Big Slough Wilderness Area

By: Edward C. Fritz

Type: General Entry

Published: November 1, 1994

Updated: November 25, 2017

Big Slough Wilderness Area is near the northeastern tip of Davy Crockett National Forest, fifteen miles from Alto in Houston County. The 3,040-acre area, set aside by an act of Congress in 1964, is the state's smallest wilderness area. Nevertheless, Big Slough contains an unusual diversity of plant and animal life, including four distinctly different plant associations: short leaf pine and southern red oak; loblolly pine, white oak, and shagbark hickory; water oak, willow oak, and loblolly pine; and overcup oak, mayhaw, and planer tree. Black oak, a species rare in Southeast Texas, also grows in the upland regions. Most of Big Slough lies within the floodplain of the Neches River, which forms eleven of the twelve miles of its eastern boundary. The northern half of the wilderness is covered by a sluggish watercourse named Big Slough, a partly abandoned channel of the Neches. The slough is rich in channel catfish and other aquatic life. To its southeast is a marshy area of several hundred acres that contains a series of beaver and alligator ponds. Buttonbushes surrounding the ponds attract a profusion of butterflies and other insects. Part of the area has never been forested, and no logging has been permitted in it since 1968. During wet periods much of the area is covered by water, and it is then possible to canoe along a four-mile loop from the Neches to Big Slough and back.

Edward C. Fritz, Realms of Beauty: The Wilderness Areas of East Texas (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1986).

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Edward C. Fritz, “Big Slough Wilderness Area,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 28, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

November 1, 1994
November 25, 2017