How Deep Is Lake Livingston in Texas?

lake livingston
© Dylan K Kingcaid/

Written by Marisa Wilson

Updated: July 21, 2023

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Lake Livingston reservoir can be found in the East Texas Piney Woods. Under a contract with the City of Houston, the Trinity River Authority (TRA) of Texas constructed, owns and operates Lake Livingston for water delivery purposes.  This lake, the second-largest in Texas, is entirely contained inside the state (Sam Rayburn Reservoir is larger).

Infographic for Lake Livingston in Texas.
Lake Livingston lies in the Piney Woods of East Texas; Houston is the nearest major city.

The Livingston Dam, built over the Trinity River about 7 miles southwest of Livingston, is two-and-a-half miles long and averages 55 feet in depth. The max depth is 90 feet. Sales of revenue bonds that would be redeemed with money from the selling of water were used to fund the lake’s construction. Forrest and Cotton, Inc. began building the dam in 1966, which was finished in 1969. The dam’s construction cost US $83,996,957 (or $603,985,378 in 2021 currency). 

Because Lake Livingston was built without flood control or flood storage, all water that comes into the lake, whether from rain or rivers, must leave as more water comes in. The water flow through the dam is controlled by 12 tainter gates in a 55-foot-deep concrete and steel spillway. The spillway works similarly to how the river flows, so when the river flow goes up, the discharge goes up, and vice versa.

trinity river

Trinity River is the second-largest river in Texas.

©Karen P Stilwell/

Where Is Lake Livingston on a Map?

Lake Livingston is located in southeastern Texas, around 80 miles north of Houston. Traveling on I-45, it is about a 3-hour drive from Dallas, Texas. Coming from New Orleans, it is about a 6-hour journey.


There are several things to do in lake Livingston. You can plan a fun weekend here, from picnic locations to fun places with activities for everyone. Let’s see what you can do in lake Livingston.

Wineries around the Lake

Tempe Creek Vineyard and Farms offers weekend taste testing and also serves unique beverages like Gryphon mead. Teysha Vineyard is open for tastings on Friday through Sunday and features Granny Mary’s Cajun-Asian cuisine truck in addition to four to six wine taster flights. 

The Gold Spur Reserve is a Texas High Plains red blend that has spent more than a year in bourbon barrels and is excellent with steak. Wine tastings are available Friday through Sunday at Knox Circle Winery – Froggy Wines, along with a deli tray. They started at Grayson College in Dennison ten years ago to get certificates in Enology (the science and study of winemaking), and they haven’t looked back since.

Golf on Vacation

Excellent landscape sights may be found at Mill Ridge Golf Club in East Texas, while a flowing stream adds more water hazards. A professional is on staff, and clubs and carts are available for rent. The nine-hole at Livingston Municipal Golf Course is a beautiful facility. 

Go to the pro shop to purchase equipment, schedule a tee time, or learn about club membership. An hour south of the lake, Tour 18 features meticulously recreated holes from some of the most known golf courses in the country. Tour 18 is a public facility with a driving range, putting green, full-service golf shop, and Traditions Café.


On the west side of the lake, Wolf Creek Park has 102 roomy campsites, 54 of which have complete RV hookups and 48 of which have water and power. Also, all of the campsites have grills, picnic tables, and fire rings. On the camping excursions at Wolf Creek, there are some stunning sunrises. 

Anglers can use the boat ramps, piers, and specially-made cleaning stations while swimming, hiking, water skiing, and other activities are available. Renting paddleboats, canoes, licenses, bait, and miniature golf are all available at the Park Store/Marina. Numerous goods, ice, beverages, firewood, and camping gear are available. Enjoy playing basketball, beach volleyball, and also the amusing children’s playground. 


Go to Wolf Creek Park for some great camping opportunities.

©Prapat Aowsakorn/

Fishing Is Great in Livingston

The 450 miles of shoreline are only partially accessible for bank fishing. However, some designated bank fishing spots are easily reachable. There is a public fishing pier and fish cleaning stations. The shallow-water vegetation common in the lake’s upper portions and the backs of many coves are perfect for fishing, and canoes and kayaks are the perfect boats for the job. 

All types of fishing and leisure boats can be launched quickly at one of the many boat launch ramps that are spread out across the lake. The lake has several marinas that offer amenities to boaters and anglers. Numerous campgrounds, RV parks, and other lodging options may be found throughout the lake. 

Lake Livingston is renowned for the best white bass fishing in Texas. Popular targets include catfish and hybrid striped bass. Gar and other populations of sunfish are also present. On this sizable impoundment, boat fishing is the most common method of fishing.

You can also find these other fish here:

Lake Livingston is renowned for the best white bass fishing in Texas.

©Ryno Botha/

Bird Watching

During their spring and fall migrations, numerous shorebird and waterfowl species stop at Lake Livingston. In this area, other birds hibernate. The lake is near the Mississippi Flyway’s western boundary and along the Central North American Flyway. This makes it a great place to go for bird watching. Due to its variety of habitats, the park features a unique combination of year-round bird occupants. 

In one area of Lake Livingston State Park, you might witness woodland species like the downy woodpecker, red-shouldered hawk, or tufted titmouse. You might also see a double-crested cormorant, great egret, or black-crowned night heron if you take a short stroll near the water. The park is home to both pileated and red-headed woodpeckers. These rare birds have eye-catching red, white, and black markings. 

Around Lake Livingston, numerous bald eagle nesting pairs are present. They might be visible from Lake Livingston State Park’s shoreline. The best seasons to see them are in the fall and winter; however, you might catch a glimpse of a rare year-round inhabitant at other times. These magnificent birds primarily eat the copious fish found in Lake Livingston’s waters. 

hawk at Lake Livingston State Park

Bird-watching is one of the most popular activities at Lake Livingston State Park.

©Chris Rosario/


Lake Livingstone is the second biggest lake in Texas and has several fun activities for everyone. You can play golf, catch white bass or enjoy a boat on the open water with a beautiful sunrise. Whatever you look for on a fishing trip, you will no doubt find it in Livingston. Check out the other articles on lakes in Texas for a better idea of which one interests you the most. 

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About the Author

Creepy-crawly creatures enthrall Marisa. Aside from raising caterpillars, she has a collection of spiders as pets. The brown recluse is her favorite spider of all time. They're just misunderstood. You don't have to worry about squishing the creatures as her catching, and relocating abilities can safely move stray centipedes or snakes to a new location that's not your living room.

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