Paddling Trails

people kayaking through a cypress slough
Kayakers in a cypress-tupelo slough between Cooks and Scatterman Lakes

NPS Photo / Soren George-Nichol


Paddle Through the Preserve

Enjoy a different kind of trail—a trail on the water!

Big Thicket National Preserve is home to three Texas Paddling Trails. These trails take paddlers along scenic waterways, through oxbow lakes and cypress sloughs, into the heart of the Big Thicket. Each paddling trail is marked with signs to help you navigate the route.

Cooks Lake to Scatterman Paddling Trail

4.8 miles roundtrip | Beaumont, TX
Map & more information

Paddle from one river to another through a cypress slough on this scenic loop. The paddling trail begins and ends at the LNVA Saltwater Barrier boat ramp, located at the end of Bigner Road in Beaumont. The trail goes north up the Neches River, left into Pine Island Bayou, north into Cooks Lake Bayou, then east through a marked maze of bald cypress and tupelo trees to Scatterman Lake. From there it goes south down the Neches River to the boat ramp. Take a map and the GPS coordinates for this trail, and look for signs on trees marking the route. Check the water level before you go.

Collier's Ferry to Lake Bayou Paddling Trail

7 miles roundtrip | Beaumont, TX
Map & more information

From Collier's Ferry Park in Beaumont, the paddling trail goes downstream a short distance on the Neches River to the confluence with Lake Bayou, a quiet slow-moving channel lined with bald cypress and tupelo trees. Paddlers should be aware that waterfowl hunting is allowed in the Lake Bayou area during hunting season. Check the water level before you go.

Village Creek Paddling Trail

21 miles one-way | Kountze, Silsbee, and Lumberton, TX
Map & more information

The Village Creek Paddling Trail winds past beautiful white-sand beaches and high banks lined with bald cypress, river birches, and other shade trees. Several access points along the creek allow paddlers to make trips of varying lengths, from 2.1 miles to all 21 miles. From north to south, find creek access on FM 418, TX 327, Baby Galvez Road, US 96, and at Village Creek State Park. Camping is allowed year-round on sandbars.

Distances between kayak/canoe launches from north to south:

FM 418 to TX 327 8.6 mi
TX 327 to Baby Galvez Rd 2.1 mi
Baby Galvez Rd to US 96 7.1 mi
US 96 to Village Creek State Park 3.2 mi
Total 21 mi

While generally very calm, Village Creek is a free-flowing waterway with no dams, so water levels can vary considerably. During low water levels, paddlers should expect to encounter exposed sandbars and logs. High water can create hazardous conditions. Check the water level before setting out on your trip.

metal sign mounted on a tree next to a river
Signage on the Cooks Lake to Scatterman Paddling Trail

NPS Photo / Soren George-Nichol

Last updated: August 22, 2021

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

6044 FM 420
Kountze, TX 77625



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