Martin Dies, Jr. Paddling Trails


The Walnut Slough Paddling Trail, Sandy Creek Paddling Trail and Neches Paddling Trail are three trails through and around Martin Dies, Jr. State Park that offer a variety of experiences on the park’s backwater sloughs along Spring Creek, the wide open B.A. Steinhagen Reservoir, and the fast-moving Neches River, all filled with amazing wildlife watching opportunities. Enjoy 3 to 16 miles of trails, depending on the route you choose!


Getting There

Three access sites:

Neches Paddling Trail and Walnut Slough Paddling Trail
Walnut Boat RampGPS coordinates 30° 51' 46.50"N, 94° 10' 58.14"W

Sandy Creek Paddling Trail
Canoe DockGPS coordinates 30° 50' 36.51"N, 94° 9' 59.83"W
Henhouse Boat RampGPS coordinates 30° 50' 35.62"N, 94° 10' 29.82"W

Driving Directions to Access Sites:

All three access sites are located within Martin Dies, Jr. State Park. Martin Dies, Jr. State Park is located on Hwy 190, between Jasper and Woodville, Texas.
 
Directions to Walnut Boat Ramp
Enter the Walnut Ridge Unit (north off Hwy 190) onto Park Road 48, go past Nature Center and shelters, turn right at boat ramp sign.  

Directions to Canoe Dock:
Enter the Hen House Unit (south off Hwy 190) onto Park Road 48, go past park headquarters, and stay on Park Road 48 until you come to the first bridge.  This is the Canoe Dock

Directions to Henhouse Boat Ramp:
Enter the Hen House Unit (south off Hwy 190) onto Park Road 48, go past park headquarters, and stay on Park Road 48 past the Day Use Area, and  the Hen House Boat Ramp will be on your left.

Distance from nearest major cities:

  • Austin - 249
  • Beaumont - 72
  • Corpus Christi - 337
  • Dallas - 251
  • Houston - 126
  • San Antonio - 318
  • Tyler - 153
  • Waco - 215

 

Map


Trail Description and Landmarks

Trail Lengths:
Neches Paddling Trail – 3.2 – 16 miles (this trail is marked by a series of 8 buoys, allowing paddlers options in the route taken to the Neches River and back to the park that can add up to 16 miles of paddling depending on routes taken.)
Walnut Slough Paddling Trail – 4.3 miles
Sandy Creek Paddling Trail – 4.9 miles

Float Time: ~2-4 hours per trail, Neches Paddling Trail could last up to 8 hours (depending on route taken, water level, flow rate and wind speed)
These paddling trails were designed for beginning or novice paddlers, with no shuttle or portage necessary.

Following waterways through pristine, old growth river-bottom hardwood forests, you will experience a variety of mammals, birds, and reptiles during all seasons of the year.  Paddle around mammoth bald cypress trees, and experience the slow-moving water of Spring Creek, open water of B.A. Steinhagen Lake, and rapid current in the Neches River.  See information on the fourth Martin Dies, Jr. State Park Paddling Trail on the Bevilport Paddling Trail page.

Surrounding land for all four Martin Dies, Jr. State Park paddling trails are owned and/or managed by governmental agencies, and you will not see cows grazing along the banks or any private residences during your paddling trip.

Fishing

The waterways surrounding Martin Dies, Jr. State Park provide extensive habitats for a large variety of fish.  The ever-constant flow of the Angelina & Neches Rivers into Steinhagen Reservoir provides the fisherman with bass, crappie, perch & catfish year-round. Anglers of all ages, using rod & reel and cane poles, catch large numbers of fish from our fishing piers and shoreline, as well as from kayaks and canoes. The slow-moving sloughs and backwaters provide deep holes, whereas the channels surrounding the park provide faster-moving waters, allowing anglers a variety of fishing opportunities.

Wildlife and Ecology

The riparian corridors of the Angelina and Neches Rivers support a great diversity of plant and animal life.  Birds spotted here include the Swallow-tailed Kite, Anhingas, Belted Kingfisher, and ibis.  Bald cypress trees drip with Spanish moss, while the scaling bark of the River Birch tower along the shoreline.  Common wildlife encountered includes deer, armadillos, and alligators. 

Private Property

Respect private property by not trespassing or littering and keeping noise levels down. This river and lake are classified as navigable, which permits public use of the streambed and, if necessary, the banks to portage any hazard. Any other use of private river banks without permission of the landowner can be considered trespassing. Under Texas Penal Code (§30.05), criminal trespass occurs when one enters property after receiving notice not to enter. Notice includes verbal notice, a fence, sign(s), purple paint on posts or trees, or the visible presence of crops grown for human consumption.

Events & Attractions

For more information please see the Paddling Events calendar.

Martin Dies, Jr. State Park
Martin Dies, Jr. State Park is a 705-acre recreational area in Jasper and Tyler Counties between Woodville and Jasper on B. A. Steinhagen Reservoir (15,000 acres). Visitors can enjoy camping, hiking, boating, canoeing, fishing, swimming, mountain biking and wildlife and bird watching. There are canoes, bicycles, volleyballs, and horseshoes for rent. There are naturalist activities on weekends and outdoor educational facilities. For information on the schedule for these activities, contact the park.

US Army Corps of Engineers Primitive Campsites
The Corps offers 10 primitive campsites along the Angelina River.  These campsites are accessible only by boat and are free of charge.  To register for a particular campsite, call the Corps Town Bluff office at 409-429-3491.

Heritage Village Museum
Heritage Village is a living museum of pioneer history, with a main street right out of the mid 1800's to early 1900's.  Walk through an old-time blacksmith shop, check out a railroad depot, visit a livery stable or any of the log cabins.  See demonstrations of the old ways.

Big Thicket National Preserve
The Big Thicket, with its diverse array of species of trees, shrubs & grasses, supports a wide array of habitats for a variety of species.  Come by the Visitor's Center for an exciting slice of this impressive biological crossroads of North America. 409-951-6700

Partnership

This trail was made possible through a partnership between Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and US Army Corps of Engineers.

Shuttles & Rentals

Martin Dies, Jr. State Park

Jasper, Texas  409-384-5231
Canoe rentals, including life vests and paddles on-site in the park.

Austin Canoe and Kayak

Rent kayaks, canoes, and standup paddleboards by the day to take anywhere you want, when you want. Locations in Austin, Houston and the San Marcos/New Braunfels area. For more information, visit http://www.austinkayak.com/rentals.php

REI (Recreational Equipment, Inc.)

Rent kayaks, canoes, paddles, and PFDs (personal flotation devices) 7 days a week at your nearest REI co-op.
For the closest Texas store, visit http://www.rei.com/FindStores?state=TX&radius=900

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