Big Thicket National Preserve

Big Thicket was the first Preserve in the National Park System established October 11, 1974, and protects an area of rich biological diversity. A convergence of ecosystems occurred in Southeast Texas during the last Ice Age. It brought together - in one geographical location - the eastern hardwood forests, the Gulf coastal plains, and the midwest prairies. On December 15, 1981, the Preserve was designated an International Biosphere Reserve by the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB). On July 26, 2001, the American Bird Conservancy recognized the Preserve as a Globally Important Bird Area joining thousands of others around the world.

The Big Thicket National Preserve consists of nine land units and six water corridors encompassing more than 108,000 acres. Approximately 40 miles of hiking trails wind through Big Thicket National Preserve, allowing hikers to observe many different ecosystems. In addition, the Preserve is on two migratory bird flyways: the Central and Mississippi. Bird watching is excellent from mid-April to mid-May and less active during the fall. 

Boating and fishing are popular on the Neches River. Village Creek Texas State Paddling Trail attracts canoeists and kayakers year-round. Paddlers can access the creek at a number of locations for trips ranging from a few hours to overnight. Hunting is allowed in specific areas of the Preserve during the fall hunting season. Hunters must have a Preserve-issued permit and a valid State of Texas Hunting License. Trapping in specific areas is authorized during the months of December and January, but requires a Preserve-issued permit, accompanied by a valid State of Texas Trapping License.

Big Thicket Activities: 

Backpacking, biking, bird watching, boating, camping, fishing, hiking, horseback riding, hunting, interpretive programs, canoeing, kayaking, and wildlife viewing. 


Explore the Big Thicket National Preserve for hiking, camping, paddling and more.

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Big Thicket protects the incredible diversity of life found where multiple habitats converge.

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Explore the Big Thicket National Preserve with Ranger-Led Programs.

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Explore the Big Thicket with Ranger-Led Programs this Summer

The staff of Big Thicket National Preserve invites you to explore the thicket by taking advantage the many ranger-led programs being offered in the months of May, June, July and August 2017. From canoe trips on Village Creek to frog hikes, presentation on the area’s history and night hikes through the thicket, park rangers will offer a variety of free programs this summer. Some programs…Continue Reading

Big Thicket Spring 2017 Ranger-Led Programs

The staff of Big Thicket National Preserve invites everyone to explore the thicket by taking advantage the many ranger-led programs being offered in the months of March, April and May. From canoe trips on the Neches River to a black bear presentation and night hikes through the thicket, park ranger will offer a variety of free programs. Some programs require participants to pre-register, and…Continue Reading

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Big Thicket National Preserve

6102 FM 420
Kountze, TX 77625
(409) 951-6700 Website
The Big Thicket National Preserve consists of nine land units and six water corridors encompassing more than 113,000 acres. Approximately 40 miles of...more