- Albany COC, (325) 762-2525 , www.albanytexas.com
- Breckenridge COC, (254) 559-2301, www.breckenridgetexas.com
- Eastland COC, (254) 629-2332, www.eastlandchamber.com
Fort Griffin State Park And Historic Site
At US 283 in Albany go north 14.9 miles to the Park entrance on the right.
Fort Griffin once held command of the southern plains, saw the end of both the great herds of Bison and those who hunted them, and was home to a rugged group of men. The fort was constructed in 1867 and deactivated in 1881. The 506-acre park sits on an escarpment along the Clear Fork of the Brazos River. The 1.5 mile Wohaw Nature Trail along the Clear Fork of the Brazos provides scenic and peaceful views of the park's creek bottom habitat. Black Swallowtail, Orange Sulphur and Black-chinned Hummingbird occur here. Fort Griffin also has a herd of Longhorn cattle. The park offers camping, hiking, fishing, picnicking, living history, historical reenactments and nature study.
(325) 762-3592 www.visitfortgriffin.com
Stasney’s Cook Ranch
This 25,000-acre working ranch, located 6 miles north of Albany, provides spectacular scenery and habitat that includes hills, canyons, fossiliferous limestone and creeks. Visitors have the opportunity to view deer, bobcats, turkey, small mammals, reptiles and a good assortment of spring and winter migrating birds including the dazzling Painted Bunting. An interesting mix of East and West avifauna occurs here with both species of meadowlarks and Eastern Phoebes. In wet years Grasshopper Sparrow can be seen and heard perched atop the sideoats grama. Throughout the year several species of flycatcher can be found including the Ash-throated Flycatcher and Vermilion Flycatcher. Abundant wildflowers provide opportunities for photography and botanical study. The ranch offers great history, beautiful scenery, lots of wildlife and many activities for nature enthusiasts. Authentic Texas lodging patterned after the officer's quarters on the Texas Forts Trail is available for small or large groups. Site visits by appointment only.
(325) 338-5168 Call for Directions www.stasneyscookranch.com
Hubbard Creek Lake-north Campground
From Breckenridge, head north on US 183 to CR 274, turn-off for Hubbard Lake Dam, signposted for Public Boat Ramp. Go left on this road for about 1 mile, turn left and continue for 0.7 mile to lake entrance.
This is a large park with good access to the lake and habitats that support various mammals and birds. Expect White-tailed Deer, Common Gray Fox, Nine-banded Armadillo, Western Diamondback Rattlesnake and Bobcat. Greater Roadrunner and Wild Turkey roam the area. In winter, look for Chipping, Field, Lark, Savannah, Song and Vesper Sparrows. The mesquite and oaks host woodpeckers, nuthatches and creepers. Check the lake for Canvasback, Redhead, Northern Pintail, Lesser Scaup, Gadwall, American Wigeon, Green-winged and Blue-winged Teal, Bufflehead, Ring-necked Duck, Ruddy Duck, Hooded Merganser, Common Goldeneye and Northern Shoveler. Along the rocky shorelines, look for shorebirds as well.
(254) 559-3677 www.tpwd.texas.gov/fishboat/fish/recreational/lakes/hubbard_creek
Breckenridge City Park
At the light in Breckenridge, turn east onto US180/East Walker St. After 0.4 mile turn right on Old Caddo Ave., park is on the left.
This multi-use park has an open lawn, sparsely wooded by large pecans and mesquite. American Robin, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher and Western Kingbird occur here. The best wildlife viewing is along Gonzales Creek. Here, you can find nesting Blue Grosbeak, White-eyed Vireo, Summer Tanager, Ash-throated Flycatcher and Painted Bunting. Herons, egrets and Belted Kingfisher all occur here. A small wildflower garden attracts Sleepy Orange, Giant Swallowtail, Pipevine Swallowtail and Buckeye.
This 1,300-acre working ranch has been owned and managed for wildlife since 1878 by the Coody family. Habitats consist of mesquite-cacti scrub, grassland meadows, oak motte and juniper woodlands. Numerous ponds of various sizes provide wildlife water and viewing opportunities for everything from frogs and dragonflies, to songbirds and mammals.
White-tailed Deer, Wild Turkey, Common Gray and Red Foxes, Striped Skunk, coyote, raccoon, ringtail, badger and bobcat can be seen here. Deer stands with adjacent feeders have been placed throughout the property for wildlife viewing and photography. The ranch is home to a diversity of reptiles, which often can be seen along the dirt roads. This site is a good stopover for migrant birds. Year-round, you can find Greater Roadrunner, Brown Thrasher, Northern Bobwhite and Wild Turkey here. Nesting residents include Summer Tanager, White-eyed and Yellow-throated Vireos, Orchard Oriole and Painted Bunting. The grassland meadows attract Dickcissel, Field Sparrow and House Finch. The large ponds attract wintering ducks and shorebirds. Lodging and meals are available by reservation.
(254) 559-5977 Call for Directions www.coodyranch.com
Go south on US 183 from Breckenridge to FM 576. Turn left on FM 576 for 1.2 miles to CR 147. Go right on CR 147 for 1.5 miles to Lake Daniel.
The lake surrounds a woodland peninsula with a sloping shoreline that is home to various wading birds. Drive slowly along CR 147, and you're likely to spy a Greater Roadrunner or a Prairie Racerunner basking in the sun. The northern section of the lake offers an extensive mudflat foraged by Black-necked Stilt, Great Egret and Great Blue Heron. Belted Kingfishers patrol the lakeside from oak branches hanging over the lake's edge. In the summer, Painted and Indigo Buntings, White-eyed Vireo and Blue Grosbeak are common nesters along the oak-willow bank. The lake provides excellent wintering habitat for waterfowl, shorebirds, gulls and terns. The grasslands provide habitat for House Finch, Dickcissel, Common Buckeye, Checkered White, Dainty Sulphur, Sleepy Orange, Pipevine Swallowtail and Red Admiral. In the winter, look for sparrows such as Field, Savannah, Song and Vesper Sparrows.
Texas Adventure Trails
From I-20 in Cisco, go east 11.6 miles to Exit 343/TX 112. Take a left onto TX 112 North, go 1.7 miles to the intersection of TX 6 and TX 112. Turn right on TX 112 North for 0.6 mile to Ringling Lake/CR 536. Go left at Ringling Lake/CR 536 and follow for 1.1 miles to entrance.
The trails meander through Post Oak woodlands. Vegetation is dense in some areas, with sumac, agarita and laurel. Look for Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Ladder-backed and Golden-fronted Woodpeckers, Inca and Mourning Doves and Great Horned Owl. In brushy grasslands, look for Northern Bobwhite and Greater Roadrunner. Red-tailed and Red-shouldered Hawks are common, and migrating Mississippi Kite can be seen in season in large flocks overhead. Along Ringling Lake, look for Summer Tanager, White-eyed Vireo and Painted and Indigo Buntings. Dragonflies are abundant, so look for Black Saddlebags, Eastern Pondhawk, Widow Skimmer, Roseate Skimmer and Russet-tipped Clubtail. Butterflies flit throughout the park, including Little Yellow, Common Buckeye, Pearl Crescent and Pipevine Swallowtail. The ponds are good places to find Southern Leopard Frog, Blanchard's Cricket Frog and Gray Tree Frog. Waterfowl and shorebirds can be seen in winter.
(254) 629-8321 www.eastlandtexas.com