Great Texas Wildlife Trails

Rio Bravo Loop

Rio Bravo Loop map

Rio Bravo loop mapTriple R Resort RV ParkRio Bravo Nature CenterEagle Pass Hydro PlantTxDOT (Texas Deptartment of Transportation) Canyon Grande Roadside ParkQuail Trail RanchSan Felipe CreekPaseo de los Niños Nature TrailLaguna de PlataRiver Road/Duck PondsLake Amistad National Recreation AreaSeminole Canyon State ParkWhite Shaman PreserveTxDOT Roy Bean Information CenterBaker's CrossingDevil's River State Natural AreaFort Clark SpringsU.S. 90 Bracketville Rest Stop

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More information:

  • Carrizo Springs, COC, 830-876-5205, www.dimmitcountytx.com
  • Eagle Pass COC, 830-773-3224, 888-355-3224, www.eaglepasstexas.com
  • Del Rio COC, 830-775-3551, 800-889-8149, www.drchamber.com

001.gif HOTW 001 Triple R Resort RV Park

Suggested Seasons to visit: Spring, Summer, Fall

Site open daily. Developed camping available. Fee charged.

From I-35 take Exit 84 onto TX 85 West for 31.5 miles to Brundage and FM 65. Go north on FM 65 for 8.8 miles to the resort on left, just before crossing the Nueces River.

Very different from the sections of the Nueces that are shallow and flowing over limestone, the Triple R’s bend in the river is a deep and gentle flow excellent for canoeing and water birds. The 2-mile nature trail takes visitors through a variety of habitats that include a secluded and wooded pond, open wetlands, tree-lined river edge, and mesquite woodland. Excellent nature photography opportunities are available on an adjoining section of the ranch, where blinds are set up to provide proximity to diverse wildlife that includes Bobcat, Deer, and a number of exotic game species. In addition to a beautiful RV park, Triple R has a comfortable full-service lodge.

830-374-0400, www.triplerresort.com

002.gif HOTW 002 Rio Bravo Nature Center

Suggested Seasons to visit: All Seasons

Site open for day use only.

Continue on FM 65 4.6 miles to US 83 in Crystal City. Go south 3.3 miles to FM 191, turn right and continue 6.3 miles to US 277. Follow US 277 into Eagle Pass and continue straight on Business 277 (becomes Main Street). Continue west on Main Street, crossing Commerce, go straight 0.3 mile to Shelby Park fields and parking lot at the end of the road. From the boat ramp at the back of the parking lot, follow the dirt road that follows the river’s edge off to the right.

There is a narrow strip of carrizo brakes that line the dirt road for about one mile. At the end of the road, there is a vast cane bed that stretches out along the river. This is one of the largest remaining examples of this habitat left in Texas. White-collared Seedeater occurs throughout these brakes, as do Audubon’s Oriole and Black Phoebe. Within the next two years the preserve has plans to construct an interpretive center that will focus on the ecology of the river’s edge.

830-773-1836, www.riobravonaturecenter.org

003.gif HOTW 003 Eagle Pass Hydro Plant

Suggested Seasons to visit: All Seasons

Site open for day use only.

Return east on Main Street, then north on Ceylon St. or Business US 277. After 3.4 miles, the road will rejoin US 277N. Continue north for 8.0 miles to FM 1907. Turn left and go 1.6 miles to bridge. Road is off to the right, along the canal.

This short roadway along a berm includes mesquite-huisache scrub and mixed carrizo brakes along the canal. Bird species include Marsh Wren, Common Yellowthroat, and Spotted Towhee, whereas the trees on the other side of the road provide habitat for Great Kiskadee, Verdin, and White-eyed Vireo. Olive Sparrows can be heard singing from the brush as well. This site provides a very good viewing experience because the elevation of the berm puts the viewer at eye level with the birds in the canopy.

004.gif HOTW 004 TxDOT (Texas Deptartment of Transportation) Canyon Grande Roadside Park

Suggested Seasons to visit: All Seasons

Site open for day use only.

From FM 1907 take US 277 North 7.8 miles to the park on the right. This small rest stop along Canyon Grande Creek provides good riparian habitat for Green Kingfisher, and southerly specialties such as Couch’s Kingbird. Farther south, in the community of Normandy, there is a small population of wintering Sandhill Cranes as well as an occasional Burrowing Owl. Roads throughout the farming valley provide excellent diversity for a variety of South Texas species.

005.gif HOTW 005 Quail Trail Ranch

Suggested Seasons to visit: All Seasons

Site access restricted. Call ahead. Fee charged.

This 3400-acre ranch sits on Pinto Creek, and a section along the creek has an extensive stand of pecan that forms part of a natural pecan bottom. In October, this part of the ranch is filled with mammals and birds that forage on the nuts. Vermilion Fly-catchers are common along the creek. Above the creek a road leads to elevated dry scrub and rocky habitat that produces Rock Wren, Cactus Wren, Canyon Wren, and Bewick’s Wren. Wintering and breeding sparrows are also plentiful on the property, including Black-throated Sparrow, Rufous-crowned Sparrow, and Canyon Towhee. Cave Swallows can be seen during spring and summer and migrating Monarch butterflies provide an excellent viewing spectacle during October. The ranch offers comfortable lodging and jeep tours with high-rack seats for viewing wildlife. Photo blinds are also available at various places on the ranch.

210-492-9773 (Monday-Friday), 800-670-4507 (Saturday & Sunday), Call for directions.

006.gif HOTW 006 San Felipe Creek

Suggested Seasons to visit: All Seasons

Site open for day use only.

At the junction of US 90 with US 277 turn right on US 90. Drive 0.4 mile on US 90, past the San Felipe Golf Club to San Felipe Springs Road. Turn left and go 0.2 mile to the entrance on the left, just before the Elks lodge.

The spring carries ninety million gallons of water a day through its banks, and the water is crystal blue-a rare treat in any urban community. Large cottonwoods and scattered shade trees line the creek, and an early morning walk will yield Kingfishers and Golden-fronted Woodpecker. On the other side of the fairway lies a large stand of carrizo, which can provide a chance to see Lincoln's Sparrow, Song Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrow, Field Sparrow, and Common Yellowthroat.

007.gif HOTW 007 Paseo de los Niños Nature Trail

Suggested Seasons to visit: All Seasons

Site open for day use only.

Return to US 90 East (left) for 0.2 mile and turn left on de la Rosa Rd. The road dead-ends after 0.1 mile at Paseo de los Ninos Nature Trail.

Located next to Calderon Elementary School, this site offers visitors a chance to see birds and other wildlife characteristic of desert scrub plant communities. Expect to see Black-throated Sparrow, flocks of Lark Buntings, Cactus Wren, Bewick’s Wren, Pyrrhuloxia, and Cassin’s Sparrow. Woodpeckers abound here. A covered area with benches provides an excellent viewing area, and numerous trails wind throughout the tract.

008.gif HOTW 008 Laguna de Plata

Suggested Seasons to visit: All Seasons

Site open for day use only.

Return to US 90 and go south through the US 377/277/90 junction in Del Rio. Go straight; the road becomes Spur 239/Gibbs Road. Turn left just before the overpass on Avenue T. After turning, bear right and follow the railroad tracks for 1.4 miles. This road becomes Cienegas Road. Turn left on Frontera, opposite the warehouses, drive down 0.5 mile to the soccer fields on your left, and park. Opposite the fields is the water treatment plant. A small, signed entrance through the fence will lead you into the birding area.

This site contains a brushy section and a settling pond that receives treated effluent from the plant. Before entering the area, check the roadsides for Lesser Goldfinch, Olive Sparrow and Long-billed Thrasher. Twelve species of sparrow have been recorded here, and the treatment pond provides habitat for wintering and migrating ducks and shorebirds. Kiskadees, Phoebes, and Yellow-rumped Warblers can be seen in the trees that ring the pond.

009.gif HOTW 009 River Road/Duck Ponds

Suggested Seasons to visit: All Seasons

Site open for day use only.

Return to Cienegas, turn left and go for 0.8 mile to Duck Pond Road. Pond is on the right. This small pond provides habitat for wintering and migrating waterfowl. Emergent vegetation around the edge of the pond provides habitat for wading birds and migrating shorebirds.

010.gif HOTW 010 Lake Amistad National Recreation Area

Suggested Seasons to visit: All Seasons

Site open daily. Developed camping available.

To San Pedro Campground: Return to US 90 in Del Rio and go west for 7.1 miles to Spur 454. Campground entrance is 0.6 mile on right. Follow gravel road 0.9 mile to Campground.

The campground is very productive desert bird habitat. The campground consists of open scrub with acacias, cenizo, and willow along the edge of the scrub. Vesper Sparrow, Field Sparrow, Cassin’s Sparrow, Black-throated Sparrow, and Say’s Phoebe can all be seen here in March, along with various other species such as Pyrrhuloxia. Wildflowers can be abundant here after a wet winter. The warmer months here are good for watching lizards and butterflies.

To Hunt Area One: Return to US 90 West for 7.5 miles, cross the bridge over Lake Amistad, and the area is a few hundred yards past the bridge on the left. Park next to the railroad tracks, and go through the walk-through that abuts the locked gate. The area is sometimes closed for hunting, which is noted on the bulletin board at the gate.

The acacia-cactus scrub, combined with rocky outcroppings of limestone, provides good habitat for wrens. Verdin can be found here year-round along with a variety of sparrows. In spring, the lower part of the trail becomes a lush carpet of wildflowers. Pipevine Swallowtail, Dainty Sulphur, Variegated Fritillary, Black Swallowtail, Checkered White, and Southern Dogface are some of the common butterflies that occur here.

To Spur 406: Return to US 90 West for 8.2 miles and turn right on Spur 406. Follow the road 5.6 miles to its terminus at the lake.

Interior Least Terns occur here from mid-April to late summer. Tamarisk lines the road, and trails off to the left take you through stands of acacia that can be filled with sparrows. Wintering ducks such as Blue-winged Teal and migrating waterfowl can also be found here.

830-775-7491, www.nps.gov/amis

011.gif HOTW 011 Seminole Canyon State Park (SP)

Suggested Seasons to visit: All Seasons

Site open daily. Developed camping available. Fee charged.

Return to US 90 and go 9.0 miles to Comstock. Continue west 9.2 miles to PR 67 on left. Follow PR 67 for 0.5 mile to Headquarters.

Fate Bell Shelter, in the canyon, contains some of North America’s oldest Native American pictographs and is one of the oldest cave dwellings in North America. Tours are conducted twice daily (10 am and 3 pm), Wednesday through Sunday, by the park staff, involving a fairly-rugged hike to the bottom of the canyon and then up to the shelter to view the paintings. Listen for the distinctive sounds of Rock Wren, Canyon Wren, Bewick’s Wren, and Cactus Wren, and for the loud twittering overhead of White-throated Swift. Zone-tailed Hawk can also occur here. Lechugilla, guajillo, sotol, leather plant, wild onion, lyre-leaf twist-flower, phacelia, and other plants characteristic of Chihuahuan Desert plant associations are also present.

432-292-4464, Seminole Canyon SP

012.gif HOTW 012 White Shaman Preserve

Suggested Seasons to visit: All Seasons

Site access restricted. Call ahead. Fee charged.

Return to US 90 West for 1.3 miles. Entrance is on the right. The site offers a chance to experience impressive Pecos River scenery and a rare chance to see the work of prehistoric artists that inhabited these lands thousands of years ago. Characteristic plants include lechugilla, and the gorgeous red blooms of claret-cup cactus. After a wet winter, look for rose vervain and the intensely vivid colors of feather dalea, a bright purple flower that is as dainty as it is remarkable on the brown, rocky, leathery soil. Along the trail you will also see guajillo, recognizable by its long, narrow, mimosa-like leaves. The cave paintings here are the site’s chief attraction; they are tremendous and not to be missed.

888-762-5278, www.rockart.org

013.gif HOTW 013 TxDOT Roy Bean Information Center

Suggested Seasons to visit: All Seasons

Site open for day use only.

Return to US 90 West for 17.2 miles to Loop 25. Turn left and go 0.4 mile to the Center on the right. The information center showcases a phenomenal native plant garden which exhibits the most common plants of the Chihuahuan Desert. Stroll the garden and familiarize yourself with the plants that characterize this botanical community, as well as some of the rare plants and cacti that live here. See horse crippler, living stone, Langtry rainbow cactus, and a variety of other fascinating plants adapted to live in the arid heat of Trans-Pecos Texas. The information center also has displays that interpret the human history of the area.

014.gif HOTW 014 Baker's Crossing

Suggested Seasons to visit: All Seasons

Site open for day use only. Fee charged.

Return to US 90 and go east 27.8 miles to Comstock. Take TX 163 North for 21.0 miles to Baker’s Crossing, just after the first low-water crossing of the Devil’s River. The office is on the right.

Baker’s Crossing is the only public canoe put-in along Devil’s River, and the two-day float to the take-out at Blue Sage campground is breathtaking. The campground covers a full mile of river frontage, with lush sites under spreading canopies of giant hardwood trees. Long-billed Thrasher calls from the branches, sparrows abound, and a lucky overhead scan can turn up a Zone-tailed Hawk. Ringed Kingfisher also occurs here, and Black Phoebe can be seen year-round. Canoeists are reminded that the property along the river is private. Please respect the rights of these property owners and do not trespass.

432-292-4503

015.gif HOTW 015 Devil's River State Natural Area (SNA)

Suggested Seasons to visit: All Seasons

Site open daily. Developed camping availbale. Fee charged.

Return to US 90 East and continue 27.5 miles to the junction of US 277/377 North. Go north for 40.3 miles. Turn left on Dolan Creek Road and follow 22.0 miles on the graded dirt road to the park headquarters. After heavy rains this road requires high-clearance, 4WD vehicles - watch for road washouts and flash flooding at low water crossings, and never attempt to drive through running water. If heavy rains occur after you have entered the area, exit may be impossible for a full day or more after flooding.

This is one of the premier outdoor destinations in Texas. Spanning over 20,000 acres, the relative inaccessibility of Devil’s River SNA makes it a destination for the adventurous. Year round, access to the river is by hiking, biking, or park tour only. A series of springs provides up to 80% of the river’s flow. High cliff faces overlooking the river, provide photographic panoramas that would inspire any photographer. Black-capped Vireo, Deer, Bobcat, and Armadillo can all be found here in relative abundance, as can Wild Turkey, Common Ground-Dove, Ringed Kingfisher, Great Kiskadee, Long-billed Thrasher, Olive Sparrow, and Hooded Oriole. Along the river, stands of live oak, pecan, and sycamore with an understory of shade-tolerant shrubs provide the richest habitat for birdlife at the park. Birds normally associated with eastern habitats find their westernmost extension here, with species such as Chuck-will’s-widow, Eastern Wood-Pewee, White-eyed Vireo, Carolina Wren, Northern Parula, and Indigo Bunting occurring here. Birds that only rarely make it into the U.S. such as Tropical Parula and Rufous-capped Warbler have also been recorded here. The park offers several vehicle accessible primitive campsites. Primitive campsites along the river are available only to canoe campers that have come down river. Bunkhouse lodging is available by reservation.

830-395-2133, Devil's River SNA

016.gif HOTW 016 Fort Clark Springs

Suggested Seasons to visit: Spring, Summer, Fall

Site open for day use only.

Return to US 90, go east for 35.1 miles, and turn left into the signed entrance. This site has a long and interesting human history as well as being one of the best birding spots in the area. Seven miles of beautiful creek bottom lined with pecan, mulberry, live oak, and mixed hardwoods provide shelter and forage to large flocks of birds. Open wetlands with emergent vegetation add to the variety of habitats. Winter flocks include Kinglets, American Goldfinch, Lesser Goldfinch, and Pine Siskin. Wading birds, ducks, and cormorants are here, and spring migration can fill the trees with songbirds. Dragonflies are plentiful in both the creek and standing water habitats.

830-563-2493, www.fortclark.com

017.gif HOTW 017 U.S. 90 Bracketville Rest Stop

Suggested Seasons to visit: All Seasons

Site open for day use only.

Return to US 90 East for 6.0 miles to the rest stop on the left. This mowed field with scattered live oak, mulberry, and hackberry provides excellent habitat year-round for

a variety of birds. Large flocks of Ruby-crowned Kinglets occur here in winter, as do a variety of sparrows, including resident Rufous-crowned Sparrow and Black-throated Sparrow. Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Golden-fronted Woodpecker, and Vermilion Flycatcher are colorful and easily observed residents at this site.


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