Neches River


Date: January 29-31, 2016  

Sponsor: DDRC

River: Neches River   

Trip Leader: Dale Harris

Reach: Highway 94 to Holly Bluff Campground (11.5 miles)  

Phone: 972-814-2633

Difficulty: Flatwater  (see difficulty below)


Rendezvous: US Highway 94 bridge where it crosses the Neches River at  9am Saturday

Required Skills: Basic paddling skills  

Backup Plan: We will announce a backup plan based on river conditions

Confirmation Deadline:



Trip Description:
Friday is a travel day so we’ll meet we base camp at Holly Bluff Campground Friday evening. The campground is on the Neches river in the Alabama Wildlife Mgt. Area. Be sure and bring everything you need with you, as this is a primitive campground with no water or facilities. I will bring a potty and privacy tent. There are no camping fees. This is in a heavily forested region near Davy Crockett National Forest. It is a beautiful remote area with abundant wildlife. The river here winds thru forested hills, and is a tea color from the tannic acid in tree leaves.

Saturday morning we will shuttle up to the put in at Hwy. 94. It is about 11.5 river miles to the campground. We will be traveling light, as our gear will be at base camp. Be sure to bring plenty of water and a picnic lunch.

Saturday night we will have a potluck dinner and relax at the campground.

Sunday we will run a shuttle down to the Hwy. 59 bridge – and paddle that section which is about another 10 miles. Another option for everyone is try a little fishing, hiking, or just take their time and socialize, before heading home.


Gear requirements:
Just about any seaworthy canoe or kayak craft will do for this trip. PFD's (life jackets), paddles (a spare is recommended), a whistle or other signaling device, throw bag, tent, ground pad, sleeping bag, clothing for hot, cold, wet and dry conditions, camp chair, headlamp, plate(s), flatware, drinking cup, personal toiletries and other items that you may want to have with you. Please consider a small cooler for drinks and lunches.

We will be staying at a primitive camp. Bring everything you need for two nights including drinking water. 

This is cold weather camping – please bring warm water-resistant clothing. Avoid cotton clothing such as blue jeans.

Everyone will be responsible for his or her own food.  We will have “pot luck” Saturday night. Bring plenty of beverages, but remember - NO GLASS OR FOAM POLYSTYRENE STYROFOAM CONTAINERS!  

Back-up Plans:
This will go on rain or shine and will only be cancelled or changed due to high water.

Driving Directions: 

Directions from Dallas:

Take I-45 south to Centerville. Go east on Hwy.7 to Crockett then south again on Hwy. 287 to Groveton. Then just pass Groveton take a left on FM 2262 . Follow 2262 NE till it makes a left turn. then follow it NNW up to Holly Bluff road otherwise known as 510A and take a right. Follow this about a mile to Holly Bluff campground.

You can also take 175 to Jacksonville. Then take Rt 69 to Lufkin. Then south on 94 to FM 2262. Turn left on 2262 go about 5 mi. to Holly bluff road 510A. Turn left on Holly Bluff and follow to campground.

Illinois River map

* International Scale of River Difficulty

Class I: Easy. Fast moving water with riffles and small waves. Few obstructions, all obvious and easily missed with little training. Risk to swimmers is slight, self-rescue is easy.

Class II: Novice. Straightforward rapids with wide, clear channels which are evident without scouting. Occasional maneuvering may be required, but rocks and medium sized waves are easily missed by trained paddlers. Swimmers are seldom injured and group assistance, while helpful, is seldom needed.

Class III: Intermediate. Rapids with moderate, irregular waves which may be difficult to avoid and which can swamp an open canoe. Complex maneuvers in fast current and good boat control in tight passages or around ledges are often required; large waves or strainers may be present but are easily avoided. Strong eddies and powerful current effects can be found, particularly on large-volume rivers. Scouting is advisable for inexperienced parties. Injuries while swimming are rare; self-rescue is usually easy but group assistance may be required to avoid long swims.

Class IV: Advanced. Intense, powerful but predictable rapids requiring precise boat handling in turbulent water. Depending on the character of the river, it may feature large, unavoidable waves and holes or constricted passages demanding fast maneuvers under pressure. A fast, reliable eddy turn may be needed to initiate maneuvers, scout rapids, or rest. Rapids may require "must" moves above dangerous hazards. Scouting is necessary the first time down. Risk of injury to swimmers is moderate to high, and water conditions may make self-rescue difficult. Group assistance for rescue is often essential but requires practiced skills. A strong eskimo roll is highly recommended.

Class V: Expert. Extremely long, obstructed, or very violent rapids which expose a paddler to above average endangerment. Drops may contain large, unavoidable waves and holes or steep, congested chutes with complex, demanding routes. Rapids may continue for long distances between pools, demanding a high level of fitness. What eddies exist may be small, turbulent, or difficult to reach. At the high end of the scale, several of these factors may be combined. Scouting is mandatory but often difficult. Swims are dangerous, and rescue is difficult even for experts. A very reliable eskimo roll, proper equipment, extensive experience, and practiced rescue skills are essential for survival.

Class VI: Extreme. One grade more difficult than Class V. These runs often exemplify the extremes of difficulty, unpredictability and danger. The consequences of errors are very severe and rescue may be impossible. For teams of experts only, at favorable water levels, after close personal inspection and taking all precautions. This class does not represent drops thought to be unrunnable, but may include rapids which are only occasionally run.


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Last updated March 11, 2015 5:53 PM