Great Texas Wildlife Trails

Topaz Loop

Topaz Loop map

Topaz loop mapHomer Martin RanchFort Mason City ParkEckert James River Bat Cave Preserve

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More information:

  • Mason COC, 325-347-5758, www.masontxcoc.com
  • Fredericksburg COC/CVB, 830-997-6523, 888-997-3600, www.fredericksburg-texas.com/
  • Texas Forts Trail, www.texasfortstrail.com
  • San Angelo CVB, 325-653-1206, 800-375-1206

087.gif HOTW 087 Homer Martin Ranch

Suggested Seasons to visit: All Seasons

Site access restricted. Call ahead. Fee charged.

This 2,800-acre ranch is located along the cliff banks of the Llano River and includes riverside habitat, canyon woodlands, oak-mesquite brush, open prairie, and mixed deciduous woodlands. White-tailed Deer are abundant on the property, and you may see Bobcat, Coyote, Cottontail Rabbit, Jackrabbit, Gray and Red Fox, Ringtail, and Porcupine. The diversity of habitats support a wide variety of resident birds including Greater Roadrunner, Bobwhite Quail, Wild Turkey, Verdin, Bushtit, Ground Dove, Green Kingfisher, Golden-fronted Woodpecker, Western Scrub Jay, Cactus, Rock, Canyon, Carolina, and Bewick’s Wrens, Eastern Bluebird, Curve-billed Thrasher, Canyon Towhee, Chipping and Rufous-crowned Sparrows and Pyrrhuloxia. Cabins are available for overnight guests. Activities include swimming and fishing in the Llano River, mountain biking, and hiking.

325-347-6852, www.homermartinranch.com, Call for directions.

088.gif HOTW 088 Fort Mason City Park

Suggested Seasons to visit: All Seasons

Site open for day use only.

In Mason, from the intersection of TX 29 and US 87, go south on US 87 about 0.8 mile to park entrance on left.

A short nature trail here meanders through mixed deciduous woodlands along Comanche Creek. These creekside woodlands are home to nesting Summer Tanager, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Blue Grosbeak, and Great-crested Flycatcher. Dragonflies skirting along the creek include Eastern Pondhawk, Common Whitetail, and Roseate Skimmer. Butterflies abound throughout the trail, offering wildlife enthusiasts a full spectrum of vibrant color.

089.gif HOTW 089 Eckert James River Bat Cave Preserve

Suggested Seasons to visit: May-mid October Only, Thursday-Sunday, 6pm - 9pm

Site open for day use only.

From the intersection of TX 29 and US 87 in Mason, go south on US 87 for 1.2 miles to the intersection with FM 1723. Go south on FM 1723 for 2.3 miles to a Y-intersection. Take a right onto FM 2389 for 4.8 miles to James River Road. Continue on James River Road for 8.2 miles to Bat Cave Preserve. Note: just before reaching the preserve, you must cross the James River in your vehicle. River levels can be as low as a few inches in dry conditions and higher during wet seasons.

The cave is a bat preserve and is located 1,500 feet above the parking area. This small Nature Conservancy property houses 4 to 6 million Mexican Free-tailed Bats, the second largest colony in Texas. The cave is referred to as a maternity cave, as the females use the cave to bear and rear their young. In the fall, these bats migrate to Mexico. Woodland scrub in the rocky terrain is habitat for Painted Bunting, Canyon Wren, and Black-throated Sparrow.

325-347-5970, http://nature.org/texas


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