Quick Facts About Possum Kingdom Lake

How Deep is Possum Kingdom Lake?

The Texas Parks and Wildlife have Possum Kingdom Lake’s maximum depth registered at 145 feet. Did you know that scuba diving used to be practiced and taught in some of the deeper areas of PK Lake? There are even locals that setup annual trash cleanups on the bottom of the lake, specifically highly partied areas like Hell’s Gate.

Possum Kingdom is actually the home of the ghost town of Pickwick. This small city was one named after a famous author, Charles Dickens, character “Mr. Pickwick” after realizing the original town name was already registered elsewhere in Texas. When the Morris Sheppard Dam was built in 1941 to combat flooding and conserve water, the town of Pickwick was left in the wake and is now submerged beneath the waters of Possum Kingdom Lake.


How Big Is Possum Kingdom Lake?

The waters of Possum Kingdom Lake are contained by 310 miles of shoreline. It holds approximately 750,000 acre-feet of water with 550,000 acre-feet of that being available for water supply. It has about 17,000 acres of surface area. The Brazos River Authority controls the water levels and is the governing authority for the area.

Is Possum Kingdom Lake A Man Made Lake?

Yes. Prior to the WWII era, the Brazos River which feeds PK Lake was predominantly uncontrolled. John Graves writes about the wild waters in his book Goodbye To A River. John documents what may have been the last canoe trips down the Brazos prior to a series of dams being built eliminating the unbridled raw flow of water. The Morris Sheppard Dam was built in 1941 forcing the waters to back up and fill the lake to where it sits now. The smaller hills and cliffs that line the waters edge now, are much larger than most people realize. These hills make up the Palo Pinto Mountains. Prior to the lake being built they were even larger and more formidable to climb.


Is Possum Kingdom Lake Always at the same Water Level?

No. The water level is governed by the State of Texas’ department known as the Brazos River Authority (BRA). Any new buildings, docks, or improvements near the water must be approved by this governing body. The BRA maintains multiple boat launches and parks around PK. As can be expected, the BRA actually has authority way up in North Texas with the Brazos headwaters and maintain control all the way down to where the river meets the ocean. They coordinate the release of water at the PK dam to ensure lakes down the river also maintain favorable water levels in addition to PK. In a severe draught

Some people have questioned whether or not the water levels fluctuation is a good thing or not. At PK we often view it as a very strong positive. Because the water levels occasionally drop 4 or 5+ feet it lets homeowners to do work on docks, walkways, and retaining walls that would cost a small fortune if lake levels were always the same. Additionally, when the water levels fluctuate, it helps to eliminate a lot of algae and mosses that often grow on the rocks in other lakes. This allows the regular beach goer to further enjoy and have better footing when wading the water’s edge, or playing around some of the cliff lines that drop into the lake.

Hells Gate Cove Lot

When was the PK Lake’s Dam Built?

The Possum Kingdom Lake dam, or Morris Sheppard Dam, was completed in 1941. Originally the construction of the dam began in 1938 and was the first dam built on the Brazos by what we now know as the Brazos River Authority. Originally, this modern marvel in its time, was a hydroelectric generating facility. It has since been decommissioned for that purpose and serves almost entirely for maintaining the water levels of the reservoir. For more on the Morris Sheppard Dam, use this link to visit the BRA website.

Written by Matthew Renfro