Visitor Activities

Stream flow around Tupelo / Adrian F. Van Dellen ©

The Neches River National Wildlife Refuge is now open to the public. Be prepared for wildlife watching, photography, and hiking the trails.

Hiking trails at the Refuge 

View a map of trails

Songbird Trail 
Length: 1 miles
Time: ≤ 1 hour
Surface: Firm, with loose rocks
Enjoy sounds of songbirds as you hike to the river. This trail will take you to the Neches River and pass by some unique plants and habitats. The Neches River is connected to the floodplains next to them. During extended rainfall, the rivers rise to their banks and then overflow into these floodplains. The floodplains create a diverse habitat full of life.

Dead Water Trail
Length: 4.5 miles
Time: 2.5 hours
Surface: Firm, with loose rocks
Take a hike on the far side of the lake. The trail will take you on the east side of Dead Water Lake. As you look around, you will see the overflow from the river into the floodplains. The floodplain reduces high flows in the river, so that less flooding occurs downstream. Watch for otters that live here.

River Trail

Length: 4.5 miles
Time: 2.5 hours
Surface: Firm, with loose rocks
Enjoy a stroll down to the river. This trail will take you to the Neches River and its associated wetlands Buzzard Slough and Twin Lakes. These wetlands improve the water quality of the Neches River by acting as natural filters to remove sediment and nutrients from the water.

Rocky Point Trail
Length: 7.2 miles
Time: 3.5 hours
Surface: Firm, loose rocks, occasional flooding
Prepare for our longest trail on the refuge. This trail will take you through forested savannah and pass through wetlands on the east side. Here you will see areas where fish spawn in the backwater habitats and serve as nurseries for fish which are caught in the main river by fishermen and women.

Pine Tree Trail
Length: 3 miles
Time: 2.5 hours
Surface: Firm, Steep Incline 430 ft
Enjoy the sounds of songbirds as you hike under the shade of pine trees. This trail takes you up to 430 feet through the piney woods of east Texas. Large trees are extremely important in removing carbon dioxide from the air and storing it for the long term in these pine forests.

Crayfish Trail
Length: 1/4 miles
Time: ≥30 minutes
Surface: Firm, with loose rocks
This trail will take you through floodplains of improved wildlife habitat. Because nutrients were deposited in the surrounding floodplains, small organisms like crayfish, eat the detritus and can reach incredible numbers in their population. These crayfish are then eaten by predators such as fish, snakes, birds, and mammals that live here.

Wood Duck Trail
Length: 1/4 miles
Time: ≥30 minutes
Surface: Firm, with loose rocks
This trail will take you beside floodplain areas that are very popular for waterfowl. Wood ducks spend most of their lives in or near forested areas. They often perch in trees during the spring and summer; females use tree cavities as nesting sites; during winter all wood ducks feed heavily on the mast of bottomland hardwood trees.

Woodpecker Trail
Length: 1/4 miles
Time: ≥30 minutes
Surface: Firm, with loose rocks
Keep looking up as you hike. This trail will take you through forested floodplains in which life abounds in the trees above you. Look for dead trees, known as ‘snags.’ A snag harbors many insects that are food for wildlife. The outer surface of the bark is where birds such as brown creepers, nuthatches, and woodpeckers eat bark beetles, spiders, and ants. The inner bark is where woodpeckers eat larvae and pupae of insects.