Lake Lavon Loop

More Information:

Rowlett Creek Greenbelt
PPWW 095

This site is open for day use only.

From I-635 in Dallas take the Centerville Rd. Exit. Go north on Centerville Rd. 5.5 miles to Castle Dr. Turn right at Castle Dr. into the parking lot.

This 350-acre site consists of open prairie and dense, moist riparian woodland. Colorful wildflowers such as Mexican hat, Indian blanket, black-eyed Susan, winecup, coneflower and yarrow grow with a variety of grasses in the open prairie. A very large American elm tree shades a picnic area near the beginning of the trail, where you can watch open grassland birds such as Cliff Swallow, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher and Western Kingbird. Look and listen for Indigo and Painted Buntings as you approach the wooded area.

Please check the bulletin board for trail information. The dominant trees in wooded areas include pecan, oak, American elm and cottonwood. Understory plants include cedar elm, sugar hackberry, sycamore and green ash. The trails move through many low-lying areas so be careful of flooding during heavy rains. This site is maintained by the Dallas Off Road Bicycle Association and is a favorite for off road bicycling, so be sure to bring your bike when you visit.

(972) 205-2750

Latitude: 32.9197
Longitude: -96.595

Lake Lavon Trinity Trail
PPWW 096

This site is open for day use only.

Lake Lavon Trinity Trail is located on the southwest portion of Lavon Lake, approximately 1 mile east of Wylie. To get to the south end of the lake from Wylie, go northeast on SR 78/Lavon Pkwy for 0.5 mile. Turn left (north) onto Eubanks and follow 0.5 mile to CR 384 and the entrance to East Fork Park. Turn left (west) on CR 384. Immediately to the right is the entrance to the trailhead marked with a white piperail fence.

The Trinity Trail is a 9-mile hiking and equestrian trail that follows the southwest edge of Lake Lavon from the trailhead near the intersection of CR 384 and CR 389 to Brockdale Park. The trail traverses a variety of habitats including lake, marsh, moist woodlands, open woodlands and prairie.

A wildlife checklist is available from the Corps of Engineers office. Birds to look for include Common Loon, American White Pelican, Double-crested Cormorant, Tricolored Heron, Great Egret, Black-crowned Night-Heron, White-faced Ibis, Wood Duck, Marsh Wren, Cooper's and Ferruginous Hawks, Black-necked Stilt, Forster's Tern, Black-billed Cuckoo, Whip-poor-will, Belted and Green Kingfishers, woodpeckers, Willow Flycatcher, Loggerhead Shrike, Horned Lark, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Brown Creeper, Northern Waterthrush and Common Yellowthroat.

Mammals documented around the lake include porcupine, fox, mink, river otter, bobcat and black-tailed prairie dog. Look for racers, kingsnakes, water snakes and bullsnakes. In addition to the abundance of wildlife viewing opportunities that the Trinity Trail provides, Lake Lavon offers a variety of outdoor recreational opportunities.

(972) 442-3141

Latitude: 33.034
Longitude: -96.5185

Spring Creek Park Preserve and Spring Creek Forest Preserve
PPWW 097

This site is open for day use only.

From Hwy. 75 North/Central Expressway in Dallas, take the SH 190/President George Bush Hwy. Exit. Turn right and go east approximately 4.5 miles to Holford Rd. Turn right (southwest) and go south 0.5 mile to the driveway on the left. Continue another 0.1 mile to the driveway on the right.

Visitors can walk through beautiful bottomland forest located in the floodplain of Spring Creek. This park, located on the edge of North Garland, has an overstory of chinquapin, bur and shumard oaks, some of them 100_300 years old. This rich habitat supports over 550 species of plants and animals.

On the east side of Holford Rd., the preserve has a paved trail through woodlands to Spring Creek. This area has large pecan, oak and cottonwood trees with a relatively open understory of saplings, red mulberry, cedar elm, green ash and eastern red-cedar. Snails, lizards and butterflies are common along the trail to Spring Creek. In summer look for common bird species such as Carolina Wren, Tufted Titmouse, Great Crested Flycatcher, Swainson's Hawk and White-eyed Vireo. Watch for Olive-sided Flycatcher, Catbird, Clay-colored Sparrow and Blue-headed Vireo during migration.

The west side of Holford Rd. has a denser understory with unpaved, more primitive trails. This area offers solitude and excellent birdwatching opportunities. The sound of the running stream relaxes visitors sitting on benches beneath the dense tree canopy.

(972) 205-2750

Latitude: 32.9586
Longitude: -96.6498

Arbor Hills Nature Preserve
PPWW 098

This site is open for day use only.

From I-35 East in Dallas, take Exit 448A and go northeast on SR 121 approximately 4 miles to FM 544/Parker Rd. Follow Parker Rd. east approximately 3 miles to Arbor Hills Nature Preserve.

When you enter the preserve, listen for common birds such as Blue Jay, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Carolina Wren, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Tufted Titmouse and Carolina Chickadee.

The natural surface and concrete hiking and biking trails lead into the open woodlands and prairies characteristic of the park. The woodlands are dominated by cedar elm, bur oak, red oak and eastern red-cedar. Cottonwood, pecan, red mulberry and black willow dominate the overstory while yaupon, Hercules-club, sugar hackberry, black locust and osage orange are common understory shrubs.

The stream provides habitat for a variety of birds, and Gulf Fritillary, Giant Swallowtail and Monarch-mimicking Viceroy butterflies are common. A variety of damselflies and dragonflies also patrol the stream. This nature preserve offers many opportunities for outdoor activities and an escape from the bustle of the city.

(972) 941-7788

Latitude: 33.047
Longitude: -96.8476

Connemara Conservancy
PPWW 099

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

From Hwy. 75 North/Central Expressway in Allen, take Bethany Dr. west to Alma Dr. Turn left (south) on Alma Dr. and go 0.8 mile to Suncreek Park on the left. Park in the park, walk down the concrete path to Rowlett Creek, follow the path to the left until you see the old steel bridge and then walk into Connemara Meadow. A pecan grove will appear on your left as you do so.

This site is an oasis of open meadow in a suburban, residential area. Rowlett Creek borders the property and provides habitat for fish, amphibians and insects. A bird and plant checklist is available from the Connemara office. Walk through the pecan grove, along the stream, and follow the trail around the meadow. Prairie grasses and wildflowers such as Mexican hat, yarrow, Indian blanket, vetch and winecup abound in the meadow. Watch the fencerows for Cliff Swallow, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher and American Kestrel; more than 100 bird species have been observed here. Giant Swallowtail butterflies are common along the stream. This 72-acre property preserves an important open space in a developed area. It is a popular site to walk and enjoy the outdoors. The terraces on the hillside harken back to when cotton was grown on this once agricultural landscape.

(214) 534-1900

Latitude: 33.0891
Longitude: -96.7043

Oak Point Park & Nature Preserve / Bob Woodruff Park

This site is open for day use only.

Oak Point Park & Nature Preserve: From Hwy. 75/North Central Expressway in Plano, take the Spring Creek Parkway exit and travel east 0.7 miles to Jupiter Rd. Turn left (north) onto Jupiter Rd. In 0.6 miles turn right onto Los Rios Blvd. The park entrance is on your right in 0.2 miles.

Bob Woodruff Park: From Hwy. 75/North Central Expressway in Plano, take Exit 30 for Parker Rd. Travel east on Parker Rd. for 2.7 miles to San Gabriel Dr. and turn right (south) onto San Gabriel. In 0.6 miles you will find the main entrance to the park on your right with ample paved parking. The southern part of the park may be reached by walking the concrete path under Parker Rd. or by driving the short distance.

Oak Point Park and Nature Preserve is Plano's largest park encompassing 800 acres and lying within Texas’ Blackland Prairie ecoregion. The wide array of different plant communities is home to an abundance of butterflies, dragonflies, reptiles, amphibians, birds, and mammals, giving the park a uniquely rich biodiversity.

Listen for the loud calling Red-shouldered Hawks that raise their broods here. At dusk you can hear the calls of Barred, Great Horned, and Eastern Screech Owls. If you look carefully, you might see signs of bobcats, racoons, beavers, and woodland reptiles.

The plants along the lake provide homes and feeding areas for aquatic wildlife and insects. You might see green tree frogs, native bees and butterflies among the lakeside plants. This is good place to watch for colorful dragonflies as they perch on tall reeds and stems. Spring through fall, you will likely see red-eared slider and river cooter turtles, or catch sight of a water snake. Come early in the morning to see hunting herons and egrets. At other times you can catch cormorants, gulls, American Coots, Belted Kingfishers, and a smattering of wild duck species, especially in winter.

Look for Red-Winged Blackbirds nesting amid the cattails in the drainage areas. From fall through spring, several species of sparrows can be found foraging on seeds in the prairies and meadows. The arrival of Dickcissels in spring brings the incessant and unmistakable surge of singing as the males declare their breeding territories in the prairie and set about attracting mates. If you linger until dusk, you may hear the yips and howls of coyotes.

The long expanse of edge habitat at the bottom of the hill separates the woodland from the prairies and is teaming with life. During seasonal bird migration this is a good place to observe warblers as they pass through on their way north. 

Facilities at the park include concrete parking, paths, restrooms, water fountains, and park benches. There are nearly 8 miles of hard surface trails circling the lake and traversing the prairie and 5 miles of soft surface trail in the woodland, all of which are open from sunrise to sunset daily. If the creek has recently flooded, you may find sections closed. Please practice “Leave No Trace” principles.

Bob Woodruff Park North and South is 240 acres of riparian woodland with soft surface trails along Rowlett Creek, two spacious parkland areas with picnic tables amid old pecan and oak groves, and a large pond friendly to wild ducks, herons, egrets, and turtles. A “low mow” conservation buffer zone separates the woodland from the park’s mown areas, providing cover and forage for birds, reptiles, mammals, and many interesting insects.

During spring and fall migration, the park is a stopover for migrant birds. View them by walking the edge of the woodland along Rowlett Creek or take the soft surface trails into the woods on the west side of the creek.

Oak Point: (972) 941-7250

eBird Hotspot: 

Bob Woodruff: (972) 941-7250

eBird Hotspot: 
Woodruff Park North:
Woodruff Park South: 

Latitude: 33.05866
Longitude: -96.67421

Heard Natural Science Museum and Wildlife Sanctuary
PPWW 100

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.

On Hwy. 75 North/Central Expressway in Dallas, go north approximately 20 miles to Exit 38A. Go east on Hwy. 121 for 0.75 mile to Hwy. 5. Go right (south) on Hwy. 5 for 0.75 mile to FM 1378. Turn left on FM 1378 and drive 1 mile to museum entrance.

This 289-acre wildlife sanctuary has over 3 miles of interpreter-led or self-guided nature trails. Approximately two-thirds of the sanctuary lies within the floodplain of Wilson Creek. Habitats include permanent and ephemeral wetlands, bottomland hardwood forests and upland prairie. The sanctuary is a haven for more than 240 species of birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians and almost 150 species of wildflowers.

A walk through the native plant garden helps visitors identify and learn about native wildflowers, plants and trees. The science museum features excellent exhibits and educational opportunities. Don't miss the snake exhibit, with live snakes representing all ecoregions of Texas.

After a tour through the museum, obtain a self-guided trail brochure and take a hike. The Hoot-Owl Trail meanders through bottomland hardwood forest. This trail features a large 250-year-old bur oak along with black walnut, pecan, cedar elm, American elm and green ash. Understory trees include Carolina buckthorn, rusty blackhaw, red mulberry, Eve's necklace and soapberry. An array of vines including grapevine, rattan vine, greenbrier and poison ivy can be seen in the forest. Flowers along the prairie portion of the trail include trout lily, golden groundsel, wild onion and white avens.

This sanctuary offers unique opportunities to view a wide diversity of bird species year-round. Nesting species include Prothonotary Warbler and Northern Parula, Hooded Merganser, Wood Duck and Anhinga. The heron rookery is always fascinating during the breeding season. The oldest bird banding station in Texas is located here, offering unique interpretive opportunities during spring and fall banding of neotropical migratory songbirds.

In addition to the extensive array of avian species, you might catch a glimpse of a spotted skunk, flying squirrel, beaver, bat or even a bobcat. Southern leopard frogs, Strecker's chorus frog, Woodhouse's toad, prairie kingsnakes, eastern coachwhips, alligator snapping turtles, ornate box turtles, Texas spotted whiptails, Texas horned lizards and Texas spiny lizards are some of the amphibians and reptiles that can be seen.

(972) 562-5566

Latitude: 33.1593
Longitude: -96.6162