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Canoeing & Kayaking


Neches River, Silsbee, Texas, USA

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Copyright 2001 Alfonso Vazquez-Cuervo - See Terms of Use

Our Route Summary

  • Submitted by: Marilyn Kircus with photos by Bob Scaldino
  • Date Submitted: 11/2001
  • Location: Silsbee, Texas, USA
  • Class: I
  • Distance Paddled: Paddle 38 miles through the wild and mysterious Big Thicket in East Texas. Enjoy the solitude of wilderness, huge cypress, glorious sandbars, while visiting the last bastion of the Ivory Billed Woodpecker.
  • Water Level: Check with local outfitters listed below or stream gauge information. Don't plan to come July to September as the sun is very strong, the weather is hot and humid and the water is low and slow.
  • Water: fresh
  • Wildlife: Eagles, osprey, wading birds, deer, barred owls, wild hogs, armadillo
  • Special Regulations: You must get a permit and only 8 people are allowed on each trip.
    Order from Big Thicket National Preserve, 3785 Milam, Beaumont, TX, 77701. 409-839-2689. Ask for packet and the Canoe Trip Planner.
    For more information, go to and click on the "In Depth" button.


  • Directions: From Silsbee, which is north of Beaumont, take Hwy. 92 north to Hwy. 1013 East. As soon as you cross the river, take a right to the put-in.
  • Fee: $3.00/boat at the put-in
  • Description: Paved boat ramps at each end
  • Parking: We have used the following two outfitters to run our shuttles and store our cars, returning one of them for us to use to collect the rest of the cars on the scheduled day of arrival at the end of the paddle:

    - Eastex Canoe Outfitters in Silsbee (1-800-814-7390)

    - Sharps Canoe Rentals in Silsbee 409-385-6241 -our favorite
  • Facilities: None
  • Handicap Access: No special arrangements


  • Directions: Outfitter picked us up here (see above).
  • Fee: none at take out
  • Description: banks on the side of a bridge
  • Parking: unpaved parking, though we left our cars at the outfitter
  • Facilities: none
  • Handicap Access: No special arrangements

What We Saw

This is usually a easy paddle with a little help from the river. The Neches is at its best in spring or fall. Winter is also a nice time to visit if you bring clothes to keep you warm and dry.

This is 10 miles below the dam and if the water is releasing, the current can be quite swift. Otherwise, it is very slow. Sandbars are available, in varying numbers, depending on the water level in about the first 12-15 miles.

The upper end has lots of huge beautiful white sand sandbars with room for large groups. However the lower end doesn't have many and has none at high water levels. We camped on one such nice, broad sand bar.

The next best place to camp is at the Hardin County Park which is quite low (muddy in rainy weather) and may be the hangout of teenagers on Saturday night. The next sandbar you can usually count on is about 35 miles down river. You can hear the railroad from it.

There are lots of opportunities for side trips into sloughs, more for canoes than kayaks. It is in the swampy sloughs that the cypress grow.

The lower end has more swampy places along it. There are also some little houseboats, mostly on the lower portion. We saw 3 motor boats and 2 occupied houseboats on our trip.

For more information please visit Kircus' Trips

For more pictures, see: