Great Texas Wildlife Trails

Prairie Loop

Prairie Loop map

Prairie loop mapFort Griffin State Park and Historic siteStasney’s Cook RanchNorth Roadside ParkHubbard Creek Lake-North CampgroundBreckenridge City ParkCoody RanchLake DanielTexas Adventure Trails

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More information:

  • Albany COC, 915-762-2525, www.albanytexas.com
  • Breckenridge COC, 254-559-2301, www.breckenridgetexas.com
  • Eastland COC, 254-629-2332, www.eastland.net/eastland/

090.gif PHP 090 Fort Griffin State Park and Historic site (SP&HS)

Suggested Seasons to visit: Spring, Summer, Fall Fee, Daily

Site open daily. Fee charged.

From Truscott, travel south on TX 6 through Benjamin, Rule, and Stamford to Albany, 97.0 miles. At US 283 in Albany go north 14.9 miles to the Park entrance on the right.

Fort Griffin once held command of the southern plains, saw the end of both the great herds of Bison and those who hunted them, and was home to a rugged group of men. The fort was constructed in 1867 and deactivated in 1881. The 506-acre park sits on an escarpment along the Clear Fork of the Brazos River. The 1.5 mile Wohaw Nature Trail along the Clear Fork of the Brazos provides scenic and peaceful views of the park’s creek bottom habitat. Black Swallowtail, Orange Sulphur, and Black-chinned Hummingbird occur here. Fort Griffin also has a herd of Longhorn cattle. The park offers camping, hiking, fishing, picnicking, living history, historical reenactments, and nature study.

915-762-3592, Fort Griffin SP&HS

091.gif PHP 091 Stasney’s Cook Ranch

Suggested Seasons to visit: All Seasons

Site access restricted. Fee charged.

This 25,000-acre ranch provides spectacular habitat that includes canyons, rock cliffs, valleys, creeks, and limestone deposits full of fossils. In addition to a good assortment of spring migrants, wintering sparrows and waterfowl, and dazzling summer beauties such as Painted Bunting, the ranch’s photo blinds will give the patient observer intimate views of Deer, Bobcats, Turkeys, and other wildlife. An interesting mix of East and West avifauna occurs here, with both species of meadowlarks, and Eastern Phoebes nesting around the lodge. In wet years Grasshopper Sparrows can be seen and heard, perched atop the sideoats grama. Throughout the year several species of flycatcher can be found here, including Ash-throated Flycatcher and Vermilion Flycatcher. Scrub Jay has been seen here, as has Common Poorwill. Wildflowers are everywhere in wet years, producing superb opportunities for photography and botanical study. The ranch offers great history, beautiful scenery, lots of wildlife, and many activities for nature enthusiasts. Lodging is available in the main lodge and in cabins modeled after the officers’ quarters at surrounding forts on the Texas Forts Trail.

888-762-2999, www.stasney.com, Call for directions.

092.gif PHP 092 North Roadside Park

Suggested Seasons to visit: All Seasons

Site open for day use only.

From the intersection of US 283 and FM 209, take FM 209 to Woodson, 7.6 miles. Turn right on US 183 South 6.8 miles to Clear Fork of the Brazos River. Park is under the bridge, at the southwest corner of the river-road junction.

This site is heavily wooded by pecan trees and dense shrub along the river’s edge. Nesting beneath the bridge are Northern Rough-winged, Barn, and Cliff Swallows. Close-distance viewing makes this a great opportunity to study these swallows in their various plumages. Look for woodpeckers, warblers, and flycatchers in the trees. In winter, look for Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Northern Flicker, Ruby-crowned and Golden Kinglets, Red-breasted Nuthatch, and Brown Creeper. Summer Tanager, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, and Painted Bunting can be heard and seen here. Green Heron and Great Egret can also be found along the river shore.

093.gif PHP 093 Hubbard Creek Lake-North Campground

Suggested Seasons to visit: Winter

Site open daily.

Return to US 183 and go south for 6.5 miles to CR 274, turn-off for Hubbard Lake Dam, signposted for Public Boat Ramp. Go right on this road for about 1 mile turn left and continue for 0.7 mile to lake entrance.

This is a large park with good access to the lake and habitats that support various mammals and birds. Expect White-tailed Deer, Common Gray Fox, Nine-banded Armadillo, Western Diamondback Rattlesnake, and Bobcat. Greater Roadrunner and Wild Turkey roam the area. In winter, look for Chipping, Field, Lark, Savannah, Song, and Vesper Sparrows. The mesquite and oaks host woodpeckers, nuthatches, and creepers.

Check the lake for Canvasback, Redhead, Northern Pintail, Lesser Scaup, Gadwall, American Wigeon, Green-winged and Blue-winged Teal, Bufflehead, Ring-necked Duck, Ruddy Duck, Hooded Merganser, Common Goldeneye, and Northern Shoveler. Along the rocky shorelines, look for shorebirds as well.

254-559-3677

094.gif PHP 094 Breckenridge City Park

Suggested Seasons to visit: All Seasons

Site open for day use only.

Return to US 183 and travel south 7.7 miles to Breckenridge. At the light in Breckenridge turn left onto US180/East Walker Street. The Park is on the right 0.4 mile on East Walker Street.

This multi-use park has an open lawn, sparsely wooded by large pecans and mesquite. American Robin, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, and Western Kingbird occur here. The best wildlife viewing is along Gonzales Creek. Here, you can find nesting Blue Grosbeak, White-eyed Vireo, Summer Tanager, Ash-throated Flycatcher, and Painted Bunting. Herons, egrets, and Belted Kingfisher all occur here. A small wildflower garden attracts Sleepy Orange, Giant Swallowtail, Pipevine Swallowtail, and Buckeye.

095.gif PHP 095 Coody Ranch

Suggested Seasons to visit: All Seasons

Site access restricted. Fee charged.

This 1300-acre working ranch has been owned and managed for wildlife since 1878 by the Coody family. Habitats consist of mesquite-cacti scrub, grassland meadows, oak motte, and juniper woodlands. Numerous ponds of various sizes provide wildlife water and viewing opportunities for everything from frogs and dragonflies, to songbirds and mammals.

White-tailed Deer, Wild Turkey, Common Gray and Red Foxes, Striped Skunk, Coyote, Raccoon, Ringtail, Badger and Bobcat can be seen here. Deer stands with adjacent feeders have been placed throughout the property for wildlife viewing and photography. The ranch is home to a diversity of reptiles, which often can be seen along the dirt roads.

This site is a good stopover for migrant birds. Year-round, you can find Greater Roadrunner, Brown Thrasher, Northern Bobwhite, and Wild Turkey here. Nesting residents include Summer Tanager, White-eyed and Yellow- throated Vireos, Orchard Oriole, and Painted Bunting. The grassland meadows attract Dickcissel, Field Sparrow, and House Finch. The large ponds attract wintering ducks and shorebirds. Lodging and meals are available by reservation.

254-559-5977, Call for directions.

096.gif PHP 096 Lake Daniel

Suggested Seasons to visit: All Seasons

Site open for day use only.

Go south on US 183 from Breckenridge to FM 576. Turn left on FM 576 for 1.2 miles to CR 147. Go right on CR 147 for 1.5 miles to Lake Daniel.

The lake surrounds a woodland peninsula with a sloping shoreline that is home to various wading birds. Drive slowly along CR 147, and you’re likely to spy a Greater Roadrunner or a Prairie Racerunner basking in the sun. The northern section of the lake offers an extensive mudflat foraged by Black-necked Stilt, Great Egret, and Great Blue Heron. Belted Kingfishers patrol the lakeside from oak branches hanging over the lake’s edge. In the summer, Painted and Indigo Buntings, White-eyed Vireo, and Blue Grosbeak are common nesters along the oak-willow bank. The lake provides excellent wintering habitat for waterfowl, shorebirds, gulls, and terns.

The grasslands provide habitat for House Finch, Dickcissel, Common Buckeye, Checkered White, Dainty Sulphur, Sleepy Orange, Pipevine Swallowtail, and Red Admiral. In the winter, look for Sparrows such as Field, Savannah, Song, and Vesper.

097.gif PHP 097 Texas Adventure Trails

Suggested Seasons to visit: All Seasons

Site open for day use only.

From IH-20 in Cisco, go east 11.6 miles to Exit 343/TX 112. Take a left onto TX 112 North, go 1.7 miles to the intersection of TX 6 and TX 112. Turn right on TX 112 North for 0.6 mile to Ringling Lake/ CR 536. Go left at Ringling Lake/CR 536 and follow for 1.1 miles to entrance.

The trails meander through Post Oak woodlands. Vegetation is dense in some areas, with sumac, agarita, and laurel. Look for Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Ladder-backed and Golden-fronted Woodpeckers, Inca and Mourning Doves, and Great Horned Owl. In brushy grasslands, look for Northern Bobwhite and Greater Roadrunner. Red-tailed and Red-shouldered Hawks are common, and migrating Mississippi Kite can be seen in season in large flocks overhead.

Along Ringling Lake, look for Summer Tanager, White-eyed Vireo, Painted and Indigo Buntings. Dragonflies are abundant, so look for Black Saddlebags, Eastern Pondhawk, Widow Skimmer, Roseate Skimmer, and Russet-tipped Clubtail. Butterflies flit throughout the park, including Little Yellow, Common Buckeye, Pearl Crescent, and Pipevine Swallowtail. The ponds are good places to find Southern Leopard Frog, Blanchard’s Cricket Frog, and Gray Tree Frog. Waterfowl and shorebirds can be seen in winter.

254-629-8321


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