The Bird & Butterfly Inn

The Bird & Butterfly Inn

The Bird & Butterfly Inn

AAA Rated Top Romantic Bed and Breakfast in Texas – Read Reviews

National Forests of Texas

Oh yes, we have forests!

Texas has four national forests – the Angelina, Sabine, Davy Crockett and Sam Houston. In 1934, the Texas Legislature authored a resolution to have federal land purchased to create National Forests in Texas. Land purchases began in 1935 to establish the Sam Houston, Davy Crockett and Angelina, Sabine National Forest. We’ll travel through each. Get ready to explore!

White-tailed buck, in the woods during rut season in Texas.

Sam Houston National Forest

At 163,000 acres, it’s the largest of the Texas National Forests with nearly 580 miles of boundary lines and encompassing land in Walker, Montgomery, and San Jacinto Counties, and intermixing with some private land. Located an hour north of Houston, it’s situated between Cleveland, Conroe, Huntsville, and even includes part of Lake Conroe.

Fishing, hiking, and hunting are primary activities but Sam Houston National Forest is most proud of its Lone Star Hiking Trail. At 128 miles, it’s the longest continuous hiking trail in the state. Three major sections comprise the trail; the 60-mile Central Area, the 40-mile Lake Conroe Section, and the 27-mile Winters Bayou / Tarkington Creek Area, which also has garnered National Recreation status.

The trail is available year round but hikers are cautioned to take extra care in November and December – deer season – and encouraged to wear bright clothing during those months. Camping is available in designated areas, except during hunting season.

If you are wanting to camp, there are three campgrounds – Cagle and Double Lake are by reservation, or on a first come / first served basis. The Stubblefield location is available on a first come / first served basis only.

There is all manner of flora and fauna to be discovered on the trail – the protected red-cockaded woodpecker is here, and the majestic bald eagle is known to winter in the area so bring your bird book and binocs!

Sabine National Forest

The Sabine National Forest is the second largest of the Texas National Forests, at 161,000 acres. It forms the western boundary of the Toledo Bend Reservoir, with the boundary line between Texas and Louisiana splitting the reservoir nearly down the middle. The reservoir’s westernmost point also just captures the edge of Lake Sam Rayburn.

If you’re wanting to camp here, there’s plenty of room, as each designated camping area is equipped with a “tent pad” to pitch your tent, picnic table, grill or a fireplace, and a parking area. The spaces are designed for several units to share water, trash and toilet / bathing facilities, and most spaces are roomy enough to allow a camping trailer. If you’re needing sewage and electrical facilities, those are only available at Red Hills Lake and Boles Field, and all campsites are first come, first served.

For the hiker, you’ll enjoy The Trail Between the Lakes, a 28-mile trail that will take you from Toledo Bend and deposit you almost at the Sam Rayburn Reservoir. Many of the Sabine National Forest’s trails are fit for man, beast, and machine so whether you’re on your own two feet, on horseback, or on your bicycle, you’ll enjoy the trails.

If towing your boat for water activities, you won’t find Toledo Bend lacking, as there are many access points to get on the water. It’s worth noting that, like Lake Sam Rayburn, Toledo Bend is well known for bass fishing. Combined, the Toledo Bend and Sam Rayburn Reservoirs offer over 296,000 acres of water that is prime for fishing. Toledo Bend has begun a striped bass fishery and is now boasting 30-pound class fish. A cooperative agreement between Texas Parks and Wildlife and Louisiana Parks and Wildlife will allow valid license holders from either state to fish on Toledo Bend.

If hunting is more your style, there are wildlife management areas that provide top-notch deer hunting. For the birdwatcher, the forest is home to many species, including waterfowl and migratory birds. This part of Texas is a major flyway for many migrating species and the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker is an inhabitant.

Davy Crockett National Forest

The Davy Crockett National Forest (“DCNF”) is named for the pioneering legend, and boasts 161,000 acres situated west of Lufkin, between Lufkin and Crockett in Houston and Trinity Counties. It’s purported that Davy Crockett left Tennessee in 1835 after a failed political bid, famously telling his former constituents, “You may all go to hell and I will go to Texas.” And go to Texas he did, joining the Texas Revolution in 1836 at the Battle of the Alamo, where he died. A hundred years after Crockett’s death, President Franklin Roosevelt proclaimed the Davy Crockett National Forest as a National Forest in October 1936.

The DCNF is the only Texas National Forest that does not contain or provide a boundary for a major reservoir, although its eastern boundary is the Neches River, and the forest includes both the Trinity River Basin and the Neches River Basin.

Hikers will enjoy the 20-mile Four C National Recreation Trail and will appreciate that it’s dedicated to foot traffic only – no horses, bikes, or motorized vehicles are allowed. Over 50 miles of horse trails were developed on The Piney Creek Horse Trail, a few miles from Kennard, with two trailheads: Piney Creek, and White Rock.

Camping is permitted in most areas of the DCNF throughout the year, but is limited during hunting season, for the safety of hunters and campers alike. As early as September, a map of the designated camps is available at the Ranger District Office.

Birdwatching and wildlife are abundant, including a variety of game species. For the birdwatcher, keep a lookout for the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker, whose habitat is thoughtfully maintained here.

chill area on a deck at bird and butterfly

Angelina National Forest

Closest to us is the smallest of the Texas National Forests, the Angelina, still impressive at 153,000 acres. It surrounds most of Lake Sam Rayburn and occupies Jasper, Angelina, Nacogdoches, and San Augustine Counties in the Neches River Basin.

Heavily forested with pine species including white loblolly, shortleaf, and longleaf, timber was – and is – a main industry in this area, and there were significant timbering and excavation activities ahead of the development of the Lake Sam Rayburn Reservoir, a 114,000 acre man-made lake, and the largest in the state. From the Texas Water Development Board’s website, “Construction began in 1956, and deliberate impoundment of water began in March, 1965 …

When the construction of the dam began, the project was known as “McGee Bend Dam and Reservoir”, because of its location immediately upstream from McGee Bend on the river. In September, 1963, the 88th Congress adopted a special resolution changing the name to “Sam Rayburn Dam and Reservoir”, in honor of the recently deceased Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Sam Rayburn, a long-time champion of soil and water conservation … Dedication ceremonies were held on May 8, 1965, with President Lyndon B. Johnson delivering the principal address by telephone from the White House.”

For the hiker, the Boykin Springs Recreational area offers the 5 ½ mile Sawmill Hiking Trail, including a ¾ mile spur that will take you to the Aldridge Sawmill site. Construction began on the Aldridge Sawmill in 1903 and was completed in 1905. By 1911 the site boasted 76 buildings, including homes, a warehouse, offices and even a company store. The mill was producing 75,000 board feet of lumber per day. However, it’s recorded that the mill buildings were crowded and unsafe and in August 1911, the mill burned to the ground. By 1912, it had been rebuilt with improvements and additional safety measures and was shortly producing 125,000 board feet of lumber daily. The mill was sold in 1918, ran on a limited basis and finally closed in 1923, with the US Forest Service acquiring it in 1935. Hikers are welcome on the trail but because of archaeological concerns, no motorized vehicles, off-road vehicles, or horses are permitted in the Aldridge area. Also, the Aldridge site is a recorded historical property, protected under the Code of Federal Regulations so no digging, collecting of artifacts or use of metal detectors.

For campers, there are designated areas to camp at Boykin Springs Caney Creek and Sandy Creek, and fishing enthusiasts enjoy the Bouton Lake Recreation Area, a 12-acre lake on the shore of the Neches River where anglers are likely to catch crappie, bass and catfish.

And for the birders, the protected red-cockaded woodpecker can be found, as well as Carolina Chickadees, Tufted Titmice, Carolina Wrens, Pileated Woodpeckers, Herons, Egrets and one of our favorites, the Belted Kingfisher, to name just a few.

Lots of options

In short, when you stay at our Jasper, Texas bed and breakfast, you’ll have exploration options for days! Whether you’re hiking, biking, horseback riding, fishing, or birdwatching, there’s a place for you in Davy Crockett and Angelina, Sabine National Forest with easy distance of The Bird & Butterfly Inn. Come see us and go explore!

Yellow butterfly cutout

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view of the entrance of the 1901 Cabin
Hats and pictures on the wall of the 1901 cabin
Pullman room bathroom with two sinks, lots of antique mirrors and a make up table
1901 Cabin - decoration details