FromVillage Mills to the Neches River, a journey of approximately 37 miles
It’s a familiar sight…this parade of canoe enthusiasts who come to the Big Thicket to one of the points where they can put their canoes into Village Creek and enjoy the fun of canoeing.
While most of the “traffic” is on the weekend, local folks can daily see a few vehicles with canoes strapped across the top heading for the water.
Until recently almost all of Village Creek was outside the boundaries of the Big Thicket National Preserve, however, in 1995 the Village Creek Corridor expanded the Preserve to almost 100,000 acreas. Canoe camping is allowed by permit within the boundaries of the Preserve.
If you are planning a canoe trip on Village Creek, please respect other people’s property and limit your activities to water-courses and their associated sandbars.
Safety is also an important consideration in this planning. Things to be sure to include in your equipment list are; an extra paddle, life jackets, sunburn lotion, insect repellent, first aid kit and plenty of drinking water.
Sanitation should be an active part of your planning. Pack out all trash you create or better yet, take out more than you bring in.
Village Creek 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 remotemeess, 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.
Village Creek is noted for its outstanding scenery. Large bald cypress trees and fresh water swamps exist just yards back from the creek. Clear waters of the creek flow over white sand and gravel, and sand bars which often lend themselves to camping and day use are present. The almost impenetrable thicket bordering the creek holds a remarkably wide variety of plant life much of which is rare or endangered. In much of this area, nature is in very delicate balance and should be carefully protected. Water levels are sufficient for recreational use at any time. Although the drier summer months cause a substantial reduction in flow. These summer months are often uncomfortable to recreationists because of heat and insects. Water features and distance between each are as follows:
- From the Big Thicket Information Office located inside the Kountze Journal building, visitors could travel north on Highways 69/287 8 miles to Village Mills. From there, they can canoe 4 miles down Village creek to the mouth of Hickory Creek. Then, proceed another 2 miles to the south of Turkey Creek.
- After proceeding another mile down the creek, canoeists are at FM 420 crossing. Then, another eight miles will take the water traveler up the mouth of Beech Creek. Five miles south, canoeists arrive at Beaumont Creek, located only 1 mile north of the FM 418 bridge.
- It’s a distance of 8 miles from FM 418 bridge to the SH 327 bridge. This particular part of Village Creek is reported to be one of the finest canoe treks in the south and is the main reason for the large volume of canoe traffic seen on Highways 69/287. This portion of Village Creek is almost evenly divided (4 miles north and 4 miles south) of the point where Cypress Creek empties into Village Creek.
- “Explorer LaSalle is reported to have hidden treasure somewhere on the Village Creek bottoms between FM 418 and Sh 327. A story describing the late Stanley coe’s conclusion abut LaSalle’s murder can be purchased at the Armadillo Mini0Museum and Gift Shop in t he office of the Kountze Journal.”
- After leaving that part of Village creek that includes the Roy E. Larsen Sandyland Sanctuary, canoeists continue in a southeast direction for 2 miles where they encounter a county road that comes down to the creek on the south bank.
- A 7 mile journey then will lead the canoeist to the Village Creek State Park located about 4 miles south of Silsbee. From there, the traveler is only 6 miles away from where Village Creek empties into the Neches River.