Where is Possum Kingdom Lake?
What to Do
Where to Stay
Frequently Asked Questions
How did Possum Kingdom get its name?
One story about why the lake is called Possum Kingdom began when a peddler named Ike Sablosky came to Texas in 1906. This salesman had come to Texas from Pennsylvania and Indiana to regain his health. Mineral Wells at the time was famous as a health spa and Ike came to recuperate. While living in Mineral Wells, Ike saw an opportunity to get into the hide and fur business as the Palo Pinto hills were a paradise for raccoon, possum, and fur bearing critters. Mr. Sablosky's best source of supply for possum hides came from cedar choppers and hunters up in Northwest Palo Pinto County. Ike called his best suppliers "the boys from Possum Kingdom". The name grew more and more popular and the area became known as Possum Kingdom. Mr. Sablosky moved to Dallas and became a millionaire in the insurance business. He once owned the Dallas baseball team of the old Texas League. After he died at age 82, most of his wealth was given to charities.
Story by Kevin D. VanDuser - interested in a PK Journal written by Kevin D. VanDuser? A great must have for the PK lake lover. To purchase, PK Journal Vol I & Vol II hardback, click here.
What are the top 10 reasons to visit Possum Kingdom Lake?
- It's listed as the best man-made lake in Texas according to Kirk Dooley's "Book of Texas Best."
- The Hell's Gate/Devils' Island area is the best party cove in Texas.
- Mardi Gras on Bourbon Street is the best winter celebration on the Brazos.
- The trails for hiking, biking, and wildlife observation are all around the lake.
- The annual Possumfest & BBQ Cook-Off the first weekend of October where almost everything but possum is being cooked!
- To canoe or kayak along the John Graves Scenic Riverway below the dam or take an airboat ride up the Brazos River.
- Watch the fireworks waterfall at Hell's Gate during the Fourth of July celebration.
- To see the best view by a dam site at Observation Point located above the dam.
- Anglers take your pick! You can fish for all kinds of bass, catfish, crappie, and even rainbow trout below the dam in winter.
- It's the Great Lake of Texas!
The Great Lake of Texas
Whether your interest is water sports, camping, fishing, history, sightseeing, special events or just looking for something different for a vacation or weekend getaway, Possum Kingdom Lake and the counties of Palo Pinto, Young and Stephens offer a huge variety of activities or plenty of opportunity for just plain relaxing.
Possum Kingdom Lake, "The Great Lake of Texas" offers unparalleled beauty. Towering cliffs mark the beauty of the lake, but there are also sandy beaches and quiet coves. Hell's Gate is perhaps the best known landmark, keeping sentinel over the most popular cove on the lake. Hell's Gate is located on the south end of the lake. Homeowners in this area are privileged to a spectacular view; however, visitors may only see "the gate" via boat or personal watercraft.
The lake has a surface area of 19,800 acres and a shoreline of 310 miles. Morris Sheppard Dam named for Senator John Morris Sheppard and authorized by the United States Congress in 1935 was the first erected by the Brazos River Conservation and Reclamation District, later to become the Brazos River Authority (BRA). It was begun on May 29, 1938 and was completed March 20, 1941. Engineers estimated the lake would need several years to reach full level, however, within a few days of completion; heavy rains up river caused the lake to fill within 24 hours.
The estimated annual visitor number close to one million and facilities to accommodate these visitors has grown dramatically over the last several years. The Possum Kingdom community is an unincorporated area. No population figures are available.
Situated 90 miles NW of Forth Worth, Texas Possum Kingdom Lake can be accessed south from Graham, Texas (referred to as the "West Side") and north from Mineral Wells, Texas (referred to as the "East Side"). Driving distance from each side is approximately 45 minutes.