The Ratcliff Lake Recreation Area surrounds a 45 acre lake for puptastic water recreation. With a ton of amenities, you can camp with your pup and enjoy a forest trail, boating and fishing in the lake, and picnicking in the trees. There's also an amphitheater for events. Dogs are allowed in the forest on leash, except in designated swimming areas or in restricted posted areas.
More serious hikers can check out the Four C National Recreation Trail that stretches for 20 miles from Ratcliff Lake and traverses through the forest, past a tent campground, and then a dispersed camping area with a great panoramic view at Neches Bluff Overlook. The trail continues into the Big Slough Wilderness Area where you'll be free of any modern conveniences to really connect to nature, so be sure to bring all the essentials for you and your pup, including food and water. On the way, keep a lookout for deer, quail, doves, and the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker.
Several developed campgrounds attracts the casual camper, while dispersed campgrounds found throughout the forest beckon the adventure seeker. Available year round, do note that they are restricted to hunter camps during the fall hunting season for safety. Horse families have several horse trails and camping areas too.
Be sure to keep your pup on a leash no longer than six feet, and note any signs that designate restricted areas. Always have clean-up bags on hand and leave nothing behind, from pup or human. Parking starts at $3, with additional fees for campsites.
Leave the city grind behind and get back to nature with your pup at the Davy Crockett National Forest!