It was still twilight when we saw the burning orange of the full moon beyond the trees. We’d been paddling our kayaks just over an hour in the quiet but slightly choppy waters of White Rock Lake, awaiting this moment. The moon quickly rose above the trees, where it hung for just a moment washing us in it’s glow, then as it always does, it ascended higher in the sky, seemingly pulling away further as it rose in the night sky. This is why we were here, out paddling in our kayaks on White Rock Lake. This was one of a couple dozen Full Moon Paddles I’ve done over the years, but I still get that incredible excitement when I see the moon out over the water!
This was my first time to paddle on White Rock Lake, located East of Downtown Dallas, we had a view of the lights of Dallas in the distance looking West. My friends Christian and Holley put in with me, as we joined a group from the Dallas Down River paddling club. While there are full moons each month, and lots of full moon paddles, July seems to always be the most popular, and I saw several other paddle clubs and Meet Ups doing the same around the state.
Dallas Down River met up at the White Rock Lake Bath House Cultural Center, a historic art deco building that was built in 1930. It was a place for Summer Sun Worshipers and those seeking relief from the heat to cool off, and the swim platform still remains in lake, however during 1953 drought closed White Rock Lake to swimming, and it’s been that way ever since. We ate a dinner of Cane’s Chicken in the park, and chatted with members of the paddling club, until about 7:30 when we all put in and headed North up towards White Rock Creek, the lake’s only tributary. Several of the group’s members told us that they often meet to paddle over to the shores of the Dallas Arboretum to enjoy their Cool Thursdays Concert Series, which in hindsights seems like a lot more fun than our trip up White Rock Creek.
From the Bathhouse, it took us about 20 minutes to reach the mouth of White Rock Creek. We hung fairly close to the shore, as it was windy but the wind and small swells were in our favor. We hoped the wind would die somewhat after the sun went down. We paddled past the marina and White Rock Boat Club, which is almost exclusively sailboats as the lake doesn’t allow boat motors over 9.5 hp. I’ve never seen this side of the lake, and it was really a sight to see all the sailboats in dock and many anchored out. We also passed quite a few kayakers and a few on paddleboards, as White Rock Paddle Company does offer rentals. I was surprised to see a few anglers out, and even more surprised to read that both bass and crappie fishing on the lake is considered excellent by Texas Park and Wildlife.
Once we paddled under Mockingbird Lane and the White Rock Lake Trail bridge, we were in the creek and the wind died down significantly. To our left is the White Rock Lake Dog Park, but I’m not sure if it was open, we didn’t see or hear any dogs. It’s a neat dog park with lake access, so while people can’t swim in the lake, dogs can.
The creek winds around, and while I spotted a nutria, which is a rodent similar in appearance to a beaver but without the engineering experience, swimming across the creek. There were also several water birds and ducks, but the most significant sight was the garbage in the creek. It’s such a shame that our waterways are so polluted. The trees around us were alive with the songs of the cicadas, and we slowed down and just enjoyed the peace, although it was still easy to hear the traffic like white noise in the distance. We let the rest of the club continue on up the creek, and we hung out and just talked before turning around and heading back out to the lake. I’m so glad we did because we were on the open water just as the full moon, called the Buck Moon, emerged above the trees!
Things To Do near White Rock Lake
White Rock Lake Park has picnic areas, and an 8 mile mile and bike paved trail.
The Dallas Arboretum is a must when in Dallas! They have year-round events and activities for the whole family, including the Rory Meyers Children’s Garden, which is really more of an outdoor museum!
Smoky Rose It was late and we were wet and nasty, or I would have definitely wanted to stop at this fun-looking restaurant near the Arboretum.
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