The Big Thicket area has it’s share of interesting and fun waterways and rivers. Many flow through parts of the Big Thicket National Preserve, Sandylands Sanctuary and other natural attractions only accessible to tourists by boat or canoe. The two most popular are the Neches River and Village Creek.
The Neches River
Flows southeast for approximately 416 miles from Van Zandt County to the Gulf of Mexico near Port Neches. A drainage area of 10,011 square miles and abundant rainfall over the entire Neches Basin results in a flow near the gulf of approximately 6,000,000 acre-feet per year. The Neches River runs most of its course through the piney woods and sloughs of the Big Thicket.
The tree and vine covered banks of the Neches and its slow moving currents provide a serene setting for canoeists. The surrounding bottomlands abound with squirrels, raccoons, armadillos, possums, rabbits and a variety of reptiles and amphibians. Although elusive; bobcats, feral hogs, whitetailed deer and coyotes also occur in the area. Birds such as herons, egrets, anhingas, wood ducks, owls, hawks and other song birds can be heard.
Forms in the northwestern part of Hardin County where it joins with the Big Sandy Creek then flows southeast where it meets the Neches River near Silsbee. The creek is a free-flowing stream which passes through the heart of the Big Thicket. The stream flows through cypress swamps and pine and hardwood forests. Because of its remoteness, outstanding scenic qualities and lack of impoundments, Village Creek retains its wild and pristine characteristics.
The 37-mile section of Village Creek is located in Hardin County between the towns of Village Mills and Silsbee. Consisting of still or slow moving water, the creek is normally 20 to 30 feet wide and is characterized by overhanging brush, limbs, and an occasional log jam. The section of Village Creek provides an exciting float trip through the dense forest cover typical of the Big Thicket or excellent fishing.