- Glen Rose CVB, 888-346-6282, www.glenrosetexas.net
Quail Ridge Ranch
From the intersection of SR 67 and FM 56 in Glen Rose, take SR 67 west 10.0 miles to CR 2013. Turn left (south) on CR 2013 then turn right into first gate after 0.8 miles at 1755 CR 2013. This is private property with limited access to the public, please call ahead before visiting.
Whatever you're looking for Quail Ridge Ranch will offer it up in style. The ranch is an oasis for wildlife and wildlife watchers on the north Texas plains. Perhaps it's because Black-capped Vireos are nesting just outside the door or maybe because Quail Ridge provides five star accommodations and spa facilities nestled in the tranquil setting of a rural environment. The 1600 acres of ponds, streams, and rolling hills offer up everything from Bobwhite Quail and Roadrunners to wintering waterfowl and breeding Painted Buntings. The ranch also provides habitat for some of Texas' shyer residents, with Bobcats and Coyotes making regular appearances, joined occasionally by Mountain Lions. Quail Ridge Ranch is also part of the Chalk Mountain Conservation Area, an ambitious project of private landowners to manage over 60,000 acres of wildlife habitat for the benefit of Black-capped Vireos, Golden-cheeked Warblers and many other species.
Phone: 254-897-3618, www.quailridgeranch.com
Fossil Rim Wildlife Center
From the intersection of US 67 and FM 56 in Glen Rose, take US 67 west 3.7 miles. Turn left (south) onto CR 2008 at the Fossil Rim sign. Go 1.2 miles to the stonework entrance to the Scenic Wildlife Drive on the right.
Fossil Rim Wildlife Center is best experienced from its nine-mile driving loop that passes through 5 large pastures where rare and exotic wildlife roam in a natural setting. Although best know for such exotics as Gemsbok, Cheetah, White Rhino and Arabian Oryx, Fossil Rim has many native Texas species to see as well. While driving through the park look for Wild Turkeys and Roadrunners along the roadway or perhaps a Great-horned Owl perched atop one of the hillside trees. The area around the caf_ and gift shop is of special wildlife watching interest since it hosts several breeding pairs of the endangered Golden-cheeked Warbler. The wildlife center is also actively working to improve habitat for Black-capped Vireos, another of Texas's rare species.
The wildlife center is globally renowned for its captive breeding of some of the world's rarest animals. Although the center supports breeding programs for numerous African species they also have a very successful restoration breeding program for the Attwater's Prairie Chicken, an endangered species native to Texas coastal prairies. Visitors wishing to see the prairie chickens should take the behind the scenes tour. Other activities within the park include guided mountain biking tours; two different lodges for overnight accommodations, and regularly scheduled education programs for children of all ages.
Phone: 254-897-2960, www.fossilrim.org
Dinosaur Valley State Park
From the intersection of US 67 and FM 205 in Glen Rose, go west on FM 205 for 2.7 miles to PR 59. Turn right on PR 59 and follow 0.6 miles to the park headquarters.
Although best known for its prehistoric residents, this state park is an excellent way to see some of north Texas' more current residents. Most visitors are immediately drawn to the Paluxy River and its famous dinosaur footprints. However, additional exploration throughout the park via the hike and bike trails can be very rewarding. The river is an excellent place to search for Roseate Skimmers and other dragonflies that occupy the riverbed. The ridges overlooking the river ring with the calls of Great-crested Flycatchers and Blue-gray Gnatcatchers. Look overhead for soaring Black Vultures who are occasionally joined by one of the resident Red-tailed Hawks. Moving into the open brush land above the river, Painted Buntings abound and Eastern Bluebirds are scattered throughout the larger meadows. In these open areas look for butterflies, including Red Admirals, Variegated Fritillaries and Dainty Sulphurs, fluttering amongst the wildflowers. The park also hosts habitat for the endangered Golden-cheeked Warbler and Black-capped Vireo.
Phone: 254-897-4588, Dinosaur Valley SP
Glen Rose Bird Sanctuary
From the intersection of FM 56 and US 67 in Glen Rose, go east on FM 56/ Hereford St. for 0.3 miles to Barnard Street. Turn left and go 0.1 miles to the Glen Rose Bird Sanctuary on the right. The Sanctuary is located just off downtown square in Glen Rose. Park anywhere around the courthouse and walk to corner of Barnard St. and Elm St. and go 1/4 block west on Barnard St.
Glen Rose Bird Sanctuary serves as an important example of what can be achieved for wildlife in an urban setting with some hard work and dedication. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has even produced a 30-minute video for PBS titled 'Taking Care of Texas' that prominently features the sanctuary and its volunteer efforts to keep the Paluxy River clean. Located in downtown Glen Rose on a seasonal stream, the park is augmented by several bird feeders, making it an attractive residence or stopover for any migrant in the vicinity. In summer, nesting species include Carolina Wren, American Robin, Red-bellied Woodpecker and Eastern Phoebe. Winter species to look out for include Cedar Waxwing, Yellow-rumped Warbler and American Goldfinch. Given the correct weather conditions during migration, almost anything could turn up from Wood Warblers to Eastern Wood-Pewees to flycatchers. The sanctuary is also home to a variety of insects, reptiles, amphibians and mammals. Whatever the time of year, the bird sanctuary is always worth a look.
From the intersection of US 67 and FM 56/ Hereford St. in Glen Rose, go east on FM 56 for 0.3 miles to Barnard St. Turn left and go 0.1 miles to Elm St./ SR 144; turn right and go south across the Paluxy bridge. Continue one block and turn left into the park just across the Paluxy River from Downtown Square.
Glen Rose's Heritage Park guides the visitor back in time as they walk along the Paluxy River just south of the courthouse. The park holds several celebrated buildings from the earliest days of European settlement in the region. Among the historic houses are native oaks, which support Red-bellied and Downy Woodpeckers, as well as Mourning Doves and Eastern Fox Squirrels. Scissor-tailed Flycatchers and Western Kingbirds prefer the roadside habitat, while Great Blue and Green Herons can be found along the river. In the summertime, nesting Cliff Swallows frequent the park's Elm Street Bridge. Look along the riverbank for American Rubyspot, a boldly colorful, uncommon damselfly.
Country Woods Inn
In the square around the Court House in downtown Glen Rose, take Elm St./ SR 144 south 0.2 miles and look for the Citgo Gas Station at the road fork and stay left. After one block turn left on Grand Ave. and follow it north 0.4 miles to its end. Upon entering the Inn's entrance, continue and you will see signs at each cabin. The main house is at the end of the lane.
Country Woods Inn is nestled along the Paluxy River, just downstream from the Heritage Park. The inn offers a diversity of 13 different accommodations ranging from glorious country houses to a fully furnished boxcar. These guest quarters are spread out across riverside meadows and dense woodlands, providing a variety of wildlife watching opportunities. White-tailed Deer commonly graze the meadows among flocks of Wild Turkey, while in the woods, birds such as the Black-crested Titmice and Yellow-billed Cuckoos can be heard. Several trails lead from the open meadow into the woodland along the river. This is the best area to search for Great-crested Flycatchers and dragonflies such as Eastern Pond Hawk, Common Whitetail and Roseate Skimmer. American Rubyspot damselflies may also be found, along with Cliff and Rough-winged Swallows.
Phone: 254-897-4586; 888-849-6637, www.countrywoodsinn.com
Cedars on the Brazos
From Court House Square in Glen Rose, go south on Elm St./ SR 144 for 0.7 miles to Hwy 56 South. Turn left on Hwy 56 and go 0.6 miles to CR 413. Turn left (northeast) on CR 413 and follow 2.0 miles to a dead end at the gate, continue 0.3 miles to the bed and breakfast.
Cedars on the Brazos shatter all preconceived notions about log cabins and cedar trees. This three-room bed and breakfast sits on a tranquil bend of the Brazos River, providing access to peace, quiet and some astounding wildlife. Many species can be found a short distance from the B&B, with Nine-banded Armadillos wandering the creek beds, Wild Turkeys foraging along the river banks, and Great-horned Owls perching quietly on the neighboring cliffs. For those who don't wish to wander, many species congregate around the feeders that line the stone patio. Numerous hummingbird feeders bring dozens of Black-chinned Hummingbirds to the property daily. In the evening you can relax to the sounds of the Chuck-wills-widow and watch the shadows for the inquisitive Gray Fox that may drop by.
Phone: 254-898-1000, cedarsonthebrazos.com
Somervell County Park
From the intersection of FM 56 and US 67 in Glen Rose, go north on US 67 for 1.3 miles to Bo Gibbs Blvd. Turn left (west), go 0.1 mile and turn right onto Texas Drive. Travel east 0.1 mile on Texas Drive and turn left into the park.
Somervell County Park is centered on an open soccer playing field which can hold surprises for the wildlife watcher. Lark Sparrows can be found feeding in the short grass and Scissor-tailed Flycatchers often perch on the goal posts. Common Green Darners and Black Saddlebags patrol overhead while Eastern Bluebirds often perch in the trees around the edge. The pond near the entrance hosts Red-winged Blackbirds and Great-tailed Grackles. Downy Woodpeckers fly about from tree to tree uttering their high-pitched 'kik' calls, while Red-bellied Woodpeckers are more likely to stay hidden in the oaks. A careful ear is required when listening to birds in the area, since the park's Northern Mockingbirds are accomplished mimics with an impressive repertoire.