Martin Dies, Jr. State Park
Deep in the heart of the East Texas Pineywoods!
Located on the northern edge of the Big Thicket, and at the forks of the Angelina and Neches Rivers, makes for an extraordinary ecosystem with extreme biodiversity. Martin Dies Jr. State Park is comprised of approximately 730 acres and 3 state park units to include the Cherokee Unit in Tyler County and the Henhouse Ridge and Walnut Ridge Units in Jasper County. The park is situated alongside the 10,687 acre B.A. Steinhagen Reservoir and offers many campsites adjacent to the lake or one of several sloughs that meander through the park. The northern half of the lake and surrounding lands near the forks of the two rivers make up the Angelina-Neches Wildlife Management Area (WMA). Between the WMA, the lake, the rivers and the state park, there are endless opportunities to explore this one of a kind East Texas treasure.
Things to Do
If you’re looking to experience the forest country of East Texas, Martin Dies Jr. State Park is the place. The park offers a wide variety of camping and recreational opportunities. Activities include camping, hiking and biking, fishing, boating, paddling, stargazing, swimming, wildlife viewing and birding, nature study and just plain ole relaxing.
Paddling: Martin Dies Jr. State Park is one of the best paddling destinations in Texas. The scenic sloughs that meander through the park combined with the lake, and the Angelina and Neches Rivers provide endless opportunities for kayaking and canoeing. Whether you are a beginner, or an expert paddler looking for an extreme back country tour, there is something here for everyone. The park offers guided paddling trips of varying lengths each month of the year. Our 2 hour guided canoe trip stays closer to the state park while our 4 hour guided kayak trip reaches out a little further exploring the nearby back country, rivers, sloughs and creeks. Canoes and kayaks are furnished or you can bring your own. Paddling trips are by reservation only. Contact the Park Headquarters for more details
- More information on the Martin Dies, Jr. Paddling Trails
- Swimming Safety Tips
- Alligators live in the park; .
Camping: There are over 200 campsites to choose from with a variety of different options to include mini-cabins, screened shelters, water front, 50 amp and 30 amp.
Stargazing: The stars at night, are big and bright, in the heart of deep East Texas. Our distance from big cities makes for some great night skies on clear nights. Come see it for yourself. Check our Calendar of Events for scheduled Star Party programs.
Boating: The park has 7 ramps to launch your boat, canoe or kayak. Many visitors camping overnight bring their boats and trailer them to their campsites. Boating Safety Tips.
Fishing: The park offers several small lighted fishing piers and many of the campsites offer bankside fishing. Catfish, Bass, Perch and Crappie are the common catch. Remember, you don’t need a fishing license to fish from the shore in a Texas state park with a daily entry permit.
Hunters: During hunting season, the state park is a great place to set up camp. The North and South Cherokee Unit boat ramps as well as the Tidelands boat ramp are made available for duck hunters looking to get out on the water early. These 3 boat ramps are separate from our camping areas and are available by paying entry fees only. Deer, hog and squirrel hunting are also popular in the 12,636 acre WMA.
Swimming: Swimming is available in the lake at the designated swim area at the Henhouse Ridge Unit. Swimming is permitted from sunrise to sunset. Read our Swimming Safety Tips before you get in the water.
Hiking/Biking: The park features approximately 8 scenic miles of hiking and biking trails that meander through the forest.
Wildlife Viewing & Birding: The extreme biodiversity of the park and the surrounding area makes for an abundant amount of wildlife. The footbridge on the Walnut Ridge Unit is a popular location for spotting wildlife – birds, mammals and reptiles.
Exercise & Fitness: State Parks make great venues to improve or maintain your health and level of fitness. Our winding park roads and wooded trails offer many miles for running and biking.
Nature Study: The park offers and incredible mixed Pine/Hardwood forest for studying the wide variety of trees, plants, birds, mammals, reptiles and all kinds of insects.
The park rents canoes, kayaks and single speed cruiser bicycles. See the Park Headquarters during operational hours for all rentals.
The Nature Center offers several hands on activities for children and adults. Programs are offered on weekends on topics such as nature hikes, animals, plants and trees of the forest, Arts in the Parks activities, paddling tours, star parties, campfire programs, geocaching, night hikes, and natural and cultural history programs.
Nearby points of interest include Village Creek State Park; Angelina-Neches-Dam B Wildlife Management Area; winter bald eagle census conducted at the Sam Rayburn Reservoir; the Dogwood Festival held at Woodville; and a rodeo held in Jasper. In addition, the park is located approximately 30 miles from the Alabama-Coushatta Indian Reservation, Big Thicket National Preserve, National Forest Service areas, Sam Rayburn Lake and Toledo Bend Lake.