Originally named for the Texas folk hero who traveled extensively in the western reaches of Louisiana, Sam Houston Jones was given its current name in honor of the state’s 46th governor, who was instrumental in setting aside this tract of land for the public to enjoy for both day-use and overnight visitors.
Because the caretakers of this 1,087-acre park have worked to keep the land in its natural state, abundant wildlife inhabits the area. Tree-filled lagoons and a mixed pine and hardwood forest combine to create a unique natural environment. The park is located just north of the most productive birding region of Louisiana. The bird watching is always excellent, but at certain times of year, nearly 200 species of birds can be seen at or within 30 miles of the site.
The Office of State Parks has partnered with Sasol in Lake Charles on the Longleaf Legacy Project, to preserve the iconic tree’s rich history, restore the splendor of local forests, and ensure the resiliency of such habitats for generations to come. The project includes restoration of over 70 acres of longleaf forest in the park and companion educational programs for local teachers and families.
Sam Houston Jones State Park is home to more than 70 acres of longleaf pines, the oldest living southern pine species. They were once one of the most abundant tree species in the United States, stretching across 90 million acres from Virginia to Texas. Over time, land-use practices such as logging, farming, development, urban encroachment, and fire exclusion have diminished the longleaf pine, leaving less than 4 million acres of longleaf forest and less than 10 percent of their original presence in Louisiana.
The numerous waterways in this area make water sports a natural highlight at the park. Two boat launches are conveniently located on the West Fork of the Calcasieu River, providing access to Calcasieu Lake, about 20 miles away. (No-Wake Zone Advisory )
The three hiking trails winding through this beautiful park make strolling or serious hiking, pleasurable. Particularly interesting is the old stagecoach road, which hikers may travel to explore the park and the banks of the various tributaries to the Calcasieu River.
For those who wish to stay overnight, the park offers 8 vacation cabins, 62 campsites and 19 tentsites. The cabins include either one or two bedrooms, a living/dining area, a bathroom, and a fully outfitted kitchen, complete with cooking and eating utensils. Bed linens are also provided and each cabin has central air conditioning and heat.
The two campgrounds, located alongside the lagoons, feature improved sites with water and electricity. Dump stations, restrooms, and showers are located nearby
State Park Website: www.crt.state.La.us