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TodayJun 25, 2024
Toledo Bend
Partly cloudy throughout the day.

In 1691 the first Spanish provincial Governor of Texas, Domingo Teran de los Rios, ordered that a trail be blazed as a direct route from Monclova, then a capital of the province, to the Spanish Missions established among the Indians of East Texas in 1690. This route, known as the Old San Antonio Road, King’s Highway, or El Camino Real, is still in use today and designated Texas State Highway 21.

West of the Sabine River (now Toledo Bend Reservoir) the Old San Antonio Road swung slightly south and westward. An artesian spring on the road located about 7 miles west of the Sabine River became a favorite camping spot. From this point (later the town of Milam), routes paralleling the Sabine River were established northward and southward. As the population grew other routes were established that connected the growing communities in different parts of the country. Some of these routes, still unpaved, are in use today. These old country lanes provide visitors with an opportunity to enjoy a quiet drive over wooden bridges and shaded, rock strewn creeks.

Mentioned here are several easily accessed self-guided tour routes. We are proud of our country and encourage you to explore and enjoy.

The Old San Antonio Road

The Old San Antonio Road begins in Texas at the Pendleton Bridge on Toledo Bend Reservoir. Follow Highway 21 westward from the bridge through Milam and Geneva. The Old San Antonio Road exits Sabine County between Geneva and Ford’s Corner.

The Chambers’ Ferry Road

The Chambers’ Ferry Road, now designated FM 276, is one of the oldest roads in Sabine County and dates from the days of Spanish sovereignty. During the late 1700s travelers crossed the Sabine River on what was then Crow’s Ferry at the mouth of Patroon Bayou. The road took them westward to the small settlement of Geneva. For a tour through deep, wooded ravines and quiet countryside drive north on Highway 87 through Milam to the intersection of FM 276. At this intersection turn left onto the dirt road to begin your tour. Continue straight at the “Y”. At the pavement, turn left toward Geneva and Highway 21. This tour will take approximately 30 minutes.

The Old Sexton Road

The Old Sexton Road connected Geneva with the small community of Sexton. This paved road is one of the more picturesque country lanes in Sabine County. Drive west on Highway 21 to Geneva. In Geneva turn right onto FM 330. This road intersects Highway 87; turn right onto Highway 87 to return to Milam and Hemphill. This is about a 20 minute drive.

The Camp Ground Road

The Camp Ground Road was an alternate route to San Augustine during the days of the Republic of Texas. Rather than take the Old San Antonio Road, travelers could swing slightly southwestward out of Milam and follow the top of a ridge and thus avoid crossing several branches and creeks. Parts of the road are sunk deeply into the ground from the passages of many wagon wheels in years past. To begin a tour of a section of this road drive north on Highway 87 from Hemphill. Less than 1/2 mile south of the intersection of Highway 21 and Highway 87 in Milam, take a left onto the dirt road where you will see the sign “Camp Ground Church”. Bear right at the first “Y” in the road. At the second “Y” in the road at the top of a hill, bear left. At the paved road, FM 1592, take a left towards Hemphill. This is about a 30 minute drive.

The Old River Road

The Old River Road once paralleled the Sabine River and passed through old Sabinetown, a busy river port during and after the Republic of Texas era. Most sections of this road have been inundated by the waters of Toledo Bend Reservoir, however, a section now designated FR 115 intersects with FM 83 east of Hemphill and transverses the Indian Mounds Wilderness Area. To take this route, go east on FM 83 and turn right on FR 115.
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