Great Texas Wildlife Trails

Medina Loop

Medina Loop map

Medina Loop mapMedina DamMedina County Road 477 (Old River Road)Medina Valley GreenhousesMedina Valley Elementary School Campus HabitatCastroville Regional ParkLandmark Inn State Historical ParkMedina River Crossings (Cagnon Road and Ponder Road)

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More information:

  • Castroville COC
    830-538-3142, 800-778-6775,

109.gif HOTE 109 Medina Dam

Suggested Seasons to visit: All Seasons

Site open for day use only.

At the intersection of US 90 and FM 471 in Castroville, go north on FM 471 for approximately 14.5 miles to FM 1283. Go west on FM 1283 for 6.5 miles to CR 271. Go left on

CR 271 for 2.1 miles to the gate on the left.

Medina Dam was hailed as the largest dam in Texas and the fourth largest in the United States when it was completed in 1912. The habitats below the dam attract Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Painted Bunting, Canyon Wren, Curve-billed Thrasher, Western Scrub Jay, and Great-crested and Ash-throated Flycatchers. Look for egrets, herons, and grebes on the lake side of the dam. In winter, look for gulls, terns, ducks, and Osprey. Look for Green Kingfisher and Black Phoebe at Medina River crossings along the drive from Castroville to the dam.

110.gif HOTE 110 Medina County Road 477 (Old River Road)

Suggested Seasons to visit: All Seasons

Site open for day use only.

From Medina Dam, go right/south on CR 271 for 1.6 miles to CR 2615. Go left, staying on CR 2615 for 5.2 miles to the T-junction. Go right 2.2 miles to FM 471. Go south 6.4 miles on FM 471 past Rio Medina to CR 477 on the right. This road runs along the river after 0.6 mile.

Old River Road follows the Medina River. A gravel-bottomed ford once permitted river crossing by horse and wagon. As you follow CR 477, you will come to the Flat Rock Crossing. This area was once known as Canyon Crossing and was used by the Spaniards in the 1700s to transport building materials and supplies to missions established in the Frio River canyon. The river bottom cypress, native southern pecan, mesquite, white brush, sycamore, and hackberry attract Ash-throated Flycatcher, Painted Bunting, Summer Tanager, Eastern Phoebe, Green Heron, Barred Owl, and Red-shouldered Hawk.

111.gif HOTE 111 Medina Valley Greenhouses

Suggested Seasons to visit: All Seasons

Site open for day use only.

Follow CR 477 south to Mexico St. Turn right and go 0.7 mile to Greenhouses on right.

This nursery and greenhouse complex is located along the Medina River. The river embankment is wooded by pecan, mesquite, sycamore, cypress, and hackberry. Look for warblers and flycatchers during migrations. Summer Tanager, Eastern Phoebe, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, and Green Heron are summer residents. The abundance of flowering plants attracts a variety of butterflies, and dragonflies and damselflies are plentiful near the water. The owner is a local historian who enjoys relating the rich history of this unique area.

Phone: 830-931-2298.

112.gif HOTE 112 Medina Valley Elementary School Campus Habitat

Suggested Seasons to visit: All Seasons

Site open for day use only.

Exit Medina Valley Greenhouses and turn right on Mexico St. Go 0.8 mile to Houston St. Turn right and go 2 blocks to Habitat on left.

This habitat, certified by the National Wildlife Federation as an official Schoolyard Habitat, is the work of hundreds of creative teachers, parents, scouts, students, and community leaders. The central arbor, covered in roses and jasmines, is surrounded by a desert garden, wildflower garden, rock garden, children’s planting beds, herb garden, and a water garden. Despite the urban location, it attracts a variety of wildlife. Plants attractive to birds and butterflies as well as feeders bring Black-chinned Hummingbird, Western Kingbird, Lesser Goldfinch, and House Finch. Adult and larval butterflies here include Black, Pipevine, and Great Swallowtails, Gulf and Variegated Fritillaries, Monarch, Bordered Patch, Pearly Crescent, and various sulphurs.

113.gif HOTE 113 Castroville Regional Park

Suggested Seasons to visit: All Seasons

Site open for day use only.

Continue west on Houston St. to Athens St. Turn left and follow 0.5 mile to Lisbon St. Turn right and go 0.2 mile to park entrance on the right.

The Medina River runs through the west side of this multiuse park. The large beautiful bald cypress trees along the river bottom were the original sources of lumber for house and building construction in historic Castroville. The cypress trees that remain are over a hundred years old. Look for migrant warblers and flycatchers in the spring and fall. Summer Tanager, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, and Eastern Phoebe nest here. Look for Red-shouldered Hawk, Osprey, Barred Owl, Western Kingbird, and Scissor-tailed, Ash-throated, and Vermilion Flycatchers. Green Kingfisher regularly occurs here.

114.gif HOTE 114 Landmark Inn State Historical Park

Suggested Seasons to visit: All Seasons

Site access restricted. Call ahead. Fee charged.

Return north-east on Lisbon St. to Geneva St. Turn left and follow one block to Florence St. Turn right on Florence St. and continue 0.6 mile to parking area.

Rich in Texas history, this site preserves several 19th century structures, including a mill complex built in 1853. The Inn offers bed and breakfast accommodations in an historical setting. This 5-acre park borders the Medina River and provides rich river bottom woodlands comprised of bald cypress, pecan, hackberry, cottonwood, sycamore, willow, and mulberry. Wildflower gardens are also maintained on property. Nesting birds include Summer Tanager, Black-chinned Hummingbird, Eastern Phoebe, Green Heron, and Yellow-billed Cuckoo. Look for residents such as Red-shouldered Hawk, Great Blue Heron, and Great Horned Owl. Spring and fall can be excellent times for viewing migratory warblers and tanagers. In addition to a documented butterfly list of 47 species, the park is home to an international migratory Monarch Butterfly refuge. In the second week of October visitors can see two roost areas carpeted in hundreds of Monarch Butterflies.

Phone: 830-931-2133. Landmark Inn State Historical Park

115.gif HOTE 115 Medina River Crossings (Cagnon Road and Ponder Road)

Suggested Seasons to visit: All Seasons

Site open for day use only.

In Castroville, go east on US 90 for 1.2 miles to FM 471. Turn right/south and go 2.9 miles to Gross Lane/CR 484. Turn right and go 1.4 miles to river crossing.

Cross the river and go 0.8 mile to Macdona-Lacoste Road. Turn left and go 4.6 miles to Cagnon Road. Turn left and go 1.8 miles to river crossing. Park here and walk along the river’s edge.

Return north on Cagnon Road 0.7 mile to Ponder Road on left. Drive or walk Ponder Road. The south side of Ponder Road is a large field where wintering sparrows and raptors may be seen. In the summer, the fields are covered in wildflowers. Look for roadside butterflies such as Pipevine Swallowtails, Red Admirals, and Buckeyes. The north side of the field is a cattail-lined ditch. Look for herons and egrets, and in the winter, Marsh Wrens.

The Cagnon Road Medina River Crossing is often low enough for wading. Look for Wood Duck, Barred Owl, and Green Kingfisher. Damselflies are diverse along this part of the river. In the spring, look for migrating songbirds within this cypress-lined riparian habitat.

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