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Davy Crockett National Forest

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Description

The Ratcliff Lake Recreation Area, built in 1936 by the Civilian Conservation Corps, surrounds a 45- acre lake. The lake was once a log pond and source of water for the Central Coal and Coke Company Sawmill which logged the area from 1902 to 1920. The area offers recreation visitors camping, picnicking, a swimming beach and bathhouse, concession stand, an amphitheater, an interpretive forest trail, showers, boating and fishing in a beautiful forest setting featured in regional magazines. The 20-mile-long Four C National Recreation Trail begins at Ratcliff Lake and winds through a diverse forest of towering pines, bottomland hardwoods, boggy sloughs, and upland forests. Midway down the trail is the Walnut Creek campsite with five tent pads, a shelter, and pit toilet. Neches Bluff Overlook, located at the north end of the trail, offers a panoramic view of pine-hardwood forests in the Neches River bottomlands with picnic and primitive camping facilities. No horses, bikes, or off-road vehicles are permitted on the Four C National Recreation Trail. A portion of the trail traverses the Big Slough Wilderness Area. The Big Slough Wilderness Area, located along the Neches River about 5 miles north of Ratcliff, is free of modern development and gives the visitor a place for solitude and primitive experiences. The Piney Creek Horse Trail offers forest visitors more than 50 miles of developed horse trails located several miles southwest of Kennard. There are two trailheads: Piney Creek Trailhead has pit toilets, designated campsites, a self-service pay station and municipal water; White Rock Trailhead has pit toilets. Dispersed camping is permitted in most parts of the National Forest year round, but is restricted to 20 designated hunter camps during the fall deer season to provide a safer hunting experience. A map of these camps is available at the ranger district office in early September.

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