Liberty Hall on La Nana Creek Trail in Historic Nacogdoches
La Nana Creek Trail begins in the Downtown Historic District on El Camino Real (East Main St.) at Liberty Hall, an information and gathering center, where an outdoor illustrated map of the trail and a description of the scenic and historical points along the path may be viewed. The Trail, based upon Caddoan primitive hunting and gathering paths dating back to at least 1450 at the height of Caddo culture in this area, follows the west bank of La Nana Creek, continues over 2 miles Northward and crosses under the bridges of the streets at Park, Martinsville, Starr, College and finally East Austin St. not far from the Stephen F. Austin University Piney Woods Native Plant Center.
From an overall view, the trail begins in a dense, primitive woodland; opens into the ordered, expansive vistas of Pecan Acres Park just beyond Martinsville Road; continues through the horticultural complexes of the Stephen F. Austin University District which includes Mize Azalea Garden on the east bank of La Nana Creek; and closes again into a compact wooded terrain on the approach to East Austin St.
The path of La Nana Creek Trail is sinuous, both horizontally and vertically. From open flood plains beneath the forest canopy it narrows from time to time into precipitous choke points over wooden footbridges that look down on the streaming creek below. Here, the prolific, energetic growth of forest trees contrasts sharply with variable states of natural decomposition at ground level, consequences of age and natural calamity. The path of the trail is darkened by the canopy of tall trees and underbrush; bursts of sunlight filter down to the forest floor beaming shafts of light onto the varied leaf colors seen through the changing course of the year. The falling of a single leaf, the sound of a far-off bird, the unseen rustling movements of small ground animals become the only impressive audible experience. In the silence of the forest you hear the voices of distant walkers long before passing them on the trail.
In the Autumn of the year the path is matted with colorful red and yellow leaves that turn to brittle brown; yet at this time some of the leafed trees retain their brilliant variable green colors which, though changing their hues quickly over the course of weeks, makes this period one of the best times to walk the trail.
You can leisurely walk the trail in 2 hours, taking time to read the historical plaques: the Zion Hill Cemetery plaque, and then the legend of the "Ojos de Padre Margil": Texas Historical Commission plaques that stand on the trail where it meets Park St. Here also, is a plaque acknowledging the work of Texas Folklorist and Nacogdoches resident F. E. Abernethy whose idea it was to develop La Nana Creek Trail and bring together the resources necessary to make the trail a reality which it became in 1986 as a project coinciding with the Texas Sesquicentennial Celebration.
On land across the El Camino Real south of Liberty Hall and extending to La Nana Creek there existed 100 years ago the Aqua Vitae Park where East Texans came in the Victorian era to take the salutary effects of mineral waters from nearby springs. One day La Nana Creek Trail may extend through this area and continue south beyond the Hoya Park and Playing Fields to the place where La Nana and Banita Creeks meet.