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Wallisville Lake Project

Wallisville

WALLISVILLE, Texas - A fishing enthusiast visits the Corps' Wallisville Lake project for recreational fishing. The Wallisville Lake Project is a large area of protected wetlands, swamp forest, and bottomland hardwood forest created by the USACE Galveston District for salinity control, navigation, water supply, recreation and fish and wildlife enhancement.

Parks

The Wallisville Lake Project has two parks and two recreation areas for our visitors.

 1. Cedar Hill Park was opened in 2000 and is managed by Chambers County by a lease agreement.  On the northeast bank of Lake Charlotte, Cedar Hill Park is named for the large cedar trees throughout the park.  Several shell middens in the area around Lake Charlotte show us that this area was used by prehistoric Native Americans.  By the time of the Texas revolution, Lake Charlotte was a resort area with two-masted scow schooners plying the waters from the Trinity River through Lake Pass and into the lake.  Nicholas Descomps Labadie, physician, pharmacist, and entrepreneur had a plantation home on the shore of Lake Charlotte during the 1830’s.  Labadie served as surgeon for Sam Houston’s Army and tended the wounded at San Jacinto.  He later traded his plantation to Michel B. Menard of Galveston, Texas, for wharf rights and built Labadie’s Wharf near the foot of 26th Street in Galveston, where he operated a shipping firm that imported lumber.  Lake Charlotte is named for Labadie’s mother, Charlotte Barthe Labadie.  To get to Cedar Hill from I-10 take the FM 563 exit and go north on FM 563 to Lake Charlotte Road.  Turn left (west) onto Lake Charlotte Road.  The park entrance is on the left just across from the Sherman family’s cemetery.  A pavilion with tables, grills, and trash cans can accommodate large groups.  Small groups may also use the individual covered and /or shaded picnic tables.  Vaulted toilets are available for visitor convenience.  Almost three miles of graveled trails with boardwalks out into the cypress swamp along the bank of Lake Charlotte are excellent for birding and small animal wildlife viewing.  Bald eagles are known to fish from Lake Charlotte.  The cypress swamps along the banks of Lake Charlotte are also excellent for paddling canoes and kayaks.  A hand-launch area is located at the lakeshore side of the loop road in the park.  A limited amount of primitive style camping is allowed at Cedar Hill Park.  Please contact the Chambers County Commissioner’s Pct. 3 office at 281-576-2243 for permits and fee information.  Please utilize trash cans for waste items left over from your recreational use of the park.

2. Hugo Point Park was opened in 2003 and is also managed by Chambers County by a lease agreement.  On the west bank of Old River Lake, Hugo Point Park is named for Hugo Franssen, who came to the United States from Holland and became a U.S. citizen in 1844.  He and his wife, Metta, came to Texas about 1854 and settled on the west bank of Old River in the Cove community, from where he operated a freight boat between Cove and Galveston.  Hugo, Metta, and several other family members are buried in the family cemetery surrounded by a fence in the park.  Please respect their privacy during your visit.  To get to Hugo Point from I-10 take the FM 565 exit and go south on FM 565 to Gou Hole Road.  Turn left onto Gou Hole Road and follow it out to the gate at the end of the public road.  Turn left into the park.  Day use facilities include a large pavilion, individual picnic tables, restrooms, playground, a two-lane boat ramp, parking for vehicles with or without trailers, and a handicap accessible trail out into the marsh with an accessible observation tower.  Hugo Point is a day use park only, no overnight camping is allowed.  Please contact the Chambers County Commissioner’s Pct 4 office at 281-383-2011for information about pavilion reservations.  Please utilize trash cans for waste items left over from your recreational use of the park.

3. Trinity River Island Recreation Area first opened to the public in 1999, but was not completed until 2003. Operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, TRIRA is an island between the main stem of the Trinity River and the engineered navigation channel.  From the Houston area take the exit 806 off I-10 and follow the feeder road to the large brown USACE sign for Trinity River Island Recreation Area and turn right (south) through the pipe gate onto Lock & Dam Road. Follow Lock & Dam on south to the recreation area across the bridge at the dam.  From the Beaumont area take exit 807 off I-10 and cross under I-10 at the underpass.  Turn right (west) onto the south feeder road and follow the feeder road to the large brown U.S. Army Corps of Engineers sign for Trinity River Island Recreation Area and turn left (south) through the pipe gate onto Lock & Dam Road. Follow Lock & Dam on south to the recreation area across the bridge at the dam.  All facilities here are handicap accessible and include both covered and uncovered picnic tables, fishing access on both upstream and downstream sides of the dam, a two-lane boat ramp, life jacket loaner station, restrooms, trash cans, parking for regular, handicap access, and vehicles with trailers or RV’s, the project office complex with our Visitor Center, and accessible walkways.  Please use the handrail areas above and below the dam and the banks along the river for fishing access.  For your safety, fishing is not allowed from the bridge or the dam structure.  The picnic tables, fishing access, walkways, restrooms, parking, and boat ramp are all open 24/7.  The Visitor Center is open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday, Sunday, and federal holidays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. We’re closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas.

JJ Mayes Wildlife Trace is a four- mile all weather road atop the levee along the west bank of the Trinity River.  Opened in 2003, the Trace gives visitors a close-up view of the marshes and river bank habitats and many of the wildlife species living within the boundaries of the Wallisville Project.  The Trace is named for Joshua Jackson Mayes, one of the early Anglo settlers in the Wallisville area of Chambers County.  His ranch grew to be one of the largest cattle operations in the county.  Mayes served in both the Mexican War and the Civil War.  Both JJ and his wife, Sarah, are buried in the Wallisville Cemetery, just east of the project.  A picnic area under a forest of stately old live oaks, planted by the Mayes family, near the entrance welcomes you to the Trace.  The Sawmill Trail begins at the parking area just beyond the “four way” intersection.  This trail meanders along the river bank down to the lock. About half way down the trail runs into the handicap accessible loop.  The loop can be accessed from the main Trace at two parking areas. The loop also has boardwalks, benches, and overlooks on the west bank of the Trinity.  The loop is just under a mile in length. At the lower end of the Trace, a pavilion, restrooms and parking area are available. Remember that this is the Gulf Coast area and be prepared for mosquitoes as you leave your vehicle. The Trace is open seven days a week except Thanksgiving and Christmas from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

ABOUT:  The Wallisville Lake Project is a large area of protected wetlands, swamp forest, and bottomland hardwood forest created by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for salinity control, navigation, water supply, recreation, and fish and wildlife enhancement. The protection of this land is of vital importance to birds.

The project stretches along both sides of the Trinity River and both north and south of InterstateHighway 10 about half way between Houston and Beaumont, Texas. Much of the Project is accessible by boat from boat launch facilities at Hugo Point Park (Gou Hole Road off FM 565 south from I-10), Trinity River Island Recreation Area (the Project Office area just south of I-10 on Lock and Dam Road from exits 806 and 807), under the high bridge over the Trinity River (accessed from the Trinity River Boat Ramp Turnaround off I-10), and a hand-launch canoe/kayak area at Cedar Hill Park (from I-10 take FM 563 north to Lake Charlotte Road west to the park).

S I Z E : 23,000 acres
H A B I TAT : The project, which protects the estuary of the Trinity River system, consists of riparian bottomland forests, fresh and brackish water marshes, cypress swamps, and several natural lakes and rivers, and smaller streams and pools. 
CONSERVAT I O N : The Wallisville Lake Project is becoming better known and more accessible to birders and nature lovers each year. As the project brings more facilities on-line, additional benefits will be realized.

View the coastal birding trail map for the Trinity Loop and the Anahuac Loop.

Wildlife

Birding: As a site partner with the Gulf Coast Bird Observatory, the Wallisville Lake Project is recognized as a crucial habitat area for both neotropical migrants and resident avian species.  The Trinity River is a major corridor for migration both north and south.  The Mouth of the Trinity River Waterbird Rookery hosts 12 species of nesting colonial waterbirds.  Both Cedar Hill Park and Hugo Point Park have trails and boardwalk areas for hiking and birding. The JJ Mayes Wildlife Trace is both a driving and walking birder’s paradise.  Stop by the Visitor’s Center at Trinity River Island Recreation Area for maps and information.

Fishing: Anglers can find their heart’s desire in the waters of the Wallisville Lake Project.  Depending on tides, winds, and fish movements, salt water species can be caught one day and fresh water species the next, or maybe even on the same day.  The Trinity River record yellow bullhead catfish weighing 66 pounds was caught just north of the I-10 bridge.  And bull sharks have been collected also near the I-10 bridge.  Redfish cavort in Lost Lake and southern flounder too big to fit in a cooler have been caught near the dam structure.  A valid Texas fishing license is required for persons 17 years and older up to those born before September 1, 1930.  (TPWD fishing) Fishing is allowed just about everywhere on project waters with the following few exceptions:  No fishing is allowed at the Mouth of the Trinity River Waterbird Rookery, no fishing is allowed off the bridge at the entrance to the project office, and no fishing is allowed off the dam structure.  Please pick up all accumulated refuse after your fishing adventure and use our trash receptacles.  Wading birds can become entangled in discarded fishing line and drown.

Hunting: Hunting on the Wallisville Lake Project is limited to the waterfowl season for ducks and geese. Over the past few years, the early teal portion of the season has had the best results.  See our hunting map for information about our location and the areas that are open or closed to hunting. Waterfowl hunting is allowed for licensed hunters on a day-use basis and on a permitted seasonal blind basis. For information on the seasonal permit process, see the Hunting section of the Rules and Regulations page of our site. Also see the Rules and Regulations page of our site for information about what can and cannot be done on project lands and waters.  For information on state hunting laws and season lengths see the Texas Parks and Wildlife Waterfowl Digest for the current year.  (TPWD Waterfowl Digest)  No other type of hunting is allowed at any time on the project.  This includes the hunting of feral hogs.  Feral hogs can be taken only by permits issued by park rangers.