This was a nice trail in a beautiful part of East Texas. The trail itself was an easy, enjoyable hike. It wasn't the best maintained trail I've ever been on. There was a major bridge that was washed out with little options to route around it. Many of the other small bridges were in disrepair too. But the scenery was great and it was very lightly trafficked. There are established campsites at each end of the 20 mile hike. In between there are only primitive sites if you can find a site at all, but I actually enjoyed the fact that it was very rustic. I did a half hike of 10 miles heading south from Neches Bluff.

This was my first trail to do by myself with just my dog. I started at Neches and camped at Walnut Creek, then trekked back. Super easy to follow and absolutely beautiful. I went during spring break so I came across quite a few people. Caching water was easy once I found the trail crossing. One big bridge is out so be ready for that. All of the others were sturdy. Definitely hiking this one again but bringing people so I can hike on thru!

Rating is based on comparable trails for this area. Southeast Texas is mostly flat, and swampy, and very heavily wooded, and so is most of the trail. The North end of the trail, by Neches, has the only real hills and probably the prettiest part of the hike. I took a boy scout troop here and everyone enjoyed it. Its very easy to follow, with blazes the entire length. There are a number of bridges with the majority of them being pretty sketch so I would skip where possible as they are very slick. One on the North section crosses a river and is completely washed away so you have to find a shallow spot to cross. The trail is best travelled in the winter due to the bugs. Its pretty swampy and on a warm day the mosquitos will be out. We did it in February and even had some. Also, from what I can tell its a well traveled trail. There were at least 2 other large groups there when we were there. Ratcliff lake is a very pretty campground so a great place to stay over the night before. The Neches campground is free and you get what you pay for. There is a shelter at the halfway point about a half mile past FS511, going North. Due to the number of people, plan on it already being used. The area directly around it has really high grass and is pretty buggy. My recommendation, stash water at FS511, then camp just North of there off the trail, Its a nice area on a slight hill. Or keep heading North about .5 miles past the shelter, the forest is pretty clear and lots of space. I drove most of the road up there FS511 (both crossings) & FS526 are easily passable in just about any car. The gps route is not completely accurate where it cuts west and goes across 517, and the map at this point doesn't show a road that is there. The trail parallels this logging road for a .5 mile or so, you can see it on the satellite view. Also, we never did see FS517, so not sure it still exists or not. The area was recently burned so it was probably hidden, but doesn't appear to be a road that can be used anymore. Probably due this trail again in a year or so. Also, lots of ponds along the route so if you take a small rod there is probably some fish there.

Great trail for a winter hike. Beautiful open old-growth pine stands. Nice shelter with a fire pit about halfway if you choose to make it an overnight trip. No elevation change or big vistas, but good for East Texas woods. Fairly well kept trail with many bridged creeks. One washed out bridge and a lengthy section of boardwalk that has been destroyed by fallen trees. Quite a bit of wetlands and mud in the central section (it just rained before our hike). Probably a cold weather hike, wouldnt want to do it in the summer with all the mosquitos and ticks.

We tackled this trail in the summer. There were alot of ticks and small (harmless) spider webs that morning that we experienced. However, the trail is easy hiking allowing you to observe thick pine forest, old railway tram tracks, creeks and ponds all in the heart of deep East Texas. Loved it.

Just finished a quick hike and overnight stay with my wife. We hiked about 6 miles in, then a mile back to a little lake where we camped for the night. Mosquitoes are horrid as always, but that's the price you pay in East Texas especially two weeks after a hurricane. The part of the trail we took was marked very clearly, not well kept but clear enough. The little lake is a great place to camp, however don't swim in it. We just wet our feet and the silt from the bed was stuck to us permanently. It was a little daunting at places carrying a 50# pack but still doable and a lot of fun. We will be back and start at the lake end and see how far we get.

not a trail to take alone..saw several poisonous snakes... alligator and hogs. trail is overgrown in the summer and dangerous to hike. Recommend spring time hiking!

Not worth it in the summer. I did the first 7 or so miles of this trail northbound and after the 6.5-ish miles of lovely wooded trail, I hit a poorly marked field of small growth pines and it was all downhill from there, with poor markings and what you can barely call a "trail" meandering along private farms through dense pricker forests. I thought someone was playing a joke on me. I got all cut up and had to turn around somewhere in the "winderness" section. Made the mistake of sitting at some point and got covered in minuscule deer ticks. Total # of ticks I got on that hike was about 100, not an exaggeration. The negative experience outweighed the lovely first 6.5 miles. If attempting the whole trail in the summer, don't. Maybe the growth is less in other seasons and it is an actual trail not a pricker nightmare.

hiking
Sunday, April 23, 2017

One of the best in Texas. A bit overgrown in places.

hiking
Friday, March 17, 2017

Fantastic! My wife's first true experience camping was a success with this hike. We live just on the east side of Dallas, so to be in woods and back in a little bit of rolling hills was a dream come true.

It's not the most spectacular hike I've ever done, but it hit the spot for us and our 7 month old pup. There was a good pond for our pup to swim and fetch in and a great place we found to set up camp.

Overall, it's a great place to bring your family with kiddos and enjoy the outdoors!

hiking
Sunday, February 05, 2017

Got finished yesterday - loved the trail, except for the mile of walking along a telephone/elec ROW. Beautiful forest. Stayed at the primitive shelter at MM 11.1. Thanks!!

hiking
Sunday, November 06, 2016

Hiked this trail southbound on March 2. Perfect day with just a slight chill in the air. The trail is very easy with minimal elevation change (typical of the area). Way more bridges than I had expected, would probably be a miserable hike without them in wet weather. Very well marked and easy to follow. Will return soon for an overnight.

Worst trail I have ever been on. Trail is poorly marked and continually drops you off in the middle of deer blinds. I do not suggest this trail to anyone.

We love this trail. We will be hiking it thru, from Ratcliff Lake to the Bluff and back this weekend for the 40. Stoked.

hiking
Thursday, July 14, 2016

The Four-C trail isnt the most exciting trail, but its one of the only overnight trails in East Texas. Ive hiked it 4 times now one way and its always quiet and a bit wild. You can get dropped off at Ratcliff Recreational area, or the Neches Bluff Overlook, and picked up at the other for a shorter trip. The trail is under maintained in many areas, passing through private property that is often not well marked. The trail can be unmarked in some sections, but if your out for an overnight hike, you've probably got the common sense to find your way. I'd suggest a trip in the early spring or fall, when the mosquitoes and humidity are low. The shack in the middle point was in poor shape, possibly the roof caught fire during a controlled burn from pine needles on top? it rained and i had to sleep all the way to one wall to get away from the rain splatter. I have seen multiple venomous and non-venomous snakes on the trails so use caution. Geocaches are plenty along the trail if you cant find them, often just a pile of burnt plastic from the prescribed burns or just a film canister. Ive only run into 1 group of people the 4 times i've done it, so not too busy of a trail. I recomend plenty of bug spray, a hammock with mosquito netting, and plenty of water. Like I said, its not the ozark trail, but its all we got :)

We hiked the trail March 17/18, 2016. A bridge was washed out by the recent rains but with some effort we made it past that point. No one at the ranger station told us this (we called before we began) and we had placed our water on the other side of this bridge which was 5 miles (about) into the hike. If we hadn't made it past (we ran into others that didn't make past) we would have not had water for the second day. The camp site seems to be farther than 9 miles and the map is not very helpful but the trail is well marked. The further we hiked the more bridges were out. Some had obviously been out for awhile. Lots of trees were down and it seemed that the further into the hike we got the less maintained the trail was. We did not mind since we liked the challenge. Oh, and parts of the forest were still burning from a recent fire but nothing that had us alarmed. We just walked past. We would do it again!

hiking
Monday, February 29, 2016

My girlfriend and I did a two day hike on this trail 2/27/2016-2/28/2016. We started at the southern trailhead by Ratcliff Lake and hiked about 11 miles then setup camp. The trail is very well marked and even though there are some places where trees have fallen on the path which require you to make small detours, we never had any issues finding the trail.

I read a few recent reviews that stated the shelter at Walnut Creek Camp was no longer there, however this information is incorrect. The shelter is still there and aside from what appeared to be a burned hole in the roof, is in good shape.

Overall it was a blast hiking this trail. We may start from the northern trailhead next time to get a different perspective.

hiking
Saturday, January 16, 2016

This trail is a little confusing to me. I think the Neches Bluff Trail is a small portion of the Four C trail, but cannot find what the official Neches Buff Trail is.

We did hike 2.5 miles down to near the water and back to the park road where the trail continues on.

It was mostly easy with a few moderate sections of elevation changes (We are flat-landers). The recent rain left many places on the trail that were flooded. Easy enough to get around.

I was surprised that the trail never took us to a bluff, just down to the water's edge.

It was an enjoyable hike and would love to continue on where we left off someday.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

I hiked the 20 miles in a little over two days. The trails were easy to hike and was able to form a steady pace along the way.
The trails were well marked by trees which were placard by white tags and the creeks had well maintained bridges for easy passage.
I crossed several park service roads, none had signs which would have confirmed exactly where I was in relation to the map that I had.
On the third morning, I needed more water and was able to safely filter some water from a flowing creek.
Please note that the area surrounding the trails is also designated for public hunting.
To make sure I wasn't a potential target, wore a bear ball, a blaze orange hat and a basic light weight blaze orange vest that was position over my backpack an draped over the shoulder straps.

hiking
Thursday, September 03, 2015

Hiked 10 miles up from the south entrance. Trail was well worn, flat, mostly shady and well marked. After the 10 mile sign things got more overgrown. Couldn't find the campsite that was supposed to be 9 miles in and it was getting dark so we had to make camp without finding the site. Be aware that you must bring or cache any water on this trail as heavy metals prevent the water from being filtered.

hiking
Sunday, July 12, 2015

This was my first backpacking hike, and we carried all our water with us, so progress was slower than average.

Walnut Creek shelter was gone, maybe destroyed in one of the burns? No idea, but it definitely wasn't there.

Wear pants, not shorts, and reapply bug spray fairly often. Check for ticks when you make camp. Some boggy areas near bridge were mosquito nightmares!

Minor hills near the overlook end of the trail.

There were almost no mile markers, so figure out your own way to track your progress. The trail itself was clearly marked.

High humidity after a brief rain shower the first day. Humid and sunny the second day. I don't recommend going in June. The forest would be much prettier in the fall anyway.

Good thing about this trail is you can drive your car up some of the backroads and cache your water ahead, save some weight in your packs. http://www.duprephotography.com/4CTrail/index.htm is a good resource to figure out where to stash it.

camping
Wednesday, March 18, 2015

We stayed at Group Site B on the Loblolly Loop for a few nights with several other families. The campsite itself was great. The loop was quiet and just the right size for kids to safely ride bikes with minimal supervision. The lake comes directly up to the campsite which made for great turtle looking and "fishing." If we had brought the canoe, it would have been perfect for excursions. The hiking trail was lovely, but the map we found on the forest service website was out of date so left us feeling uncertain on our hike. Everything was wonderful EXCEPT the traffic noise from Highway 7 was completely unreasonable. The kids didn't seem to notice much, but the adults had trouble sleeping. I tried lying out in the hammock to watch the stars and the traffic noise was too distracting to relax! The acoustics of the park and lake seem to amplify the sounds, especially of big rigs but even regular cars, and the sound sustains for an outrageous amount of time as the traffic travels past a quite long stretch of road. I timed it and it sounded like jet airplanes taking off for a sustained 75 seconds. That doesn't sound like that would be too bad, but it really was. Highway 7 doesn't seem like it should be such a busy road, but it certainly is. All night and all day. In the daytime, the noise is more constant, so unpleasant but you can tune it out. At night, there often seemed to be 45 seconds or so between vehicles so it was even more aggravating. It was great to get out into a beautiful area and let the kids have so much unstructured play, but I really wish we had known about the traffic. We would have definitely gone elsewhere. Perhaps the Lakeside loop might be a little more quiet, but I am not sure. When we walked the road through that part of the park, it seemed a little better, but on the water it might have been louder. It's very disappointing that such a lovely place is ruined by the proximity of such a ridiculously loud road. Very sad.

hiking
Saturday, February 21, 2015

I have hiked the trail both ways. North to south and south to north. Neat bridges. Lots of pine. A bit monotonous. Very flat.

trail running
Monday, March 10, 2014

Great trail.

hiking
Sunday, December 09, 2012

Went thru Ratcliff lake camping area. Sad to see how much damage from pine bore beetles. :(

hiking
Tuesday, February 21, 2012

My brother and i hiked this trail together and we both enjoyed it. Scenery changes every couple of miles which was nice. There is a nice shelter we stayed in that is almost at the halfway point. A bad storm came through and the shelter did leak a bit, but we were still able to stay dry.

hiking
Thursday, April 21, 2011

Great trail...Bring Plenty of Water!! No potable water on the trail.

hiking
5 days ago

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