Big fun at Big Cow Creek.. Just as one would expect from a creek named “Big Cow”

Big Cow Creek ... at Texas Hwy. 363 bridge which crosses it
Big Cow Creek … at Texas Hwy. 363 bridge which crosses it
Big Cow Creek, horshoeing along its merry way
Big Cow Creek, horshoeing along its merry way

Back in December, I had shared a few photos and details of waterway called Big Cow Creek.  I did not expect the response I got… nearly 150 likes, some 30 comments and almost 50 shares.  People commented about how special the creek was to them, referring to fond memories and happy times on the creek… fishing, swimming, playing, picnicking, even being baptized in the creek’s cold waters.

Big Cow Creek:  Part 1

Here is the bit I shared about our initial, rather unintentional, trip to Big Cow Creek, in late December 2015:

While driving through East Texas, in Newton County, we crossed Big Cow Creek. As many people probably do when they cross Big Cow Creek, we at once wondered, what is Big Cow Creek? What does it look like? What is it all about? Where does it get its name?

So, first of all, we turned our touring vehicle around (safely of course) on the two lane highway (Texas Hwy. 363) and carefully parked on a nice area perfect for parking a vehicle on a lovely Saturday. We then assembled our quadcopter and set it up in the air. And what we saw was a really neat creek which seemed to horseshoe right before our very eyes.
While one of my daughters was videoing and I was taking photos, my youngest daughter (Siarah) discovered a rope swing and immediately made use of it, swinging happily and with sheer joy and thrill over the cute creek and fortunately not crash landing on land or in water.

As we were putting up the quadcopter, we heard Siarah scream. Rather loudly.  Actually, it was a shriek.  She had made her way somehow to a sort of peninsula in the creek (where it horseshoed) and her curiosity as to what was in the creek got the better of her… and so she slid slowly and uncontrollably (and apparently uncomfortably) down the steep bank and into the creek… there was nothing we could do to help… she was already knee deep.  This area of the creek was shallow, so she climbed out safely.. Her sister laughed, a lot (big mistake)… of course Siarah was absolutely furious at the creek and not herself as it was clearly the creek to blame that her clothes were covered in water and mud. And, of course to her it was slightly my fault as well for not paying close attention to my risk-hungry 15 year old sweet daughter. That was the way she felt anyway. She returned to our side of the shore, muddy and grumpy, and threw a fist full of mud at her 16-year-old sister for laughing.

After this, in the absolute silence of the next few minutes of the drive as Siarah pouted about her favorite jeans (they are all her favorites), I learned this about Big Cow Creek from the Texas Historical Association:

Big Cow Creek rises eight miles southeast of Browndell in northwestern Newton County and flows south-southeast for fifty-six miles to its mouth on the Sabine River, ten miles southeast of Kirbyville (at 30°34′ N, 93°44′ W). The stream, intermittent in its upper reaches, traverses gently undulating to hilly terrain where loblolly, shortleaf, and longleaf pines grow…
and this, from Texas Parks and Wildlife:
The creek derives its water supply from the many spring-fed branches in the area. In the upper reaches, it flows through an area of rolling sandhills, open mixed forests, and scattered pine groves. The lower section flows through a bottomland area composed of beech and other species of hardwood and pine. Water flow is sufficient on most of the lower section for recreational use; however, the best section for recreational use is reportedly from SH 87 crossing (2 miles southeast of Newton) to the Sabine River.

Neat how you can find treasure around every corner and bend… My daughter, on the other hand, finds the creek a bit yucky. For me, however, I am pretty sure any time I hear of Big Cow Creek or traverse it, I will fondly remember the experience. And I’ve no doubt my daughter will too… Eventually !

Big Cow Creek
Big Cow Creek

Big Cow Creek:  Part 2

In January, while traveling again through East Texas, I decided I wanted more footage on Big Cow Creek, since our post had gotten such nice response and I figured there was more to see than the little section we had seen by the bridge at Jesse Lee Park west of Bon Weir.  The kids were up for it, which surprised me a bit because I figured Siarah would still be angry with the creek.  She had celebrated her 16th birthday in late December, just a few days after we were at the creek last, and bragged to me that she had grown up since the last trip and I needn’t worry about any incidents with her this time.

We pulled up into the park, got our camera equipment out and prepared to get more footage.  Siarah was excited to show how much she had matured since the last visit, one month earlier.  However, she had taken her Converse high top tennis shoes off an hour or so before while we were traveling and something went awfully wrong with the shoes (or perhaps it was her feet) that prohibited her from successfully putting on her left shoe.  She experienced an awful fit of anger and announced she hated the creek and was just going to stay in the car, sans shoes.

My other daughter and I tried to get a drone in the air to get more footage.  But we concluded the wind was too heavy to keep the drone up any more than a few seconds… and since Siarah was pouting in the car, we gave up and vowed to return.

Big Cow Creek

Big Cow Creek:  Part 3

We returned to Big Cow Creek later in the month, this time determined to get more footage.  Again, it was a beautiful day, and the winds weren’t so heavy, plus Siarah was in a good mood so it seemed like it would all work out.

And it did!  I found that the park goes so much farther back than I though… Geez, like maybe the length of three or more football fields… maybe even lots more… we walked and walked and kept thinking this is the end, but then there was more… and more… and still more.  The creek is indeed beautiful… a narrow creek with banks of changing soil type … some sand, some dirt, some almost clay-ish.

Savanah got the drone in the air and started filming and snapping photos.  I took some photos with my camera… there were plenty of scenic vantage points from which to shoot.  At some point, I realized Siarah had disappeared.  I asked Savanah if she knew where her sister was and she reported that she saw her in the distance from the monitor which displays the drone camera footage from the air.  How far in the distance, I asked, and what was she doing?  Savanah responded rather nonchalantly that her sister was sitting on a high tree limb hanging over the creek.  Oh, and she wasn’t wearing pants, she added.

For real?  Yes, for real, Savanah assured me.  No joke.  Plain and simple. Oh, also, her shirt was missing, and she was therefore only wearing underwear and a sports bra.  Oh boy…

I walked in the direction Savanah pointed and called Siarah.  She answered, and announced rather gleefully that she was pretty sure she was stuck.  I found her, as expected, on a tree limb hanging over the creek… clad in underwear and bra only.  What on Earth?!, I asked.  She explained she did not want to travel again with wet clothes in the event she fell in the creek again.  I helped her get down… well really, I watched as she climbed carefully across the limb and to an area where the branches forked and then shimmied down the tree and to the ground.  She was smiling.  I was thrilled.  So much so that I didn’t even scold her for getting half naked high in a tree above the creek named “Big Cow.”

We left happy.  The Big Cow seemed happy, glistening and flowing nicely.  And the Big Cow has a special place in my memory bank… now and for always.




9 thoughts on “Big fun at Big Cow Creek.. Just as one would expect from a creek named “Big Cow””

  1. We lived about 2 miles from Big Cow Creek and it was used for swimming, camping and playing. Also some great catfishing. I can still remember the fun we had at that swimming hole. When we were little mother would keep us out of the deep water by saying: “Don’t go over there because an alligator might get you.”
    Later on a group wanted to build a dam on it and a lake would have covered a lot of land and made for a great place for recreation and all kinds of things which would have helped Newton County. But Newton’s main industry is wood so that idea was discarded because the lake would have covered too much timber.
    Last time I was there Big Cow Creek was still looking like it did “back in the day”.
    Just for the people who do not know there is a Little Cow Creek running through Burkeville. It has colder water than Big Cow Creek and some great swimming holes.

    1. I am a 73 year old, great grand mother and I was raised in Orange County, Texas. I now live in Alvin, Texas but I vividly remember my childhood years camping out, playing and swimming with family and friends on Big Cow Creek. We went several times every summer back in the 1950’s and early 60’s. The banks of the creek were about 10 to 15 feet high at low Creek level, the sand banks along and in the creek were white sand and the water was cold and clear. There were deeper areas that were over our heads but mostly shallow areas that we could sit and play in with close supervision from dad and mom. The days were long and lazy on the old Big Cow Creek and we savored every moment exploring the camp grounds, playing with new found friends and enjoying watermellon, Baloney and PBJ sandwiches and Root Beers. Wow! Those were great childhood memories. Thanks for posting Franny. Maybe someday, I can make another trip back just to make sure the old Big Cow Creek is still there. Maybe I can bring my extended family camping. It is a very nice thought anyway. Thanks.

  2. I grew up in Kirbyville and both Cow Creeks were a very Happy point in my childhood. Thanks for sharing. I leave in Pittsburgh, Pa now and miss great fun like we had at small town places like these. Thanks again.

  3. I lived near Buna growing up and my older sisters took me here many summers. Such fun times and good memories. Few know of this creek, as it is off the main roads. My daughter and I are going to visit one day. We live near Houston now. Loved reading this. Thanks so much.

  4. My great grandfather owned the entire Big Cow Creek recreational property. He had 11 living children and all of them had camps on the property along with many camps that belonged to other people. All of the kids and grandkids used to take turns going out to the gate when people honked and getting the 2.00 entrance fee. The property actually looks nothing like it did during my childhood in the 60’s and 70’s. I made a nostalgic trip back about 20 years ago when my great aunt still had the property. I was literally traumatized. I will never go back. I wish I hadn’t then. I would have preferred to remembered it as it was back before the river changed course, destroying nearly all of the family camps. Take 11 children, then consider all of their kids and then finally us (the great grandkids). My family was like something out of a Faulkner novel. There were nearly 60 years of family summers there. It was nice to see it through your daughters eyes. Your daughter was far from the first to swing out over that river in her bra and panties.

  5. My family also had many an awesome time on Cow Creek and I’m thinking it was Little Cow Creek😊 We r currently talking about trying to return w our families to experience the pleasure of the Creek and introduce it to our children.

    1. Lol. Okay troll.
      Both cow creeks have clear running water that you can see through all the way to the white sand at the bottom. Also has some amazing views.

  6. So happy to see this article, lots of memories of Cow Creek. My dad was born in a tent on the banks of Cow Creek in Call, Tx. We built a little cabin nearby when I was a kid, spent two years in a tent every weekend, holiday, and summer while we built it. Spent a lot of time in those waters.

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