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20 Amazing East Texas Hiking Trails to explore now

Looking for the best hiking trails in East Texas?

The Piney Woods region of East Texas is one of the most underrated areas of the Lone Star State. 

Here you will find a beautiful landscape of lakes, rivers and streams, hardwood forests, rolling hills, bayous, swamps, and the coastal prairies.

East Texas is home to several national forests, nature preserves, and state parks. 

Needless to say, East Texas is also home to several amazing hiking trails.

Discover the places to go for best hiking in East Texas in this Ultimate Guide.

Also Read: Best things to do in East Texas

Best East Texas hiking trails

From strolling along beautiful marshes and exploring hardwood forests to thru-hikes and trails with wonderful views, there is something for everyone in East Texas.

Choose from multi-purpose hiking trails, walking trails, and backpacking trails to enjoy nature in East Texas.

Here are some of our suggestions for the best East Texas hiking trails for your next outdoor adventure.

Also Read: Best hiking trails in Texas

Caddo Lake State Park Loop Trail

Caddo Lake in East Texas is the largest natural lake in Texas.

The beautiful landscape of bald cypress trees and Spanish moss is perfect for hikes.

The Caddo Lake State Park hiking trail is a 1.5 miles loop that combines several smaller hikes in the park.

Walk along the lakeshore and search for alligators as well as birds like Great Blue Heron, hawks, falcons, woodpeckers, and warblers.

Caddo Lake, TX is a perfect place to visit during October and November for amazing fall colors.

Stairway through the forest along nature trail in Caddo Lake Texas
Stairway through the forest along nature trail in Caddo Lake Texas

Whispering Pines Trail, Tyler State Park

Tyler State Park is home to one of our favorite hiking trails in Texas.

The Whispering Pines Trail is a mile-long trail that was developed by the CCC during the Great Depression.

The trail features a small wading pool and a waterfall and is a hit with families.

Located in Tyler, TX the state park also has beautiful scenery and is famous for its splendid fall foliage.

The park is popular for boating, swimming, and camping.

Faulkner Park Nature Trail and bike trail

Also located in Tyler, the 6 Mile paved trail is a great way to spend some time outdoors with the family.

The park also has several mountain biking trails as well as other amenities including a play area.

Fish in the park pond or enjoy a picnic meal outside.

The Lindsay Park bike trail, also located in Tyler, is another great option for bikers.

Longleaf Nature Trail

This hiking trail is over six miles long and located in the John Henry Kirby Memorial State Forest.

This trail will take you straight through the pine trees of East Texas.

You can admire the majestic longleaf pines and understand how this region of Texas got its name, Pineywoods.

Mineola Nature Preserve

The vast and sprawling Mineola Nature Preserve located on the banks of the Sabine River has a variety of hiking trails for all abilities.

The park also has biking trails, equestrian trails as well as paddling trails.

East Texas Arboretum nature trails

The East Texas Arboretum located in Athens, TX is a great urban trail for nature lovers.

The Arboretum has everything from a stroll through the woods, accessible Boardwalk trails, and specialty gardens such as rose garden and Butterfly Garden.

Mission Tejas State Park

Mission Tejas State Park located in Grapeland is a must-visit for history lovers.

The park has over eight miles of hiking trails that meander between the woods and historic buildings.

Canyon Rim Woodlands hiking trail

The 2 mile trail located in Sabine National Forest is a must-visit for those who love bird watching.

The trail is included in the Great Texas coastal birding trail.

You can easily search for and spot a number of bird species including woodpeckers, warblers, hawks, and more on the trail.

Be sure to bring a pair of binoculars and a bird identification guide on this hike.

Big Thicket National Preserve hikes and trails

Big Thicket National Preserve boasts of stunning biodiversity.

This National Park site has over 40 miles of hiking trails and is one of the best places to go hiking in East Texas.

Kirby Nature Trail is an amazing way to take in the flora and fauna of Big Thicket in a short time.

The Pitcher Plant Trail in Big Thicket National Preserve is a great family-friendly hike.

The boardwalk trail is 1 mi long and offers an excellent way to see the carnivorous plants.

Turkey Creek Trail is another favorite.

The entire trail is almost 15 miles long, but visitors can opt to walk or hike for shorter lengths because of the five entrances.

Neches River National Wildlife Refuge

This wildlife habitat in East Texas has several hiking trails along the banks of the Neches River.

The trails are excellent for bird-watching, wildlife-watching, and nature photography.

The refuge is a great place to take kids to see wildlife.

Davey Dogwood Park Trails

Davey Dogwood Park in Palestine is one of the hidden gems on this list.

This large park has a number of walking trails as well as driving trails.

The trails are full of blooming dogwood trees in spring from late March to early April.

You can also enjoy the Texas Dogwoods Trail Festival in the park.

Martin Dies Jr. State Park trails

Martin Dies Jr. State Park located on the shores of the Steinhagen Reservoir is one of the most underrated state parks in East Texas.

The park offers several great hikes to enjoy the outdoors including

The Slough Trail is a 2.2 miles long challenging hike with multiple bridge crossings.

The short-distance Island Trail with its curves and steep course is popular with mountain bikers.

Visitors can also explore several other trails in the park.

The park also has picnic areas, a large parking lot, fishing, camping, and kayaking.

In fact, the paddling trails here are some of the best places to kayak in Texas.

Sawmill Hiking Trail

The Sawmill hiking trail is one of the most popular hiking trails in East Texas.

The over 5-mile round trip trail is located in the Boykin Springs recreation area in Angelina National Forest, TX.

The trail has everything from a waterfall, creek crossing, historic ruins, and views of the Neches River.

In the end, you can see the charming remains of Old Sawmill buildings covered in vines and graffiti.

The leisurely hike is great for kids and families.

The trail is especially gorgeous during fall.

Cattail Marsh Boardwalk Trail

Located in Cattail Marsh Scenic wetlands in Beaumont, this boardwalk trail is great to spot wildlife in the bayou.

You can easily spot several species of migratory as well as resident birds including roseate spoonbills, egrets, pelicans, and ibis.

The boardwalk trail is perfect for photographers, hikers, bird watchers, and nature lovers.

Banita Creek Trail

The 2-mile long Bonita Creek Trail is located in the Bonita Creek Nature reserve in Nacogdoches.

This charming trail goes along the banks of Banita Creek and even has a few small waterfalls.

You can also combine this trail with the six miles long Lanana Creek Trail for a strenuous workout.

Lufkin Azalea Trail

The Azalea Trail in Lufkin, TX is a great two miles long urban trail in East Texas.

The paved trail is great for hikers and bikers looking to get some exercise.

The trail is popular for bird watching, blooming as areas in spring, and scenery.

Paul D. Boorman Trail, Longview

The Paul D. Boorman Trail is a beautiful hiking trail located in Longview, Texas.

The trail is approximately 4 miles long and features a variety of scenery, including forests, meadows, and ponds.

The trail is also home to a variety of wildlife, including deer, rabbits, and birds.

Looking for the best hiking trails in Texas Hill Country? Read our post to know about Inks lake state park trails, Hamilton Pool, Gorman falls, and more now.

Best backpacking trails in East Texas

East Texas also has the largest collection of backpacking trails.

These multi-day trails are a great way to explore the outdoors.

4 C National Recreation Trail

4 C National Recreation Trail is a 20-mile long trail located in the Ratcliff Lake Recreation Area.

The trail is not clearly marked, goes through thick forest and downed trees, but is worth the effort.

With proper planning, you can complete the trail in 2 days.

The 4C trail takes you through the beautiful scenery of the Davy Crockett National Forest.

The trail takes you to Neches Bluff overlook from where you can enjoy panoramic views of the Neches River Valley.

The hiking trail is very popular with backpackers.

Lone Star Trail

The Lone Star Trail is a 129 mile long thru-hike in Texas.

This National Recreation Trail passes through Sam Houston National Forest.

The entire trail takes about 10 to 15 days to complete.

Visitors can hike a popular small section of the trail at the Big Creek Scenic Area.

The Little Lake Creek Trail, located in the Little Lake Creek Wilderness Area, is another great option.

This trail is 14 miles long mostly well maintained.

Trail between the Lakes

Trail Between the Lakes is a 28 mile long hiking trail located in the Sabine National Forest.

Sabine National Forest is a hardwood bottomland in the watershed of the Sabine River.

The trail extends from Toledo Bend Reservoir to Sam Rayburn Reservoir.

The trailhead is located at Lakeview Recreation Area.

The best time to hike this trail is during fall or spring.

Things to remember before hiking in East Texas

Several of the trails are not properly maintained, especially the longer backpacking hikes in national forests.

Many of the hiking trails were severely damaged in Hurricane Harvey and are yet to be restored.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is a great place to stay updated with trail statuses.

The trails can get extremely muddy after heavy rainfall.

Watch out for snakes that live in the forests of East Texas.

Pack essentials such as water, snacks insect repellent, and first aid for your hike.

We hope you liked our guide to the best hiking trails in East Texas.

Know any other amazing East Texas hiking trails? Let us know in the comments.