Mt Vernon Loop

More Information:

Colema Lake Park
PPWE 091

This site is open for day use only.

From I-30 in Sulphur Springs, take Exit 122. The south entry is on the north access road to I-30 approximately 0.7 mile east of Hwy. 19. To reach the north entry, go north on SR 19 to Main St.; turn right on Main St. and follow 0.4 mile east to the park entrance on the right.

This large reservoir surrounded by walking trails provides access to creek bed and riparian woodland habitats. Scan the lake for herons and egrets. In winter the lake hosts a variety of waterfowl. Lizards can often be seen dashing across the trail. Look for dragonflies such as Red Saddlebags and Widow Skimmers. At the far end of the lake the trail enters woodlands that provide habitat for White-eyed Vireo and Yellow-billed Cuckoo. Colorful wildflowers along the trail attract Red-spotted Purple and Viceroy Butterflies. Other birds to look for include Purple Martin, Chimney Swift and Common Nighthawk.

(903) 885-7541

Latitude: 33.1322
Longitude: -95.6225

Cooper Lake State Park - South Sulphur Unit
PPWE 092

This site is open daily, and developed camping is available at the site.
An entrance fee or donation may be required.

From I-30 in Sulphur Springs, take Exit 122 on the west side of Sulphur Springs. Go north on SR 19 for 11 miles to FM 71. Turn left (west) on FM 71 for 4.1 miles to FM 3505. Go north for 1.4 miles on FM 3505 to the park entrance.

The South Sulphur Unit of Cooper Lake State Park is located on the southern edge of Cooper Lake. The lake covers about 19,000 acres and is surrounded by thousands of acres devoted to parks and wildlife management. In winter, the lake supports a variety of waterfowl and occasionally vagrant gulls intermixed with the abundant Ring-billed Gulls. In summer, look for Killdeer near the parking areas and Eastern Phoebes perched on overhanging branches. Other resident birds include Red-bellied Woodpecker, Brown Thrasher and Red-eyed Vireo. Butterflies are numerous, including both yellow and black forms of the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail. Dragonflies abound along the lakeshore, with Prince Baskettails being especially abundant. Look for the colorful Halloween Pennant hunting tiny prey over the neighboring fields.

(903) 945-5256

Latitude: 33.3162
Longitude: -95.6032

Cooper Wildlife Management Area
PPWE 093

This site is open for day use only.

From I-30 West in Sulphur Springs, take Exit 122 and go north on SR 19 for 14.3 miles to CR 4795. Turn left and travel west on CR 4795 for 0.8 mile to the Tira Boat Ramp Rd. The WMA office is located on the Tira Boat Ramp Rd. on the left.

Nestled along the South Sulphur River, Cooper WMA, totaling 14,160 acres, exhibits bottomland hardwood forests, mixed upland hardwoods, native prairies, flooded dead standing timber, riparian habitat, shoreline, managed wetland units and numerous natural wetlands. The WMA has designated hunting seasons and is open year-round for fishing, hiking, biking and wildlife viewing. A portion of the WMA between the dam and SH 154 is a refuge, which currently allows hunting only during late winter for hogs. This access road running below the dam allows visitors to observe white-tailed deer, Wild Turkey, hawks, coyote, wild hog, squirrel and bobcat moving through open fields early and late in the day. An additional 12 access points on this area provide an abundance of wildlife-viewing opportunities for the public.

The diversity of terrestrial habitats along with the 19,280-acre lake hosts an impressive variety of birds. Many rare sightings for northeast Texas have been documented in the vicinity of Cooper Lake. Numerous wading birds and waterfowl may be found on the lake and drainages, including resident Wood Ducks. Gulls, terns and shorebirds are common, with uncommon Ruddy Turnstone, Dunlin and Interior Least Tern being spotted. Also, American White Pelicans and Wood Storks congregate on the lake. Along the woodland edges, look for Painted Bunting and Indigo Bunting. Check for Black-and-white Warbler and White-breasted Nuthatch in the forested areas. At the parking area below the dam, watch for Scissor-tailed Flycatcher and Green Heron near the drainage ditches. In the shore grass along the spillway access road, you can find Eastern Meadowlark and Dickcissel. Lapland and Smith's Longspurs, as well as many other sparrow species have been sighted around the area during winter.

(903) 945-3132

Latitude: 33.3162
Longitude: -95.6032

Inn at Selah Ranch
PPWE 095

Call ahead, access to the site is restricted; visitation may be arranged by contacting the managing entity at the address and telephone number provided.
An entrance fee or donation may be required.

From Exit 146 on I-30 take SR 37 north for 9.4 miles to CR NE1050. Turn right onto CR NE1050 and go 0.5 mile to the red pipe entry on the right. Turn right and follow 0.6 mile to the Inn at Selah Ranch.

Located just north of Mount Vernon, the Inn at Selah Ranch offers over 1,000 acres of rich East Texas habitat. The inn has a variety of accommodations and guest rooms, perfect for a family getaway. The ranch can also accommodate larger families and groups. Visitors can explore the grounds, hike into the fields, or just sit under massive oaks and pecans. Look for Scissor-tailed Flycatchers and Eastern Kingbirds overhead or watch the antics of Lark Sparrows. Along the wooded trails, watch for white-tailed deer and Wood Ducks hidden in the shadows. Listen for the tapping of Red-bellied, Downy and Pileated Woodpeckers. During winter, resident Great Blue Herons are joined by a variety of waterfowl and birds of prey.

(903) 632-1122

Latitude: 33.2981
Longitude: -95.2314

Gibbs Ranch - Rockin' G Ranch
PPWE 096

Call ahead, access to the site is restricted; visitation may be arranged by contacting the managing entity at the address and telephone number provided.
An entrance fee or donation may be required.

From Exit 146 on I-30, travel north on SR 37 for 1.4 miles to the intersection of SR 37 and US 67 in Mount Vernon. Go west on US 67 for 4.2 miles to CR NW1018. Turn north onto Franklin CR NW1018, follow the meanderings of NW1018 for 2.8 miles to Gibbs Ranch on the left (west). It is a large brown brick ranch house about 100 yards back from road, the entry is marked at road.

This private ranch offers visitors access to large open grasslands and bottomland hardwood forest along White Oak Creek. The grasslands support numerous Grasshopper Sparrow and Eastern Meadowlark along with Eastern Kingbird and Dickcissel. Look for Indigo Bunting and Summer Tanager along the woodland edges and wild hogs and Wild Turkey along the creek. Bald Eagles nest near the creek. In winter, the open fields host passing flocks of geese and occasionally, longspurs.

(903) 537-2351

Latitude: 33.2131
Longitude: -95.3129

Dupree Park Nature Preserve
PPWE 097

This site is open for day use only.

From Exit 146 on I-30 take SR 37 north 1.7 miles to CR NW1010. Turn left and follow CR NW1010 for 0.2 mile to the preserve on the right.

Visitors to this site are often greeted by the cheerful songs of Painted Buntings. The 2-mile trail leading through the preserve's 57 acres meanders through a maze of mesquite brush alive with singing Field Sparrows before its conclusion at the creek. In winter, look for a variety of sparrows in this habitat. In the creek bottom, listen for the quiet tapping of Downy Woodpeckers or the insect-like croaking of Yellow-billed Cuckoos. Look for turtles such as red-eared slider around the pond, and check for a plethora of hovering dragonflies, such as Black and Red Saddlebags, Eastern Amberwings, Slaty Skimmers and Banded Pennants.

(903) 537-2264, (903) 537-4760

Latitude: 33.1886
Longitude: -95.235

English Street in the City of Mt. Vernon
PPWE 098

This site is open for day use only.

From Exit 146 on I-30 take SR 37 north 1.7 miles to US 67 in Mount Vernon. Go east on US 67/Main St. for 0.4 mile to English St. on the left. Turn north on English and go 0.6 mile, following along the road for 0.6 mile until it rejoins SR 37.

Although English St. is just off the main square in downtown Mt. Vernon, the area holds a surprising variety of wildlife. The tall trees along the road provide habitat for both Downy and Red-bellied Woodpeckers and Brown Thrashers are found in the roadside thickets. These residents are joined by numerous species of sparrows in winter along with large numbers of resident Northern Cardinals. The few lawns along the road attract foraging American Robins and the occasional wetland may host the recently arrived Black-bellied Whistling Duck. Listen for Chimney Swifts tittering overhead or White-breasted Nuthatches calling from the trees.

(903) 537-2264, (903) 537-4495

Latitude: 33.1943
Longitude: -95.224

Daphne Prairie
PPWE 099

This site is open for day use only.
An entrance fee or donation may be required.

From Exit 146 on I-30 take SR 37 north 1.7 miles to US 67. At the intersection of SR 37 and US 67 in Mount Vernon, go east on US 67 for 3.3 miles to FM 1896. Turn left (north) on FM 1896 and continue for 3.7 miles to the gate. Continue from the gate north for 2 miles; prairie and mounds intermittently line both sides of the road. Visits are by appointment only.

This site provides an opportunity to explore a unique and rare East Texas tall grass prairie habitat. Look for a variety of grassland birds in early summer, such as Grasshopper Sparrow, Dickcissel and Eastern Kingbird. Listen for the characteristic whistle of Northern Bobwhite and look for Wild Turkey along the creek. The windrows planted around the old farm buildings provide habitat for Great Crested Flycatcher and Yellow-billed Cuckoo. During fall, migration brings a population of Short-eared Owls to the prairie. Scan the 3,000 acres for a resident population of jack rabbits intermixed with the more common cottontails. During winter, the prairie turns to a grassy marsh, with the Mima forming islands in the surrounding marsh. Look for Smith's Longspur in the wet grassland. From fall through spring, look for Sprague's Pipit in the short grass. Taller grasses harbor Sedge Wren, Le Conte's Sparrow and the occasional Henslow's Sparrow.

(903) 537-2264

Latitude: 33.2144
Longitude: -95.1543

Choctaw Trails/Bluebird Trails
PPWE 100

This site is open for day use only.

From Exit 146 on I-30 take SR 37 north 1.7 miles to US 67. Go east on US 67 for 0.3 mile to CR NE2010. Turn left (east) on CR NE2010 for 4.1 miles (east 1 mile of FM 1896).

The Choctaw Trail passes through forest and fields, regularly crossing streams and creek beds. Along the trail wildlife abounds, with Painted Buntings singing from perches and Northern Bobwhite whistling from the fields. Check roadside thickets carefully for Brown Thrasher and watch overhead for Red-shouldered and Red-tailed Hawks. In spring and summer, Eastern Kingbirds and Scissor-tailed Flycatchers line the fencerows while Dickcissels call from every direction. In winter, look for a variety of sparrows along with Northern Harrier and American Kestrel.

(903) 537-2264

Latitude: 33.1952
Longitude: -95.1461

Cherokee Trace - Franklin CR NE2080
PPWE 101

This site is open for day use only.

From Exit 146 on I-30 take SR 37 north 1.7 miles to US 67. At the intersection of SR 37 and US 67 in Mount Vernon, go east on US 67 for 3.5 miles to Franklin CR NE2080. Turn right (southwest) on Franklin CR NE2080 and follow it 0.8 mile to the north service road of I-30.

Painted Buntings sing from roadside perches and Scissor-tailed Flycatchers dart across the road, their tail streamers fluttering in the breeze. In winter the roadside shrubs fill with Slate-colored Junco and dapper White-crowned Sparrow. Fox squirrels can be seen chasing each other under the large oaks as Red-winged Blackbirds trill from the pond edges.

(903) 537-2264

Latitude: 33.1682
Longitude: -95.1314

TXU Monticello Mines Reclamation Area
PPWE 102

This site is open for day use only.

From the square in Mount Vernon, go east on US 67 for 6.9 miles to the railroad bridge just past Winfield. After crossing under the railroad bridge the reclaimed lands will be on both sides for 4.2 miles.

This former mining site has been restored to native habitats. The new landscape has ponds and open rolling hills which attract a variety of wildlife. The fencerows support dozens of Grasshopper Sparrows and Dickcissels in summer and Savannah and Vesper Sparrows in winter. The ponds provide habitat for Great Blue Heron, Great and Cattle Egrets and Killdeer. A variety of waterfowl is present during fall and winter. Red-tailed Hawks sit on suitable perches watching for prey. Many other raptors visit the area, including Northern Harrier, American Kestrel and Bald Eagle. The habitat mix of ponds and fields attracts numerous dragonflies. Hundreds of Halloween Pennants and Four-spotted Pennants line the barbed wire fences in mid-summer.

(903) 537-2264

Latitude: 33.1759
Longitude: -95.0757

Lake Bob Sandlin State Park
PPWE 104

This site is open daily, and developed camping is available at the site.
An entrance fee or donation may be required.

From I-30 East in Mount Pleasant, take Exit 160 and go left (south) on US 271/W. Ferguson Rd. for 1.6 miles. Turn right (south) on FM 127 and follow it south 10.1 miles to FM 21. Bear left (south) on FM 21 for 0.9 mile to Lake Bob Sandlin State Park. Alternatively, From I-30 West in Mount Vernon, take Exit 146. Go right on FM 37 for 0.8 mile to FM 21. Go left on FM 21 for about 10 miles to the park.

Located on the heavily wooded north shore of the 9,400-acre Lake Bob Sandlin, this 640-acre state park offers picnicking, hiking, swimming, mountain biking and fishing. Varieties of oak, hickory, pine, dogwood, redbud and maple produce spectacular fall color. A nature trail guides visitors through the woods and along the shore of the lake, providing limitless opportunities for wildlife viewing. In the open areas near the trailhead, look and listen for Painted Bunting. In the forest, listen for Red-eyed Vireo and look high in the canopy for Great Crested Flycatcher. Check the shoreline for wading birds and turtles.

A variety of swallows can be seen feeding, perching and preening on the numerous dead snags. Look for Tree and Rough-winged Swallows among the more common Purple Martins and Cliff Swallows. The shore is also a good place to watch dragonflies, with Slaty Skimmer and Prince Baskettail frequently seen. Butterflies in the area include Little Wood and Gemmed Satyrs and the iridescent Red-spotted Purple.

(903) 572-5531

Latitude: 33.059
Longitude: -95.0961

Lake Cypress Springs
PPWE 105

This site is open daily, and developed camping is available at the site.

From the intersection of SR 37 and US 67 in Mount Vernon, go south on SR 37 for 1.7 miles to the frontage road south of I-30. Turn left (east) and go 0.5 mile on the frontage road to FM 115. Bear right (south) onto FM 115 and follow south 13 miles CR 3007. Turn left onto CR 3007 and go 3.2 miles to the dam and picnic and camping areas.

The best way to see Lake Cypress Springs is from the water. Visitors can rent a boat from one of the numerous marinas around the lake. While exploring the plentiful shallow bays look for Great Egret, Great Blue Heron and waterfowl such as Wood Duck and Black-bellied Whistling Duck. In winter, the lake fills with ducks and attracts a sizeable flock of American White Pelicans. Bald Eagles also occur during the winter months and often perch on the tall pine trees flanking the lake. Pines along the shore provide habitat for Pine Warbler and Brown-headed Nuthatch as well as other woodland species. There are several access points around the shore where you can view the lake.

(903) 537-4536

Latitude: 33.0523
Longitude: -95.1396