Lady Bird Johnson Municipal Park - Live Oak Wilderness Trail
Go north on TX 16 from Kerrville to Fredericksburg, about 19 miles. Turn left at Lady Bird Dr. and go 0.4 mile to the park. Turn left onto Petsch Dr., go 0.1 mile and park. Trail and natural areas are accessible by foot via a bridge that crosses over the creek.
This site was named April 2013 "Best in Texas" to increase flora and fauna checklists by Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine. The 10-plus acres of natural landscape can be enjoyed from a 1-mile walking trail along Live Oak Creek and a 650-ft.-long ADA-accessible trail and bird blind. The bird checklist for this park encompasses nearly 200 species, with a wildflower inventory that stands at over 250 species. There is a beautiful pollinator garden in the park. Nesting birds include Painted Bunting, Golden-fronted Woodpecker, Eastern Phoebe, Dickcissel and Yellow-billed Cuckoo. The riparian habitat utilized by many of these nesters also attracts migrant warblers and flycatchers in the spring and fall. Wintering birds such as White-crowned, Song, Harris', Fox, Savannah and Lincoln's Sparrows utilize the hedgerows, brush, open prairies and mixed woodlands. On the lake, look for ducks and shorebirds in the winter, and herons and egrets year-round.
Old Tunnel State Park
From TX 16 and US 290, take US 290 east 5.5 miles and turn right (south) at Old San Antonio Rd. Go 10.6 miles and turn left into the parking lot.
During summer, a visit to Old Tunnel State Park provides a spectacle of up to 3 million Mexican Free-tailed and Cave Myotis Bats as they emerge from the 920-ft. tunnel of the old San Antonio, Fredericksburg and Northern Railway to forage for insects over the surrounding countryside. At 16.1 acres, Old Tunnel is the smallest state park in Texas, but it protects one of the state's largest aggregations of mammals. Visitors can view the bats from May to October. The state park also offers a 0.5-mile nature trail through woodlands of oak, black cherry, black walnut, hackberry, juniper and other trees. Birds along the trail include Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Carolina Wren, Carolina Chickadee and White-eyed Vireo. Several species of raptors may be seen soaring over the adjacent canyon.
Canyon Wren Ranch
This 102-acre ranch includes riparian habitat, grassland meadows and high plateau woodlands. Block Creek meanders through much of this property. Rich in bird diversity, the ranch is a great place to see Canyon, Bewick's, Rock, Winter and Cactus Wrens. Resident birds include Greater Roadrunner, Scaled Quail, Northern Bobwhite, Common Ground-Dove, Green Heron, Western Scrub-Jay, Ladder-backed and Golden-fronted Woodpeckers, Rufous-crowned and Lark Sparrows, Chihuahuan Raven, Red-shouldered and Cooper's Hawks, Horned Lark, Barred and Great Horned Owls, Eastern Bluebird and Pyrrhuloxia. In summer, look for Golden-cheeked Warbler, Painted Bunting, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Chuck-will's-widow, Black-chinned Hummingbird, Dickcissel, Bell's Vireo, Western Kingbird, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher and Lesser Goldfinch. Waterfowl and shorebirds can be seen on the ranch's spring-fed ponds during winter. Over 150 species have been documented thus far. The ranch also supports a diversity of mammals, reptiles, dragonflies and butterflies. Over 120 species of wildflowers have been documented on the ranch and native prairie grasses are being nurtured and re-introduced to the land.
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Fort Martin Scott
From US 290 and US 80/Washington St. in Fredericksburg, head east 2.2 miles on US 290.
Fort Martin Scott, one of the earliest forts in Texas, was in operation from 1847_52. The west fence of the property overlooks the city's wastewater treatment plant and retention ponds. This provides excellent habitat for wintering waterfowl and gulls. Willow-lined Barron's Creek, which runs along the far north section of this site, provides riparian habitat. The small live oak mottes on the upland grounds attract Bewick's Wren, Mourning Dove, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher and Western Kingbird. The short grass fields are filled with blooming wildflowers and butterflies during spring and summer.
A Getaway Ranch
The ranch offers a number of comfortable cabins located along a beautiful creek with large pecans and other hardwood trees. Habitats include oak/juniper woodlands and savannas. Activities include hiking, guided tours, customized packages, birding and photography. The owners of the ranch are descendants of the first German settlers in this region of Texas. Visitors can experience and learn about the German heritage and traditions that have influenced the culture of the Texas Hill Country.
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Enchanted Rock State Natural Area
From Fredericksburg, head 18 miles north on RR 965.
Enchanted Rock features a huge granite dome rising 425 ft. above ground, with the peak sitting at 1,825 ft. The park covers 1,640 acres. It is one of the largest batholiths in the U.S. and one of the best examples of an exfoliation dome anywhere. The flora, fauna and natural beauty of this unique area are impressive. Activities include primitive backpacking, camping, hiking, rock climbing, picnicking, geological study and star gazing.
Dutch Mountain Ranch
Steeped in Texas history, this ranch has been in the Moss family for five generations, given to Mathew Moss for his participation in the Battle of San Jacinto. The ranch offers artists, birders, hikers, photographers and nature enthusiasts beautiful scenery, abundant wildlife, spring wildflowers and unique geology. Lodging is available.
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