Great Texas Wildlife Trails

Sabine Loop

Sabine Loop map

Sabine Loop mapClaiborne West ParkLower Neches WMA & Bailey's Fish CampPleasure IslandSabine PassSabine Pass Battleground SHP & Texas PointTexas Point NWRTOS Sabine WoodsSea Rim SPMcFaddin NWRJ.D. Murphree WMATaylor Bayou

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More information:

  • Bridge City Chamber of Commerce
    (409) 735-5671
  • Port Arthur Convention and Visitors Bureau
    (800) 235-7822 and (409) 985-7822

020.gif UTC 020 Claiborne West Park

Suggested Seasons to visit: Spring, Summer

Site open for day use only.

From the intersection of I-10 and TX 87 (where the Big Thicket Loop begins), continue west on I-10 to FM 1442 (Exit 869). After exiting, remain on the north service road and continue west to the entrance to Claiborne West Park. For those who wish to continue directly to the upper coast (and bypass the Big Thicket Loop), Claiborne West Park offers an opportunity to see an interesting selection of Big Thicket woodland birds. Check this park in migration for landbirds that have over-flown the coast and settled into the interior forests.

021.gif UTC 021 Lower Neches WMA and Bailey’s Fish Camp

Suggested Seasons to visit: All Seasons (Winter and early Spring for waterfowl)

Site open for day use only. Fee charged.

Travel south on FM 1442 to TX 73/87 (FM 1442 eventually will swing east before intersecting with TX 87). Continue south on TX 73/87 to Lake Street. Travel south on Lake Street to the Lower Neches WMA observation platform and Bailey’s Fish Camp. The TPWD observation platform is located approximately 1.5 miles from TX 73/87, and overlooks a broad expanse of coastal marsh. Continue south from the observation platform (the road surface will eventually become shell) to Bailey’s Fish Camp and Sabine Lake. Herons, egrets, spoonbills, waterfowl, and shorebirds mass in this area, so be sure to bring a scope.

023.gif UTC 022 Pleasure Island

Suggested Seasons to visit: All Seasons

Site open for day use only.

Return on Lake Street to TX 73/87, then travel southwest on TX 73/87 to Groves. Remain on TX 73 when the two roads divide in Groves, and continue southwest to the intersection with TX 82. Travel south on TX 82 across the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway (GIWW). Once across the MLK Bridge, exit on T.B. Ellison Parkway for Pleasure Island. Loons (on the Sabine Lake side of the levee roads), grebes, and waterfowl abound in the winter, so explore. Shorebirds may be present in impressive numbers when suitable habitat (mud flat) is available. Both the north and south ends of Pleasure Island are productive, so wander the levee roads and scope the concentrations of ducks, gulls, and terns.

023.gif UTC 023 Sabine Pass

Suggested Seasons to visit: All Seasons

Site open for day use only.

Return on TX 82 to TX 87, then continue south on TX 87 to Sabine Pass. Watch for cormorants, waterfowl, gulls, and terns as you drive along the south end of Sabine Lake. Before entering Sabine Pass, you will cross the Sabine Pass marshes. Least Bitterns, White and White-faced ibis (look for Glossy among the large dark ibis flocks), Roseate Spoonbills, Clapper Rails, Common Yellowthroats, and Seaside Sparrows are all relatively easy to find in this expansive wetland. The resident grackle in this marsh is Boat-tailed (be aware that a small percentage of Boat-tailed Grackles in this area have yellow eyes).

024.gif UTC 024 Sabine Pass Battleground SHP and Texas Point

Suggested Seasons to visit: All Seasons (especially Spring migration)

Site open daily. Developed camping available.

From Sabine Pass, continue east on FM 3322 to the Sabine Pass Battleground State Historical Park (SHP). The park is a minor birding destination along the coast (although restrooms are available), but the trees and shrubs within the site may attract a variety of migrants in spring and fall.

Continue east on FM 3322 to South 1st. Turn south on South 1st and continue to the dead-end at the Pilot Station and Texas Point (about 3.5 miles). The road to the Pilot Station is poorly maintained, so be prepared for a rough ride. After the passage of a late cold front in spring, migrant landbirds (vireos, warblers, tanagers, buntings, grosbeaks, and orioles) may dangle from tamarisk twigs like Christmas ornaments. In winter through late spring, the cordgrass marshes that border the road support impressive numbers of Nelson’s Sharp-tailed and Seaside sparrows.

025.gif UTC 025 Texas Point NWR

Suggested Seasons to visit: All Seasons

Site open for day use only.

Return north on South 1st to Quinn, then turn west on Quinn. Continue to the end of Quinn, then veer north on South 8th. South 8th is bordered by the marshes of the Texas Point NWR, and this road provides an excellent spot from which to look and listen for rails, wrens, and sparrows. Continue on South 8th until reaching FM 3322, then turn west and return to Sabine Pass. From Sabine Pass, travel west (signed south) on TX 87 to the Texas Point NWR nature trail (on the south side of TX 87 about 2.4 miles west of Sabine Pass). These stunted woods may hold migrants in migration, and it only takes a minute to check this location as you rush toward Sabine Woods. White-tailed Kites, Painted Buntings, and Orchard Orioles breed in the area.

026.gif UTC 026 TOS Sabine Woods

Suggested Seasons to visit: Migrations

Site open for day use only.

Enhancements: Gate, fencing, parking area

Continue west on TX 87 to Texas Ornithological Society (TOS) Sabine Woods (located 4.2 miles from Sabine Pass on the north side of TX 87). A parking area with entrance gate has been constructed here with GTCBT funds. This isolated stand of live oaks is among the most productive migrant stop-over sites (migrant traps) along the entire Texas coast. During spring migration, the trees and shrubs here attract thousands of migrant landbirds. Hundreds of hummingbirds (mostly Ruby-throated) may swarm the lantana thickets in early fall.

027.gif UTC 027 Sea Rim SP

Suggested Seasons to visit: All Seasons

Site open daily. Developed camping available. Fee charged.

Enhancements: Boardwalk

Continue west on TX 87 to Sea Rim SP. Enter the Marshlands Unit (north of TX 87) and continue to the boathouse at the end of the entrance road. Cave Swallows (as well as Barn and Cliff swallows) have nested under the eaves of this boathouse for the past several years. Return to TX 87, and continue west for approximately 0.5 mile to the Sea Rim SP headquarters and Beach Unit. The boardwalk east of the headquarters (the Gambusia Trail) offers an excellent spot from which to view a variety of marsh and water birds, especially rails. Leaving the headquarters, continue west on TX 87. The gulf willows, salt cedars, and red mulberries along the southern edge of TX 87 are remarkably attractive to migrant landbirds. A boardwalk is being constructed through this woodland with funds provided by the GTCBT project. The beach may be accessed at a number of points as you continue west on TX 87, and be sure to check the gull and tern flocks.

028.gif UTC 028 McFaddin NWR

Suggested Seasons to visit: All Seasons

Site open for day use only.

Continue on TX 87 to McFaddin NWR (approximately 12 miles from Sabine Pass). McFaddin NWR is managed for waterfowl, and access is limited. However, the gravel road to Clam Lake offers an opportunity to look for a variety of waterfowl in winter (Masked Duck has appeared on the refuge in the past). In addition, there is a trail behind the refuge headquarters (located off of TX 87 across from Clam Lake) that continues to Pond 11 and an observation blind. This blind is used for hunting in the fall, but it is available to birders in the spring and summer. TX 87 west of McFaddin is no longer passable (the paved road has been washed out by recurrent storm tides), so there is no longer a direct coastal route to High Island.

McFaddin and Texas Point NWRs
P.O. Box 609
Sabine Pass, Texas 77655
(409) 971-2909

029.gif UTC 029 J.D. Murphree WMA

Suggested Seasons to visit: All Seasons

Site open for day use only.

Return on TX 87 to Sabine Pass, then continue north on TX 87 to TX 73. Travel west on TX 73 to J.D. Murphree WMA. Access to this WMA is restricted, although a nature trail has been developed near the headquarters. Boat access to the area may be arranged, however. Late spring and summer are particularly interesting. Least Bitterns are ubiquitous in these marshes. To arrange for a boat ride into the WMA, contact the following:

Texas Marshland Tours
Capt. Jerry Norris
3262 Bell St.
Port Arthur, TX 77640
(409) 736-3023

030.gif UTC 030 Taylor Bayou

Suggested Seasons to visit: Spring, Summer

Site open for day use only.

Continue west on TX 73 to Jap Road. The rice fields along TX 73 hold thousands of shorebirds in spring, so look for those fields that have been recently flooded. Travel north on Jap Road to the South Fork of Taylor Bayou. ALL PROPERTY BORDERING TAYLOR BAYOU IS PRIVATE. PLEASE, DO NOT TRESPASS. BIRD ONLY ALONG THE MAIN RIGHTS-OF-WAY. Taylor Bayou, and the riparian woodlands that border the stream, represent an isolated sliver of the Big Thicket that has inched toward the coast. Many of the eastern woodland birds that inhabit the Pineywoods are present along the bayou. Swallow-tailed Kites have been seen here during summer, and Northern Parulas, Yellow-throated, Prothonotary, Swainson’s, Kentucky, and Hooded warblers all breed in the general vicinity. Go north on Jap Road to the North Fork of Taylor Bayou, then continue north on Jap Road to Patterson Road. Travel west on Patterson Road to Craigen Road, and then go west on Craigen Road back to the North Fork of Taylor Bayou. Continue north on Craigen Road to TX 124, and then go south on TX 124 to TX 73. Travel west on TX 73 to Winnie.

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