Great Texas Wildlife Trails

Sonora Loop

Sonora Loop map

Sonora loop mapEaton Hill Wildlife SanctuaryT-Saucer RanchCaverns of SonoraX Bar Ranch

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More information:

  • Schleicher County COC, 325-853-3109, www.EldoradoTx.com
  • Sonora COC, 325-387-2880, www.sonoratx-chamber.com

103.gif HOTW 103 Eaton Hill Wildlife Sanctuary

Suggested Seasons to visit: Spring, Summer

Site open for day use only.

From Fort McKavett continue west on FM 864 for 36.3 miles to its intersection with I-10. Continue straight and the road becomes Crockett Avenue. Continue 4.2 miles to Main Street and turn right. Follow to Water Avenue, turn left, and then right on Oak Street. Oak Street dead-ends at the bottom of the sanctuary.

The town of Sonora has set aside this small tract of hilly woodland in the middle of town to provide wildlife watching opportunities for visitors. Foxes and the occasional coyote add variety to the assortment of doves, Cactus Wrens, and Western Scrub-Jays that occur here. Painted Bunting and Black-chinned Hummingbird can be seen at the sanctuary, as can a variety of reptiles, butterflies, wildflowers, and native grasses.

104.gif HOTW 104 T-Saucer Ranch

Suggested Seasons to visit: Spring, Summer, Fall

Site access restricted. Call ahead. Fee charged.

This working ranch provides accommodations for up to 42 overnight guests, and provides extensive habitat for wildlife viewing and photography. Canyon Towhee, Cassin’s Sparrow, Sage Thrasher, Bushtit, and Common Raven are a few of the western birds that occur on the ranch. The most spectacular natural event of the year occurs in autumn, when thousands of Monarch Butterflies fill the live oaks that surround the yard.

877-901-5577 or 325-387-5577, www.tsaucer.com, Call for directions.

105.gif HOTW 105 Caverns of Sonora

Suggested Seasons to visit: All Seasons

Site open for day use only. Fee charged.

From Sonora, take I-10 West to Exit 392. Take FM 1989 south for 5.6 miles to the large rock entrance sign on the left. Turn left and continue 1.5 miles to the office.

This limestone cave was designated a National Natural Landmark in 1996, and is one of the top five caves in the world for beauty and variety of formations. More than 90% of the cave’s formations are still active, and the trip down into the caverns is unforgettable. New passages are still being discovered. A 0.5-mile nature trail winds along oak-juniper-mesquite woodland, and the area near the RV camp has consistently had Elf Owl for the last several years.

325-387-3105, www.cavernsofsonora.com

106.gif HOTW 106 X Bar Ranch

Suggested Seasons to visit: All Seasons

Site access restricted. Call ahead. Fee charged.

Return to and take I-10 west to exit 388. Turn left onto FM 1312 west for 1.5 miles. At junction of FM 1312 and FM 2129, turn right onto FM 2129 (east) and continue for 6.8 miles to the ranch entrance on the right.

This 7,100-acre ranch offers 15 miles of nature, hiking, and mountain biking trails. The trails meander through the rocky terrain, with scenic views of valleys and hillsides. Look for Greater Roadrunner, Scaled Quail, Northern Bobwhite, Wild Turkey, Canyon Towhee, Verdin, Pyrrhuloxia, Curve-billed Thrasher, and Black-tailed Gnatcatcher. In the winter, look for sparrows, woodpeckers, Mountain Bluebird, and Sage Thrasher. Dragonflies are plentiful at the pond near the lodge. A wide variety of reptiles and mammals also inhabit the ranch.

Activities include wildlife viewing and photography, star gazing in dark skies, guided ranch tours, swimming, and barbecue dinners with entertainment in the summer. Tours featuring the history, culture, and archeology of the region are also available. X Bar is a working livestock ranch, offering guests an opportunity to observe seasonal ranch work. The ranch has a lodge and cabins as well as a secluded guest house available for overnight guests. RV and tent camping is also available.

888-853-2688 or 325-853-2688, www.XBarRanch.com


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