Martin Dies, Jr. State Park

Trails Information

Journey through quiet woods and waters...

armadillo illustration

As you travel the trails, alligators glide through dark water, citrus-scented white blossoms hang from magnolia trees, and woodpeckers tap in majestic pines. Elsewhere, sandy-bottomed Lake Steinhagen offers paddling destinations through waters swollen with life. Create lasting memories of journeys through Martin Dies, Jr. State Park.


All trails are multiuse unless otherwise indicated.

This list may not include all trails in the park.

Trail Distance Time Difficulty Description
Wildlife Trail 1.4 mi. 1 hr. Moderate Encounter a landscape of variety, both clearings and dense woods, on the Wildlife Trail. The trail travels both the park and the adjoining wildlife management area.
Whitetail Trail 0.7 mi. 30 min. Easy Hike along a cypress slough and hardwood forest for a variety of ecological experiences and natural beauty.
Forest Trail 1.0 mi. 45 min. Easy Many different kinds of trees, shrubs and woody vines attract hikers to this trail. Park headquarters provides a booklet to help you identify the most common ones.
Island Trail 0.8 mi.  30 min. Moderate Giant beech and pine trees catch your eye on this trail. Its curves and hills will also challenge even the most avid biker.
Shelter Trail 0.3 mi. 10 min. Easy This short corridor connects the shelter loop to the day-use area on the Walnut Ridge unit.
Slough Trail 2.2 mi. 90 min. Challenging Sixteen bridges over wetlands make up the Slough Trail, providing an excellent view of many marsh plant species. Each bridge crossing also enhances the beauty of this trail.
Sandy Creek Paddling Trail 5.4 mi. 2.5 hrs. Challenging The longest of the park’s three paddling trails, this route hugs the shoreline and then crosses open water. Two boat ramps along the way allow you to get out and stretch your legs.
Neches Paddling Trail 2.8 mi. 90 min. Moderate Follow the buoys on a twisting trail toward the Neches River. You can ride the southern current of the river or take a shortcut to calmer waters.
Walnut Paddling Trail 2.7 mi. 90 min. Moderate Travel all the way round the park’s Walnut Ridge Camping Unit on the Walnut Paddling Trail. Your trip doesn’t end until you’ve also crossed under both the park’s observation bridge and road bridge.
Cherokee Paddling Trail 3.0 mi. 90 min. Moderate Paddle around the Cherokee Unit and watch ducks gather amid cypress groves. Land your boat and cast your fishing line from the shore for a promising fishing opportunity.
List of trails

Points of Interest

GPS coordinates shown in decimal degrees.

Point Latitude Longitude Description
Observation Pier 30.8704° -94.1752° This elevated pier provides an excellent view of the lake’s wildlife.
Cypress Forest 30.8642° -94.1748° This bench on a high point overlooks a majestic cypress grove often visited by wood ducks.
Wildscape 30.8576° -94.1725° Native plants attract insects and butterflies in this natural garden next to the nature center.
Night Sky Lookout 30.8412° -94.1727° You can really see the stars here, a rare public place untouched by light pollution.
Swamp Deck 30.8388° -94.1642° A boardwalk that takes you right through a lush, swamp wonderland.
Sunset Vista 30.8352° -94.1621° This shoreline spot offers a quiet place to view nature’s artwork.
List of points of interest

Staying Safe

  • Know your limits. Prepare for sun and heat. Wear sunscreen, insect repellent and appropriate clothing/hiking shoes.
  • Drink plenty of water. Your body quickly loses fluids when you’re on the trail. Bring a quart of water per hour of activity.
  • Tell others where you’ll be. If possible, avoid exploring alone. Tell someone where you are going and when you plan to return.
  • Wear a helmet when biking. Check with park HQ to match the trail to your skill level. Wear a helmet to protect yourself in case of a crash.
  • Alligators live in this park. Stay at least 30 feet away from them. Stay out of the water! Never annoy or try to feed an alligator!
  • Be careful in the boat. Upon entering or exiting a canoe or kayak, stay low, move slowly and hold onto both sides of the boat.

Trail Etiquette

  • Trash your trash. Keep the park natural Pack out all of your trash and Leave No Trace.
  • Leave feeding to nature. Feeding wild animals will make them sick and more likely to harm people.
  • Take only memories and pictures. Please don’t disturb or remove any of the park’s plants, animals or artifacts.
  • Keep pets on leashes for their safety, and to wildlife.
  • Campfires are permitted only in designated rings and not in the primitive camping area due to potential for ground scarring and wildfires.
  • Use only your muscles. To protect park resources, no motor vehicles are allowed on the trails.