Kick off new year with Big Thicket hike

Kirby Nature Trail

Start your year off on the right foot with a hike in the Big Thicket. Saturday, Jan. 2, preserve staff will lead a guided walk on the Kirby Nature Trail and Sandhill Loop Trail. This 4.5-mile hike will explore the diverse ecosystems of the Big Thicket, including mixed hardwood forests, baygalls, cypress sloughs, riparian floodplains, and longleaf pine uplands.

This ranger-led hike will begin at the Kirby Nature Trail Trailhead on FM 420 at 9:30 am. Come prepared for the weather of the day in sturdy hiking shoes, with bug spray, drinking water and trail snacks.

The hike is part of the preserve’s “Explore Your Thicket Centennial Club” program. During the 12 months leading up to the 100th anniversary of the creation of the National Park Service (Aug. 25, 2016), the staff at Big Thicket National Preserve invites you to rediscover your national park. Throughout the year, park rangers will lead programs into areas of the preserve that are “off the beaten path.” The Explore Your Thicket Centennial Club recognizes individuals and their commitment to outdoor recreation within the preserve. This program challenges visitors to travel 100/50/25 miles, depending on age, through the preserve during our Centennial year (August, 2015 through August, 2016). Participants can paddle, hike, run, jog, travel on horseback, and even trek off-trail through the thicket. As you explore, you track your mileage; once you reach the targeted miles, contact preserve staff so we can welcome you to the club.

For more information, visit or call the preserve visitor center at (409) 951-6700.

— National Park Service press release