Free Camping on LBJ National Grasslands
Forest Road 904 is among the handful of boondocking areas available at LBJ National Grasslands. The only boondocking area along this road is a loop on a ridge with about 4 to 5 campsites. Two of the sites are large enough for RVs, one can accommodate full sized rigs while the other is better suited for small to medium-sized rigs. The remain sites are small, suitable for cars, vans, trucks, or tent campers. The area is located about 10 miles north of Decatur, TX, and is nestled inside equestrian properties. In fact, the LBJ National Grasslands is predominantly used by horseback riders.
GPS: 33.3632, -97.5896
Reservations: first-come, first-served
Camping Fee: none
Permits Required: none
Maximum Stay: 14 days per month
Forest Road 904, LBJ National Grasslands, TX
Nestled within the heart of North Texas, the Lyndon B. Johnson (LBJ) National Grasslands sprawl across a vast expanse of nearly 20,250 acres, offering a serene retreat for nature enthusiasts and outdoor adventurers. Managed by the U.S. Forest Service, the grasslands provide a harmonious blend of diverse scenery, pristine lakes, abundant wildlife, and a variety of recreational opportunities.
Forest Road 904 provides a handful of boondocking sites, most notably the camping loop depicted in the map above. The USFS has blocked off other areas along the road, but these sites still remain open.
LBJ National Grasslands offers an extensive network of trails, measuring 75 miles total, catering to hikers, horseback riders, and mountain bikers. The trail system allows visitors to explore the diverse terrain and soak in the natural splendor.
Wildlife enthusiasts will find the LBJ National Grasslands to be a haven for diverse ecosystems. The grassy expanses are home to a myriad of bird species, from raptors soaring overhead to songbirds, white-tailed deer, and bobcats.
Scenery: Forest Road 904 offers a diverse landscape with open fields and beautiful old oak trees, creating a serene and peaceful atmosphere. The dispersed campsites are surrounded by natural beauty. The presence of cattle grazing adds a touch of rural charm, and controlled burns by the forest service have left their mark on the grasslands. Numerous lakes, including Black Creek Lake and Cottonwood Lake, provide scenic spots for fishing and water activities.
Road Conditions: Roads leading to the Grasslands are all paved asphalt, however the roads are narrow. Those pulling 5th Wheels will have to move as far over to the right to let other vehicles by. The roads inside the Grasslands are all hard-packed dirt and gravel. There are several potholes, but most seem to be easily navigated around.
Cleanliness: Overall, the area is relatively clean, with some campsites requiring minor adjustments for leveling. The dispersed camping sites along Forest Road 904 are well-maintained, thanks to recent additions of gravel to the roads. However, as with any primitive camping area, visitors should come prepared, as there are no amenities such as toilets or water hook-ups. The mention of occasional late-night arrivals highlights the need for self-responsibility in maintaining cleanliness.
Peace & Quiet: For those seeking a quiet getaway, Forest Road 904 offers tranquility, particularly during the weekdays. Visitors have noted the peaceful ambiance, interrupted only by occasional far-off traffic noise and the sound of wildlife. The dispersed nature of the campsites contributes to a sense of seclusion, and the lack of park rangers ensures a self-sufficient and undisturbed camping experience.
Amenities: As a boondocking area on federal land, Forest Road 904 offers a primitive camping experience. There are no park rangers, and visitors should come well-prepared with essentials, considering the absence of electricity or water hook-ups. The campsites may have makeshift fire rings, and some offer pull-offs along the road. The dispersed nature of the area allows for a variety of camping experiences, from open fields to spots surrounded by trees.
Cellular Signal: Verizon LTE signals vary, with reports ranging from two to three bars. While some visitors have experienced decent connectivity for remote work and video calls, it’s advisable to be prepared for fluctuations in signal strength, given the remote nature of the location.
Crowdedness: The dispersed camping areas along Forest Road 904 provide a mix of secluded spots and clusters of campsites. Reviews suggest that weekdays are quieter, with fewer campers, while weekends may see a slight increase in activity. The availability of numerous spots, especially toward the end of the recreation area, allows for a range of choices depending on preferences for solitude or proximity to other campers.
Wildlife: The LBJ National Grasslands, including Forest Road 904, offer encounters with a variety of wildlife. Visitors have reported sightings of coyotes, white-tail rabbits, armadillos, and signs of deer. The equestrian activity in the area, with horse trailers and riders, adds to the rural charm. The presence of lakes attracts kayakers, paddle boat enthusiasts, and birdwatchers.
Bugs and Pests: While not explicitly mentioned in the provided reviews, the dispersed nature of the camping area and its proximity to natural surroundings suggest that visitors should be prepared for typical outdoor insects and pests. This may include mosquitoes, depending on the season and weather conditions.