North of Newton off of Texas Highway 87 are world renowned canyons noted for Longleaf Pine forests, rock cliffs, and Wild Azaleas that bloom each Spring. Visitors are welcome to explore and photograph this scenic area.
Newton’s Wild Azaleas bloom during mid-March through early April. There are several trails of varying lengths that are open throughout the year. Wild Azalea Canyon is a wilderness park on lands of Temple-Inland.
Canyon paths can be steep and slippery, especially from the carpet of Long Leaf Pine needles. Before exploring the canyons, it is advisable to bring along a good pair of walking shoes, a walking stick, and plenty of time! Binoculars are useful for birders.
From Burkeville, Texas – Junction Highway 87 and Highway 63:
Go East on Highway 63 for 0.2 miles
Turn South (right) onto Highway 1414. Follow Highway 1414 South 9.2 miles to Wild Azalea Canyon sign on left
Turn East (left) onto dirt road. Follow road 1.1 miles to “Y” (there is a sign)
Bear right at “Y” and go 0.1 miles to crossroad (there is a sign)
Turn right and go 0.6 miles to signs and parking area on left.
GPS Coordinates: 30.53.971 N – 93.36.047 W
The site includes 200 acres with open access. This rugged and scenic canyon, coursing through the bluffs overlooking the Sabine River bottom, has attracted visitors since the early 1800s. As the namesake suggests, the canyon comes alive with the pinkish-white blooms of wild azaleas during the month of March.
On my visit to wild Azalea Canyons in august of 2010, I found the signage largely gone and the trails not as well maintained as they used to be. However, the trails were clear and easy to walk and the steps on the steep portions just fine. At this time of year there wasn’t much to see as far as flowering plants, but there are quite a few birds – even on a hot August afternoon!
The roads are not as well marked as they used to be and there is now an oil or gas well part way back… it is somewhat easy to get confused, but of the directions are followed carefully and you watch the signage, you shouldn’t have a problem getting there and back.
Photos from August, 2010
Parking area is just fine and the entrance is in good condition.
Photos showing azaleas: from Newton County Chamber of Commerce brochure
All other photos by Frank Dutton