Trailheadin’: Turkey Creek Trail

Close your eyes and throw a dart at a large map of the United States, and 9 times out of 10, you’ll hit one of thousands of the country’s hiking, biking, or running trails. This is because, even though cities have grown significantly throughout the years, it is still in our nature to seek out areas far removed from such hectic city life and enjoy the hidden majesty this country has to offer. One of the biggest targets on that map is Texas, and if your dart happens to find the Lone Star state’s Big Thicket Preserve, then you’d be fortunate enough to discover the Turkey Creek Trail.

You’ll find the Turkey Creek’s trailhead at a parking lot just off Farm to Market Road 1943. From there, you’ll embark along the wide, flat trail, and through the region’s higher grounds. Three miles into the trail will then bring you to a turn, where you’ll need to veer right to stay on the Turkey Creek Trail (go straight for the Pitcher Plant Trail). During rainy times of the year, this stretch of the Turkey Creek Trail can get a little flooded, though. You’ll then cross Hester Bridge Road and nearly three miles later, you’ll hit Gore Store Road, where you’ll need to walk roughly a fifth of a mile along the road before re-entering the trail. For most, the mile from Gore Store Road to a campsite along the trail is where they’ll end their first day. Of course, ambitious hikers, or trail runners, will be able to complete the 15 miles in one stretch. After the campsite, you’ll cross oil pipelines, and then hit the Sandhill Loop, followed by a metal foot bridge that crosses the creek that gives the trail its name. Lastly, you’ll reach a four-way intersection in the trail. Here, you can keep right to reach the Kirby Nature Center, or go straight to finish out the trail.

I will tell you that, if you’re seeking out a trail with spanning, epic views of rolling hills and mountain ranges, Turkey Creek is not for you. This 15-mile trail meanders through dense forests that are home to some of the largest varieties of plant and animal life in the country and immerses hikers and runners in a realm of dense trees and lush foliage. This means that it’s truly for those who are in it for the exercise and solitude. While making your way along the trail, though, it’s important to keep an eye out for threats such as venomous snakes, alligators, and even wild boars that can be highly aggressive and dangerous when accompanied by piglets.

Water is your biggest issue during this hike, as the area’s water unsafe for purification. The best way around this issue is to prepare ahead of time by filling up spare tanks and making a drive to a road crossing (Gore Store Road) nine mile along the trail. By stopping here ahead of time and marking your water before hiding it in the brush, you can make your way back to the trailhead and begin your trek with your portable water.

If you find yourself near the Big Thicket Preserve, and are on the hunt for a good trail, I highly suggest giving it a try. They say everything’s bigger in Texas. Well, with everything from overflowing diversities in plant and animal life to Big Thicket Preserve’s Turkey Creek Trail embodies the expression perfectly.