Cherokee Neches Paddling Trail

Paddle this 6.6 mile trail to enjoy some of the natural wild beauty of the Neches, including quiet pools, small riffles, and plenty of wildlife.

Getting There

Access sites:

FM 747/River Run Park: (DD) 31.94579, -95.44468
From Hwy 79, 1.6 miles west of Jacksonville, Texas, take FM 747 north.  Continue 10 miles to Neches River Run Park (address is 2001 CR 3315).  Check in at the office for directions to the put-in.

US HWY 79: (DD) 31.89266, -95.43121
The take-out is on the North Side of Hwy 79 at the Neches River. There is an access road to the take-out off of CR 3212 at Hwy. 79.

Distance from nearest major cities:

  • Dallas – 109 miles
  • Fort Worth – 142 miles
  • Austin – 194 miles
  • Waco – 117 miles
  • Houston – 169 miles
  • San Antonio – 272 miles


Trail Description and Landmarks

Trail Length: 6.6 miles

Float Times:~3-5 hours (depending on water level and flow rate)

A variety of water types including quiet pools and several small riffles are present. Although there are no man-made obstructions on this reach, there may be snags to avoid, especially when water levels are low. Heavy rains and high water can create dangerous conditions. This section of the Neches River is a natural river that is unrestrained by flood control dams or other man-made structures. As such, the Neches River is readily influenced by rainfall runoff that may create temporary high flows and undesirable water quality conditions. 


This section of the river supports numerous species of fish including several species of gar (spotted, longnose and alligator), channel catfish, drum and spotted (Kentucky) bass. 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 an occasional Bald Eagle, crows, kingfishers, Great Blue Herons and seasonal migratory waterfowl and songbirds. Pristine oak trees grow along the river making this hardwood forest a unique wildlife habitat. Common wildlife encountered include feral hogs, whitetail deer, river otter, beaver, squirrels, turtles, snakes and an occasional alligator.

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.

Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce, 903-586-2217

Loves Lookout
A beautiful overlook rest area with an information center north of Jacksonville off Hwy 69.

Lake Jacksonville
Offers cabins and shelter rentals surrounded by this beautiful East Texas lake.

Tomato Fest
Annual celebration of the tomato heritage of Jacksonville as the “Tomato Capital of the World.”

Cherokee Trace Drive-thru Safari
A wildlife park that is home for two dozen exotic and endangered species that thrive in an open habitat similar to their native territory.  Enjoy a self-guided drive through the hills and open savannahs of this 300-acre preserve.


This trail was made possible through a partnership between Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce, Neches River Run Park, Friends of the Neches River, and Texas Conservation Alliance.

Shuttles & Rentals

Neches River Run Park

2001 CR 3315, Jacksonville, Texas 75766; 325-646-4128, 903-724-4100