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. Click here for a list of hiking trails in the Preserve.

Map of the Kirby Nature Trail


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. Click here to learn more about camping in the Preserve.

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 5 units of the Preserve during the fall hunting season. Hunters must get a free hunting permit from the Preserve visitor center and must also have a valid State of Texas hunting license. Hunting permits are issued on a first-come, first-served basis.

2014-2015 Hunting Guide and Regulations

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