Around the World in 80 Clicks

inspiring you to travel

U.S.A.: Big Thicket National Preserve

Mission accomplished image

Big Thicket National Preserve | U.S.A. | Americas

[Visited: April 2014]

The drive from Houston, Texas turns out to be quite easy, even though I miss a turnoff and end up driving on secondary roads, past farms and large open spaces with grazing cows, until I reach Liberty. From there, scenic roads take me to Kountze, the jumping off point for my destination of the day: Big Thicket. I buy water and some things to eat, and get information at the visitor centre a couple of miles to the north, making sure to walk through the exhibition explaining the history and habitat of the preserve. Big Thicket once covered a big area in southeast Texas, but logging and the ever growing of human settlements has reduced it to a preserve consisting of 15 pockets of protected nature. I have come to hike, but it turns out to be possible to explore Big Thicket also in canoes, which sounds tempting, too. The weather is nicer than predicted, and I start going to the nearby Kirby Trail, which is a good introductory trail.

Picture of Big Thicket National Preserve (U.S.A.): Looking up tall trees in a forest of Big Thicket

There is a group of kids with supervisors, but I manage to walk ahead of them, and experience the solitude of the forest. I find tall oaks, pine trees, cypresses, and many more. Looking lower, there are many flowers. It does not take long before I reach a slough, a swamp, in which many trees are growing. The still, dark water perfectly reflects the trunks of the trees. On my way north, I see more patches of swamps, several creeks, but not another living soul. Meanwhile, I can hear birds flying overhead, but it is hard to spot them because of the vegetation. In the visitor centre, I have seen examples of all the animals living here, but unfortunately, I cannot spot any - probably also because of my untrained eyes. Yes, there is the occasional lizard, dragonflies, and butterflies so big I sometimes think they are birds, but none of the other animals that call this home, like armadillos and bobcats.

Picture of Big Thicket National Preserve (U.S.A.): Baygall with submerged trees are common in Big Thicket

When I reach the Village Creek, I cross to also hike the Sandhill Loop Trail. It brings me to a different kind of vegetation: I am on higher grounds here, and the soil is sand. The forest is less thick, and there are mostly pine trees towering high above me. But I do not see the yuccas I had hoped for; there are even supposed to be cacti here. I would have loved to hike the Turkey Trail, but walking it up, and down again would be way too far for one day, so I return to the Kirby Trail, and take the long loop back. I then drive to the Sundew trail, where I am on the lookout for pitcher plants, but do not find any; my next stop is the Pitcher Plant trail, which has a bog where the carnivorous plants are easily spotted. I then drive to the west of the Big Thicket preserve, where I hike down the Big Sandy trail, but after half an hour, the trail is blocked by a huge tree lying on it, and I return to the trailhead. On my way back to Kountze, there are peculiar clouds in the sky. I drive on to Neches river close to Evadale, but the sunset I hope to see over the river does not materialize because of the thick layer of clouds in the sky. It is time to give my legs some rest, and return to the big city of Houston after a day in the tranquillity of Big Thicket.

Picture of Big Thicket National Preserve (U.S.A.): Trails in Big Thicket often have boardwalks
Picture of Big Thicket National Preserve (U.S.A.): Flowers in the forest of Big Thicket
Picture of Big Thicket National Preserve (U.S.A.): Leaf with peculiar shape in one of the forests of Big Thicket
Picture of Big Thicket National Preserve (U.S.A.): Trees rooted in an area submerged with water
Picture of Big Thicket National Preserve (U.S.A.): Open space seen from the Pitcher Plant trail
Picture of Big Thicket National Preserve (U.S.A.): The Sandy Creek corridor under a cloudy sky
Picture of Big Thicket National Preserve (U.S.A.): Of all the creeks and streams, the Neches River is the largest
Picture of Big Thicket National Preserve (U.S.A.): The Sandhill Loop Trail takes you over a landscape of trees growing on sand
Picture of Big Thicket National Preserve (U.S.A.): Trees and plants growing in a creek
Picture of Big Thicket National Preserve (U.S.A.): Creek you need to cross to walk the Sandhill Loop Trail
Picture of Big Thicket National Preserve (U.S.A.): Bark of one of the big trees of Big Thicket in close-up
Picture of Big Thicket National Preserve (U.S.A.): Forest with open space in the Sundew Trail
Picture of Big Thicket National Preserve (U.S.A.): Bog with pitcher plants

Around the World in 80 Clicks

Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Big Thicket National Preserve (U.S.A.). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Big Thicket National Preserve.
Read more about this site.

Follow us