Family Weekender: Dallas

Big Slough Wilderness
By Gary Lantz

This wilderness portion of the Davy Crockett National Forest contains some of the biggest old growth timber in Texas. It's a real sauna in the summertime, however, and smaller children may not appreciate the woodland's grandeur and abundant wildflowers.

Birders best bring binoculars, especially in spring, at the height of the April warbler migration. Look for wood ducks along the Neches and crow-size pileated woodpeckers in the aged oaks and hickories above the trails. The near constant cadence of red-eyed vireos serves as background music for any spring walk, and the silence-shattering gobble of wild turkeys often provides percussion for unfurling dogwood flowers.

Older kids may enjoy any or all of a 19-mile hiking trail or the eight-mile, full-circuit canoe trail on the Neches River.

Nearby, the Lake Ratcliff Recreation Area offers camping, a swimming beach, concessions, and showers.

Published: 28 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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