Our Visit to Rocky Creek Park on Lake Somerville:
Video: Rocky Creek Park on Lake Somerville, Burton TX
Our Campsite at Rocky Creek Park
For years, we have tried to camp at Corps of Engineers (COE) parks. We've heard so many great things about them, and we've booked a lot of reservations to visit different COE parks. But every time we have a reservation, a storm comes through and floods the park, canceling our reservation. So it's a bit ironic that our first COE park visit was at Rocky Creek Park on Lake Somerville.
Rocky Creek Park is one of two current COE operated parks on the shores of Somerville Lake. At the time of our visit, the park had recently reopened, at least in part, following flood damage in the previous year. So we weren't really sure what to expect.
During our visit in June 2020, 68 of the park's 189 campsites were open, 121 were closed. Also closed due to flood damage: one of the park's two boat ramps, the amphitheater, playground, and restrooms in the closed areas.
All of the hiking trails were open and well-maintained. The boat ramp and courtesy dock in the peninsula next to the open tent camping loop were also open.
Sunrise at Rocky Creek Park
While it was a bit odd, camping in a park that was less than 50% open, it was also very relaxing. Perhaps because of fewer people, the deer were very active here, and fun to watch. And, with fewer campsites open, the park had very light traffic and was super quiet for most of the week. Saturday was the only day that all of the campsites in our loop filled up.
We camped in site 91. This was a HUGE site that could fit any size rig. It sits up on a bit of a hill overlooking the lake (with another row of lakeside camping between us and the water). For most of the week, we had a clear view of the water, since even during the summer, there weren't many campers there during the week.
The sunrises over the lake were worth getting up early for and, again, we had a perfect view of the sunrise on most mornings. Our campsite (and all of the currently open RV sites in Rocky Creek Park) had 20/30/50 amp electricity and water hookups. We also had a picnic table, fire pit, lantern hook and BBQ grill.
Since most folks reserve waterfront campsites, we only had neighbors on either side of us for one or two nights during our week-long stay. Site 91 also had a shade tree on our driver side that was a big help in keeping cool. We thought about pulling in instead of backing into the site so we would have a water view out the windshield. But we decided against it when we realized the shade tree would block our awning. We're happy we backed in... we had great views and plenty of shade without having to run the power cord and waterhose underneath the RV.
The staff treats the grass in the actual campsites with weed killer here, probably in an effort to keep the sticker burrs out of the campsites. But, be prepared... we still had sticker burrs in our campsite, although luckily, mostly soft ones.
Looking Out Over Lake Somerville
The History of Lake Somerville:
Somerville Lake (or as we've always called it: Lake Somerville) was built by the US Army Corps of Engineers in response to consistent flooding in the Brazos River Valley. Between 1912 and 1958 (46 years), residents here experienced significant flooding 43 times. In an effort to control the flooding, construction of the Somerville Dam began in 1962. The dam was completed in 1967 and the new reservoir was dedicated in 1968.
While Lake Somerville is operated by the Brazos River Authority, the US Army Corps of Engineers (COE) built 7 parks on the lake shore, including one that is leased to the City of Somerville, two others leased to Texas Parks and Wildlife, and two more that they are leasing to private operators.
The COE currently operates two parks on Somerville Lake: Rocky Creek Park and Yegua Creek Park. These 2 lakeside parks sit about 5 minutes from each other by car.
You can't talk about the history of this area without talking about flooding. Remember, Lake Somerville was built to ease flooding of the Brazos Valley. At conservation level, Somerville Lake has a surface area of 11,160 acres with about 85 miles of sandy shoreline. At peak flood control level, it reaches 24,400 acres. The recreational parks that sit on its banks are squarely in the line of fire every time a major storm comes through this area.
Of all of these parks, Rocky Creek Park is the most vulnerable of the Somerville Parks because it it built on a peninsula, and much of it has very little elevation above lake level. This park has experienced significant flooding over the past several years. So currently, only a small portion of the original camping is available. While we were there, they were working on a larger camping area that sits on the tip of the peninsula. Hopefully, it will be able to reopen, but chances are high that it will be impacted by more storms in the future.
Hiking at Rocky Creek Park
Rocky Creek Boat Dock
Things to Do at Rocky Creek Park:
Hiking: Besides watching the sunrise and the wildlife, this was our favorite activity at Rocky Creek. This park is home to approximately 5 miles of hiking trails. The trails were in very good shape during our visit, well-marked and easy to hike. The hikes were mostly shady and we found several benches along the way. The trails have no names here.
Boating: Probably the number one activity at Rocky Creek Park! A large percentage of the folks who were at Rocky Creek during our visit had boats or jet skis. Folks with waterfront campsites could anchor their boats right behind their sites.
Paddling: There are no rentals here, but if you bring your own kayak, canoe or paddleboard, there is plenty of shoreline for easy put-in. This is especially true of the waterfront camping sites in the main camping loop.
Fishing: We did not see any fishing piers within the park, but visitors can bank fish or fish from their boats. A Texas fishing license is required to fish within Rocky Creek Park.
Hiking Information Board
Biking: All of the hiking trails are also open to mountain bikes. The roads within the park are also bike friendly.
Bird Watching: While Rocky Creek has no official bird watching area, the park is still home to a good variety of birds. And we were able to sit and listen to them from our campsite.
Wildlife Viewing: Perhaps because it was closed for so long, this park is great for wildlife viewing, particularly deer. We saw deer while on the hiking trails and we watched deer from our campsite every day. A few passed through our site several times.
Swimming: There is no designated swimming area, but campers may swim in Somerville Lake behind their campsites. There are no lifeguards.
Other Amenities at Rocky Creek Park:
Group Shelter: Rocky Creek Park has a Group Shelter available for lease near campsites 44 and 51.
Proximity to Burton TX While you are visiting Rocky Creek Park, you are just a short drive from the town of Burton TX (population 300). This super cool small town is very walkable and the people are very friendly. Check out the Oldest Operating Cotton Gin in the USA and find a big piece of Texas Pink Granite that fell off the train on its way to build the Galveston Seawall 100+ years ago!
Rocky Creek Park Details:
Open Year Round? Yes
Peak Season: March - September
Non-Peak Season: October - February
Reservations Available: 6 Months Prior to Camping Date
Check-In Time: 3:00 pm
Check-Out Time: 2:00 pm
Maximum Stay Allowed: 14 days
Park Gate: Yes
Gate Open: 6am - 10pm. NO ENTRY after hours.
ATT Cell Coverage: Good
Total RV/Tent Sites: 47
Total Tent Only Sites: 21
Contact Lake Somerville Rocky Creek Park:
Park Address: 10550 Rocky Creek Park Road, Burton TX 77835
US Army COE Somerville Lake Office Phone: 979.596.1622
Reservations Phone: 877.444.6777
Reserve a Campsite at Rocky Creek Park (Somerville Lake) Online
Visit the Somerville Lake COE Park Website
Check Somerville Lake Facility Open/Close Status and Lake Levels
RV and Tent Camping at Rocky Creek Park:
Total Sites: 8
Site Numbers: 44 - 51
30/50 Amp Electricity
Electric and Water Hookups
Big Rig Friendly
No trees or waterfront sites in this section.
Total Sites: 39
Site Numbers: 52 - 91
30/50 Amp Electricity
Electric and Water Hookups
Big Rig Friendly
Some sites are shaded and some are waterfront.
Campsites include a picnic table, BBQ grill, fire pit and lantern hook. Some are shaded, some are not. Some are waterfront, allowing you to park your kayaks, boat or other water toys right behind your campsite.
A large row of trash dumpsters are located on the main park road across from the main camping loop. Each camping loop includes a restroom with showers. They were clean during our visit.
Rocky Creek has 2 dump stations located across from the small RV/tent camping loop and just past the main camping loop near the large camping loop that is closed. Both dump stations are open.
Rocky Creek Park Information:
Year Opened: Lake Somerville was impounded in 1967 and dedicated in 1968.
Discount Passes Accepted: Golden Age and Golden Access Passport holders receive half price camping.
CCC Park? No
Park Store? No
Pet Policy: Pets are allowed throughout the park and on trails, but must be kept on a leash at all times. Pets are not allowed in buildings.
Lodging Options at Rocky Creek Park on Lake Somerville: RV Camping, Tent Camping
Rocky Creek Park, Lake Somerville Reviews: Campendium, Campground Reviews, RV Parky, TripAdvisor, No Yelp Reviews Found for Rocky Creek Park,
Amenities: lake access, forest, hiking, biking, wildlife viewing, fishing, paddling, swimming, boating
Operated By: the US Army Corps of Engineers (COE)
Region: Central Texas
Nearest Towns: Burton TX (10 miles), Somerville TX (10 miles), Brenham TX (17 miles)
View the Rocky Creek Park Map
Trails for Rocky Creek Park are shown on the main park map.
Learn More About Fishing at Lake Somerville
Weather at Lake Somerville Rocky Creek Park
Tags: COE Parks, Central Texas, Corps of Engineers Parks