Park Alert... 

Old Tunnel State Park

  • TPWD YouTube Video of Old Tunnel State Park.

Things to Do

Nature Viewing

Enjoy hiking, bird-watching, and general wildlife viewing on the half-mile nature trail. The trail opens daily at sunrise and closes at 5 p.m.

Bring drinking water, as no water is available in the park. Picnic tables are available. Restrooms are only open in the evenings during bat season (May to October).

To minimize disturbance to the bat colony and for your safety, you must stay on the designated trail and you may not approach the tunnel.

Due to the sensitive nature of this park, we do not allow camping, pets or smoking.

Support state parks by donating to the Texas Parks & Wildlife Foundation.

Bat Emergence

Reservations required to stay after 5 p.m.

You must get permits in advance online or by calling the Customer Service Center, or you will not be allowed to be in the park after 5 p.m. or for bat viewings. 

Currently no more than 10 people are allowed in each of our bat viewing areas so make your reservations early.

The park cannot conduct any financial transactions on-site and if you do not have a permit, you will not be allowed in for bat viewings. Children under 4 years of age are not allowed at the lower area. 

From November through February, the park is closed to all entry after 5 p.m.

The abandoned railroad tunnel that gives Old Tunnel its name is home to up to 3 million Mexican free-tailed bats (Tadarida brasilienses mexicana) and 3,000 cave myotis (Myotis velifer) bats from May through October. During those months, visitors come to watch the bats emerge from the tunnel nightly. Bat-viewing opportunities are available seven nights a week, and nightly educational presentations are given Thursday through Sunday. Call (866) 978-2287 to get the latest emergence time information. There is no phone at Old Tunnel. If you need to contact us, e-mail Old.Tunnel@tpwd.texas.gov

Learn about the Old Tunnel Bat Flights.

Ranger Programs

Several educational exhibits with information on bats and railroad history are located along the half-mile trail, and from May through October bats can sometimes be seen flying within the tunnel. The nightly educational programs provide guests with a better understanding of the life history and ecology of bats.

Educational Programs

Bat trunks are available for teachers, individuals or organizations to borrow. Education materials include classroom curricula for all age classes, amazing videos, and a slide presentation. Demonstration materials consist of a taxidermic bat, a bat detector, posters, and many other neat hands-on items. For reference, Bat Conservation International's Bat House Builder's Handbook, 'Bats in Question', and 'Facts on the Fly' are part of the trunks. For a list of trunks available in Texas please visit Bat Trunk Resources.

School and Organizational Presentations. If you would like for a biologist to visit your school or organization to give an educational presentation on bats of Texas and/or bats and the environment, please see the list of available presentations below and e-mail the park for more information and scheduling opportunities (Program dates and times are subject to biologist/volunteer availability).

  • Presentation:  Bats of Texas (Kids and Adults) - Open to all groups 
  • Bat Habitat and Limiting Factors - 6th Grade Science
  • Bats and the Environment - 4th Grade
  • Busy Bug Bodies – Pre-K through 2nd Grades. 
    Kids will learn about bugs and the role they play in nature. The program will include costumed characters, a finger puppet show, preserved bug displays, reading a bug story, and some hands on activities like looking at bugs with magnifiers and microscopes and finally ending with a bug song/dance.  
  • Distance Learning Programs:
    • Introduction to Bats - Grades K through 6th
    • Mammals of Texas - 5th and 6th Grades
    • Conservation as a Career- 5th and 6th Grades

10619 Old San Antonio Road
Fredericksburg, TX 78624

Latitude: 30.101079

Longitude: -98.820704

(866) 978-2287

Mailing Address
P.O. Box 132
Waring, TX 78624

Entrance Fees
  • No Entrance Fee: Free
Hours

Trail is open year-round from sunrise to 5 p.m.

Reservations required to stay after 5 p.m.

For bat viewings, through Oct. 31, you must get permits in advance online or by calling the Customer Service Center, or you will not be allowed to be in the park after 5 p.m. 


From November through February, the park is closed to all entry after 5 p.m.


Currently no more than 10 people are allowed in each of our bat viewing areas so make your reservations early.


The park cannot conduct any financial transactions on-site and if you do not have a permit, you will not be allowed in for bat viewings. Children under 4 years of age are not allowed at the lower area. 


Check current restrictions at all our parks due to COVID-19.


Sometimes bats do not emerge before it is too dark to see and/or weather conditions can cause the bats not to emerge. There are no refunds for the paid lower viewing area, if bats are not visible.


For the most up-to-date bat emergence information, call the toll-free line at (866) 978-2287.
This phone has a recorded message only, to contact us, e-mail Old.Tunnel@tpwd.texas.gov.

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