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 miles on US 59 to Centerhill Rd. Turn left (west) onto Centerhill Rd. and follow 0.1 miles 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; Blue Jay; Carolina Chickadee; Tufted Titmouse; Carolina Wren; Pine Warbler; Northern Cardinal 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.
Phone: (903) 756-7502.
Caddo Lake Wildlife Management Area
From the intersection of US 59 North and SR 43 in Marshall, go right (northeast) on SR 43 for 27.0 miles. Several access points to the WMA are available along CR 805 (MC 3416), Grenning Road (MC 3402) off of Johnson Road from Hwy 43, City of Uncertain and CR 3502.
Experience pristine cypress swamps of the 8,005-acre Caddo Lake Wildlife Management area as you explore the backwater areas of this part of Caddo Lake. Caddo Lake has been designated by the Ramsar Convention as 'a wetland of international importance, especially as waterfowl habitat'. The WMA contains permanently flooded bald cypress swamp and seasonally flooded bottomland hardwoods. Islands in the lake make up most of the land mass. The area offers two 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.
Several heron rookeries are located in the backwater of Goat Island and Clinton Lake. In summer look for Green, Great Blue, and Little Blue Herons. Common Loon, Horned and Eared Grebes, Bald Eagle, Double-crested Cormorant and Osprey prefer the area during the cooler winter months. Ducks wintering here include Mallard, Wood Duck, Gadwall, American Widgeon, Pintail, Green and Blue-winged Teal, Scaup, Northern Shoveler, Hooded Merganser, Common Goldeneye, Redhead, and Bufflehead. Other aquatic species observed include Virginia Rail, Common Snipe, Bonaparte's Gull, Ring-billed Gull, and Forster's Tern.
Other wildlife species such as Beaver, River Otter, and American Alligators also enjoy Caddo Lake. Load up the canoe (or rent one) and spend some time enjoying the primordial beauty of nature as you course your way through the cypress trees of Caddo Lake Wildlife Management Area. A map is available at the Caddo Lake State Park headquarters, adjacent to the WMA. Checklists for birds, amphibians and reptiles, mammals and vegetation are also available. Caddo Lake has boat lanes marked by numbered posts which guide boating visitors through the many coves and backwaters on the lake.
Phone: (903) 927-2633, Caddo Lake WMA
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 5.0 miles to Uncertain. Once in the City of Uncertain, Crips Camp is located to the right on CR 2500 (Goose Prairie Drive), and Johnson's Ranch Marina and Shady Glade Resort & Marina is located to the left on CR 2501 (Cypress Drive).
The City of Uncertain is located on the eastern edge of Lake Caddo. Views from three resort/marinas provide visitors with picturesque images. In winter, views of the Spanish moss draped bald cypress trees from Crip's Camp, Johnson's Ranch Marina, and Shady Glade Resort Marina resemble those expressed in an Ansel Adams' print. Each marina has full amenities to satisfy your needs while visiting the area, including lodging, boat ramps, and guided tours. In addition to lodging at these, the City of Uncertain has 3 motels and about 15 guest houses.
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 heron, egret, 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, Red-bellied, Downy, and Pileated Woodpeckers, Blue Jay, 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. Visitors to the City of Uncertain can look forward to a 15-acre park which is currently under development within the city limits. Included in this park will be a birding trail so visitors can view area species up close.
Spatterdock Guest Houses, (903) 789-3268
Crips Camp, (903) 789-3233
Johnson's Ranch, (903) 789-3213
Shady Glade Marina, (903) 789-3295
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 miles to PR 2. Turn left (north) on PR 2 and follow approximately 0.25 miles 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 average depth of the lake is 8-10 ft. with deeper water in the bayou averaging 20 ft. Caddo Lake was the only natural lake in Texas until it was artificially dammed in the early 1900's. A new dam replaced the old one in 1971. Caddo Indian legend attributes the formation of the lake to a giant flood. Scientists believe the lake formed when floodwaters, blocked by massive log jams on the Red River, backed up into the Cypress Bayou watershed, forming the lake.
The park's original improvements were made by Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in the 1930's. The park offers hiking trails, boat ramp, lighted pier, concessionaire, visitors' 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; Green, Yellow-crowned Night, Great Blue and Little Blue Herons; Snowy and Great 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; White-eyed, Red-eyed and Yellow-throated Vireos; Prothonotary, Hooded and Pine Warblers; American and Fish 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, 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.
Phone: (903) 679-3351
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. CR 2607/ Plant Road follows the southern boundary of the new refuge from FM 134 east to FM 9. FM 9 runs to a turnaround loop at the north end and intersects FM 134 to the south.
To observe a cross section of Pineywoods habitats and the associated wildlife, drive or hike down CR 2607. Bordering the newly created Caddo Lake National Wildlife Refuge to the north, the site provides for fence line observations of many bird species. Habitat types range from bottomland hardwoods at Harrison Bayou to the open pastures found adjacent to FM 9. The route along CR 2607 is 3.7 miles, and FM 9 extends for 4.8 miles from FM 134 to the Loop with Tucker's Camp, a worthwhile rest stop.
Over 13 species of warblers have been observed along CR 2607. In the pine forests, look for White-eyed, Yellow-throated, and Red-eyed Vireos, Summer Tanager, Pileated and Downy Woodpeckers. In the open pastures and fields along FM 9, look for Dickcissel, Blue Grosbeak, Indigo and Painted Buntings, Mississippi Kite, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher and Orchard Oriole. The turnaround at Tucker's Camp offers a view of Caddo Lake and a chance to see wading birds, Fish Crow, Inca Dove, Chimney Swift, and various warblers and sparrows.