockers from December through February.
Day trippers find a lot of picnicking facilities at Fort Richardson State Park and Historic Site. To see the fort and its environs choose a picnic parking space, grab a table, eat a snack, then take a walk.
During heavy rains, Lost Creek Ford can run deep. But on a quiet summer day, the crossing provides totally dry access to camping, picnicking and hiking near the beautiful Lost Creek Nature Trail at Fort Richardson State Park and Historic Site.
Park Road 61 crosses the Lost Creek Ford as it winds through Fort Richardson State park and Historic Site. For day-trippers, choose a nearby picnic parking space and take a walk along the scenic and comfortable Lost Creek Nature Trail.
Screen shelters at Fort Richardson State Park and Historic Site provide overnight facilities for those wanting to stay, but not camp. Showers and restrooms are a short walk from the shelters.
Lost Creek Nature Trail at Fort Richardson State Park and Historic Site leads hikers along a leisurely flow of water providing rich soil for large trees and other bright green vegetation.
Filtered light along Lost Creek Trail triggers verdant shades too numerous to name or number. Though transparent, even the water sparkles translucently green. Lost Creek runs through Fort Richardson State Park and Historic Site.
Lost Creek Nature Trail runs between Park Road 61 ford and campsites 22-23, spanning about .5 miles or .8 kilometers, paralleling the park roadways and generally following the creek.
Cactus blooms along the Lost Creek Nature Trail. The trail spans about .5 miles or .8 kilometers between Park Road 61 ford and campsite 22-23.
The Interpretive Center at Fort Richardson State Park and Historic Site tells the story of the fort, soldiers, Comanches and Kiowas, plus the civilian men, women and children who lived in and around Fort Richardson. If the center is closed during normal business hours, a park employee should soon return. If that doesn't happen, just call the office and someone shows up lickety-split. During the short wait check out the interesting tree trunks in and around the parking lot.
The barracks of Fort Richardson, though clean, are hot during Texas's sunny seasons and cold during the winter, providing reminders of the tough lives lived by enlisted men serving in the Army.
A tour through the hospital reminds visitors why they should remain healthy. While for its era the medicine was advanced, modern people would find in unsanitary and, likely, very uncomfortable.
There is nothing quite like a wooden toilet seat. This pair served the needs of hospital patients at Fort Richardson. While charcoal filtering reduced orders, the indoor toilet facilities attracted flies and were probably a bit disgusting to clean.
Located behind the hospital at Fort Richardson State Park and Historic Site, the very presence of the morgue asks for visitors to look in its windows. Everyone is curious. A morgue is, after all, a trailhead—so to speak.
Now missing, at one time the Kitchen prepared food for more than 660 soldiers and officers at Fort Richardson, the most populous fort in the military at that time.
The Guard House of Fort Richardson tumbled down just north of the parade grounds.
The Guard House ruins of Fort Richardson show the cell size, indicating the smallest people felt the least cramped in the brig.
Contrary to popular belief, gunpowder is not an explosive, but a propellant. But when huge quantities burn in a small space it may as well be an explosive. This gunpowder magazine is the original now restored.
The vents in a gunpowder magazine provide fresh air circulation and allow rapidly expanding gases to escape should all the gunpowder burn at once. This vent is on the gunpowder magazine.
Before entering the gunpowder magazine look down and into the corners to check for rattlers. Then look up and study the roof. If all the gunpowder burns at once, the arched roof is design to rise slightly then cave in to prevent rock sharpnel from flying everywhere. This is the inside of the roof at the gunpowder magazine.
Near the end of Park Road 61, Rumbling Springs Path takes off opposite from site 13, immediately crossing Lost Creek at its narrowest. Soon, soft bubbling rumblings come within hearing range, delivering memories of tall, cool beverages on smoldering, smothering sticky days. Then into view comes cool, clear liquid sparkling near the base of a natural rock wall before rumbling over mossy stones to feed Lost Creek. Rumbling Springs was the carry-in water supply for Fort Richardson. Without treatment or filtering, the water is not safe for drinking.
Large, rough, jagged rocks, plus spiders and—of course—the potential for rattlers and psycho cottonmouths, make closed toe shoes into foot-pleasing amenities when walking Rumbling Springs Path at Fort Richardson State Historic Park. As with the magazine, fear not. No one gets snake bit at Fort Richardson. But this is no barefoot stroll in soft, cool sand. Stroll it is—almost—covering less than 200 yards or 183 meters on a path with zero stable footholds. Take your time. This sort of a stroll is short and could give birth to perfect analogies about haste making waste.
Once serving as the carry-in water supply for Fort Richardson, Rumbling Springs today is a popular site for visitors to the state park. Clear water sparkles near the base of a natural rock wall, before rumbling over mossy stones to feed the headwaters of Lost Creek. The water is no longer safe to drink without first filtering or boiling.