Texas Travel

Explore the 4 National Forests in Texas

By Jillian Kring 7.29.20

Experiencing the restorative beauty of the natural world is an excellent way to relax and recharge. Fortunately, Texas is home to four beautiful and ecologically diverse national forests.

These protected forestlands preserve and display some of the most amazing landscapes and wildlife in the country. In addition, there are various opportunities for recreation, making for a fun and family-friendly outing. It is the perfect time of year to explore these four precious ecosystems and enjoy the beauty of the wild outdoors.

U.S. Forest Service Flickr

Sabine National Forest

Sabine National Forest, located along our eastern border with Louisiana, is named for the Spanish word for cypress, referencing the trees that grow near the riverbanks in this region. Here, visitors will find the Toledo Bend Reservoir, one of the largest man-made reservoirs in the U.S. and a popular recreational attraction for bass fishing, boating, swimming beaches, and other water activities. The reservoir is an essential flyway for migratory birds like songbirds, hawks, and shorebirds. This unique ecosystem is a must-see for avid birdwatchers.

national forests in Texas
U.S. Forest Service Flickr

Angelina National Forest

Angelina National Forest, located on the north and south shores of the Sam Rayburn Reservoir, is named for a Native American woman who befriended early French and Spanish missionaries and served as their guide, mediator, and interpreter. The missionaries wrote extensively about her brilliance and compassion, referring to her in their writings as Angelina.

The forest is covered in beautiful green longleaf pine trees, which house the red-cockaded woodpecker, an endangered and protected species in the woodlands. The diverse and breathtaking natural scenery makes camping, picnicking, canoeing, and hiking popular recreational activities within the forest. A popular attraction for guests is the campfire theater near Caney Creek.

Chris M. Morris Flickr

Sam Houston National Forest

Sam Houston National Forest, located 50 miles north of Houston, is intermingled with timberland and farmland. The forest is named for Sam Houston, a lawyer, soldier, congressman, and senator known for defeating Mexican General Antonio López and securing Texan independence. Within the forest, Lake Conroe provides a nurturing environment to the endangered bald eagle in the winter months.

Hiking is the most popular recreational activity in the forest. The Lone Star Hiking Trail is over 100 miles long and has gained national recognition for its breathtaking scenery and conveniences to guests. Aluminum markers guide hikers, and several rest areas are placed along the trail. Camping and water recreation are also available, making this forest a wonderfully versatile place to visit.

U.S. Forest Service Flickr

Davy Crockett National Forest

Davy Crockett National Forest, located in Houston and Trinity Counties, is named for the folk legend Davy Crockett, a frontiersman, soldier, and politician, who died defending the Alamo. Popular with guests are the 50 miles of developed horse trails through pine, bottomland hardwood, and upland forests.

As you’re exploring these Texas forests, keep an eye out for these wild Texas birds.

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