Take a Hike
Piney Island Hike
Martin Creek Lake’s Island Trail
Distance: 1.1 mile (loop) • Difficulty Level: 1/5 • Approximate Time: 1 hour
At Martin Creek Lake State Park, a footbridge leads to an island. What’s on the island? The park’s Island Trail invites exploration.
Martin Creek Lake sits deep in the forests of East Texas. Native Americans lived in the area for at least 12,000 years. The Caddo built villages and farmed there before European settlers arrived. Daniel Martin, the creek’s namesake, settled in the area in 1833. He and his neighbors formed the community of Harmony Hill along the Old Henderson-Shreveport Road.
Martin Creek Lake was created in the 1970s to provide cooling water for a Texas Utilities power plant.
Tall pine trees shade much of the state park’s island, where the Island Trail forms a 1-mile loop. After the bridge, hikers will encounter several scenic primitive campsites, many with waterfront views. Halfway through the hike, the trees open to a grassy area where deer can sometimes be seen.
There’s plenty of other wildlife, too, says Assistant Superintendent Curtis Daugherty. Look and listen for pileated woodpeckers in the woods, or search for evidence of beaver activity along the shoreline. Raccoons, opossums, armadillos and squirrels also inhabit the island, along with a variety of birds.
From the southern part of the island, hikers can see the source of the humming sound heard in parts of the park: the power plant across the lake. It’s a reminder of the reason the lake is here, and the state park, too.
Russell Roe Maegan Lanham | TPWD
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