Great Texas Wildlife Trails

Los Ebanos Loop

Los Ebanos Loop map

Los Ebanos Loop mapAnzalduas Dam and County ParkBentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park - World Birding Center HeadquartersChihuahua Woods Preserve of the Nature Conservancy of TexasLas Palomas WMA - Peñitas UnitUSFWS Yturria TractLos Ebanos Ferry

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More information:

  • Mission Chamber of Commerce
    Phone: (800) 580-2700, (956) 585-2727
    Email: viola@missionchamber.com
    Web: www.missionchamber.com

068.gif LTC 068 Anzalduas Dam and County Park

Suggested Seasons to visit: All Seasons

Site open for day use only.

From the intersection of Spur 115 and FM 1016, go west on FM 1016 to FM 494. Go south (eventually veering west) on FM 494 to the entrance to Anzalduas Dam and County Park (about 3 miles from the intersection of FM 1016 and FM 494).

Anzalduas County Park is a well-manicured multi-use park with one of the most significant stands of mature Rio Grande Ash and Live Oak in the Valley. This park has attracted an incredible array of rarities, including nesting Gray Hawk, Hook-billed Kite, Rose-throated Becard, Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet, Clay- colored Robin, and Tropical Parula. Zone-tailed Hawk has occurred during recent years (various seasons), and a number of neotropical migrants (Black-throated Green, Black-throated Gray, Hermit, and Black-and-white warblers) have wintered here. There is simply no way to predict what new Texas or U.S. species will appear at Anzalduas, so be sure to check it (even daily!) while you visit the Valley.

For those also interested in butterflies, return north on FM 1016 to Mission. The City of Mission and local volunteers have installed butterfly gardens between the Kika de la Garza Building and the Mission Library, as well as curbside in front of the Mission Chamber of Commerce. Mission hosts a popular butterfly festival each October. For more information contact www.texasbutterfly.com/main.html

069.gif LTC 069 Bentsen - Rio Grande Valley SP/The World Birding Center

Suggested Seasons to visit: All Seasons

Site open daily. World Birding Center site.

Return to FM 494, go northwest to La Lomita Mission then continue to the intersection of FM 494 and FM 1016 (Conway Ave.). Go west on Conway Ave. (FM 1016) until it veers to the north. Instead of continuing north on Conway, veer west on Military Hwy. (unmarked). Continue on Military Hwy. until its dead end at FM 2062. Turn south (left) into the entrance to Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park and the WBC Headquarters.

Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley SP has been well known to birders for decades, and a number of species new to the U.S. have first been recorded in this park (Collared Forest-Falcon, Crane Hawk, Masked Tityra, Stygian Owl). Virtually all of the Valley specialties may be found within the Park, including Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet, Altamira Oriole, and Hook-billed Kite. In winter, Mexican species such as Blue Bunting and Clay-colored Robin are seen around feeders. In late spring and summer Elf Owl breeds in these woods (check with the staff for the location of a nesting hole that may be visible to the public).

The WBC Headquarters, located near the Park entrance, offers interpretation and information on the incredible avian diversity of the Valley. This world-class interpretive complex is only part of the whole World Birding Center vision which includes a network of sites extending from Roma to South Padre Island. The headquarters at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley SP acts as an anchor to the WBC complex and provides information about what is being seen in the Valley, how to reach additional birding sites, and facilitates the visits of those traveling to the Valley for the first time.

070.gif LTC 070 Chihuahua Woods Preserve of the Nature Conservancy of Texas

Suggested Seasons to visit: All Seasons

Site open for day use only.

Return north on FM 2062 to BUS 83, and then go west on BUS 83 to its intersection with FM 1427. From this intersection, continue west on BUS 83 0.3 mile to where BUS 83 veers to the northwest. Leave Bus 83, and continue straight on the paved road (Old Military Hwy.) that parallels the railroad tracks. This road will turn south across the railroad tracks at 0.2 mile; Chihuahua Woods Preserve of The Nature Conservancy of Texas will be on your left.

This property has been purchased primarily to protect a unique cactus community. Please, restrict your visit to the maintained trails, and do not disturb the native vegetation. Many species of Valley birds reside in this tract. In summer, look (and listen) for Groove-billed Ani, Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet, and (rarely) Red-billed Pigeon. In winter, watch for Hook-billed Kite, a raptor which feeds on the abundant land snails.

The Nature Conservancy of Texas
(956) 580-4241
P.O. Box 6281
McAllen, TX 78502-6281

071.gif LTC 071 Las Palomas WMA - Peñitas Unit

Suggested Seasons to visit: Migrations, Winter

Site open for day use only.

Return to the intersection of BUS 83 and FM 1427, and then go south (then west) 5.2 miles to Peñitas. Veer left on Old Military Hwy., and continue west to the Las Palomas WMA-Peñitas Unit. Call TPWD at (956) 447-2704 or check the information kiosk at the entrance for news about hunting season closures.

The Peñitas Unit has roads that serve as walking trails offering access to the Valley brush within the WMA. The grassy fields near the entrance are excellent for sparrows (winter). Listen for Northern Bobwhite and watch the skies for hawks; species such as Zone-tailed Hawk and Hook-billed Kite may be seen virtually anywhere along the Rio Grande west of Santa Ana NWR.

072.gif LTC 072 USFWS Yturria Tract

Suggested Seasons to visit: Migrations, Winter, early Summer

Site open for day use only.

Continue west on Old Military Hwy. to FM 2521. Go north on FM 2521 to La Joya, turn west on US 83, go 0.5 mile west on US 83 to FM 2221, and then go north for the first few miles (before the road cuts back east toward Edinburg). Western species such as Varied Bunting, Black-tailed Gnatcatcher, and Cactus and Bewick’s wrens may be seen at times along this drive.

Return to US 83, and continue west about 3 miles to the USFWS Yturria Tract. The tract is located on the north side of US 83, and the GTCBT signs mark its entrance. The Yturria Tract has well-developed trails (actually roads) through thick upland thorn-scrub habitat. This Tract is a good place to see a mix of Valley specialties and western species. Varied Buntings have been seen in spring and Green-tailed Towhees winter here on occasion. Verdin, Greater Roadrunner, Long-billed and Curve-billed thrashers, White-tailed Kite and other Valley residents are present throughout the year.

073.gif LTC 073 Los Ebanos Ferry Landing

Suggested Seasons to visit: All Seasons

Site open for day use only.

Continue west on US 83 to FM 886, then travel south to the Los Ebanos Ferry Landing. Another route is to return on FM 2221 (then FM 2521) to Old Military Hwy., and continue west to FM 886. However, Old Military Hwy. is unpaved for much of the distance between La Joya and FM 886, and while the birding is excellent the road is rather rough at times.

The Los Ebanos Ferry is the last hand-drawn ferry on the 1,800-mile length of the Rio Grande. This is private property, and you may walk to the Rio Grande for 25 cents. Ringed Kingfishers may occasionally be seen at the landing, but in any case, seeing the ferry operate is worth the trip and the quarter.


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