Sabine National Forest is the easternmost national forest in Texas. It covers more than 160,656-acres near Hemphill. This forest forms Toledo Bend's boundary, which is the fifth-largest artificial body of water in the United States, and a fantastic place to go fishing. Many excellent mixed-use trails are great places to go horseback riding, hiking, and biking. Despite the many developments around Toledo Bend Reservoir, you can find secluded areas to explore in this forest.
Between the Lakes Trail begins at the Lakeview Recreation Area on Toledo Bend Reservoir and runs 28 miles to Sam Rayburn Reservoir's easternmost point. This trail is a great spot to see wood ducks, Pileated woodpeckers, brown-headed nuthatches, and Bachman's sparrows. As you hike, watch for special areas marked off with aqua-green paint and signs as these are particular breeding areas for endangered red-cockaded woodpeckers.
Length: 28 miles
The North Toledo Bend State Park's Dogwood Trail is a beautiful place to hike, especially in the spring when the dogwood trees are in bloom. This trail has interpretative signs along it so that you can learn more about these beautiful trees. This is also a fantastic place to watch for songbirds.
Length: 1.5 miles
The Hippie Trail at South Toledo Bend State Park is a wide dirt path through old-growth trees. It offers some views of Toledo Bend Reservoir. This path is a great place to watch for eagles, especially during the winter.
Length: 1.5 miles
This trail is in Kit McConnico Park in Lufkin, Texas. The trailhead is near the parking lot. This hike in the park's northwest corner is an excellent place for birdwatching, and it crosses several footbridges.
Length: 1 mile
The Lanana Creek Trail was originally a Native American footpath begins at Liberty Hall on East Main Street in Nacogdoches. It winds its way along the creek through thickets of paw-paw, dogwood, and scarlet blooming buckeye. Consider hiking this trail during the fall to see the beautiful fall colors.
Length: 5.89 miles
Sabine National Forest borders Toledo Bend Reservoir, where big national bass fishing contests happen. This lake can also be a great place to catch crappie and catfish. Cooler weather often means better fishing at this reservoir. In particular, try fishing during the spring spawning season on the creeks leading to the reservoir's central part.
There have been several geocaches hidden at Sabine National Forest. You may still find one in the Indian Mounds Wilderness Area near the rock grotto. Even if it is not there anymore, this is a beautiful area to explore.
There are many types of birds found at Sabine National Forest. In the winter, this area can be a great place to see bald eagles. These birds often spend their summers in New England, but once the rivers and lakes freeze over there, they become Winter Texans. You will also want to watch for the red-cockaded woodpeckers that nest in this forest. These small woodpeckers have short straight beaks. They are black and white with strong horizontal color banding.
While light pollution is not as bad as in a city, the developments around Toledo Bend Reservoir make it challenging to see all the stars. Nonetheless, there are great places to go stargazing in this forest. Consider stargazing as far away from the water as possible as there are fewer artificial light sources there.
Address: Sabine National Forest headquarters, 5050 Texas 21, Hemphill, Texas 75948
Fee: Entry fee $0
Sabine National Forest is the smallest of Texas' four national forests, but you can find many amazing adventures there. The area's warmer temperatures make it a great place to watch bald eagles in the winter. As the weather warms up, bring your fishing pole to fish in Toledo Bend Reservoir, which borders this national forest. You will also want to go hiking to see if you can spot the endangered woodpecker that uses this national forest to build its nests. Fall is a fantastic time to visit as the oak and beech trees put on their beautiful fall colors. Regardless of the season, the best way to explore Sabine National Forest and the surrounding attractions is in an RV. If you do not have one, rent one on RVshare.com.