Administered by the National Park Service, U.S. Department of Interior, Big Thicket National Preserve is composed of nine separate land units and four water corridors, encompassing 86,000 acres. Established in 1974, the Preserve protects a remnant of the area's rich biological diversity. Big Thicket was also designated a "Main in the Biosphere Reserve" by the United Nations in 1981. This designation focuses global attention on the worldwide significance of Big Thicket resources.
INFORMATION STATION: The visitor information station located on FM 420, seven miles north of Kountze, Texas, is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. to serve all your needs. (409) 246-2337
HEADQUARTERS OFFICE: Preserve headquarters is located at 3785 Milam in Beaumont. Office hours are from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. (409) 839-2690
ACCESSIBILITY: The Information Station, Sundew Trail, and Pitcher Plant Trail are wheelchair accessible. Day use area have wheelchair accessible picnic tables and restrooms.
FEES: There are no entrance or program fees.
PERMITS: Free permits are required for backcountry camping, hunting and trapping. Backcountry permits are issued from he Information Station.
SWIMMING: The Lakeview Sandbar in the Beaumont Unit is a popular swimming beach. In other areas, swim only in quiet water away from strong currents. Never dive without checking the depth of the water and for underwater obstructions.
HUNTING: Hunting is authorized from October to mid-January in designated units. Permits are required and are issued on a first come first serve basis each July. Sign-up date and location are publicized in local newspapers.
FISHING: Fishing is allowed with a Texas fishing license. State laws apply. Favorite fishing areas, accessible without a boat, include: Franklin Lake, the pond at the beginning of the
HORSEBACK RIDING: Horseback riding is allowed only on roads that are open to auto traffic and on the horse trail in the
BOAT ACCESS: There are ramps for boat fishing at Dam B (Town Bluff Dam), Highway 96 bridge near Evadale, Highway 69 bridge at Pine Island Bayou, and at the confluence of the Neches River and Pine Island Bayou.
NATURALIST ACTIVITIES: All programs are by reservation only. Individuals and groups can call (409) 246-2337 for information.
WILDFLOWERS: April is the peak month, but colorful displays run from March through October. The best overall trail for flowers year-round is the
WILDLIFE: There are no longer any large carnivores in the Preserve. The most watchable wildlife species are nocturnal, and visitors can schedule naturalists to lead night hikes to view wildlife.
NOTE: Feral hogs have been reported in Turkey Creek Unit and near nature trails. They usually avoid people, but sows will aggressively defend their young. Don't get between a piglet and a sow!
The increasing numbers of feral hogs may have contributed to the reappearance of mountain lions in the Turkey Creek Unit. Mountain lion tracks have been identified in the bottomland between Turkey Creek and Village Creek.
Wild animals are unpredictable. Experts in Mountain Lion behavior recommend:
Please help us monitor these animals by reporting any sightings of feral hogs or mountain lions in our trail registers or at the Information Station.
WEATHER: Rain, heat, and humidity are typical. An average rainfall of 55 inches is well distributed throughout the year.
Summers are hot and humid with daytime temperatures between 85 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit. Moderate temperatures in the
mid 50's are normal for winter. Spring and
|fall are the most pleasant seasons for outdoor activity.||
High air temperature along with high relative humidity can be a potentially hazardous combination. Limit physical activity on days with an air temperature above 90 degrees and a relative humidity above 70 percent.
Most of the preserve is subject to seasonal flooding. Do not attempt to follow a submerged trail. Do not boat or canoe in flood water.
Avoid getting cold and wet, a combination that causes hypothermia.
Carry drinking water.
|Other hazards to watch for and avoid include:
Lock your vehicle and do not leave valuables unattended or in clear view.
CAMPING: There are no developed campgrounds in the Preserve. Backcountry camping is allowed by permit in designated units. A permit covers a maximum of eight people and is good for up to five days. Permits are issued from the Information Station or Headquarters Office.
PICNICKING: There are many picnic sites and ay use areas located throughout the Preserve. Some have barbeque grills. Open fires and firewood collecting are prohibited.
SERVICES: There are no overnight accommodations in the preserve. Grocery stores dot roadsides and smaller towns.
ROADS: Roads within Preserve boundaries are limited. Dirt roads may become impassible when wet.
TRANSPORTATION: There is no public transportation within the Preserve. There is airline, bus and train service into Beaumont. There are rental car outlets at Beaumont. Houston,, a major transportation hub, is located approximately 100 miles west of Beaumont.
PETS: Pets are not allowed on Preserve Trails. Do not leave pets in vehicles unattended. Pets are allowed in your canoes on Village Creek.
HIKING: There are hiking and nature trails in four Preserve units. Nine trails range in length from one quarter to eighteen miles. There are trail guide booklets at the
Topographic maps for cross country hiking are available at the Information Station. Laminated topographic maps of the canoe trails are available free of charge to all customers of Pineywoods Canoe Company.
Village Creek Map and Information