Caddo Lake Loop
- Jefferson/Marion County COC, (888)-GO-RELAX, www.jefferson-texas.com
- Marshall COC, (903) 935-7868, www.marshall-chamber.com
- City of Uncertain, (903) 789-3443, www.cityofuncertain.com
Linden City Park
From the intersection of US 59 and FM 125 in Linden, go north 0.1 mile on US 59 to Centerhill Rd. Turn left (west) onto Centerhill Rd. and follow 0.1 mile to its intersection with School Ln. The site and trail entrance is located through the RV park.
Linden City Park provides an excellent opportunity to learn your trees, as multiple species have been identified and tagged. The trail system within this mixed woodland wraps around a hill and winds down to a spring fed creek. This constant water supply attracts lots of birds, dragonflies and other wildlife.
Resident woodland bird species seen in this area include American Kestrel, Red-bellied, Downy and Pileated Woodpeckers, Carolina Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, Carolina Wren, Pine Warbler and Eastern Bluebird. During the summer Chuck-will's-widow, Wood Thrush, several warbler species, American Redstart, Louisiana Waterthrush, Indigo and Painted Buntings and Eastern Towhee are present. Look for brilliantly colored neotropical songbirds during the spring and fall migration.
Caddo Lake Wildlife Management Area
From the intersection of US 59 North and SR 43 in Marshall, go right (northeast) on SR 43 for 27 miles. Several access points to the WMA are available at the end of MCR 3414 off of FM 805 East, Johnson Rd. (MCR 3416) off of SR 43 to Greening Rd. (MCR 3420), City of Uncertain at Cypress Village Rd.
Experience pristine cypress swamps of the 8,128-acre Caddo Lake WMA as you explore the backwater areas containing permanently flooded bald cypress swamp and seasonally flooded bottomland hardwoods. Islands in the lake make up most of the land mass. The area offers 2 primitive camping areas and many miles of canoe trails. An on-the-water trip is highly recommended to fully appreciate everything the WMA has to offer. This WMA is entry-by-permit-only with the Annual Public Hunting Permit and/or the Limited Public Use Permit.
Look for various wading birds in the backwater of Goat Island and Clinton Lake. In summer look for herons. Don't miss the colorful breeding warblers and other neotropical migratory birds that nest at Caddo Lake. Common Loon, Horned and Eared Grebes, Bald Eagle, Double-crested Cormorant and Osprey prefer the area during the cooler winter months. A wide variety of ducks winter here. Other aquatic species observed include Virginia Rail, Common Snipe, Bonaparte's and Ring-billed Gulls and Forster's Tern.
Beaver, river otter and American alligators also enjoy Caddo Lake. Load up the canoe or kayak and spend some time enjoying the primordial beauty of nature as you course your way through the cypress trees of Caddo Lake WMA. A map and checklists are available at the Caddo Lake State Park headquarters.
City of Uncertain
From the intersection of US 59 North and SR 43 in Marshall, go right (northeast) on SR 43 for 27 miles to FM 2198. Turn right (east) on FM 2198 and follow 5 miles to Uncertain.
The City of Uncertain is located on the eastern edge of Lake Caddo. Views from Shady Glade and Johnson's Ranch marinas provide visitors with picturesque images. In winter, views of the Spanish moss-draped bald cypress trees resemble those expressed in an Ansel Adams' print.
With lots of shoreline and upland edges, birding is excellent year-round. During the summer months look for Belted Kingfisher, Wood Stork, Pied-billed Grebe, Anhinga, Red-winged Blackbird, and various herons, egrets and duck species. Red-shouldered and Broad-winged Hawks, Barred Owl, Common Nighthawk, Red-eyed Vireo, Northern Parula, Acadian Flycatcher, Gray Catbird and Yellow-billed Cuckoo prefer the swampier areas and lake islands. Resident woodland species include American Kestrel, woodpeckers, Carolina Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, Carolina Wren, Pine Warbler and Eastern Bluebird. During the spring and fall, visitors may encounter many species of neotropical migratory songbirds.
Johnson's Ranch (903) 789-3213
Shady Glade Marina (903) 789-3295
Crips Camp (903) 789-3233
Caddo Lake State Park
From the intersection of US 59 North and SR 43 in Marshall, go right (north) on SR 43 for 14.7 miles to FM 2198. Turn right (east) on FM 2198 and follow 0.5 mile to PR 2. Turn left (north) on PR 2 and follow approximately 0.25 mile to the entrance.
Caddo Lake State Park gets its name from Caddo Lake, a sprawling maze of bayous and sloughs covering 26,810 acres of cypress swamp. The park offers hiking trails, a boat ramp, lighted pier, concessionaire, visitor center with interpretive displays, cabins and campgrounds. The park contains a diverse array of habitats including bald cypress swamp, mature upland pine forest and open grassy areas. Naturalists can enjoy stately cypress trees, American lotus and lily pads, waterfowl, alligators, turtles, frogs, snakes, raccoons, minks, nutrias, beavers, squirrels, armadillos and white-tailed deer.
While standing on the pier in Sawmill Pond, watch for Belted Kingfisher, Wood Stork, Pied-billed Grebe, Anhinga, herons, egrets, Wood Duck and Red-winged Blackbird. Woodlands adjacent to the pond host a plethora of species, including Red-shouldered Hawk, Barred Owl, Louisiana Waterthrush, Eastern Kingbird, vireos, warblers, crows and various woodpecker species.
A hike down the 2.5 miles of trails meandering through the pine forest may reveal Brown-headed Nuthatch, Northern Flicker, Wood Thrush, American Redstart, Hairy Woodpecker, American Robin, Carolina Chickadee and Tufted Titmouse. In the open grassy areas, watch for Northern Bobwhite, Eastern Bluebird, Indigo Bunting, Dickcissel, Greater Roadrunner, Eastern Meadowlark, Eastern Phoebe, Mourning Dove and Lark and Chipping Sparrows.
While in the area be sure to stop at the high point located at the southwest corner of Hwy. 43 and FM 2198 intersection to look for fall migrants. The Hwy. 43 bridge (south side) at Big Cypress Bayou is a good spot to observe Brown-headed Nuthatch and warblers in the adjacent willow trees.
From the intersection of US 59 North and SR 43 in Marshall, go right (northeast) on SR 43 for 13.8 miles to FM 134. Turn right (east) on FM 134 and follow to Karnack. Entrance to the Caddo Lake National Wildlife Refuge is at the intersection of FM 134 and Spur 449.
To observe a cross-section of Pineywoods habitats and the associated wildlife, take the auto tour at Caddo Lake National Wildlife Refuge. The site provides roadside observations of many bird species and several wildlife observation trails are accessible along the auto tour route. Habitat types range from expansive stands of pine, bottomland hardwoods at Harrison Bayou and some open pastures along the way.
In the pine forests, look for various vireos, Summer Tanager and Pileated and Downy Woodpeckers. In the open pastures and fields look for Dickcissel, Blue Grosbeak, Indigo and Painted Buntings, Mississippi Kite, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher and Orchard Oriole. The turnaround at Starr Ranch offers a view of Caddo Lake and a chance to see wading birds, Fish Crow, Inca Dove, Chimney Swift and various warblers and sparrows.