The cool thing about southeast Texas is that there are a lot of national forests, thanks to all those piney trees ? There’s lots to explore outdoors and back in March I decided to visit Big Thicket National Preserve, which is about a 45 minute drive from the city of Beaumont. Not only does this piney forest smell amazing (!) but it’s home to all sorts of wildlife and vegetation.
The preserve is broken up and spread out all over the area, with several different hiking trails for visitors to enjoy. On this particular day, I explored Kirby Trail near the visitor’s center, and the Sundew Trail just seven miles up the highway. Here are my favorite photos from the day ?
The Big Thicket visitor’s center is located just outside the small town of Kountze, which is northeast of Beaumont. There’s lots of information inside the center and the park rangers are really helpful. Southeast Texas gets massive amounts of rain and a large portion of the trail was flooded, but the ranger on duty helped guide me to a nice dry stretch leading to the creek.
The Kirby Trails are super shady and mossy and filled with small grey pine cones. In contrast, the Sundew Trail is only 7 miles away but with totally different vegetation. The trees are tall and skinny and the ground is filled with straw colored pine needles. The pine cones in this area were brown and huge.
Both trails contain an inner and outer loop. Kirby Trail is much larger, perfect if you want to spend lots of time exploring. Sundew is smaller and quieter and great if you want a leisurely walk. I enjoyed both trails and the trees were definitely the star attractions!
When I got to Village Creek, the other side of the bridge and the trail was completely flooded. The only way I could have continued on was if I had a boat! ⛵️
And dem pine cones. So cute. They’re like the snowflakes of the south, no two pine cones are the same.
When I arrived at the Sundew Trail, which is in the middle of a rural neighborhood, I was greeted by two adorable cats that I assume came from one of the houses behind the trail. One immediately ran away but the other one was nice enough to let me snap a photo of him ?
And the rest of the photos are my favorite randoms. I especially like the lizard!
(I can only assume this was a “J” for Jillian ?)
I loved hiking through the trails of Big Thicket and I can’t wait to go back. If you live in southeast Texas or happen to find yourself in this neck of the woods (literally ?), take a couple of hours to explore the piney trails. It will leave you feeling refreshed and relaxed ? ? ☮