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, lies an extraordinary ecosystem with extreme biodiversity. Martin Dies, Jr. State Park is comprised of approximately 730 acres and three state park units: 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/Dam B 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 two-hour guided canoe trip stays closer to the state park while our four-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 park headquarters for more details
- More information on the Martin Dies, Jr. Paddling Trails
- Take a virtual tour with our Interactive Trails Map
- Swimming Safety Tips
- Alligators live in the park; .
Camping: There are over 200 campsites to choose from with a variety of different options, including mini-cabins, screened shelters, waterfront, 50 amp and 30 amp. Pets are not allowed in the cabin/shelter loops.
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 seven ramps to launch your boat, canoe or kayak. Many visitors camping overnight bring their boats and trailer with them to their campsites. Visit our Water Safety page before you come.
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 available for duck hunters looking to get out on the water early. These three 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 eight scenic miles of hiking and biking trails that meander through the forest. Take a virtual tour with our Interactive Trails Map.
Wildlife Viewing and 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 and 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 operating 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.
Teachers: This is a Texas Aquatic Science Certified Field Site.
If traveling to the park from the west, be sure to stop in Woodville (the Dogwood Capital) for fuel, groceries, sporting goods, etc. For those traveling from the east, be sure to stop in Jasper (the Jewel of the Forest) for the same conveniences. Both towns have grocery stores, plenty of restaurants to choose from and numerous other businesses.
Did we mention that this is forest country? The nearby Angelina National Forest to the north and the Big Thicket National Preserve to the south offer scenic drives or hikes through some of the most beautiful forest land in Texas. The Alabama-Coushatta Indian Reservation is located 30 miles west of the park on U.S. Highway 190. Other state parks and TPWD lands in the area include the Angelina-Neches/Dam B WMA, Lake Livingston State Park, Mission Tejas State Park, and Village Creek State Park. Other lakes in the area include Sam Rayburn Reservoir and Toledo Bend Reservoir.