The United States Congress designated the Upland Island Wilderness (map
) in 1984 and it now has a total of 13,229 acres
All of this wilderness is located in Texas
and is managed by the Forest Service.
By 1930, loggers had chopped down almost all the pine with any commercial value, leaving behind a few small "islands" of immature trees and remnants of sawmill sites. A dense cover of second-growth pines and hardwoods now fills out the Wilderness, while the more stately longleaf pines have established fiefdoms on the wide, flat ridge tops. The "upland" portion, to the south, rises only a few hundred feet above sea level. The terrain flattens in the northern section, and again in a small southern section bordered by the Neches River and separated from the remainder of the Wilderness by a non-Wilderness road corridor. Upland Island may be the most interesting Texas national forestland acreage, with flora ranging from the carnivorous pitcher plant to wild azaleas and rose pogonias, a member of the orchid family. Water flows in Cypress Creek, Salt Branch, Oil Well Creek, Big Creek, and Graham Creek. Numerous trails give access to the area, some along abandoned roads, and hiking and horseback riding are relatively easy. From a trailhead on Forest Service Road 303 you can hike in one-half mile to join the primary north-south pathway, which crosses the area for approximately six miles.