Great Texas Wildlife Trails

Bandera Loop

Bandera Loop map

Bandera loop mapSeven H RanchClear Springs Cabins and RV ParkTexas Stagecoach InnYellow Rose RanchBandera City ParkFlying A RanchRunning-R RanchHill Country Equestrian LodgeHill Country State Natural AreaCline RanchBear Springs BlossomLH7 RanchMedina Garden NurseryMedina River Kayaks and River RanchEagle Rock TrailLonesome Hills RanchBroken Bone RanchThe Nature Conservancy’s Love Creek PreserveTrails End RanchDos Arroyos Guest HouseA Peace of Heaven Cabins and RVSFM 337 Swallow Colony and OverlookThe Lodges at Lost Maples/ St. Clare’s CabinFoxfire CabinsLost Maples State Natural Area

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More information:

  • Bandera County CVB, 830-796-3045, 800-364-3833, www.banderacowboycapital.com

HOTW 037 Seven H Ranch

Suggested Seasons to visit: Spring, Summer, Fall

Site access restricted. Call ahead. Fee charged.

This 700-acre ranch has a great diversity of plants and wildlife typical of the Texas Hill Country. Habitats include relatively flat grasslands with scattered oaks and juniper, steep slopes and canyons, springs and seeps, and high ridges over 2000 ft. in elevation. Spring-fed ponds provide year round water for wildlife and good wildlife viewing and photography opportunities at nearby blinds. Miles of guided hiking trails allow visitors to experience cool, lush canyons and high rocky ridges overlooking a picturesque valley. Activities include guided tours, camping, backpacking, horseback riding, and customized weekend packages.

830-966-3782, Call for directions.

HOTW 038 Clear Springs Cabins and RV Park

Suggested Seasons to visit: Spring, Summer, Fall

Site access restricted. Call ahead. Fee charged.

From Utopia, go north on FM 187 for 3.2 miles. Entrance is on left. This 14-acre park has a 0.5 mile mowed nature trail that follows the Sabinal River through oaks and cypress that line the riverbank. Black-chinned Hummingbird, Kingfishers, Golden-fronted Woodpecker, Orchard Oriole, and a variety of Sparrows occur along the trail. In spring check the large mulberries below the cabins for Bullock’s Oriole, Blue Grosbeak, Red-breasted Grosbeak, and nesting Summer Tanager. The broad, dry river channel produces numerous wildflowers throughout the summer. During spring the trail can be alive with butterflies, including Dainty Sulphur, Checkered White, Variegated Fritillary, and numerous Pipevine Swallowtails. Dragonflies and damselflies include Blue-ringed Dancer, Variable Dancer, and American Rubyspot.

830-966-2164

HOTW 039 Texas Stagecoach Inn

Suggested Seasons to visit: Spring, Summer, Fall

Site access restricted. Call ahead. Fee charged.

Return to FM 187. Continue north on FM 187 for 3.2 miles. This 3-acre tract, located on the Sabinal River, has seed and hummingbird feeders as well as beautiful large cypress trees along the river. Breeding Yellow-throated Warbler, Lesser Goldfinch, Lincoln’s Sparrow, Blue Grosbeak, Vermilion Flycatcher, and Black-chinned Hummingbird are just a few of the species recorded here. Catch-and-release fishing is available for catfish and bass.

830-966-6272, www.bbonline.com/tx/stagecoach

HOTW 040 Yellow Rose Ranch

Suggested Seasons to visit: Spring, Summer, Fall

Site access restricted. Call ahead. Fee charged.

This 500-acre ranch on Hondo Creek includes creek bottom mixed hardwoods, oak/ juniper scrub in the hills, and a mowed meadow at the entrance that attracts Grasshopper Sparrow, Clay-colored Sparrow, Lark Sparrow, Chipping Sparrow, and Savannah Sparrow. Ash-throated Flycatcher, Vermilion Flycatcher, Wild Turkey, and Blue Grosbeak also occur here. Beautiful Texas madrone trees, with their distinctive smooth, reddish bark, occur throughout the canyon. The ranch has several miles of self-guided walking and equestrian trails. Guided birding tours with a wildlife biologist are also available. Overnight accommodations and catch and release fishing are also available.

866-796-0660 or 830-796-7748, www.backroadsranch.net/yellowroseranch.htm

Call for directions.

HOTW 041 Bandera City Park

Suggested Seasons to visit: Spring, Summer, Fall

Site open for day use only.

From the intersection of SR 16 West and FM 173 in Bandera, go south on FM 173 for 1 block. Park entrance is on left. In addition to beautiful cypress-lined banks along the Medina River, this site includes a 0.5 mile Native Plant Trail where you can see a variety of plants, including hackberry, live oak, wild grape, juniper, switchgrass, twist-leaf yucca and mealy sage. Deer can also be seen in the park and butterflies congregate along the riverside. Birds to look for include Yellow-throated Warbler, Summer Tanager, and Yellow-throated Vireo.

HOTW 042 Flying A Ranch

Suggested Seasons to visit: Spring, Summer, Winter

Site access restricted. Call ahead. Fee charged.

This magnificent 10,000-acre ranch offers guided nature hikes throughout the various habitats. Black-chinned Hummingbird, Northern Oriole, Ash-throated and Vermillion Flycatchers are several of the bird species found here. Lakes, spring-fed creeks, grassy pastures, rocky draws and oak-juniper woodlands provide a diverse environment for wildlife viewing.

830-796-4750, 866-796-4750, www.flyingaranch.net, Call for directions.

HOTW 043 West 1077

Suggested Seasons to visit: Spring, Summer, Fall

Site access restricted. Call ahead. Fee charged.

Local birds such as Bewick’s Wren, Summer Tanager, Ladder-backed Woodpecker, and nesting birds of prey are easily seen here. The ranch’s proximity to the State Natural Area makes it a prime location for visitors who want to tour the SNA on horseback.

830-796-5675, info@west1077.com, Call for directions.

HOTW 044 Hill Country Equestrian Lodge

Suggested Seasons to visit: All Seasons

Site access restricted. Call ahead. Fee charged.

With 275 acres of meadows, riparian thickets, and wooded limestone slopes, Hill Country Equestrian Lodge offers fully equipped, attractive private cabins and suites for guests. The slope vegetation includes juniper, oak, mesquite, agarita and other low shrubs. A stream provides water for songbirds and habitat for butterflies and dragonflies. Birds include Vermilion and Scissor-tailed Flycatchers, Cave Swallows, Dickcissels, Field, Larks, and Grasshopper sparrows, Blue Grosbeaks, Painted Buntings, and Wild Turkeys.

830-796-7950, www.hillcountryequestlodge.com, Call for directions.

HOTW 045 Hill Country State Natural Area (SNA)

Suggested Seasons to visit: All Seasons, Thursday-Monday

Site open daily. Call ahead. Fee charged.

From the intersection of FM 173 and FM 1077, go west 10.4 miles on FM 1077. Shortly before reaching the park entrance, the road turns to dirt. Cross West Verde Creek and look for the headquarters on your right, where you can register, pay, and obtain a map.

The Hill Country SNA comprises 5400 scenic acres of rocky hills, flowing springs, oak groves, grasslands, and canyons crisscrossed by 36 miles of multi-use trails open to backpacking, horseback riding, and mountain bicycling. The terrain ranges from flat, broad creek bottoms to steep, rocky canyons up to 1900 feet in elevation. Exploring the park by horseback is an excellent way to view wildlife, and stables adjacent to the park offer guided tours of the area (contact the Bandera Convention and Visitors Bureau at 1-800-364-3833 for more information). During spring, wildflowers such as golden dalea, thistle, prickly pear, skeleton-plant, monarda, Mexican hat, and many yellow composites line the road and fill the meadows, providing nectar for an array of butterflies. Black-capped Vireos and Golden-cheeked Warblers nest here. The open meadows along the entrance road and near the park entrance are home to nesting Dickcissels, as well as Grasshopper and Lark Sparrows. Vermilion and Ash-throated Flycatchers hunt the live oaks around the headquarters. Woodland edge provides views of many songbirds including Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Eastern Wood Pewee, Bewick’s Wren, White-eyed Vireo, Yellow-breasted Chat, Summer Tanager, Indigo Bunting, and Lesser Goldfinch. Deer, Armadillos, Raccoons, Ringtails, Rabbits as well as various rodents and reptiles are also commonly seen.

830-796-4413, Hill Country SNA

HOTW 046 Cline Ranch

Suggested Seasons to visit: All Seasons

Site access restricted. Call ahead. Fee charged.

Cline Ranch’s 800 acres consist of wooded slopes, meadows, and limestone bluffs. Its rolling Hill Country woodlands are vegetated with black walnut, a variety of oaks, mountain laurel, redbud, buckeye, agarita, and juniper. Grassy meadows are full of spring wildflowers that attract hawk moths and butterflies, including Checkered White, Black and Pipevine Swallowtails, Variegated Fritillary, Sleepy Orange, and Fiery Skipper. Birds include Summer Tanager, Blue Grosbeak, House Finch, Field Sparrows and Painted Buntings. Guided tours and primitive camping are available. A guesthouse provides accommodations next to a spring-fed creek and swimming hole.

830-612-2013, Call for directions.

HOTW 047 Bear Springs Blossom

Suggested Seasons to visit: Spring, Summer, Fall

Site access restricted. Call ahead. Fee charged.

This beautiful 86-acre property contains oak/juniper woodlands and nesting Golden-cheeked Warblers. Bear Springs has a 127-species plant list that includes green lily, milkwort, bladderpod, fragrant mimosa, twist-leaf yucca, bear grass, shin and Lacey oaks, Texas madrone, mountain laurel, buckthorn, gum bumelia, black cherry, cedar sage, and evergreen sumac. Butterflies abound, including Sleepy Orange, Carolina Satyr, Questionmark, Variegated Fritillary, and Pipevine Swallowtail. Singing Canyon Wrens and chirping Ash-throated Flycatchers serenade throughout the property. Guided tours by the owners of the property are available. The main trail is wheelchair accessible and steeper canyon trails wind throughout the property.

830-510-4084, www.geocities.com/bearspringsblossom, Call for directions.

HOTW 048 LH7 Ranch

Suggested Seasons to visit: All Seasons

Site access restricted. Call ahead. Fee charged.

With a history of producing fine Longhorn cattle and as a destination for birders and other nature enthusiasts, this 1200-acre ranch has the Medina River, a 46-acre lake, and a variety of woodlands ranging from spring-fed wetlands to oak mottes and extensive stands of juniper. The ranch bird list contains approximately 225 species. The variety of habitats supports a diversity of butterflies, dragonflies, reptiles, amphibians, and mammals. Green Kingfisher, Yellow-throated Warbler, nesting raptors, wintering waterfowl, and a variety of flycatchers can be seen. Open areas include pasture and prairie where Dickcissels and Grasshopper Sparrows nest. During October, Monarch Butterflies roost in the trees. Campsites (tent and RV), cabins and guided tours are available.

830-796-4314, Call for directions.

HOTW 049 Medina Garden Nursery

Suggested Seasons to visit: Spring, Summer, Fall

Site open for day use only.

In Bandera, go north on TX 16 for 12.9 miles. Entrance is on left, across from state highway roadside park, just after crossing the Medina River. This 14-acre nursery and garden is an excellent site for butterflies. In late summer, the bottomlands along the Medina River are covered with cowpen daisies, which attract large numbers of butterflies. Monarchs migrate through from mid- to late October, covering the trees by the thousands. Plans are to plant a large field next to the nursery with flowers, trees, and shrubs that thrive in a variety of Hill Country soils. A variety of birds can be seen in the pecan bottomlands along the river.

830-589-2771

HOTW 050 Medina River Kayaks & River Ranch

Suggested Seasons to visit: Spring, Summer, Fall

Site open daily. Fee charged.

The entrance gate is 3.9 miles north of the Medina Garden Nursery on Hwy 16. Turn right on Haley Lane. Follow the signs down the gravel road for about 0.6 mile. Continue to the parking lot and office.

This site comprises 36 acres of woodland and graveled river channel, a 4-acre island, and the beautiful Medina River. Vegetation on the site includes juniper, oak, walnut, pecan, and sycamore, plus a variety of shrubs and wildflowers. The riverbanks are lined with large cypress trees. Birds include Green Kingfisher, Black Phoebe, Yellow-throated Warbler, Northern Parula, Blue Grosbeak, Indigo and Painted Buntings, Chipping Sparrow, and Lesser Goldfinch. Activities include camping, swimming, and picnicking. Kayak rentals are available for those who want to experience up close the beauty of a Hill Country river.

830-589-7215

HOTW 051 Eagle Rock Trail

Suggested Seasons to visit: Spring, Summer, Fall

Site open for day use only.

Eagle Rock can be viewed from the roadside of FM 2107, 5.0 miles after turning off TX 16. Mickle Creek Road is located another 2.0 miles down FM 2107 on the right.

Eagle Rock is on private land, but can be viewed from the roadside. Raptors and ravens nest in the crevices on the cliff face. Golden Eagle and Bald Eagle have both been seen here, as well as other locally common raptors such as Red-tailed Hawk. Mickle Creek Road is a regular route for local birders, with habitats that support a variety of sparrows, grosbeaks, orioles, buntings, and other songbirds.

HOTW 052 Lonesome Hills Ranch

Suggested Seasons to visit: Spring, Summer, Fall

Site access restricted. Call ahead. Fee charged.

This 400-acre ranch has an impressive variety of plants, including bigtooth maple, smoketree, black cherry, buckeye, linden, sycamore, and a number of rare plants. Mountaintop trails give panoramic vistas of the surrounding Hill Country. A variety of water habitats, including lake, creeks, seeps, and springs produce an excellent diversity of aquatic insects and amphibians. Butterflies abound on the property. Golden-cheeked Warblers nest in the deep wooded canyons, and habitat restoration for Black-capped Vireos has successfully brought these birds to the ranch.

830-589-2379, Call for directions.

HOTW 053 Broken Bone Ranch

Suggested Seasons to visit: Spring, Summer

Site access restricted. Call ahead. Fee charged.

This 86-acre site has a superb, massive butterfly garden that attracts a variety of species, particularly in summer when the garden is in full bloom. Beautiful views of Bauerlein Creek and cliff faces add to this site’s appeal.

830-589-7311, www.brokenboneranch.us, Call for directions.

HOTW 054 The Nature Conservancy’s Love Creek Preserve

Suggested Seasons to visit: All Seasons

Site access restricted. Call ahead. Fee charged.

This 1400-acre preserve contains some of the most pristine privately owned land in the Hill Country. The habitat contains rich juniper/oak woodland as well as an impressive diversity of hardwoods along Love Creek. The 4.5 mile loop trail through the preserve offers visitors an opportunity to see numerous springs and seeps, a beautiful stand of bigtooth maples, and a nesting pair of Zone-tailed Hawks. The full Hill Country complement of woodland birds and wildlife are found here, and dense stands of old-growth juniper make it particularly attractive to nesting Golden-cheeked Warblers. Visits must be scheduled in advance, and all tours are guided.

210-224-8774, www.nature.org/texas, Call for access and directions.

HOTW 055 Trails End Ranch

Suggested Seasons to visit: Spring, Summer, Fall

Site access restricted. Call ahead. Fee charged.

This 7200-acre ranch provides guided wildlife tours of multiple Hill Country habitats that include lake, river, stands of live oak, and old-growth juniper/oak woodlands. This large ranch comprises a great diversity of habitats and species. Prehistoric tracks along the riverbed add another element of interest to the site. Exotic animals available for viewing on the ranch include Red Kangaroo, Pere-David’s Deer (extinct in its native habitat in China), the endangered Barasinga, Zebra, Oryx, Axis Deer, and Blackbuck Antelope. The ranch offers specialized wildlife tours as well as hiking trails. Complete lodging and food services are available.

830-589-2935, Call for directions.

HOTW 056 Dos Arroyos Guest House

Suggested Seasons to visit:Spring, Summer, Fall

Site access restricted. Call ahead. Fee charged.

Located off FM 337 East 1.5 miles east of FM 187 in Vanderpool. This 56-acre tract provides unique, dramatic views of giant cypress along the bottom of Evans Creek, as well as a wooded trail that follows Mills Creek. Golden-cheeked Warblers nest on the property, and oak/juniper/maple bottoms provide excellent habitat for a variety of birds. The property also provides habitat for the endangered tobusch fishhook cactus. Overnight lodging is available in a comfortable guest house located on the creek.

830-966-2200, www.foxfirecabins.com/dos-arroyos.html

HOTW 057 A Peace of Heaven Cabins and RVS

Suggested Seasons to visit: Spring, Fall

Site access restricted. Call ahead. Fee charged.

From Dos Arroyos, go 0.2 mile west on FM 337 to sign on the right. Turn right and go for 1.7 miles to entrance. This 25-acre tract on Evans Creek has three guest cabins, catch-and-release fishing for bass and catfish, and a swimming hole. Primarily oak/ juniper woodland, there are also black walnut, and giant cypress along the creek bottom. Look for dragonflies along the creek and birds such as Greater Roadrunner, Yellow-throated Warbler, Yellow-throated Vireo, Bell’s Vireo, and Scrub Jay.

830-966-5198, www.apeaceofheaven.org

HOTW 058 FM 337 Swallow Colony and Overlook

Suggested Seasons to visit: Spring, Summer, Fall

Site open for day use only.

From Madrona Springs Cabins, continue west on FM 337 for 1.1 miles to the bridge. Colony is under the bridge.

Do not approach the Cliff Swallow colony too closely; the birds are easily disturbed by humans. Cliff Swallows are distinguished from Cave Swallows by their pale buff foreheads and chestnut breasts. Their flask-shaped nests are commonly made beneath bridges, whereas Cave Swallows generally nest under road culverts. The scenic overlooks on FM 337 have paved pull-outs and are excellent spots to photograph the river valley and to scan for cruising raptors such as Zone-tailed Hawk.

HOTW 059 The Lodges at Lost Maples/ St. Clare’s Cabin

Suggested Seasons to visit: All Seasons

Site access restricted. Call ahead. Fee charged.

Go west on FM 337 to its intersection with FM 187. Turn north on FM 187 for 1.1 miles until it reconnects with FM 337 west. Turn left and go west 4.1 miles to Lower Sabinal Road. Turn left, cabins are on the right.

The site’s 146 acres rise from a flat meadow to a wooded hilltop. Two small springs flow from a shady oak and walnut-lined canyon, providing water for a pond that attracts dragonflies such as Red Saddlebags and Widow Skimmer, butterflies, birds, and mammals. Juniper, mountain laurel, and several species of oaks cover the hillsides. Feeders attract Black-chinned Hummingbird, Tufted Titmouse, Chipping Sparrow, Northern Cardinal, and House Finch. Other species include Vermilion Flycatcher, Eastern Wood Pewee, Canyon and Bewick’s Wrens, Red-eyed and Black-capped Vireos, Black-and-white Warbler, Indigo Bunting, and Field Sparrow. Cabins are available, some with river access.

877-216-5627, www.lostmaplescabins.com

HOTW 060 Foxfire Cabins

Suggested Seasons to visit: Spring, Fall

Site access restricted. Call ahead. Fee charged.

From the Lodges at Lost Maples, return east 4.1 miles on FM 337 to FM 187. Go north on FM 187 for 2.7 miles to Cabins on the left.

This 5-acre property on the Sabinal River has scenic views of the river and birds such as Green Kingfisher, Belted Kingfisher, Cave Swallows, White-eyed Vireo, Wild Turkey, Whip-poor-will, Chuck-will’s-widow, owls, and bats. The thickets along the river attract a variety of birds during Spring migration.

830-966-2200 or 877-966-8200, www.foxfirecabins.com

HOTW 061 Lost Maples State Natural Area (SNA)

Suggested Seasons to visit: Spring, Summer, Fall

Site open daily. Fee charged.

From Foxfire Cabins, continue north on FM 187 for 1.0 mile. Park is on the left.

This is one of the premier wildlife viewing destinations in Texas. Lost Maples covers more than 2,200 acres and is an outstanding example of Edwards Plateau flora and fauna. Habitats include steep, rugged limestone canyons, springs, plateau grasslands, wooded slopes, and clear streams. The park provides habitat for two rare songbirds that nest in central Texas: the Golden-cheeked Warbler and Black-capped Vireo. Other birds include Zone-tailed Hawk and Green Kingfisher. The Sabinal River cuts through the park, and provides excellent viewing for birds such as Canyon Wren and Summer Tanager. Mammals include Gray Fox, White-tailed Deer, Armadillo, Raccoon, Bobcat, Rock Squirrel, and Javelina. Eleven miles of trails lead visitor into stands of black cherry, sycamore, pecan, Spanish oak, hackberry, and walnut. The park features a large, isolated stand of uncommon bigtooth maple, whose fall foliage can be spectacular. Generally, the foliage changes the last two weeks of October through the first two weeks of November. The park is extremely popular during the fall and is often crowded, so for maximum enjoyment and serenity, we suggest visitors schedule trips during the weekdays, if possible.

830-966-3413, Lost Maples SNA


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