Liberty, Dayton, Saratoga, Kountze, Silsbee, and The Big Thicket Professional Review and Guide
"Although the area east of Houston is rich with history, much of what survives remains privately owned, and the towns have little to illustrate their heritages to the general public. Take away the historical markers, and the casual tourist might conclude that nothing much has happened here—which is far from the truth. Saratoga was named for the famous New York spa because it had several medicinal hot springs. A hotel catering to the health seekers burned decades ago, but some of the old foundation still can be found. No word on the fate of the hot springs. Saratoga today is one of the gateways to the Big Thicket. The Big Thicket National Preserve is often described as the biological crossroads of North America. It is a unique place, comprised of four major ecosystems where the flora and fauna mix from all points of the compass.
Ferns, orchids, dwarf palmettos, mushrooms, several types of pine, four types of insect-eating plants—the abundance and variety of this particular mix is unequaled anywhere else on our globe. Mountain bikes are permitted only on the 18-mile-long Big Sandy Trail. Birding is excellent, particularly from late March through early May, when hundreds of species pass on their way north up the Mississippi flyway. The Big Thicket is one of the first stops on the upper Texas coast section of the Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail."