Big Thicket National Preserve
6044 FM 420
United States
-94° -94' 15.9036" N 30° 30' 24.8976" W

Big Thicket National Preserve protects 112,250 acres of land and water spread over 7 counties in southeast Texas. While public roads connect the units of the preserve, few roads lead into it; the best way to explore and experience this area is by foot or by boat. Approximately 40 miles of hiking trails and countless miles of creeks, bayous, and the Neches River wind through the Big Thicket. Most visitors come to walk, birdwatch, canoe, and kayak.

The best place to start your trip is at the Big Thicket National Preserve Visitor Center. Educational displays and a 15-minute orientation film provide information on the cultural and natural history of the area, and preserve staff can help you plan your visit. There are no developed campgrounds or campsites in the Preserve, but primitive camping is allowed in many areas. The visitor center issues free camping permits.

Village Creek and the Neches River provide many paddling options for canoeists and kayakers, ranging from just a few hours to several days. The preserve includes two Texas State Paddling Trails: the 21-mile Village Creek Paddling Trail and the 5-mile Cooks Lake Paddling Trail. Local outfitters can provide equipment and shuttle services. 

Big Thicket National Preserve lies in the path of 2 major migratory bird flyways. Bird migration peaks between March and early May. Approximately 185 bird species either live in the Preserve or migrate through it. The more sought-after birds are the red-cockaded woodpecker, brown-headed nuthatch, and Bachman's sparrow. The Sundew Trail tends to be a good place to see nutchatches, woodpeckers, and other bird species. The visitor center sells a checklist of birds found in Big Thicket National Preserve.

Hunting is allowed in 6 designated areas of the Preserve during the fall hunting season. Hunters must obtain a free hunting permit from the Preserve visitor center and must also have a valid State of Texas hunting license. The preserve will begin issuing hunting permits for the 2016/2017 season on Sept 1. For additional information please visit our Hunting and Trapping page.

Trails- Hiking
Visitor/Nature Center
Wildlife Viewing Area
Things To Do: 
Canoeing/ Kayaking
Educational Programs
Hiking/ walking
Wildlife Watching