5 Must Do Things Around Sabine National Forest

Courtesy of Cypress Bend Resort

In our Must Do Things Around Greater Houston series, we take a look at Houston’s vast array of communities, neighborhoods and destinations to bring you five fun, tasty, surprising and enticing reasons you should give each one a visit.

Up to the northeast of Houston just off the Texas-Louisiana border, you’ll find the picturesque Sabine National Forest. The easternmost of the Lone Star’s four national forests, it sits on the banks of the Toledo Bend Reservoir at over 160,000 acres and is blanketed by American beech and piney woods. Head here to hike, fish, camp, and more.

5 Must Do Things Around Sabine National Forest

  • Go fishing, boating, kayaking, and swimming out on the water – Take out a boat, kayak, or canoe and enjoy a peaceful day on the water of the colossal 185,000-acre Toledo Bend Reservoir along the Sabine River. Host of an annual bass tournament, the reservoir is revered for its bass fishing, but you’ll also find bluegill, catfish, and more year-round. If you’re looking to get your feet wet, then take a dip off its 1,200 miles of shoreline.
  • Go hiking, bird-watching, and horseback riding in the forest – Hikers can hit the 28-mile Trail Between The Lakes, which makes its way from the Lakeview Recreation Area on Toledo Bend Reservoir all the way to Highway 96 near the Sam Rayburn Reservoir. The Indian Mounds Wilderness Area offers 12,000+ acres of serene hiking and horseback riding trails, and the Toledo Bend and Sam Rayburn lakes are great places to spot bald eagles and migratory birds before they make their way to the Gulf.
  • Camp out under the big and bright Texas stars – There are ample camping opportunities for tents, cabins and RVs, from the Indian Mounds Campgrounds in the southeastern portion of the forest to the Ragtown campgrounds a bit further north. Click here for Camping & Cabin details.
  • Get East Texas and Louisiana-style eats Smoked chicken, glistening ribs, and hot boudin are just some of the goods you can get at local smokeshack Hemphill BBQ off Old Sabinetown Road (there’s pecan and coconut meringue pie, too). On the east side of the Toledo Bend Reservoir, you can fill up at local Louisiana spots Gilligan’s Crawfish & Grille and Fisherman’s Galley, which offers casual homestyle seafood and a weekend buffet.
  • Unwind at the Cypress Bend ResortDon’t feel like roughing it but still want to stay in the area? The picturesque Cypress Bend Golf Resort, Spa & Conference Center sits on the eastside of Toledo Bend, rocking a golf course, swimming pools, spa, cafe and social room, hiking and nature trails, and comfortable lodging. Click here for directions.
A patch of trees in the Sabine National Forest | Courtesy of rovert_xih via Reddit

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Brooke Viggiano is a food and lifestyle writer residing in Houston. When she's not contributing to publications like 365 Things to Do in Houston, Thrillist Houston and the Houston Press, she's on the hunt for the coolest happenings in the city. You can follow her musings on Twitter @BrookeViggiano .