- Arlington CVB, (817) 265-7721, www.arlington.org
- Grapevine CVB, 800-457-6338, www.grapevinetexasusa.com
- City of North Richland Hills, (817) 427-6000, www.ci.north-richland-hills.tx.us
- Southlake, (817) 481-5581, www.ci.southlake.tx.us
Walnut Grove Park/Lake Grapevine
From SH 114 and N. White Chapel Blvd. in Southlake head north on N. White Chapel Blvd. for 1.7 miles to the entry, which is on the right (east) side. Enter the parking area and the trailhead is marked with a sign.
The trail from the parking area leads visitors into open areas where vines blanket low shrubs. Dead trees provide perches for Red-bellied Woodpecker, Indigo Bunting and other birds. Listen for the songs of Northern Cardinal, Carolina Wren, Tufted Titmouse and other resident birds within the riparian habitat. If you're patient, you might hear the Common Yellowthroat, Black-and-white Warbler, Yellow-breasted Chat, Kentucky Warbler, Red-eyed Vireo, Warbling Vireo and Blue-gray Gnatcatcher. Snowy Egrets are sometimes seen flying up the stream channel.
Tracks of opossums, raccoons, squirrels, armadillos, rabbits and snakes can be observed in the mud after a rain. Butterflies and dragonflies flutter among the numerous wildflowers along the trail. Giant Swallowtails, Painted Ladies, Gulf Fritillaries and a variety of sulphurs can be seen around the trail. If you're lucky, you may catch a glimpse of an elusive rabbit darting from the side of the trail into the underbrush.
Lake Grapevine is managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. There are several parks around the lake, including Marshall Creek, Meadowmere, Oak Grove, Silver Lake, Rockledge, Rocky Point, Knob Hills and Northshore. In addition to these parks, several nature trails are available for hikers, mountain bikers and horseback riders, including the Northshore Trail, Knob Hills Trail, Bluestem Nature Trail, Walnut Grove Trail, Cross Timbers Trail and the Rocky Point Trail.
Bob Jones Park
From SH 114 and N. White Chapel Blvd. in Southlake, head north on N. White Chapel Blvd. for 1.8 miles to the pipe-rail fence entry for Bob Jones Park, which is on the right (east) side. Enter the parking area and take the loop road east until it ends in the small parking area. Walnut Grove and Cross Timbers habitat lies all in and around Kirkwood Branch to the south/southwest and north/northeast.
This 250-acre park near Lake Grapevine includes post and blackjack oak, eastern red cedar, American and cedar elm and honey mesquite vegetation. The park offers a number of trails, both paved and unpaved, for hiking and horseback riding. Wildflowers attract several varieties of butterflies, including Giant Swallowtails, Eastern Tiger Swallowtails and a diversity of yellows, sulphurs, fritillaries and hairstreaks. The open woodlands provide habitat for resident birds such as Carolina Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, Red-bellied and Downy Woodpeckers, American Robin, Western and Eastern Kingbirds, Scissor-tailed and Acadian Flycatchers, Yellow-throated Warbler, Indigo and Painted Buntings and many others.
Colleyville Nature Center
From Northeast Loop 820 in North Richland Hills, take the Hwy. 26/Grapevine Hwy. Exit and follow Hwy. 26/Grapevine Hwy. northeast for 4.8 miles. Turn left onto Glade Rd. and proceed 0.6 mile to Mill Creek Dr. Turn left and follow Mill Creek Dr. through a subdivision for 0.3 mile to the park entrance.
This riparian natural area, with a large creek, forested wetlands and 9 lakes, offers a unique opportunity to enjoy riparian habitats within an urban area. It acts as a buffer between Little Bear Creek and the surrounding residential areas. Visitors are first drawn to the ponds near the parking area. A short wooden pier allows for viewing Mallard Duck, geese, Barn Swallow, Purple Martin and Green Heron on the ponds.
An easily accessible paved trail leads into a densely wooded area near Little Bear Creek. From here unpaved nature trails loop around the area. Birds such as Carolina Chickadee, flycatchers and titmice are often seen. A canopy of post oak, cottonwood, pecan and American elm shade the benches and picnic tables placed along the trails. The understory consists of cedar elm, red mulberry and sugar hackberry. The trails lead to 5 more interconnected lakes teeming with kingfishers, woodpeckers, flycatchers, hummingbirds, herons, egrets, ducks and owls. Northern Rough-winged Swallows swoop over the ponds picking insects off the surface. Raccoons, rabbits and armadillos can also be seen.
River Legacy Parks
From I-30 in Arlington, take the Cooper Exit. Drive north on Cooper about 1.5 miles to where it ends at Green Oaks with the Science Center at the intersection across from Cooper. Turn left on Green Oaks and go west 0.1 mile to park entrance on the right.
River Legacy Parks is a stunning example of how community involvement and vision can preserve important wildlife habitat _ in this case riparian forest along the Trinity River. This 1,300-acre park forms a corridor extending along the Trinity River and protects valuable riparian wetlands and hardwood forests. Large cottonwood, pecan, post oak, bur oak, blackjack oak, black walnut, black willow and American elms dominate the canopy throughout the park. Other trees include sugar hackberry, green ash, sycamore and red mulberry. Habitat structure is varied and includes mature forests, swamps and open grasslands. The paved trails offer easy access to a variety of habitats representative of the Trinity River riparian system.
Look for Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Downy Woodpecker, Carolina Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Northern Flicker and Brown Thrasher. In the aquatic areas of the park and on the Trinity River, Belted Kingfisher, Great Egret, Little Blue Heron, Tricolored Heron, Wood Duck and Cliff Swallow can be seen. The park also has documented nesting Cooper's and Broad-winged Hawks. In the spring, Bell's Vireo, Common Yellowthroat and Scarlet Tanager can be seen. You may even catch a glimpse of a Merlin or White-tailed Kite. Winter species include Pine Warbler, Snow Goose, Hooded Merganser, Common Yellowthroat, Orange-crowned Warbler, Rusty Blackbird, Purple Finch and on a rare occasion, Harris's Hawk. Some of the more unusual spring and fall migrants include Red-headed Woodpecker, Yellow-throated Vireo and Wood and Gray-cheeked Thrushes. Rare warblers to keep an eye out for include Blue-winged, Golden-winged, Black-throated Blue, Blackpoll, Hooded, Kentucky, Worm-eating and Swainson's Warblers. The park has documented 2 resident bobcats in addition to coyotes, foxes, raccoons, armadillos and swamp rabbits.
Picnic and pavilion facilities are available. The River Legacy Parks Science Center offers exhibits and educational programs for children. This site is a unique example of the vision to protect remaining Trinity River riparian forest throughout the metropolitan areas.
The Molly Hollar Wildscape
At I-20 and Bowen Rd, turn north on Bowen Rd. Go 3.8 miles to W Arkansas Ln., turn west (left), Go 0.4 mile to Spanish Trail, turn south (left). The Molly Hollar Wildscape is inside Veterans Park. Take the second entrance to the parking area on the right.
This 5-acre wooded wildscape in the middle of an urban area is an oasis for birds and other wildlife. Trails throughout the site go to varying elevations and cross a riparian landscape, which attract all sorts of migrating birds. At the entrance is a large butterfly garden that also attracts hummingbirds, roadrunners, anoles, spiny lizards and more. There is a boardwalk that crosses a seasonal wetland to a small pavilion to sit and watch the wildlife among the trees.
Southwest Nature Preserve
From south Fort Worth, take I-20 East to exit 442A toward US 287 Business/Mansfield Hwy. After 0.2 mile, merge onto SE Loop 820/I-20 service road for about 1 mile. Turn right on Bowman Springs Rd. After 0.2 mile, arrive at park entrance on your left.
The 58-acre Southwest Nature Preserve (SWNP) is a unique natural area representing a surviving remnant of the Eastern Cross Timbers ecosystem. SWNP has 3 hiking trails of varying difficulty levels and one ADA-accessible trail. There are 4 ponds, one with a fishing pier and a terraced outdoor seating/education area. SWNP encompasses four major habitat zones: Eastern Cross Timbers, riparian, prairie and ponds with their fringe vegetation, providing habitats that are attractive to a wide variety of wildlife.
Over 135 species of birds have been identified at SWNP, recognized by the Cornell University's eBird as one of the "hot spots" to see birds in Tarrant County. Year-round, birders can find Great Egret, Great Blue Heron, Red-bellied and Downy Woodpeckers, Carolina Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse and Bewick's and Carolina Wrens. Spring and summer avian visitors include Cattle Egret, Green Heron, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Chuck-will's-widow, Chimney Swift, Ruby-throated and Black-chinned Hummingbirds, Western Kingbird, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, White-eyed Vireo, Purple Martin, Barn and Cliff Swallows, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Summer Tanager, Indigo and Painted Buntings, Brown-headed Cowbird and Orchard Oriole. Many of the birds attracted to the ponds are seen in winter, including Gadwall, American Wigeon, Northern Shoveler, Ring-necked Duck, Lesser Scaup, Bufflehead, Pied-billed Grebe and Belted Kingfisher. Other winter visitors include Northern Flicker, Eastern Phoebe, Golden-crowned and Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Cedar Waxwing, Orange-crowned and Yellow-rumped Warblers, Spotted Towhee and several sparrows. Among the hawks and owls recorded are Sharp-shinned, Cooper's, Red-shouldered, Broad-winged and Red-tailed Hawks, plus Great Horned Owl.