Looking across the vast prairie, the wind curling long grasses to and fro, the lonely windmill clanked and sputtered, clanged and turned, pumping water from the ground beneath for the free ranging cattle nearby. No, this isn’t the opening paragraph of a novel but the views on display at the LBJ Grasslands outside the Dallas Fort Worth area.
Lyndon B. Johnson (LBJ) National Grassland is a national grassland located near Decatur, Texas and within an hour’s drive from Fort Worth. The area offers many recreation opportunities including hiking, camping, horseback riding, fishing, hunting and camping. It is also used as grazing land for cattle and other livestock.
Since most land in Texas is private, finding wide open public spaces like the LBJ Grasslands is a refreshing change for those who desire off road and overland adventure. Though it may not be similar in scale to something like Big Bend National Park or the Colorado Rockies, it’s convenience to the DFW Metroplex makes up for its lack of size. But don’t be confused – you will feel a world apart rolling down the well maintained dirt roads in the park. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to find a quiet corner of the grasslands where you likely won’t see another soul for hours on end.
Named after Texas’ own Lyndon B. Johnson, the 37th president of the United States, the park sprawls over 20,000 acres of rolling grasslands. In it you’ll find several lakes that offer fishing, creeks, thickets of trees and of course grassy plains. Cattle roams these prairies so don’t be surprised if you encounter a friendly bovine along your overland route.
Dispersed camping is allowed in the LBJ Grasslands and you are encouraged to use an established camp site (defined by a rock rimmed fire pit) to minimize impact on the environment. This makes LBJ Grasslands one of the closest dispersed camping sites to the DFW Metroplex and one of only a handful available in Texas. There are also defined campgrounds with toilet and shower facilities for a small fee.
Hunting is allowed in the park in defined seasons and visitors are encouraged to review suggestions on the Forest Service website regarding safety during these time periods.
If you are looking for a great day trip or overnight adventure that includes off road or overland adventures you should seriously consider the LBJ Grasslands.