Things To Do

Hikers on a woodland trail

Hikers enjoying a woodland trail.

NPS Photo


Approximately 40 miles of hiking trails wind through Big Thicket National Preserve, allowing hikers to observe many different ecosystems. Trails range from a 0.3-mile boardwalk loop to 15 miles.

List of hiking trails in Big Thicket National Preserve

Map of the Kirby Nature Trail

Turkey Creek Trail Map


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.

Backcountry Camping in Big Thicket National Preserve

List of campgrounds in the Big Thicket area

Canoeing and kayaking

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.

Paddling the Big Thicket brochure


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 2015/2016 season on Sept 1. For additional information please visit our Hunting and Trapping page.

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