Cooks Lake to Scatterman Paddling Trail

This 4.8-mile loop trail gives visitors a chance to paddle through the beautiful moss-draped cypress-tupelo slough in the biologically diverse Big Thicket National Preserve.  

Getting There

Access site:

Lower Neches Valley Authority (LNVA) Saltwater Barrier Boat Ramp
6790 Bigner Road
Beaumont, TX
(DD) 30.15523, -94.11588

From US Highway 69/96 in Beaumont take the Lucas Drive Exit and head east approximately one mile. Turn left heading North on Bigner Road and continue straight on Bigner Road until reaching the boat ramp in approximately 1.5 mile

Distance from nearest major cities:

  • Austin - 253 miles
  • Beaumont - 6 miles
  • Bryan/College Station - 188 miles
  • Dallas - 281 miles
  • Fort Worth - 303 miles
  • Houston - 89 miles
  • Huntsville - 111 miles
  • Lake Charles - 63 miles
  • San Antonio - 285
  • Waco - 241


Trail Description and Landmarks

Trail Length: 4.8 mile loop

Float Times:~2 - 5 hours (depending on wind speed, water levels, and time spent exploring)

The paddling trail takes paddlers from the LNVA Saltwater Barrier Boat Ramp up the Neches River taking the left fork to Pine Island Bayou and into Cook’s Lake. This looped paddling trail gives paddlers a chance to paddle through a moss-draped cypress/tupelo slough in the biologically diverse Big Thicket National Preserve to Scatterman Lake and back to the Neches River. The seemingly short trail can actually become an all-day adventure since Cook’s Lake and Scatterman Lake are abandoned river channels that have become oxbow lakes which are fun to explore. This trail is relatively flat and very close to sea level giving paddlers a fairly easy paddle upstream; flow is generally quite low. Flow and water quality information is available to paddlers on the SARA website.


The river and oxbow lakes support black (largemouth and spotted) bass. A favorite fish eaten by locals is catfish and blue, flathead (also called yellow), and channel catfish are present. This system supports a variety of sunfish, including bluegill, green, and longear sunfish. Spotted, alligator, and long-nose gar all inhabit these waters. Small lures such as jigs, plastic worms, spinner baits and light-line are recommended.

Wildlife and Ecology

The riparian corridor of the Neches River supports a great diversity of plant and animal life along the river and beyond the banks. Birds spotted here include: herons, egrets, cormorants, barred owl, belted kingfisher, osprey, pileated woodpecker, prothonotary warbler, roseate spoonbill, swallow-tailed kite, and wood duck. A variety of plants can be found along the river as well, including bald cypress, black tupelo, loblolly pine, oaks, river birch, ferns, cardinal flower, spider lilies, and Neches River rose mallow. Common wildlife encountered include bullfrog, leopard frog, opossum, red-eared slider, raccoon, river otter, American alligator, alligator snapping turtle, and a variety of water snakes. 

Private Property

Respect private property by not trespassing or littering and keeping noise levels down. This river is classified as navigable, which permits public use of the streambed and, if necessary, the banks to portage any hazard. Any other use of private river banks without permission of the landowner can be considered trespassing. Under Texas Penal Code (§30.05), criminal trespass occurs when one enters property after receiving notice not to enter. Notice includes verbal notice, a fence, sign(s), purple paint on posts or trees, or the visible presence of crops grown for human consumption.

Events & Attractions

For more information please see the Paddling Events calendar.

LNVA Saltwater Boat Ramp
The primary trailhead is located at the LNVA Saltwater Barrier. The Lower Neches River Authority operates and maintains the Barrier which was completed in 2003. The public boat ramp, public restrooms, picnic area, walking trail, and stocked fishing ponds provides the public world class facilities as well as increased access to the Neches River and the Big Thicket National Preserve.

Big Thicket National Preserve
(409) 951-6700

Beaumont Convention and Visitors Bureau
(409) 880-3749;

Big Thicket Association/Neches River Adventures 
(Eco Tours on-board the Ivory Bill)
(409) 651- 5326;

Sea Rim State Park
(409) 971-2559;

Village Creek State Park
(409) 755-7322;


This trail was made possible through a partnership between Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Big Thicket National Preserve, Big Thicket Association, Beaumont Convention & Visitors Bureau, and Lower Neches Valley Authority.

Shuttles & Rentals

Services offered: Kayak Rentals, Canoe Rentals, Shuttle Services, Maps, Paddles, Lifejackets, Guided or Self-Guided Day Trips and Overnight Trips.  Services will vary with each outfitter.

Big Thicket Outfitters

115 Connolly Road, Vidor, TX 77662
(409) 786-1884;

Eastex Canoe Trails/Eastex Outfitters

50 Turtle Creek Dr., Silsbee, TX 77656

Sharp’s Canoe & Kayak Rentals

8632 Billy’s Drive, Silsbee, TX 77656

Shawl Canoe School

Mary Carter; (409) 791-0040

Austin Canoe and Kayak

Rent kayaks, canoes, and standup paddleboards by the day to take anywhere you want, when you want. Locations in Austin, Houston and the San Marcos/New Braunfels area. For more information, visit

REI (Recreational Equipment, Inc.)

Rent kayaks, canoes, paddles, and PFDs (personal flotation devices) 7 days a week at your nearest REI co-op.
For the closest Texas store, visit


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