Davy Crockett Has a Forest?

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Davy Crockett National Forest, near Nacogdoches, TX

As a matter of fact, Davy Crockett does have a forest. He didn’t really own it, but a forest is named after the very legendary pioneer. The Davy Crockett National Forest is located in the beautiful Piney Woods of East Texas. To me, this forest is a magical place of wonderfully tall pine tree canopies sheltering unusual green foliage sprinkled with wildflowers.

I was first introduced to this National Forest when I was a student at Stephen F. Austin State University in nearby historic Nacogdoches, TX. Some of my friends in my freshmen dorm were from Houston and neighboring suburbs and cities. They knew all about the Davy Crockett National Forest and every single one of the large lakes in that part of East Texas. They were like professional tour guides. Lucky me!

Driving from Nacogdoches to the forest was a quick 38 miles of scenery worthy of viewing. Upon arrival at Davy Crockett, information informs you that the National Forest is over 160,000 acres! Giant to me at the time! The forest has an overabundance of clear and sometimes fast moving streams and is inhabited by scores of wildlife examples. You might see squirrel, deer, quail, dove, turkey, and various examples of waterfowl. Indeed, it is a  managed habitat.


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Ratcliff Lake, Davy Crockett National Forest

My most favorite part of the Davy Crocket National Forest is the 45-acre Ratcliff Lake, formally known as Ratcliff Lake Recreation Area. How I loved this place at first sight! Even as young college students, we knew that we were honored to have such beauty close to our school. Some of my acquaintances were students in the School of Forestry at SFA and they realized the importance of the thick groups of loblolly pine and oak trees that surrounded the lake.

There are several hiking trails that head out from Lake Ratcliff through Davy Crockett. These include the Trail Tamers which is a 0.75-mile not so difficult trail. The Tall Pines trail is a little longer at 1.5-mile. If you have the stamina and want to see the scenic overlook (a must, if you can!), take the 20-mile Four C. Other activities besides hiking include fishing, swimming, camping, as well as picnic fun.

There are campsites that can be reserved, plus picnic shelters and an amphitheater. This is an ideal reunion spot for the family that enjoys the outdoor life. Just remember that Texas is hot in the summer, but I never felt the heat in Davy Crockett. The shade trees are in abundance!

According to the “Texas Time Travel” website, the Davy Crockett National Forest is considered to be one of the premier destinations for scenic hikes and drives. The area is historically important with several structures dating back to the early 1900s. Nearby Nacogdoches is known as being the oldest town in Texas and home to many historical treasures. As we celebrate the 100th year of the National Park Service, we should also remember the National Forest System created by the Land Revision Act of 1891. Davy Crockett National Forest is a unique place for all to enjoy. More than that, it is a protected area with sustainable use of natural resources.


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 Welcome to Ratcliff Lake, Davy Crockett National Forest!


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