Day Trips: Village Creek State Park

Celebrating the 30th anniversary of providing diverse forest along a free-flowing creek

photos by Gerald E. McLeod

Village Creek State Park on the outskirts of Lumberton in southeast Texas preserves a small section of what was the Big Thicket.

Although the original longleaf pine in the area were logged out long ago, the park is still a beautiful mix of riparian forest and open savannas.

The upper reaches of the 63-mile free-flowing waterway that borders the park is known as Big Sandy Creek and the name changes to Village Creek near the Hardin County line until it empties into the Neches River south of the park.

The entire creek corridor is part of the Big Thicket National Preserve. It is one of the few streams in the state with no human structures to restrict passage.

A 21-mile paddling trail on the creek has access to four boat ramps allowing varying lengths of a trip. A few hours on the flat-water creek can reveal cypress swamps, palmetto bogs, and canyons created by tall pine trees.

The swimming beach is a large white sandbar and a pretty good hike from the day-use parking lot where the park rents canoes.

Almost 10 miles of hiking trails wind through an incredibly diverse forest. Some of the trails are open to mountain bikes. Other trails lead to two longleaf pine restoration projects.

The campground sits on a bluff away from the flood-prone creek. Unfortunately, they crammed the 21 campsites into a small wooded area, leaving many of the sites intruding on their neighbors.

For years, local conservationists begged the state to set aside an island of the Big Thicket’s old-growth forest that once covered 3.5 million acres. The state finally relented in 1979 by purchasing 2,466 acres of second-growth woodlands along Village Creek. Last month the park celebrated its 30th anniversary of operation.

Village Creek State Park is about 10 minutes from downtown Lumberton. Beaumont is 10 miles to the south.

1,702nd in a series. Everywhere is a day trip from somewhere: Follow “Day Trips & Beyond,” a travel blog,

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Village Creek State ParkLumberton, Village Creek State Park, Lumberton, Big Sandy Creek, Neches River

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