Choose Your Adventure Challenge

close-up of 3 metal pins on a wood surface. the pins read "Big Thicket National Preserve; 50 years; 1974-2024" below a forest scene with a wooden boardwalk, woodpecker, and pitcher plants.
Earn gold, silver, or bronze pins by completing adventures in the preserve!

NPS Photo / Scott Sharaga

Explore • Exercise • Earn

Established in 1974, Big Thicket is an outdoor recreation destination. To celebrate the preserve's 50th anniversary, we challenge you to explore Big Thicket, exercise for your health, and earn adventure pins. Whether you're visiting for a day or you live nearby, there's an adventure for you!

How It Works

  1. Choose your adventure(s) from the list below.
  2. Go explore—remember to take pictures!
  3. Head to the visitor center and show your pictures to a ranger to get your pin.



To earn a bronze pin, complete 1 bronze adventure:

  • Hike less than 3 miles. Photo: Selfie with water bottle at trailhead.
  • Go fishing. Photo: Selfie with fishing license and gear.
  • Bike Big Sandy Trail (any distance). Photo: Selfie with helmet at Big Sandy Trail.
  • Attend a ranger-led activity. Photo: Selfie with a ranger.
  • Go hunting. Photo: Selfie wearing hunter orange.


To earn a silver pin, complete 1 silver adventure or 2 bronze adventures:

  • Hike 3–6 miles. Photo: Selfie with water bottle at trailhead.
  • Paddle a boat. Photo: Selfie life vest and gear.
  • Backcountry camp 1 night. Photo: Selfie with campsite and permit.
  • Volunteer at a special event. Photo: Selfie at volunteer event (check our calendar for volunteer events).


To earn a gold pin, complete 1 gold adventure or 2 silver adventures:

  • Hike more than 6 miles. Photo: Selfie with water bottle at trailhead.
  • Bike all of Big Sandy Trail (18 miles roundtrip). Photo: Selfie with helmet and trailhead.
  • Backcountry camp at least 2 nights. Photo: Selfie with campsite and permit.

Frequently Asked Questions

No. Participants MUST pick up their pins from the visitor center. Supplies are limited and the challenge is designed to get people into the preserve and the visitor center.

It's all free!

Yes, but doing so requires the completion of multiple adventures. Also, for example, if you complete 2 bronze adventures to qualify for a silver pin, you will only receive the silver pin. To get a bronze, you would need to complete a third bronze adventure.

The Choose Your Adventure Challenge will be available throughout 2024, our 50th anniversary year.

We have 3 unique pins available: bronze, silver, and gold. All pins have the same design featuring the 50th anniversary logo (see photo above).


Plan Your Visit

Once you've picked an adventure, use the links below to plan your visit. Questions? Contact us!


Share Your Photos

We would love to feature YOUR photos on Big Thicket's social media feed! If you want to share your Choose Your Adventure Challenge photos, tag us or send us a direct message. We're @BigThicketNPS on Facebook, Instagram, and X (Twitter).


Last updated: January 9, 2024

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

6044 FM 420
Kountze, TX 77625



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