- Boerne Area COC, (830) 249-8000, www.boerne.org
- San Antonio CVB, (800) 447-3372, www.visitsanantonio.com
Cibolo Nature Center
From Boerne, head east on TX 46 1 mile to City Park Rd. Take a right and continue 0.4 mile to entrance.
This site provides a wonderful opportunity to learn about and experience nature. The building houses touch-exhibits that will entertain people of all ages, and the nature trails meander through four ecosystems: tall grass prairie, reclaimed marsh, upland woods and Cibolo Creek. The prairie hosts a variety of native Texas tall grasses, including switchgrass, yellow Indiangrass, big bluestem, little bluestem and eastern gamagrass. This is excellent habitat for summering Dickcissel and wintering sparrows. Small mammals and rodents can also be seen. Unusual plants include a giant basswood tree, scarlet leatherflower and sycamore-leaf snowbell. Breeding birds include Western Scrub-Jay, Eastern Phoebe, Great Horned and Barred Owls, Red-shouldered Hawk, Northern Bobwhite, Black-bellied Whistling Duck, Western Kingbird, Ladder-backed Woodpecker and Canyon Wren. Winter brings ducks and a variety of sparrows. Butterflies include Pipevine Swallowtail, Phaon Crescent, Bordered Patch and Gulf Fritillary.
(830) 249-4616 www.cibolo.org
Mystic Springs Wildlife Lodge
At the intersection of TX 46 and US 87/Main St. in Boerne, head north on Main St. and go 1.5 miles to FM 1376. Turn right and follow north 3 miles to Walnut Grove Rd. Turn left 1.5 miles to gate on right.
Juniper, hackberry and oak trees cover this 9-acre site. Scrub Jay, Painted Bunting and White-eyed Vireo are among the common nesting birds on the property. The site provides habitat for Ladder-backed and Golden-fronted Woodpeckers, Great Horned Owl, Tufted Titmouse and Bewick's Wren. The spring-fed creek and riparian woodland attract warblers and flycatchers in the spring and fall. Bordered Patch, Phaon Crescent and Buckeye Butterflies are abundant.
From the intersection of FM 1376 and US 87, turn right on US 87 and go north approximately
1.2 miles to the I-10 frontage road on the southwest side. Turn right on the frontage road and follow north 1.1 miles to Upper Cibolo Creek Rd. Turn left and go 0.5 mile to entrance on left.
Waterfowl and shorebirds abound in the winter. Look for Gadwall, American Wigeon, Northern Shoveler, Mallard, Ruddy Duck, Northern Pintail, Bufflehead, Lesser Scaup, Ring-necked Duck and Blue-winged and Green-winged Teal. American White Pelicans also rest and feed at this lake during migration. Look for wintering birds such as Field, Vesper, Song and Savannah Sparrows in the grass field near the entrance.
Maverick Ranch - Fromme Farm
This working ranch has diverse vegetation that includes juniper oak woodlands, mixed brush and wildflower meadows. The owners maintain an extensive plant list of almost 250 species. The ranch provides nesting habitat for Golden-cheeked Warbler, Black-capped Vireo, Painted Bunting, Ash-throated Flycatcher, Greater Roadrunner, Golden-fronted and Ladder-backed Woodpeckers, Bushtit and White-eyed Vireo. Winter residents include Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Red-breasted Nuthatch and Brown Creeper. Reptiles include Bullsnake, Western Diamond-backed Rattlesnake and Texas Rat Snake. White-tailed Deer, armadillos, coyotes, skunks, opossums, jackrabbits, Rock Squirrels and Cottontails are abundant.
(830) 981-4477/4202 Call for Directions
Scenic Springs Wildlife Lodge
From I-10 in Leon Springs, go west on Boerne Stage Rd. for 3 miles to stop sign. Turn left on Scenic Loop Rd. and follow 4.3 miles to gate on right.
This beautiful Hill Country property offers a rustic lodge with a natural rock, spring-fed swimming pool. Habitats include juniper/oak woodlands and riparian hardwoods along Helotes Creek. White-tailed Deer are commonly seen, as are an assortment of frogs, bats, lizards and snakes. Birds to look for include Red-shouldered Hawk, Scrub Jay, Bewick's Wren, Inca Dove, Western Kingbird and House Finch. Butterflies and dragonflies can be seen along the creek and in the fields of wildflowers. The owners have extensive knowledge of the natural history and rich cultural heritage of this site and the surrounding area.
Sparkling Springs Wildlife Lodge
Water flow from the natural springs has been dammed to form a rock-bed pool just above the trickling Lee Creek. The dam is a great place to find assorted dragonflies such as Roseate and Widow Skimmers, Eastern Pondhawk and Blue Dasher. Also look for water snakes and frogs in the water and on the water's edge. Jackrabbits and White-tailed Deer are plentiful. This cliff-side woodland is comprised of Ashe juniper, Texas mountain laurel, Mexican buckeye and assorted oaks. Look for Inca Dove, Green Heron, Bewick's Wren, Red-shouldered Hawk and Golden-cheeked Warbler.
(210) 695-2533/8008 Call for Directions
Helotes City Park
Continue south on Scenic Loop Rd. 2.9 miles to TX 16. Turn left and go 1.3 miles to FM 1560.
Turn right and immediately left to the parking area for the Helotes City Hall building. The trail is across from City Hall.
This park includes scattered oak and mesquite stands and brushy shrub areas. Look in the oak trees by City Hall for Bewick's Wren and Ladder-backed, Golden-fronted and Downy Woodpeckers. The open fields are good places to look for wintering sparrows and for butterflies during summer. On the trails, look for House Finch, Lesser Goldfinch, Inca Dove and Western Kingbird. This is also a good place to see migrant flycatchers, vireos and warblers.
(210) 695-8877 www.helotes-tx.gov/residents/city-park
Government Canyon State Natural Area
This beautiful 12,082-acre natural area offers opportunities to see a wide diversity of wildlife in various habitats such as open savannas, oak-juniper woodlands and riparian zones. Nesting birds include Golden-cheeked Warbler, Common Ground-Dove, Summer Tanager, Painted and Indigo Buntings, White-eyed Vireo, Orchard Oriole, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Western Scrub Jay, Golden-fronted and Ladder-backed Woodpeckers and Canyon and Bewick's Wrens. Other birds to look for include Greater Roadrunner, Great-crested Flycatcher, Bell's Vireo, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Vermilion Flycatcher and Canyon Towhee. Amenities include nearly 40 miles of hiking and mountain biking trails, walk-in tent camping and a pavilion and open-air gallery. Site is open to the public Friday through Monday. Trails close when wet/muddy.
(210) 688-9055 Call for Directions/Access
Emilie and Albert Friedrich Wilderness Park
From the intersection of TX 16 and FM 1560 in Helotes, go south on TX 16 for 2 miles to Loop 1604. Go east on Loop 1604. From 1604 take I-10 west to the Dominion exit and take the turnaround.
Go to Milsa and turn right. Follow it around to the park on the right.
Golden-cheeked Warblers nest here in the spring. Listen for their song, which is a series of buzzy notes. You may also see Black-and-white, Orange-crowned, Nashville, Mourning and Yellow Warblers. Also, look for Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Lesser Goldfinch, Western Scrub Jay, Bewick's and Carolina Wrens, Greater Roadrunner, Hutton's Vireo and Golden-crowned and Ruby-crowned Kinglets (winter and early spring). The wildflower gardens near the parking lot are great for butterflies, including Queen, Variegated Fritillary, Red Admiral, Common Mestra, Giant and Tiger Swallowtails and Sleepy Orange.
From I-10 and Loop 1604, go east on Loop 1604 for 2.6 miles and exit at FM 1535/NW Military Highway. Go north on FM 1535 for 1.7 miles to park entrance on left, just before the entrance to Camp Bullis.
Bewick's Wren is common, but also look for Canyon Wren. Keep an eye out for Western Scrub Jay, Verdin and Ladder-backed and Golden-fronted Woodpeckers. Painted Bunting is common and easily found by listening for their song. Winter is a good time to look for Chipping and Rufous-crowned Sparrows and Spotted Towhee.
(210) 207-7275 www.sanantonio.gov/parksandrec/directory_eisenhower.aspx
Cibolo Creek Ranch
With limestone cliffs bordering Cibolo Creek, this ranch offers the chance to see a diversity of plants and animals typical of the region. Habitats include pecan orchards, mixed riparian woodlands and fields of native grasses and wildflowers. In the meadows and open areas, listen or look for singing Dickcissel, Eastern Bluebird, Bewick's Wren, Western Kingbird, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher and Lesser Goldfinch. Northern Bobwhite and Wild Turkey can also be seen. In the wooded areas, look for buntings and woodpeckers. Fossils can be found along the dry creek bed.
(210) 884-0048/(210) 325-3344 Call for Directions