Red Hills Lake, of Sabine County, Texas


Opened in 1940, Red Hills Lake Recreational Area is a public park which is part of the Yellowpine Ranger District of the Sabine National Forest.  It is located off Texas Hwy. 87 north of Milam, Texas, in Sabine County.  The park is open seasonally and is very affordable ($3 per car, on the honor system, so please be honorable to help keep the park open).

A 19-acre lake is featured, along with an additional 20 acres or so of tent camping and picnicking areas.

Sabine National Forest - Red Hills Lake
Sabine National Forest – Red Hills Lake

The park was enormously popular in the 1960s and 70s.  It is sort of a hidden gem now, with mostly Sabine County residents taking advantage of it.  Volunteers help keep the park up and offer friendly reminders to campers and park goers who bypass (accidentally or intentionally) the honor fee station.

At least one alligator has made the lake it’s home, and park rangers are watching it closely.  There are warnings at the fee station.  The alligator tends to stay away from the swimming area, we were told.

1960s or early 70s on Red Hills Lake
1970s on Red Hills Lake

8 thoughts on “Red Hills Lake, of Sabine County, Texas”

  1. I grew up three miles from there. It is a great place for a day trip or camping for weeks. It has electrical hookups or you can rough it, also water. A bath house, volley ball court, picknic tables. No life gard.

  2. We always went there, growing up. Lots of good times, and we did have a lifeguard. His name was Kenneth Franks.

  3. I spent most of my summers as a child, teen, also adult life going there. My dad works for the Forest Service. It’s a shame it isn’t the way it was just a few years ago. Now there isn’t a volleyball court or showers in the bathrooms anymore. Now the bathrooms are nothing more than out houses with no plumbing. They have showers that are outdoor now. So if you are camping for a while be prepared to take a cold shower in plain view of everyone. The gator there is no threat to anyone, he is small… only about 4 feet. Yes, he does stay away from the swimming area when people are present.

  4. OMG my dad taught me how to swim here. Would meet family from Texas & camp almost every week end. Love love.

  5. It was popular in the 50’s, too. It didn’t have the camping facilities, was left natural on the far side, with alligators. They avoided the swimming area. Bathrooms and showers, not gated. Sometimes we’d go up there at night and swim. It was nice at night. They had a jukebox and coke machine, too.

  6. I remember in the 70s in the summer when visiting my grandparents who lived in Milam, I would go there swimming a lot. I actually swam across the lake and back before…which at that time as a girl I thought it was huge but realize it really wasn’t big at all as got older. Good times!

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