Great Texas Wildlife Trails

East Austin Loop

East Austin Loop map

East Austin Loop mapLost Pines Nature RanchBastrop State Park and Buescher State ParkMcKinney Roughs LCRA ParkBig Webberville Park/Little Webberville ParkLake Walter E. LongHornsby Bend Biosolids Management FacilityRichard Moya ParkMcKinney Falls State ParkColorado River Preserve

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More information:

  • Austin CVB
    512-478-0098; 512-474-5171 800-926-2282,
  • Bastrop COC

032.gif HOTE 032 Lost Pines Nature Ranch

Site is now closed to the public and will be removed from the next edition of the Heart of Texas East Wildlife Trail map.


033.gif HOTE 033 Bastrop State Park and Buescher State Park

Suggested Seasons to visit: All Seasons

Site open daily. Developed camping available. Fee charged.

From Lost Pines Nature Ranch, take TX 21 west 3.3 miles to the entrance on the left. Continue 0.3 mile to office.

The beautiful Lost Pines of Texas is a loblolly pine woodland isolated from the main body of east Texas pines by approximately 100 miles of rolling, post oak woodlands. This pine-oak woodland covers approximately seventy square miles and is part of the most westerly stand of loblolly pines in the state. The park road that connects Bastrop and Buescher is one of the most scenic woodland drives in Texas. The parks teem with wildlife, particularly during spring migration.

Pine Warblers and Pileated Woodpeckers occur here, and Red-headed Woodpeckers nest in the pine woodlands within Bastrop State Park. The lake at Buescher provides good habitat for migrating and wintering ducks. The muddy edges of the lake attract waders and shorebirds. Red-shouldered Hawk, Red-eyed Vireo, Northern Parula, and Summer Tanager also nest in habitat surrounding the lake. The endangered Houston Toad can be seen or heard on warm, humid February and March evenings near their shallow breeding ponds within Bastrop State Park.

Phone: 512-321-2101. Bastrop State Park page

034.gif HOTE 034 McKinney Roughs LCRA Park

Suggested Seasons to visit: All Seasons

Site open for day use only. Fee charged.

Return to TX 21 and go 1.2 miles to TX 71 West towards Austin. Proceed 9.7 miles west of Bastrop to a large stone sign for McKinney Roughs on the north side of the highway.

Nashville, Black-throated Green, Black-and-white, Blackburnian, Yellow, and Magnolia Warblers can be seen during spring and fall migrations, and resident birds include Greater Roadrunner, Belted Kingfisher, Eastern Screech-Owl, and Black-chinned Hummingbird. A butterfly garden at the entrance to the park’s trails provides close views of these beautiful insects. Gray Fox, Rabbits, White-tailed Deer, and Squirrels are commonly seen. The park offers canoeing, hiking, and a self-guided interpretive trail.

Phone: 512-303-5073 or 800-776-5272, ext. 3512.

035.gif HOTE 035 Big Webberville Park/Little Webberville Park

Suggested Seasons to visit: All Seasons

Site open for day use only.

Big Webberville Park: Return east on TX 71 toward Bastrop to FM 969. Go west on FM 969 12.3 miles to Webberwood Road. Turn left and go 1.0 mile to picnic area.

The trees throughout the park are good for migrants, as well as residents that include Downy and Red-Bellied Woodpeckers. Winter flocks of Savannah and Chipping Sparrows forage in the grass, along with American Pipits. Check the power lines for perching raptors.

Little Webberville Park: Return to FM 969 and go west on FM 969 for 3.0 miles to the county park sign in Webberville. Go south on Water Road to the boat ramp.

This small county park has some deciduous trees that provide good cover for migrants and resident birds. As a put-in for the LCRA Colorado River Trail, this park allows for short paddle downriver to Big Webberville Park. Look for woodland birds along the river’s edge, waterfowl, cormorants, and raptors.

036.gif HOTE 036 Lake Walter E. Long

Suggested Seasons to visit: All Seasons

Site open for day use only. Fee charged.

Return to FM 969 and go west for 7.5 miles to FM 973. Turn right/ north and go 4.1 miles to Bloor Rd. Follow Bloor Rd. 1.7 miles until Bloor curves sharply to the right and becomes Blue Bluff Rd. Continue 0.8 mile to Lindell.

Look for raptors along this stretch of road. Northern Caracara cruises the area, and the roadsides provide habitat for feeding flocks of Savannah and White-crowned Sparrows. Also check the small ponds on the left as you drive along Blue Bluff.

Turn left on Lindell and go 1.3 miles to Decker Lane Rd. Turn left and go 2.9 miles to Decker Lake Rd. Turn left and go 1.0 mile to Hog Eye Road, which dead ends after 0.2 mile into the lake entrance.

Lake Walter E. Long, also known as Decker Lake, covers approximately 1200 acres. The lake provides habitat for wintering scaup and other ducks. Flocks of American Goldfinch feed in the trees in winter, and a variety of raptors such as Sharp-shinned

Hawk and Red-tailed Hawks are regularly seen. Forster’s Tern and Ring-billed Gull are common here in winter. Check the reed beds around the southeast corner of the lake for marsh birds. There is a trail that follows the perimeter of the lake, beginning at the southeast corner.

037.gif HOTE 037 Hornsby Bend biosolids management facility

Suggested Seasons to visit: All Seasons

Site open for day use only.

From the intersection of FM 969 and FM 973, go south on FM 973 for 3.2 miles to the entrance on the right. Enter the facility and go through the gated fence into the biosolids processing center. After about 0.5 mile, a narrow road on the left provides driving access up onto the dike. Parking for the riverside trails are on the opposite sides of the treatment ponds, just behind the observation blind.

This 1200-acre site contains three sewage ponds, 3.5 miles of forested walking trails along the Colorado River, and short grass fields, making it a focal point for wildlife watchers. Beaver, Bobcat, and Coyote have been seen here, along with the cornucopia of bird life that is available year-round. Thousands of shorebirds congregate here during migration, with rarities such as Northern Jacana, Red Phalarope, and Spotted Redshank having been recorded here. Black-necked Stilt and Killdeer breed here, Osprey and Peregrine Falcon are winter residents. Dragonflies, damselflies, and an abundance of butterflies also occur here.

038.gif HOTE 038 Richard Moya Park

Suggested Seasons to visit: All Seasons

Site open for day use only.

From FM 973, continue south 0.9 mile to TX 71. Continue south on 973 for 3.1 miles and turn west/right on Burleson Road. The park is on the left after 0.7 mile.

This 100-acre park has recorded Black-bellied Whistling Duck, Little Blue Heron, various birds of prey, Brown Creeper, and a variety of migrating songbirds. Harris’s Sparrow occurs in winter along the creek, favoring the brush piles and dried tangle of dead vines that are interspersed along the walking trail. White-crowned, Lincoln’s, and Savannah Sparrows also occur here.

039.gif HOTE 039 McKinney Falls State Park

Suggested Seasons to visit: All Seasons

Site open daily. Developed camping available. Fee charged.

Continue west on Burleson Road for 2.1 miles, crossing US 183, and continuing to McKinney Falls Parkway. Go south for 1.7 miles. The park entrance is on the right.

This 744-acre state park is located at the convergence of the Edwards Plateau and the Blackland Prairie. Habitats include limestone bluffs, riparian thickets, mixed-deciduous woodlands, mesquite savannas, and brushland. The Homestead Trail, which loops around Williamson Creek, is a good place to find nesting Summer Tanager, White-eyed Vireo, and Painted Bunting. The trail meanders along the creeks to the Lower and Upper McKinney Falls. Red-bellied Woodpecker and Red-shouldered Hawk are common here, and nocturnal birds include Eastern Screech, Great Horned, and Barred Owls. The creek banks host Green and Great Blue Herons, Great Egret, and Belted Kingfisher. Watch for other wildlife along the trails, including White-tailed Deer, Cottontail, Gray Fox, and Bobcat.

Phone: 512-243-1643. McKinney Falls State Park page

040.gif HOTE 040 Colorado River Preserve

Suggested Seasons to visit: All Seasons

Site open daily. Developed camping available. Fee charged.

Return to Burleson Road and go west 2.8 miles to Ben White. Turn left and go 1.0 mile to I-35. Go north on I-35 to Cesar Chavez/1st St. (Exit 234B). Go east 2.5 miles and veer right before overpass. Go under the overpass that spans the Colorado River. The preserve is on the right.

This heavily wooded riparian walking trail provides habitat for migrating songbirds in the spring. The river forms several bays along this trail, which provide calm water for wintering waterfowl such as Gadwall, Lesser Scaup, and Bufflehead. Yellow-rumped Warbler, Titmice, and Ruby-crowned Kinglet inhabit the woods year-round, and raptors such as Red-shouldered Hawk occur here. Open, grassy areas at the edge of the trees provide habitat for various sparrows.

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