Texas topography is among the most varied of any state. Travel east and you’ll find an oasis of lush national forests. The four national forests of Texas comprise hundreds of thousands of acres and invite explorers to hike, fish and enjoy the views.Less
Deep in the heart of East Texas, the Angelina National Forest sits in the Neches River Basin in the upper Gulf Coastal plans. Hit the great outdoors after a day in nearby Houston or Corpus Christi. Enjoy a variety of recreational areas, test your waterskiing skills on the Sam Rayburn Reservoir or enjoy a picnic on the scenic shores. The Caney Creek and Sandy Creek recreation areas are favorites for camping, while anglers head to Bouton Lake Recreation Area to wet their line.
The easternmost of the four, the Sabine National Forest is situated on the border between Texas and Louisiana, covering more than 160,000 acres of piney woods that snake around the Toledo Bend Reservoir. Anglers have been known to hook trophy-sized striped bass in the 30-pound range. Hit the trail on the 28-mile “Trail Between the Lakes,” or bring a bike and take in the colors of the season, peaking with colorful blooms in spring and vibrant changing leaves come fall.
Just west of Lufkin, you’ll feel like the king of the wild frontier exploring the Davy Crockett National Forest. Its woodlands, streams and wildlife are nestled in the Neches and Trinity River basins, and its many wonders include a beach perfect for a sunny-day dip, trails winding through towering pines, more than 50 miles of developed horse trails and a stunning panoramic view overlooking the pine-hardwood forests. Birders will delight in searching for the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker.
The Sam Houston National Forest is located less than an hour north of Houston and encompasses multiple recreation areas. While camping and fishing are key attractions, the shining star of the Sam Houston National Forest is the 128-mile Lone Star Hiking Trail that winds through the forest — the longest continuous hiking trail in the state. Hikers can camp in designated spots along the trail most of the year. If bikes are more your thing, take to the scenic mountain trails.