Lake Worth Loop
- Fort Worth CVB, 800-433-5747, www.fortworth.com
Fort Worth Nature Center
From I 820 in Fort Worth, take Exit 10A and follow Hwy 199 west 3.7 miles. Exit at Confederate Road and turn right into the Refuge at the stop sign. Follow the signs 1.6 miles to the Visitor Center.
The Fort Worth Nature Center encompasses several thousand acres of the best habitats north central Texas has to offer. The area molds around the northern shores of Lake Worth leading from prime Trinity River bottomland, through Cross Timbers oak savannah, to prairie grassland complete with Black-tailed Prairie Dogs and American Bison. The entire property makes for great wildlife viewing. Of particular interest is the short boardwalk that leads the visitor out into a lily pad covered arm of Lake Worth. In summer this area hosts Prothonotary Warblers and Blue Grosbeaks calling from the shoreline. At times Mississippi Kites can be seen feasting on dragonflies above the lake. The area also supports a variety of herons and egrets, and waterfowl are plentiful in the winter months.
The woodland canopy hosts numerous Red-eyed Vireos and Yellow-billed Cuckoos and the fortunate observer may find a Pileated Woodpecker. As the path begins to climb and the bottoms give way to a rock escarpment, look for Texas Whiptails or Texas Spiny Lizards. Perhaps a Jade Clubtail dragonfly will join you and the more numerous Eastern Pond Hawks perched along the path.
On the prairie, the wildlife changes once again with Scissor-tailed Flycatchers slicing through the air and Painted Buntings singing from the intermittent bushes. Watch for American Bison quietly grazing in the sun.
If all these viewing opportunities are not enough, the Fort Worth Nature Center also offers an interpretive center that regularly holds educational events as well as an impressive set of exhibits covering the local flora and fauna. They even have a gift shop where you can stock up on gifts or the latest field guides.
Phone: 817-237-1111, www.naturecenterfriends.org
Camp Joy and Wildwood Park
From I 820 in Fort Worth, take Exit 10A. Go west onto SR 199/ Lake Worth Blvd. for 3.7 miles. Turn off onto the ramp (FM 1886/ Confederate Park Rd.) and go left (west) on FM 1886/ Confederate Park Rd. for 0.8 miles to Lakeridge Rd. Turn left (south) and follow 0.6 miles to Watercress Dr. and Lake Worth. At the end of the road Camp Joy will be to the left and Wildwood Park is to the right.
Camp Joy and Wildwood Park are located near one other along Lake Worth's southwest shore. Camp Joy, the smaller of the two, is a mostly open expanse with a mix of large trees scattered along the shoreline. This area provides an excellent vantage point to search the lake, which in the winter months support a variety of waterfowl as well as Common Loons and Eared Grebes. Spring and fall migration brings the chance to see White Pelicans and a variety of gulls and terns, some of which are notably rare in the area. Wildwood Park is located west of Camp Joy and combines shoreline access with a largely undisturbed tract of bottomland forest. This area is best known for occasionally hosting Bald Eagles, which have been known to nest here. Other species to look for include Red-bellied and Downy Woodpeckers, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, White-eyed Vireo, Summer Tanager and Indigo Bunting.
Phone: 817-871-PARK; 817-871-9650.
Old State Fish Hatchery, Lake Worth
From Northwest Loop 820 in Fort Worth, take Exit 10A to Jacksboro Highway/ Hwy 199. Proceed southeast on Jacksboro Hwy toward downtown Fort Worth for 2.5 miles to River Oaks Blvd. Turn right onto River Oaks Blvd. and proceed 1.2 miles to Roberts Cutoff Rd. Turn right onto Roberts Cutoff Rd. Proceed on Roberts Cutoff Rd. for about 100 yards and take the first left onto Meandering Rd. Stay on Meandering Rd. It will cross the Trinity River and after 1.3 miles take a right turn onto Sand Springs Rd. The road turns left at the entrance to Camp Carter. Keep going until you see the Lake Worth dam on your left. Parallel the dam until you see the entrance to the fish hatchery on the right after 0.6 miles. Park inside the entrance on the fish hatchery grounds.
The Old State Fish Hatchery is located just below the Lake Worth Dam and hugs the Trinity River. The area's original use as a hatchery has left numerous ponds and levees for the enjoyment of wildlife and wildlife watchers. This area is a great place to see waterfowl in the winter months and herons, egrets, dragonflies and butterflies in the summer. The ponds are also very attractive to turtles and water snakes. Visitors should inquire at the headquarters about water levels in the various ponds. Ponds with little water and lots of moist mud can attract birds such as Little Blue Heron, Snowy Egret, White-faced Ibis, and a variety of migrant shorebirds. Ponds with floating vegetation are better suited for dragonflies such as Carolina Saddlebags, Black Saddlebags, Blue Dasher, Eastern Pond Hawk, Widow Skimmer and Common Whitetail. Follow the entrance road to its end to experience Trinity River bottomland, with Red-eyed Vireos and Carolina Wrens filling the woods with their songs.
Tarrant County Junior College - NW Campu
From Northwest Loop 820 in Fort Worth, take the Marine Creek Parkway Exit 0.1 mile to the college. Turn left onto campus and proceed 0.2 miles to the first stop sign. Turn left and go 0.1 miles to parking.
Similar to the other lakes in Ft. Worth, Marine Creek Lake is best known for attracting waterfowl during the winter months. The lake also supports a variety of wading birds year round, including Great Blue, Little Blue and Green Herons, and both Great and Snowy Egrets. Red-winged Blackbirds and rails can be seen in the lake's shallow inlets. The shores of the lake are mostly open with areas of interspersed brush, where Brown Thrashers and Eastern and Western Kingbirds can be observed.
Cement Creek Lake
From Northwest Loop 820 in Fort Worth, take the Hwy 287 Business exit and go south toward downtown about 0.5 miles. Turn right onto a gravel road which parallels the Meacham Airfield fence line until you reach the parking area.
Cement Creek Lake is a shallow reed-filled lake a stones throw from the busy I 820 Loop in Fort Worth just across from the Meacham Airport. Even in the heart of this urban area, Cement Creek Lake hosts a great variety of wildlife. The lake's extensive reed beds provide habitat for roosting Red-winged Blackbirds and Great-tailed Grackles. King Rails and Least Bitterns have also been seen here. Where the reeds give way to open water, look for Blue-winged Teal and Pied-billed Grebes. The muddy banks attract Killdeers and Spotted Sandpipers, as well as Snowy Egrets, Little Blue Herons and occasionally White-faced Ibis. At the northern end of the lake a culvert supports a healthy population of nesting Cliff Swallows, who perform endless aerial acrobatics as they skim the surface of the lake.
Phone: 817-237-1111, ask for Fort Worth Audubon contact information. www.fwas.org