Visiting state parks in Texas usually entails seeing mountains, foothills, clear water streams, or spectacular vistas–but at East Texas’ Huntsville State Park, the gorgeous Piney Woods reign supreme.
The Loblolly Pine of East Texas reigns supreme in this part of the woods, despite the presence of oak, sweetgum, dogwood, and youpon bush.
Exploring the Piney Woods might feel like stepping into a completely new universe, even for native Texans who haven’t visited East Texas before.
Here are some suggestions for making the most of your visit to Huntsville State Park!
Location Of Find Huntsville State Park
The entry to Huntsville State Park is 69 miles north of Houston on Interstate 45, just north of the city’s downtown.
If you’re driving south on I-45, you’ll pass through Huntsville, which is 10.1 miles away.
In both scenarios, exit onto state park avenue 40 and continue it into the park, where you’ll find a ranger station set up along the route to check you in.
Huntsville State Park, Texas – Quick Summary
The Bedias Tribe of Native Americans prospered in the area around what is now Walker County, home of Huntsville State Park, long before Europeans arrived.
The area’s land, woodlands, and creeks provided abundant wildlife as well as fertile soil for crop production.
What remained of the Bedias Tribe joined other big communities in the area after a devastating pandemic of sickness swept over their country in the late 1700s.
Huntsville State Park, like so many other state and national parks, was established during the Great Depression.
Men and women needed to work, and the land that formerly supported the Bedias Tribe became the means by which they could do so.
What is now Huntsville State Park was built by members of the Civilian Conservation Corps, which was primarily made up of African American workers in Huntsville.
Activities In The Huntsville State Park
You’ll spend a lot of time appreciating the forest with over 2,000 acres to explore via the Huntsville State Park trail system.
The trees, as well as the trails that wind among them, will leave visitors speechless.
Within the park, there are over 20 miles of hiking and bike trails, as well as access to over 100 miles of national forest trails just across the street.
Shorter paths are available around the park’s lake, and longer routes are found as you go away from the camping and lake sections.
Trails vary in intensity and distance, with the Loblolly Trail being the quickest at 0.2 miles and the Triple C Trail being the longest at 8.5 miles.
The Dogwood Trail (1.8 miles) and the Praire Branch Loop are two popular mid-length options.
Another popular alternative is the Chinquapin Trail (6.8 miles).
Many of the hiking routes at Huntsville State Park cross paths, allowing you to combine them for a full day of hiking.
Even though there are no hills in the region, many individuals will be misled by the scenery around Huntsville.
Because trees effectively disguise the hills, some sections of the trail, with their numerous ups and downs throughout the forest, can be difficult to navigate in the summer heat.
Go For Boating
Lake Raven’s size is ideal for leisure boating. While canoeing, kayaking, and paddle-boating are ideal for this lake, motorboats are permitted only under certain conditions.
Motorboats are permitted as long as they are operated at a low pace to avoid violating the park’s “no-wake” rule.
You won’t be able to accelerate quickly enough to drag others behind your boat, so leave the water sky at home.
Lake Raven Offers A Lot Of Activities
Huntsville State Park’s Lake Raven was one of the park’s initial man-made attractions.
The lake was created by damming the Big Chinquapin and Little Chinquapin creeks at their confluence in the prairie within the forest.
Lake Raven Reservoir, with a total area of roughly 200 acres, was built by damming the creeks.
The best things to do on Lake Raven are listed below!
Go For Fishing
What the lake lacks in terms of water activities, it makes up for in terms of fishing.
The fishing pier is always packed with local anglers trying their luck at catching fish on any given evening or weekend.
The lake’s vastness makes it ideal for kayak fishing, as paddling anglers may visit nearly every part of the lake.
The largest species are largemouth bass as well as different forms of sunfish, but there are also a few catfish in the waters.
Watch The Birds And Wildlife
There are not that many nicer spots to visit if you enjoy bird viewing.
The combination of Lake Raven and the surrounding woodland offers an ideal environment for our avian friends.
At different seasons of the year, you can witness a variety of birds in this habitat.
You’re in luck if you want to view various species of animals at the park.
You’re nearly guaranteed to see squirrels, deer, raccoons, and even armadillos during the afternoon and evening hours.
A few opossums may be seen during late-night hikes. However, be in mind that while the park is well-kept, it is also a wild environment.
You’re just as likely to spot a snake on the route as you are to see one when walking. Give anybody you come across a broad welcome and go on your way.
They are in their natural environment and will not hurt you unless they need to defend themselves.
The Bottom Line
Take a trip into Huntsville for a quick bite at one of the local eateries or a visit to a museum while visiting Huntsville State Park.
You can’t miss a large statue of Sam Houston along the roadway, where you can snap a family photo with him.
The Sam Houston Memorial Museum is situated in town and houses the home of Texas’ first president as well as a museum of Revolutionary War items.
The saddle of El Presidente Santa Anna, seized during the revolution following the Battle of San Jacinto, is among the museum’s most famous artifacts.