The Piney Woods are East Texas’ natural heart. Most of this vast area, made up of several national forests and little else, has remained largely unchanged for centuries, when Native American tribes and pioneers hunted wild game in the thick forests by day and slept under the awning of pine boughs by night.
Travel to East Texas’ Piney Woods and you’ll find yourself in a place unlike any other in the Lone Star State. The Texas Piney Woods region is home to rolling hills, pine forests, and magnificent lakes, as well as the warmth of Southern hospitality. Enjoy breathtaking views from a scenic highway, visit one of the world’s largest rose gardens, or unwind in Caddo Lake, Texas’ only natural lake. This is just a sampling of the many enjoyable activities available in the Texas Piney Woods. Click on the links below to learn more about what this region has to offer.
The Piney Woods is home to numerous lakes, including Caddo Lake, Texas’ only natural lake. The Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center is located in the Piney Woods Region of Texas in Athens.
The Holiday Trail of Lights is a Christmas event in the Piney Woods Region of Texas that takes you to six cities in two states, including Marshall, Kilgore, and Jefferson in Texas, as well as Shreveport-Bossier City and Natchitoches in Louisiana.
Old South Charm
Many parts of East Texas, such as Tyler and Nacogdoches, still possess graceful elements of the Old South. It’s fascinating to explore the stately plantation homes and mansions under the shade of magnolia and cypress trees. Take a horse-drawn carriage ride in Jefferson, or a relaxing voyage on a paddle-wheel riverboat in a town called Uncertain, Texas. (We have some of the best city names in the known universe, don’t we?) The abundant Southern hospitality and charm of this region are just unmistakable. Oh, and don’t forget to stop and smell the flowers when you’re in Tyler. There’s no larger municipal rose garden in the nation.
Texas Means Friendly
The Piney Woods region also is rich in the state’s history and friendly tradition. The name Texas comes from the Caddo word tejas, meaning “friend,” that the early Spanish visitors called the first Texans. Learn all about how these Native Texans lived at the ancient Caddo Mounds State Historic Site in Alto. For a taste of this state’s history during the time of its struggle for independence, visit Nacogdoches, one of the state’s oldest communities. It was originally a Spanish fort in the mid-1700s, and was even the site of three short-lived republics.
National and Texas State forests
Texas is one of the most biologically diverse places on the planet, and this region hosts several tremendous national and state forests. As one heads south, towering pine forests slowly yield to lush wetlands around Caddo Lake and Big Thicket National Preserve. Trails of blooming azaleas and dogwoods are widely celebrated during their spring bloom. Then in the fall, many of Texas’ most epic landscapes put on a real show when the sassafras, persimmon, maples, sweet gums, dogwoods, elms and oaks reveal their dazzling autumn colors.
Oil is a fundamental part of this state’s fascinating development. In towns like Kilgore, Marshall, Joinerville and Longview, they’re still gushing over the East Texas oil tradition. And don’t forget the World’s Richest Acre in Kilgore, where they celebrate the holiday season with star-topped oil derricks. Explore the oil boom days with museums and a variety of attractions marking the state’s impact on the industry, the evolution of the state’s economy and America’s growth.