Caddo Lake is the realm of furry giants. USA

Caddo Lake in Texas: a colorful realm of cypresses and mosses

Caddo Lake in Texas - photos, history, flora, fauna, interesting facts, activities

On the eastern edge of Texas, near the border with Louisiana, which is famous for its vast Louisiana swamps, lies the amazing Lake Caddo. It is unique in that it is home to some of the most extensive cypress forests in the world. Covered with Spanish moss trees growing in a clear reservoir of clear water, a truly fantastic scenery. Looking at them, you can not help but believe in the reality of the legends and mystical stories that tell about this area.

Creation of beavers: the story of Caddo Lake

The picturesque reservoir Caddo was formed in the early 19th century as a result of a series of circumstances. A powerful hurricane caused a blockage of fallen trees and branches on the Red River that flows through the area. The resident beavers took advantage of this lucky chance and created a dam.

Thus, a huge closed reservoir appeared, which subsequently gained fame as one of the most beautiful lakes in the world. Caddo covers an area of 106 square kilometers and its depth varies from one to three meters. And the water in it so transparent that in some places you can see swimming fish at a depth of two meters.

Until 1835, the inhabitants of this area Caddo Indians, from whom the lake was named, had their own version of its origin. According to it, the reservoir appeared due to a series of earthquakes, after which a dam was formed, and then supplemented with the efforts of beavers. Curiously, later the Caddo Indians left the area, selling the lake and surrounding areas to the white settlers.

Creepy “knick-knacks” from under the water

The cypresses of Caddo Lake are unique in every way. First, they form the world’s largest cypress forest growing on the water.

Many of the cypress trees here are up to 50 meters or more in height, and the minimum age of these trees is a hundred years. However, in some places there are even older giants, the age of which is estimated at six to seven hundred years.

Caddo Lake Cypresses

Second, there are two species of cypress trees here, the Arizona and the swamp cypress. The latter is unique in that it sheds its leaves in the winter, which is why it is often referred to as the “bald cypress.

Caddo cypresses growing in the water are unique in that they have a peculiar formation called “knees”. They are stumps protruding above the water, growing directly from the roots of the trees. Scientists are still unable to come to a consensus about these bizarre outgrowths.

It has been suggested that the “cypress knees” may additionally feed the roots of the trees with oxygen, or allow them to better anchor themselves in the water to withstand a hurricane. Be that as it may, the spurs protruding from the water only add to the mystical atmosphere of Caddo Lake, reminiscent of giant monster fingers reaching out to travelers.

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“Old man’s beard” and Indian girl’s braids: the allure of Spanish moss

But it’s not just the “cypress knees” that give the trees of Caddo Lake a mystical and frightening look. The picture of the living fairy tales of kikimors, lichs and watermen is perfectly complemented by the bizarre Spanish moss, with which many of the “bald” cypresses are wrapped.

Its strands are gray in summer and green in winter, which creates an impressive contrast at any time of the year. This is because in winter this vegetation gets more moisture, which gives it a pronounced emerald coloration.

Spanish moss is the main enemy of cypresses and the main artist of the local landscapes. It does not parasitize the plants or draw sap from them, but causes their death in other ways.

By shrouding the trees, it cuts off the access of sunlight to their foliage, resulting in the appearance of gray skeletons, which, like dead men and creepy monsters, rise up among Caddo Lake. It is precisely such “bewitched” cypresses that have given rise to numerous legends about this unusual body of water, according to which lost tourists turn into desiccated skeletons.

There was a beautiful romantic legend among the Indians about the appearance of Spanish moss on the trees. According to the legend, a happy couple in love once lived on the shore of the lake. But the girl died suddenly.

The guy buried her, but before that he cut off her braids, and then hung her hair on the branches of trees in memory of his beloved. Over the years, the braids have turned gray and continue to serve as a reminder of a great love. Interestingly, the name “Spanish moss” was also coined by the Indians, to whom the plant reminded them of the gray beards of the Spanish conquerors.

Different Flora, Fauna of Caddo and Bigfoot

The flora of Caddo Lake is not limited to cypress and Spanish moss alone. In addition to their dense thickets, there are many beautiful lilies and lotuses. On the whole, the local flora counts about 190 species, including more than 40 species of lianas and 75 different herbs.

The flora and fauna of Caddo Lake

The fauna of Caddo is no less diverse. The reservoir and its surroundings are inhabited by about fifty species of mammals, more than two hundred species of birds, about 60 species of fish and about 30 species of reptiles. Given such a rich biodiversity of the area, it is not surprising that since 1993 the territory of the reservoir and its surroundings was declared a nature reserve.

Caddo Lake is also considered the habitat of semi-mythical creatures Bigfoot – a kind of analog of Bigfoot. They are covered with thick fur and are very tall.

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Legends of Caddo Lake Bigfoot in Texas

The first mentions of them are found since the formation of the lake here. In Texas, even created a special society for the study of Bigfoot. Every year in the spring its members organize expeditions to Caddo Lake to search for these legendary creatures.

The “undefined” city at Caddo Lake

Near Lake Caddo is the small town of Uncertain, whose name translates as “Uncertain”. It was formed, like the body of water itself, at the dawn of the 19th century, and the history of its origin is no less interesting.

Sailors often marked the cargo floating on rivers with playing cards, which often got lost on the way and no one knew exactly where the delivery was supposed to be. Such undetermined cargo was stored on the shore, where a settlement with the bizarre name “Undetermined” was later formed.

The town of Uncertain on the shores of Caddo Lake, Texas

Now the town, just three hours from Dallas, lives solely on tourists who come to admire the amazing cypresses of Caddo Lake. You can rent a boat or take a waterwheel excursion to explore the picturesque body of water.

Kayak and kayak rentals are no less popular here. But on such a trip do not forget that the lake is inhabited by alligators. True lovers of romance can rent a wooden bungalow on stilts right on the lake, which will allow you to fully appreciate the mystical atmosphere of Caddo.

There are quite a few fishing bases on the shores of Caddo Lake, and fishing is one of the most popular activities here, in addition to photo shoots in front of the “bald” cypress trees and water trips among their thickets. But still better to go fishing with a local guide, if you do not want to get lost among the cypress mazes of the lake. Vegetation here is quite dense, so you can spend many hours before you find the pier.

How to get to Caddo Lake

Since Caddo Lake is located on the border of two American states, the starting point for a trip to it can be chosen in either state. The state of Louisiana is best accessible from Shreveport, about 35 miles from the lake.

In the state of Texas, the choices are wider. You can drive from Dallas to Uncertain or from the town of Marshall (72 km to the lake) or from Karnack which is about 16 km to the Lake Caddo info center.

The tourist season here lasts from March to November. The best time to visit Lake Caddo is from late October to mid-November, when the cypress trees growing here change color of their leaves and magically changing into a colorful autumn clothing.

In the fall there is a truly fabulous atmosphere that makes you believe in the ancient Indian stories and the existence of semi-mythical Bigfoot. Not surprisingly, it was the autumn landscapes of the Caddo Cypress labyrinths that served as the filming location for most of the 2010 episodes of Jaws 3D.

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Caddo Lake, USA – overview

Caddo Lake is famous for its giant cypress trees hung with amazing Spanish moss. The illusion of prehistoric times never leaves people who come here.

The famous Caddo Lake is located in the United States on the Texas-Louisiana border.

Caddo Lake on the map

  • Geographical coordinates 32.703850, -94.024600
  • Distance from the US capital Washington DC about 1700 km
  • Distance to the nearest airport in Dallas – roughly 300 km

The lake is known for its magnificent cypress forests, perhaps the largest on the planet. The most marvelous views are before the eyes of amazed travelers. Almost the entire body of water is covered with cussweed, giving the impression that it is a swamp. But it is not. The lake is filled with surprisingly clean and clear water, smelling only of grass. In winter, the vegetation sinks to the bottom, and all the beauty also begins to be reflected in the mirror of the lake, creating a unique landscape.

Caddo Lake The prehistory of the lake’s origin is quite interesting. While there was human intervention in the history of Blue Bee Pond, Caddo Lake was formed naturally. One day, the Red River, the lake’s progenitor, deposited piles of debris in the form of branches into the cypress forest, and partially blocked the flow of water. Local beavers took advantage of this circumstance. The rodents built many of their huts, and thus further strengthened the natural dam. Gradually, the barrier grew and created this amazing lake.

Caddo Lake in numbers

  • Area of the water surface about 103 km2
  • Average depth about 2 meters

Many cypresses have strange and unknown to science formations in the form of stumps or, as they are also called, knees. Scientists puzzle over their purpose. So far, there are two main theories:

  • The neoplasms serve to oxygenate the roots of cypresses
  • The new growths are necessary to strengthen the roots and thus protect the tree from falling during a hurricane.

Another distinctive feature of Caddo Lake is Spanish moss, generously hung on the branches of the trees and very similar to strands of hair. The color of the moss changes periodically with the seasons, from gray in summer to green in winter. Especially rich green color moss gets in winter, during the season of heavy rains. But it must be said that Spanish moss is not exactly a parasite. It does not suck the juices from cypresses, but provides its own nutrition. Although at the same time, the moss prevents the flow of sunlight to the tree on which it is nestled. This is why many cypresses have almost no leaves, and they are often called “bald” cypresses. By the way, the Indians – great masters at creating legends – explain the appearance of strands of Spanish moss this way:

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A little later, the locals added legends about the famous Bigfoot who dwells on the lake. No one has seen it, but all the locals claim it exists. This fuels a lively interest in the lake. Travelers from all over the world visit this unique lake. For the convenience of tourists organized excursions on small motor boats.



I want to know everything

A unique and unusual lake Caddo (USA) has a rather shallow depth, but abundant thickets make it difficult to see anything in it. But the water is surprisingly clean and clear, smelling fresh and covered with abundant vegetation of lotuses and lilies.

Caddo is an open lake located north of Marshall, Texas, on the Texas-Louisiana border. Caddo Lake is protected by the state and is home to some of the largest cypress forests in the world.

The main enemy of cypress trees is Spanish moss, which envelops the branches of the tree, preventing sunlight from reaching the leaves. As a result, the tree turns into a gray skeleton.

There are several versions of the origin of this lake, but one of the most likely is that a large blockage of logs and river debris developed on the Red River in the early 19th century. And the beavers that live along the banks of the river took advantage of this blockage and reinforced it with their dams. As a result, by 1811 there was a real dam that blocked the river and created Caddo Lake.

On the shore of the lake is a small town called Uncertain, which means “uncertain” in English. The history of this name is noteworthy: the town got its name in a rather unique way. In the 19th century, the heyday of shipping, the goods that were transported were marked with playing cards, because, with few exceptions, sailors were illiterate. And often such cargo became “uncertain delivery” when the cards flew off and no one could remember where the cargo was to be carried. Such goods with lost addresses and unknown destination were to be stockpiled at the last port before reaching the river. Thus the town was called Uncertain.

Caddo is the only lake in Texas that was formed naturally. In the early nineteenth century, a blockage of river debris and logs developed on the Red River. Beavers living on the banks of the river reinforced this blockage with their dams. This created a dam that blocked the flow of the river and began the creation of the lake. Now it is a protected area with a unique nature.

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Unusual cypresses from Caddo Lake

Lake Caddo (Caddo lake) located in eastern Texas, on the border with Louisiana (USA), this amazing and mysterious place, here grow quite strange plants, similar to the prehistoric, and it seems that this is about to go out of the corner to meet us dinosaurs.

The lake was formed entirely by accident, in the early nineteenth century there was a blockage of river trash and logs on the Red River. Beavers living on the banks of the river fortified this blockage with their dams. This created a dam that blocked the flow of the river and began the creation of the lake. That’s how one of the most beautiful lakes in the world appeared, thanks to a strong wind and beavers. It is a protected, conservation area.

Caddo Lake covers an area of about 106 square kilometers and is home to many interesting and beautiful plants: 190 species of trees and shrubs, 75 different herbs, 42 species of lianas. Besides plants, there are also diverse animal species: 50 species of mammals, 220 species of birds, about 60 species of fish and 30 species of reptiles. 45 species are rare or endangered.

But the most interesting attraction of Lake Caddo are cypress forests, they are also the largest on the planet. The height of some cypresses exceeds 50 meters. Two species of cypress grow on the reserve, the Arizona cypress and the swamp cypress, but they are popularly called “bald cypress” (Bald Cypress). Unlike their terrestrial relatives, these cypresses are not conifers, but deciduous trees that shed their leaves for the winter. The cypress trees growing in Caddo Lake are at least 100 years old, and some are even older; there are even 700-year-old trees.

Cypresses, especially those in the water, often have special formations called “cypress knees.” They are sprouts resembling stumps, but growing right out of the roots of the tree. To this day, scientists are still pondering why cypresses need these special formations. One theory says that for the additional oxygenation of the roots, another – that the offshoots help the trees to get a foothold in the ground, so they do not get ripped out by a hurricane.

Strands of Spanish moss hang from cypress trees, green in winter and gray in summer. Spanish moss is not a parasite; it is a lichen that uses the host plant only for support. The plant feeds on its own, obtaining its food from water and air. This explains the fact that in winter, getting enough moisture, the moss turns green. However, Spanish moss still harms cypresses by enveloping their branches and blocking access to sunlight.

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