About Captain Ron's Swamp Tours

Captain Ron Gibbs

Captain Ron Gibbs holds a masters license with the U.S. Coast Guard for 200-ton domestic and 500-ton international vessels. His maritime career began in 1969 when he joined the Merchant Marines and volunteered for duty on a ship carrying supplies into Vietnam. His experience at sea includes working aboard vessels in Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Mexico, and the Caribbean. He now loves hosting tours on exotic Caddo Lake and working in his beautiful botanical gardens.

Due to popular demand, we are concentrating our business on taking passengers into the swamp, which is what Caddo Lake is really all about. We decided to sell the steamboat and it will no longer run from this location. Due to its size, the steamboat had to remain in the river and couldn’t explore much of the beautiful water forest and swamp. Now you can come and take a trip into one of Caddo Lake’s prettiest areas, Carter’s Lake, aboard our comfortable 28′ pontoon boat.

Captain Ron Gibbs

Caddo Lake History

According to Caddo legend, the lake was formed by the 1812 New Madrid earthquake. There may be some truth to the legend, as Reelfoot Lake in Tennessee was formed by that earthquake. However, most geologists think that Caddo Lake was formed, either gradually or catastrophically, by the Great Raft, a 100-mile (160-km) logjam on the Red River in Louisiana, that possibly filled the basin that the earthquake’s intense uplifting and shifting had created.

The channel was used by steamboats to reach the port at Jefferson until water levels fell after the removal of the Great Raft.

The water forest of Caddo Lake, Texas

Big Pines Lodge Restaurant

We work with Big Pines Lodge Restaurant to bring you the whole package: great swamp tours into the water forest aboard our swamp tour boat and a delicious meal before or after your tour. Big Pines Lodge Restaurant is a dining icon here on the Big Cypress and has been in business for over 50 years. We are proud to be working in conjunction with Big Pines Lodge Restaurant to offer you a memorable tour and dining experience.

Boarding from the Big Pines Lodge Restaurant allows us to operate regardless of low water levels or the spread of giant salvinia (a floating fern that can damage aquatic ecosystems). This partnership helps us provide a historically-narrated tour of the upper end of Caddo Lake.

We look forward to serving our passengers through the end of December.

Big Pines Lodge in Karnack, Texas