Turkey Creek Unit

cypress slough in a dense thicket
See a cypress slough on the Kirby Nature Trail.

NPS Photo / Scott Sharaga

8,032 acres
Hardin and Tyler Counties
 

Opportunities

  • Hiking
  • Accessible trails
  • Backcountry camping (year-round)
  • Picnic areas
  • Fishing
 
pitcher plant bog
Pitcher plant bog

NPS Photo / Mary Kay Manning

Overview

The Turkey Creek Unit is the most developed section of Big Thicket National Preserve. Over 20 miles of trails wind through this long, slender unit of parkland that follows the course of Turkey Creek. Along with a stop at the nearby visitor center, the Turkey Creek Unit is great for an introduction to the Big Thicket. Go for a day hike and see carnivorous plants or a cypress slough. If you want to stay longer, get a free backcountry camping permit at the visitor center and spend a night or two in the woods.

Ecology

The Turkey Creek Unit is known for its expansive pitcher plant bog found on the Pitcher Plant Trail. These carnivorous plants consume insects by luring them into sweet-smelling traps. In spring, look for their yellow-white flower blooms that hang upside-down.

While you explore the Turkey Creek Unit, watch for subtle changes in the plant communities. Trails here lead you through slope forest, arid sandylands, pine savannah wetlands, cypress sloughs, and baygalls.

 
collage of 4 photos of trail blazes and text: Look for these markers on trails in the Turkey Creek Unit; blue for Kirby Nature Trail Outer Loop; green for Pitcher Plant Trail; red for Turkey Creek Trail; and yellow for Sandhill Loop Trail

Trails

  • Kirby Nature Trail (1.5- or 2.5-mile loop)
  • Pitcher Plant Trail (1-mile loop)

  • Turkey Creek Trail (17 miles one-way with several options for entry and exit)

  • Sandhill Loop Trail (5 to 9 miles roundtrip)

Note: Sandhill Loop can only be reached from the north via Turkey Creek Trail (9 miles roundtrip). The bridge over Turkey Creek just southwest of the loop is closed due to flood damage. Sandhill Loop cannot be reached from Kirby at this time.

TRAIL MAPS AND INFORMATION >

Location

The Turkey Creek Unit has many entry points. All trailheads are north of Kountze, just east of US 69/287. See the link above for trail maps and directions.

 
log cabin under a large oak tree
Stately oaks preside over Staley Cabin at the start of the Kirby Nature Trail.

NPS Photo

 

Ranger Recommendations

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    Mailing Address:

    6044 FM 420
    Kountze , TX 77625

    Phone:

    409-951-6700

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