- 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
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 Woodpeckers, Indigo Buntings and other birds. Listen for the songs of Northern Cardinals, Carolina Wrens, Tufted Titmice 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.
Phone: (817) 481-4541, www.swf-wc.usace.army.mil/grapevine/
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 Northern Cardinals, Carolina Chickadees, Tufted Titmice, Red-bellied Woodpeckers, American Robins, Western and Eastern Kingbirds, Scissor-tailed Flycatchers, Acadian Flycatchers, Downy Woodpeckers, Yellow-throated Warblers, Indigo and Painted Buntings and many others.
Phone: (817) 481-2374, www.cityofsouthlake.com/parks/bobjones.asp
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 Road and proceed 0.6 miles to Mill Creek Drive. Turn left and follow Mill Creek Drive through a subdivision for 0.3 miles to the park entrance.
This riparian natural area, with a large creek, forested wetlands and nine lakes, offers a unique opportunity to enjoy riparian habitats within an urban area. Part of a plan to preserve Colleyville's remaining natural areas, this 46-acre riparian forest is protected by the City of Colleyville. The natural area 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 Mallards, geese, Barn Swallows, Purple Martins and Green Herons 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 Chickadees, 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 five more interconnected lakes teaming 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.
Phone: (817) 656-7275.
Village Creek Drying Beds
From I 30 in Arlington, take the Fielder St. Exit. Go north on Fielder for 1.3 miles until it deadends at an intersection with Green Oaks Blvd. Turn right (east) and go 0.3 miles to the Village Creek entrance on the left side of the street.
Visitors to this water treatment facility will be pleasantly surprised by the abundance and diversity of wildlife using this man-made habitat. The lagoons are a patchwork of cattails and open water. A large levee borders the entire facility and divides the site in the middle. You can walk or drive these levees.
Habitats include open water and wetlands surrounded by willows and oaks. The lagoons host Red-winged Blackbirds, Great Egrets, Great Blue Herons, Killdeer and Pied-billed Grebes. Also look for Green-winged Teal, Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs, White-rumped Sandpipers, and Sprague's Pipits. Other visitors in spring and summer include Western and Eastern Kingbirds, Scissor-tailed Flycatchers, Little Blue Herons, Wood Ducks, Snowy Egrets, Red-tailed Hawks, Mourning Doves, Spotted Sandpiper, Chimney Swifts, and Cliff and Barn Swallows. The fortunate visitor may see Black-necked Stilts, White-faced Ibises, Black-bellied Whistling and Ruddy Ducks, Glossy Ibises, Green Herons and American Kestrels. A fall or winter visit could reveal a Gadwall. In addition to the lagoon and wooded areas, upland grasslands host Painted and Indigo Buntings, White-crowned and Savannah sparrows.
In addition to the plethora of birds, visitors are also treated to an insect menagerie consisting of grasshoppers, dragonflies and butterflies. Turtles are abundant in the lagoons and Nutria are commonly seen.
Phone: (817) 392-4900, www.fwas.org
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 miles 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. The property was acquired piece by piece through purchase, grants and donations. It 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 Cuckoos, Downy Woodpeckers, Carolina Chickadees, Tufted Titmice, Northern Cardinals, Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, Northern Flickers and Brown Thrashers. In the aquatic areas of the park and on the Trinity River, Belted Kingfishers, Great Egrets, Little Blue Herons, Tricolored Herons, Wood Ducks, and Cliff Swallows can be seen. Also, the park has documented nesting Cooper's Hawks 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 Warblers, passing Snow Geese, Hooded Mergansers, Common Yellowthroats, Orange-crowned Warblers, Rusty Blackbirds, Purple Finches and on a rare occasion, Harris's Hawks. 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 two 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. The park is currently being expanded to include additional land north of the Trinity River. A visitor center and footbridge connecting the two areas are planned. This site is a unique example of the vision to protect remaining Trinity River riparian forest throughout the metropolitan areas.
Phone: (817) 860-6752, www.riverlegacy.org