Note: Some here know my reviews from other sites. I believe that this is the first one that I have posted here. Hope you find it helpful. Happy Camping! Holiday Park (COE), Benbrook Lake, Benbrook, Texas November 2010 Campground's Website: http://www.swf-wc.usace.army.mil/benbrook/ Map:http://www.swf-wc.usace.army.mil/benbrook/images/Maps/Holiday2.pdf Address: 6000 Lakeview Drive, Benbrook, Texas 76126 Telephone: 817-292-2400 Number of sites (Total): 105 Primitive: 26 (water nearby) @ $10.00 per night Water & Electric (20/30 amp): 43 @ $20.00 per night Water & Electric (20/30/50 amps): 31 @ $20.00 per night Water & Electric (20/30/50 amps) w/Screen Shelter: 5 @ $30.00 per night Full Hook-Up: 0 Notes: 1) Golden Age and America the Beautiful passes are accepted giving holder a 50% discount on all fees. 2) Some sites in all camping areas of the park may be individually reserved. Those are so noted on the park map. 3) Site #65 (Primitive/Equestrian) is available for those bringing their hoofed friends. Big Rig accessible: Yes Shade trees: Yes Waterfront sites: Yes (lake) Swimming: No Hike/Equestrian Trails: Yes Fishing: Yes Boating: Yes Clean Restrooms/ Showers (1-10 rating): 6 Pets allowed: Yes Tents allowed: Yes Fires/Grills allowed: Yes (be mindful of burn bans) Family type: Yes Overall Rating (1=poor 10=excellent): 6.5 Pictures: http://www.flickr.com/photos/10853401@N02/sets/72157625416868495/ Pictures associated with this review may only be available at the above link for a limited time. If you find that the link is no longer active, feel free to contact me through this message board and I will do my best to e-mail the related pictures to you. Our Trip: Well, what do you know! Im finally writing another park review. I havent done one since our trip to South Dakota a few years ago. Only reason is, we havent been anywhere new of late. Hope I havent forgotten how to do this and it can be of some help to our members. Also, I cant believe it has taken me this long to do a review on this park. Those who know me and DW know how close we live. Have been to this park a number of times to fish and use the boat launch but this is the first time we have camped. Turns out to be a pretty nice place for a short get-away for us and I believe well use it again. This was a 3-day trip with no side trips so the review will center on the park. Also, we stayed at the park late in the year and in the middle of the week. I understand that this park tends to remain quiet on the weekends and in the warmer times of the year but I have no first-hand experience to know if this is true or not. I do know that this park is a bit off of the beaten path and Ive met many who dont even know of its existence. This can run in the favor of those of us who like peace and quiet. Park Location and History: Holiday Park and Benbrook Lake are located in the southwest quadrant of Tarrant County, Texas. As noted above, the park falls under the jurisdiction of the U. S. Corps of Engineers as does the lake and the other parks around it. The park is accessed by taking US 377 south from I-20 through the city of Benbrook and then on about 6 miles. Follow the signs east on Lakeview Drive about 1 1/2 miles to the park entrance. The park can also be accessed from I-35W by taking FM1187 through the town of Crowley to US 377. There go right (north) about ¾ of a mile to Lakeview Drive and turn right. It should be noted that Lakeview Drive is often known and noted as Pearl Ranch Road. Benbrook Lake was impounded in 1952 during the period of great civil works following World War II. Its original purpose was flood control along with the idea of providing a navigable waterway from Houston through Dallas and all the way to Ft. Worth. This great plan was never completed though I understand that it could still be done should it become economically feasible. I am not holding my breath, waiting for this to happen. In 1992 the Tarrant Regional Water District acquired the rights to use the lake as a source of fresh water for the city of Ft. Worth and surrounding areas. In addition to these uses, the lake is a recreation center for those living in the area. The lake and area provide for golfing, picnicking, camping, fishing and water sports of all types. The lake and area has always been heavily utilized and I have noted times when crowding was a problem. Park Facilities: On entering Holiday Park, you will note that the road goes straight and then curves to the left (north). There is also the option to turn right, taking you south. Your choice will lead to one of two major camping areas in this park. Turning right will give you access to Sites # 1-64. Proceeding straight will lead you to the balance of the parks camping sites, #65-105. Each area and sub-area has its virtues which I will attempt to describe as we go along. Sites 1-31: This sub-area of the park is all Power & Water with either 20/30 or 20/30/50 amp service. Some sites may be individually reserved. As with all sites in this park, each comes with a covered picnic table and a fire ring/grill combination. Sites tend to be generously deep with many widened where it connects to the road, making for easy backing. This also tends to leave room for parking a third vehicle, should it be needed. Shade trees are abundant but for the most part do not hinder entering or leaving the sites. These sites lie just to the east of a rise running north and south along the main park road. This gives campers a buffer between them and the cold north winds coming across the lake in the late fall and winter times. We had planned for this when we chose Site #9 for this trip and found it a boon when the temps dropped below freezing our first night there. Brrrrr! Sites 32-46: These sites straddle the road leading down to the main boat ramp and fishing pier. Again, they are all Power & Water with all but two sites (32 & 37) being 20/30 amp. Sites north of the boat ramp road may be individually reserved. Also, the north side of the road gets a bit more shade in most sites. Some of the sites in this area appear to be a bit more difficult to get in or out of and do not seem to offer as much room as other areas of the park. None the less, there are a few pull-thru sites and the area would be a great choice for those having activities centered on the water. Most sites in this area offer a wonderful lake view. I could see this area being very busy in the warmer times of the year and we would tend to stay clear of it during those times. We have used the boat ramp in this area when launching our yaks a time or two. Have seen others use it for launching larger boats. The ramp is wide enough for at least two boats to launch at once and possibly three, if those involved are well experienced. Have never fished from the pier but it appears well suited for the purpose and is lit at night. Sites 47-56: These sites are a mix of Power & Water (20/30 and 20/30/50) along with two Primitive sites (50 and 51). Sites 50 through 54 may be individually reserved. These sites follow the road leading south from the boat ramp road and all but the two Primitive sites are on the west side of the road, giving an uninterrupted lake view. With the exception of Sites 50 and 51, these sites are much like Sites 1-31 differing only in space and shading. These sites tend to be further apart, giving campers more individual space. Also, where the entire area containing sites 1-31 tends to be shaded, in this area each site is more individually shaded giving sunny areas between. My Top 3 sites in this area would Sites 48, 49 and 53 in that order, based on our desire for shade. Following the road south until it curves to the right (west), you will intersect the main park road and a parking lot. To the left you will see a secured pipe gate. This is what remains of what used to be a boat ramp leading into the mouth of the Clear Fork of the Trinity River. It appears that this area has been Closed for a good while and though the park map indicates a Boat Ramp at this location, this is no longer the case. Sites 57 & 58: These two sites are a pair of little gems that I nearly missed. They are a bit secluded, located slightly west of the boat ramp mentioned above. Site 58 is a wonderful little Pull-Thru that I wish Id known about when we arrived. I dont believe there was a sole around these two sites the entire three days we were there and Im betting they stay pretty secluded during the cooler parts of the year. They are both well shaded and offer all of the usual amenities including 20/30 amp power and water. I will have to keep 58 in mind for our next trip. Sites 59-62: This area is made up of five sites equipped with Screen Shelters along with the normal RV site. All five are equipped with 20/30/50 amp service and Site 62 is a very nice Pull-Thru site. I was able to inspect the inside of one of the shelters and found it equipped with lighting, a picnic table, a kitchen sink (cold water only) and at least one, 110 VAC outlet. These shelters are also equipped with shutters on the windows to keep out the majority of any cold or wet weather that may come along. At the current rate of $30.00 per night, I find this to be quite a bargain and might think about this for a small family gathering in the spring. Site 64: This is a single, Primitive site set at the northern limit of this section of the park. It is equipped with its own approach road, almost like having a private drive. The site is situated near the water and is well shaded. A nice site for those wishing to be left alone. This pretty well covers the southern end of the park and it is time to head north. I need to add here that I spent little time at this end of the park on this trip. That being so, youll find that my description will be much more general with limited detail on each sub-area. On our next trip, I will attempt to get more detail to fill this out a bit. Until then, here is what I have. Site 65: This is the parks only Equestrian Site and it is a Primitive site. It is shaded over the camping area as well as at least part of the two corrals. I have little experience with horses so I can say little concerning this sites fitness for its intended purpose. I can say that it does look nice and would probably suit the needs for a camper who can get by without hook-ups. It should be noted that this site may not be individually reserved. Directly across the road from this is site youll find a trailhead designated for horse and hikers. I followed it for a distance south and found that it let me out in a maintenance area at the Dump Station near the Main Gate. Got some nice lake views but I wish it had been longer. This trail also abuts the eastern border of a fairly new housing development just west of the park. Park information states that there is 14 miles of available equestrian trail on this side of the lake with an additional 10 miles in Rocky Creek Park. Further information concerning trails is available through the web site referenced above. Sites 66-71: These sites are Primitive and one of the areas I have little to say about at this time. I will attempt to fill out this section after our next trip. Sites 72-74: These three sites, all Power & Water with 20/30/50 amp service, make up some of the gems in this park. They are situated on one of the highest points in the park and offer a commanding view in three directions. Site #74 is probably my favorite, giving a wonderful vista of the lake, dam and downtown Ft. Worth in the far distance. You will find pictures of these views in the photos associated with this review. All three sites are equipped in the usual manner and if I recall correctly, a mix of Back-In and Pull-Through. With the exception of lack of shade and possible exposure to some pretty stout winds, this is a great area to camp. Sites 75-78: Dang! Hit another string of sites I cant tell you much about. They do list as Power & Water with 20/30/50 amp service. There is also a Boat Ramp shown to be in the area but I dont recall much about it. Will pay closer attention on our next trip. Sites 79-82: These four sites look less like camp sites and more like day use sites. There is no real place to park a vehicle, just a small area designated by yellow paint at each site. If I didnt know better, Id think the park management decided to make a little extra money by turning four picnic sites into four more camping sites. Not an area Id choose to camp in. Sites 83-93: These are the most remote Power & Water sites in the park. They offer 20/30/50 amp service and some may be individually reserved. Looked a bit closer at these and find them to be rather nice with limited shade but sufficient room in each site. The area offers what looks to be a serviceable boat ramp and it would be possible to moor your boat at your site. Caution: It would be advisable not to take large, towable RVs north of this area. The park road comes to an end about ¼ mile ahead and there is no turnaround. Sites 94-105: The balance of the sites are Primitive and like many in this part of the park, I have little to say about them. There are three (97, 98 and 99) that are a bit remarkable in their location. These three sites are set back into the trees a bit, giving the entire group quite a bit of privacy and seclusion. Id imagine their remoteness and proximity to water would make the area a natural magnet for area wildlife. That covers all the camping sites as best as I can at this point. The road continues until you reach a secured gate. This gate marks the northern border of the park. Beyond is the Holiday Park Day Use Area. This area can be entered at this point by bicycle or foot but vehicular traffic must enter at the north entrance off of US 377, again following Lakeview Drive. Why you cant go from one part of the park to other at this point is a question I cant answer. Additional Park Facilities: In addition to the camping sites, there are a number of other facilities Id like to mention. At the Main Entrance and also near Site 100 you will find Dump Stations for those in RVs. Can say nothing about the one at the north end of the park but the one at the Main Entrance fills its purpose well. I would suggest that when you use it, pull up to the right hand station and complete your dump. Follow the road as it curves to the right and exit the area (and park, if that is your intended direction). If you are pulling a large RV and attempt to do it the other way by following the curve around to the left and then dumping in the other station, youll find you have to make a very hard right turn to exit the park. Just a word to the wise. The park is equipped with three Shower/Toilet combinations and one Toilet. I checked the two in the southern part of the park and found them both to be clean and serviceable if a bit old and very drafty and cold at this time of the year. A bit of heat would help as would a bit more hot water. The water temperature is pre-set and a bit chilly for my poor old bones. Found myself being very pleased that we are self-contained. You may want to be aware of the fact that like other Corps parks, this one locks the gate at 10:00PM. There is a Night Exit for those needing to leave but dont attempt to drive back in that way. Youll find yourself needing to call your local tire dealer for four new tires. If you find yourself outside the gate after 10:00 PM, there is a lot where you can park and then walk back in to your site. Needed supplies can be easily obtained by driving north on US 377 about 6 miles into Benbrook. There youll find a Brookshires Grocery Store, a Wal-Mart and any number of other retailers. If your needs go further, a few more miles north will bring you into Ft. Worth where you should be able obtain anything you need. Well, I guess that just about wraps it up for this park, at least for now. Next time we go there, I believe we will stay in the northern part so I can fill in a few more details about that area. Until then, I hope you find what I have written here to be of help. I enjoy writing these reviews almost as much as I enjoy the trips we make. Only thing that adds to the fun is believing that Im helping others enjoy their time camping. If this is so, let me know. Until then and always, Happy Camping! Note: Information and site references contained in this review were current as of this writing. I apologize for any errors you may find and will attempt to correct them if notified. Further, any copyright infringement that may have occurred during the writing of this review was purely accidental. In the case of such infringement, I will be more then happy to give proper credit or delete the infringing material when notified.