Great Texas Wildlife Trails

Colorado Headwaters Loop

Colorado Headwaters Loop map

Colorado Headwaters loop mapComanche Trail LakeBig Spring State ParkLake Colorado CityFisher Park/Champion LakeLake J. B. ThomasWagon Wheel RanchLake Alan HenryWhite River Lake

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More information:

  • Post COC, 806-495-3461
  • Crosbyton COC, 806-675-2261
  • Ralls COC, 806-253-2342
  • Spur COC, 806-271-3363
  • Big Spring CVB, 915-264-2315,
  • Llano Estacado Tourism Society, 806-698-6530,

016.gif PHP 016 Comanche Trail Lake

Suggested Seasons to visit: Spring, Summer

Site open for day use only.

Entering the city of Big Spring from the south on US 87, turn left at the sign to Comanche Trail Lake.

Follow the signs to Comanche Lake to reach the spring from which Big Spring got its name. A traditional watering hole for the Comanches, the spring has various wren and sparrow activity in the morning. The area also provides good habitat for dragonflies in summer. This multi-use park provides full visitor facilities, as well as a nature trail and a hike-and-bike trail.

017.gif PHP 017 Big Spring State Park (SP)

Suggested Seasons to visit: All Seasons

Site open daily. Developed camping available. Fee charged.

At the intersection of US 87 and FM 700 in Big Spring, go west/left on FM 700. Pass the intersection of FM 700 and Wasson Road and continue right (west) on FM 700 to the park. The park is immediately on the left and the road is well-signed.

At Big Spring State Park, the northern limit of the Edwards Plateau is reached, culminating in a series of bluffs rising 200 feet above the Rolling Plains. Big Spring State Park caps one of the limestone bluffs at the northern edge of the plateau. Below the bluff, known as Scenic Mountain, sprawls the town of Big Spring, named for a large spring which served as the only watering place for herds of bison, antelope, and wild horses within a 60-mile radius.

Large woody plant species include mesquite, shin oak, skunkbush sumac, and redberry juniper. Prickly pear and other cacti are common on the rocky slopes of the park. Common wildlife such as Cottontails, Jackrabbits, Ground Squirrels, and Roadrunners can often be seen, particularly early or late in the day. A small prairie dog town lies in a little valley on the south side of the park. Many of the area’s numerous and varied bird species can also be observed. Watch for wildlife near the ponds. Also, from late October to April, Sandhill Cranes, along with geese and an occasional Whooping Crane can be seen at the Sandhill Sanctuary, north of the State Park. This and other area lakes also support nesting Snowy Plover, Black-necked Stilt, and American Avocet.

The Sandhill Crane Sanctuary is located on One Mile Lake. From the State Park entrance drive northwest on FM 700, turn left as you exit the state park, turn right on 4th street, and left to Jones street.

915-263-4931, Big Spring SP

018.gif PHP 018 Lake Colorado City State Park

Suggested Seasons to visit: All Seasons

Site open daily. Developed camping available. Fee charged.

From I-20 East entering Colorado City, take Exit 210 onto FM 2836 South for 5.3 miles. Follow signs to the park. The entrance is on your left.

Pick up a bird checklist at the park entrance. This state park has a scenic rocky lakeshore with weathered shelves of exposed strata that make convenient benches from which to leisurely scan the lake’s surface for possible loons as well as a seasonally changing array of grebes, ducks, and geese. Lakeside thickets of buckeye, locust, juniper and prickly pear provide cover for various sparrows, Northern Cardinal and Pyrrhuloxia, and two or three kinds of towhees. The power transmission poles provide perches for various raptors.

915-728-3931, Lake Colorado City SP

019.gif PHP 019 Fisher Park/Champion Lake

Suggested Seasons to visit: All Seasons

Site open daily. Developed camping available. Fee charged.

Return to FM 2836 South for 0.7 mile. Turn north onto TX 163 for 6.8 miles. Turn right on Business 20/208 and go 1.5 miles to TX 208. Turn right on TX 208 South for 7.8 miles, and right again onto County Road 123, following signs to the lake.

On the way to the reservoir check the roadsides for large flocks of Sandhill Cranes in winter. White Pelican is present during migration and some winters. Watch for Spotted Sandpiper and other shorebirds. Horned Grebe, scarce inland, has occurred among the more common Eared Grebes. Trilling Rock Wrens may be seen flitting about the rocks around the lakeshore. Primitive camping is available.

020.gif PHP 020 Lake J. B. Thomas

Suggested Seasons to visit: All Seasons

Site open daily. Developed camping available. Fee charged.

From Colorado City, take TX 208 North to Dunn and FM 1606, 13.7 miles. Turn left on FM 1606 and continue for 7.1 miles to Ira. Go straight ahead on FM 1606 West for 4.9 miles to the junction of FM 2085 West. At 2.4 miles, go left onto FM 1298 South for 2.2 miles to the lake entrance on the right.

The South Side Park has excellent views of this large reservoir on the Colorado River, and provides good lakeshore habitat. Look for a variety of waterfowl in winter, with shorebirds during migrations.

Return to FM 1298 South and go west on County Road 3236 for 2.4 miles to White Island Park. White Pelican has been seen here in winter. This part of the lake also has good lakeshore habitat, with nice scenery from the rocks that overlook the lake.


021.gif PHP 021 Wagon Wheel Ranch

Suggested Seasons to visit: All Seasons

Site access restricted. Call ahead. Fee charged.

Return to Ira on FM 2085 and go north on TX 350 to Snyder. In Snyder take
US 84 North for 6.5 miles to FM 1142. Go 2.5 miles and turn left at the large white sign for the Ranch. Follow this road for 1.2 miles to the Ranch on the right.

This guest ranch encompasses 800 acres, with the adjacent 1,200 acres, once part of the ranch, still available to birders and naturalists. Several loop roads, including one that encircles an 80-acre buffalo wallow, provide access to the property and its birds, wildflowers, reptiles and invertebrates. Five ponds provide habitat for pan fish, Killdeer, and several species of large showy dragonflies. In winter, they attract wintering ducks and a few shorebirds. Nesting birds include Swainson’s Hawk, Great Horned Owl, Common Nighthawk, Greater Roadrunner, Golden-fronted Woodpecker, Vermilion Flycatcher, Bewick’s Wren, Blue Grosbeak, Painted Bunting, Cassin’s and Lark Sparrows, Common Grackle, and Bullock’s Oriole. Look for Black-tailed Jackrabbits and during May, several species of flowering cactus. Lodging, food, fishing, and organized activities are also available. To return to US 84 follow County Road 2105, 1.3 miles west.


022.gif PHP 022 Lake Alan Henry

Suggested Seasons to visit: All Seasons

Site open for day use only. Fee charged.

From US 84, continue NW 20 miles to FM 2458. Turn right on FM 2458 and after 2.6 miles continue straight on FM 3549 to the Sam Wahl Recreation Area and Lake Alan Henry, a total of 5.9 miles from US 84. Obtain a map and an entrance permit at the manned booth or, after hours, from the permit dispenser. If you wish to visit the Alan Henry Wildlife Habitat Area 4.6 miles further down the unpaved road, you must first obtain a permit at the booth. The Alan Henry Wildlife Habitat Area, largely mesquite brush, is open to the public Thursdays and Fridays from 9 am to 4 pm.

Arrive early for the height of bird activity, a bit later in the morning for butterflies and dragonflies. During spring and early summer, the mesquite grasslands harbor Northern Bobwhite, Scaled Quail, Bullock’s Orioles, Cassin’s and Lark Sparrows, plus widespread species such as Common Nighthawk, Greater Roadrunner, Western Kingbird, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Cliff Swallow, and Northern Cardinal. In the winter, look for waterfowl on the lake. Mesquite/cactus scrub attracts Ladder-backed Woodpecker, Curve-billed Thrasher, Blue Grosbeak, and Painted Bunting. Ornate Box Turtle, Checkered Garter Snake and various lizards may be seen on the road. During spring, various cactus as well as plains zinnia and skeleton plant bloom at the roadside.

Continue along US 84 14.3 miles to Post. Check the ponds for birds on US 84 North in Post, between the TxDOT office and TPWD Office at David Nichols Park.


023.gif PHP 023 White River Lake

Suggested Seasons to visit: All Seasons

Site open for day use only. Fee charged.

From Post take FM 651 North 23.7 miles to FM 2794. Take FM 2794 East/right 7.1 miles to the entrance of the lake on the left.

During winter, the lake attracts gulls, grebes, and waterfowl such as Hooded Merganser along with a variety of other diving and puddle ducks. The trees along the edge of the lake provide good cover for migrating songbirds in spring and fall. Winter provides a good chance to scout for uncommon birds on the lake, such as Horned Grebe, which has become a regular visitor in the region.

Return on FM 2794 to FM 651. Go north on FM 651 for 13.5 miles to Crosbyton. Go west/left on US 82 for 35 miles to Loop 289 in Lubbock.

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