Hunter Registration Begins July 7
Big Thicket National Preserve staff will begin issuing hunting permits for the 2014-2015 season on July 7, 2014, at the Preserve visitor center. The visitor center is open from 9 am to 5 pm daily. Please call 951-6700 for more information.
The Trails of Big Thicket
Kirby Nature Trail System: Located in the southern end of the Turkey Creek Unit, this trail consists of several loops that wind through a subtle mixture of ecosystems and environments. The inner loop is 1.7 miles, the outer loop is 2.4 miles, and an additional 0.3 mile loop goes through a great example of a cypress slough. A trail guide is available at the trailhead. This trail is also the starting point for the Sandhill Loop Trail and the Turkey Creek Trail.
Turkey Creek Trail: This 15-mile trail meanders north-south through the Turkey Creek unit and roughly parallels Turkey Creek. Access to the trail can be made at five different trailheads along the trail. Diverse views of sandhill pine uplands, mixed forests, floodplains, and baygalls can be found along this trail.
Pitcher Plant Trail: Found on the northeast side of the Turkey Creek Trail, this short trail leads through a mixed pine forest to the edge of a wetland savannah. A boardwalk provides excellent views of pitcher plants and sundews. Past the savannah, the trail goes loops through a mixed hardwood-pine forest and connects to the Turkey Creek Trail. The total trail distance is approximately 1 mile round-trip.
Sundew Trail: Located in the Hickory Creek Savannah Unit, the two loops of this trail are both fully accessible. The outer loop is 1.6 miles and the inner loop is .8 miles. This is a popular trail for spring and summer wildflowers and for birdwatching. Pitcher plants and sundews are both found along this trail.
Woodlands Trail: The Woodlands Trail, in the northwest portion of the Big Sandy Creek Unit, consists of 3 loops of varying distances. The outermost loop is 5.4 miles; there are 2 inner loops of 3.3 miles and 4.5 miles. The trail crosses a great variety of habitats, including the Big Sandy Creek floodplain, forests, and upland pine stands.
Beaver Slide Trail: This short trail is one of the best places to see cypress trees. It makes a 1.5-mile loop around several ponds formed by old beaver dams. It is located in the southeast corner of the Big Sandy Creek Unit.
Beech Woods Trail: The Beech Woods Trail, near the southwest corner of the Beech Creek Unit, makes a 1.0 mile loop through stands of beech and magnolias. It was hit hard by Hurricane Ike, and storm damage is still visible. This trail is closed during hunting season.
Big Sandy Creek Horse/Bike Trail: Located in the southern portion of the Big Sandy Creek Unit, this loop trail is 18 miles round-trip - the longest in the Preserve. Horses and mountain bikes are allowed. The trail crosses upland pine forests and beech-magnolia-loblolly pine slopes before entering a floodplain forest of basket oak, sweetgum, hornbeam and holly. You will have to bring your own horse or mountain bike, as there are no rentals in the area. This trail is closed during hunting season.
Did You Know?
Big Thicket's Kirby Nature Trail was named after the famous timber tycoon, John Henry Kirby, who had set aside this area for employee hunting and recreation almost 100 years ago.