San Angelo State Park

50.00 Miles
San Angelo
Tom Green
More Info
(Photo by Eveline)
You can almost see the lake. (Photo by Eveline)
Near Burkett Park Trailhead (Photo by MikeHikes)
Looking toward the dried up lake (Photo by MikeHikes)
Looking to the North from the southern end of the Winding Snake Trail at the Isabel Harte Day Use Area. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Southern terminus of Turkey Creek Trail - looking North. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Typical trail (Photo by MikeHikes)
Another trail view. Some are hiker and biker others hiker and equestrian. (Photo by MikeHikes)
All North Shore trails begin here. Water in the campground but the info kiosk has been destroyed by high winds 7-30-14. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Most of the trail is hard packed dirt; some portions are wide, others not so much. (Photo by MikeHikes)
The ever present prickly pear and mesquite trees. (Photo by MikeHikes)
This trail has quite a bit of wide open spaces. Can be extremely hot in the Summer (Photo by MikeHikes)
The Badlands Trail is mostly dirt and is easy to follow. (Photo by MikeHikes)
River Bend, Turkey Creek and Flintstone trails converge at this point. Water, info kiosk and shade is available for horses, bikers and hikers. (Photo by MikeHikes)
As can be seen, not all the trails are dirt, there are lots of small rocks on some trails. (Photo by MikeHikes)
This trail begins at the Playground parking area. It is mostly dirt and connects to various trails that head West and North. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Most of this trail is hard packed dirt although there are patches of caliche and other exposed rock. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Lots of trees and prickly pear cactus. (Photo by MikeHikes)
At the end of the Nature Loop Trail, look to the right. There is an active beehive inside the sign so avoid this if at all possible. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Lanky Lackey Trail has lots of small rocks on the trail. It can be a little tricky if you don't watch your footing. (Photo by MikeHikes)
This is one of the abandoned picnic shelters encountered along Winding Snake Trail. (Photo by MikeHikes)
This is near the beginning of the East Potts Creek trail. Lots of mesquites; an easy to hike trail until you get near the end where it connects to Armadillo Trail. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Lots of rock and some easy climbing. When you follow the trail, keep your eyes open to the left for a path that goes to the plateau - you should take it. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Playground Trail along the edge of the plateau is rocky and narrow in some places. Scenic views on this route!! (Photo by MikeHikes)
This road runs East and connects with another service road which takes you back to Burkett Park. Be advised the road is not consistently groomed and can be overgrown with waist high weeds. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Just a few of the longhorns at the park. Observe but don't annoy - they are best left alone, especially when calves are present. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Burkett Park has a parking area, dry toilets, water for humans and horses and a covered picnic table with a few more picnic tables down the road. Good place to begin many hikes in the South Shore. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Saw this Lace cactus on Armadillo Ridge Trail. Was one of a colony of two blooming cacti. (Photo by MikeHikes)
With the recent moisture, I won't call it "rain", some flowers are blooming. (Photo by MikeHikes)
I sighted my first Horned Toad of 2014 while on Dinosaur Trail. PLEASE be aware of the park's small residents! It would be very easy to accidentally step on, or roll your bike's tire over, one of these guys and if you did, you know how you'd feel :-( (Photo by MikeHikes)
Be advised the longhorns wander within some hiking areas of the park - they are NOT PETS and can be protective when calves are around. Respect them, leave them alone and they will leave you alone. (Photo by MikeHikes)
The lace cactus are blooming and the bees are busy! Take the time to observe and appreciate all the beauty in the park and don't worry about how fast you can hike, bike or ride the trails! (Photo by MikeHikes)
Lots of dragonflies out near the pond on Winding Snake. Don't know what his proper name is but when he is flying, his wings look like box kites! (Photo by MikeHikes)
This view is from Roller Coaster Trail as I look to the North. The houses to the left of the juniper bush are in the Highland Ridge Housing Area which abuts the park. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Prickly pear cactus are starting to bloom and this one is the best example. In a few weeks there should be many, many more! (Photo by MikeHikes)
Although the word "Night" is part of the Common Nighthawks' name, they can be found swooping through the air catching insects during the day - beautiful birds! (Photo by MikeHikes)
As can be seen, this old can served a useful purpose to a small snake. The snake used the sharp edge of one hole so it could shed it's old skin. No bones found in the can so the snake was able to slither out successfully. (Photo by MikeHikes)
It's easy to see how these guys blend into their environment. He watched me but didn't take off until after I snapped the shot. (Photo by MikeHikes)
This fox was hunting for a minute or so and didn't notice me at all. When he saw me and walked closer to investigate, he finally caught my scent and disappeared within a second or two. He was seen around noon on an overcast, windy day. (Photo by MikeHikes)
This Mississippi Kite and his/her numerous companions were out in force today. I was able to capture a few shots of this one chowing down on what looks like a cicada, while flying. (Photo by MikeHikes)
As cute as they are, these calves are not pets! Calves are with their mothers who can be very protective. Stay safe, take a picture from a distance and leave them alone! (Photo by MikeHikes)
This guy was watching me as I approached. When he was first spotted in this photo, he was standing up, however, the closer I approached, the lower he went. By the time I reached him, he was flat on the ground. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Saw this female Mexican Ground Squirrel eating what I think is a nut near Cougar Outlook. Don't see too many of these squirrels on the trails. (Photo by MikeHikes)
this guy is always looking for a meal - don't be his next one! Drink plenty of fluids, watch where you step and stay safe while hiking. (Photo by MikeHikes)
There are a lot of cicadas still out and about. I can't count the number of times I would startle one of these guys and they would fly away with a loud buzzing sound. A couple of times, I was whacked on the head as they flew into my hat! (Photo by MikeHikes)
Was very surprised to see these two owls at 11am! They were about 20 yards or so off the trail and content to observe us as we stopped to take their picture. Always a treat to see the many types of birds at the park! (Photo by MikeHikes)
A photo I shot while at the park. (Photo by MikeHikes)
I've seen a few of these abnormal cicadas missing the entire lower body yet it's very much alive - or is it merely a re-animated husk ready to devour any living cicadas it encounters? Perhaps this is the dawn of the long dreaded Zombie Apocalypse!! (Photo by MikeHikes)
Saw quite a few weeds with their seeds waiting to be taken by the wind or when touched by humans or animals. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Flowers continue to blossom at the park! The majority are these purple flowers as well as some large sunflowers located near the streams and ponds. (Photo by MikeHikes)
This guy was fascinated by his reflection in my camera lens. Once his curiosity was satisfied, he climbed back down and scampered off. (Photo by MikeHikes)
This hawk made a swoop and miss at the adult duck who got her ducklings under the tree. After awhile, the hawk left and the ducks continued their lives undisturbed. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Working on the next generation of dragonflies! (Photo by MikeHikes)
Although we've had some rain lately, this sign is from L-O-N-G ago. Maps show O.C. Fisher Reservoir as being a fairly large lake - it is currently at 1% capacity and all the water is at the southern end by the dam. (Photo by MikeHikes)
An adult Kite is bracketed by two juvenile Mississippi Kites. saw lots of other birds as well today. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Hiking throughout the park, the wind carried the strong scent of vanilla from this plant. The plants are throughout the park and made the hike very enjoyable. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Found on East Potts Creek Trail. I saw him from about three feet away, I backed up and had tossed a few sticks to get him to move off the edge of the trail. He went into the brush and rattled his warning as I gave him a wide berth. (Photo by MikeHikes)
The rock you see is normally covered when the water flows in the river - easy to see what the drought has done to the area. We need rain and lots of it! (Photo by MikeHikes)
This guy was 5-6 foot long! He did not mind me taking his picture so I left him as I found him and when I returned a few hours later, he was gone. He has a role in Nature and I respect that. (Photo by MikeHikes)
More and more of the purple thistle are showing up - means Fall isn't far behind and we'll soon see migrating birds. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Don't know what kind of snake except he is not a rattler. Saw him stretched on the trail and was able to get a few pics of him tasting the air. He went his way, and we went ours. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Not everyone around here likes the mesquite tree but I do. The trees provide shade for me and food for all kinds of animals. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Southern Burkett Trail Head (Photo by rodavenport)
Bells Point Monument (Photo by rodavenport)
Somebody hiking in toed shoes makes for interesting footprints (Photo by rodavenport)
Cross Monument (Photo by rodavenport)
I-Beam Cross (Photo by rodavenport)
Flintstone Village on the Flintstone Trail (Photo by rodavenport)
One of the better defined fossilized tracks. They are not nearly as clear and defined as the tracks at Dinosaur Valley SP. (Photo by rodavenport)
One of the prettier trails in the park. Make sure and catch it on the way by (Photo by rodavenport)
Shady trail located on the north side of the park has this interesting tunnel effect in a small grove of trees. (Photo by rodavenport)
Best guess is a juvenile Broad-winged hawk. He was very leisurely flying overhead and at one point, he got into a small raptor's territory and the smaller bird chased him off! (Photo by MikeHikes)
I take my camera whenever I hike so when I spotted this tree and clouds, I had to take the shot - it just looked nice! (Photo by MikeHikes)
I'm aware of the feral hog problem in Texas but this is the first time I've seen feral hogs at the park. Photo taken at Cougar Overlook at 1:15 10/8/14. (Photo by MikeHikes)
First time I've seen one of these! I saw this one on the Turkey Creek Trail as I was heading back. Probably about two inches long - Note the ant caught on his leg (which were covered in hairs) (Photo by MikeHikes)
A nice picture taken awhile back while staying at the park. (Photo by MikeHikes)
About 25-30 members of the Longhorn herd decided to rest on a portion of the Flintstone Trail. When I approached, they watched for awhile before eventually getting up and walking the trail in front of me, all the while depositing lots of fresh dung. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Came upon this road runner as he was hunting a tree lizard on the Lanky Lackey trail. The road runner went into the tree and the lizard was saved. (Photo by MikeHikes)
A few bee brush plants are blooming once again and the butterflies are enjoying them. I enjoy the vanilla scented blooms as well! (Photo by MikeHikes)
Was surprised to see this sunflower still in bloom and a moth sipping the nectar. (Photo by MikeHikes)
This was taken near Cougar Outlook in the middle of the park. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Although it may look like a meteor, it wasn't. The upper atmosphere was still and I watched as a jet left a contrail from one edge of the horizon to the other. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Just a nice view along Turkey Creek Trail looking South. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Just some of the scenery on the trail. (Photo by MikeHikes)
A group that survived the latest genocide attempt by humans on the species Meleagris gallopavo during the month of November. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Have seen these in huge clusters in the North Shore section of the park. Don't know what they are but they photograph well! (Photo by MikeHikes)
Maybe not so little but they looked more juvenile than adult. Of course they spotted us first so I only have a picture of their rear as they wandered deeper into the thicket. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Autumn is always a good time for photographs! Love the gold, red and orange colors. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Along the fence line in what was once the O.C. Fisher lake bed, some wag placed a glove on a fencepost. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Looking Northwest from the southern end of Winding Snake Trail. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Saw a pair of adult javalinas at the northern end of Lanky Lackey. They were resting on the side of the trail but when they saw us, they got up and slowly wandered off. (Photo by MikeHikes)
First meadowlark I've seen this season - they used to be very numerous and very common. (Photo by MikeHikes)
View from Burkett Park looking West. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Just some scenery looking Northeast from Burkett Park. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Just some nice scenery I enjoyed while hiking. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Looking to the West from the mid-point of Rollercoaster Trail (Photo by MikeHikes)
Not all of the trails are dirt! Lots of rock as well as some inclines. (Photo by MikeHikes)
This javelina's photo was taken at the park's South Shore bird blind. I think, if irritated, this guy could get a good chomp out of anyone. Observe but don't annoy! (Photo by MikeHikes)
Saw this male Ladderback Woodpecker near the southern end of the Roller Coaster Trail. (Photo by MikeHikes)
A stylized picture of the tree at the end of the Red Dam. Water hasn't been in this portion of the park for a very long time. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Weather was unseasonably warm and brought out the first snake of the year - a Texas Patchnose Snake (non-poisonous) - hope he finds shelter before the freeze hits in another day or two! (Photo by MikeHikes)
Some of the best scenic views in the park are to be seen on the Playground Trail as you hike to Bell's Point. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Saw this roadrunner relaxing a foot off the Roller Coaster trail. He was alive and well, just resting and putting a little too much trust in his camouflage. Got the snap and left him alone. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Don't get much fog here so when it happens, I have to get a picture. Taken along the service road near Bell's Trail head as I was outward bound. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Don't normally see one of these while hiking. (Photo by MikeHikes)
A nice view of a small portion of the Badlands trail - doesn't look too bad here. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Saw one Great Blue Heron guarding the nest along the North Concho River while hiking. (Photo by MikeHikes)
First lizard of the year spotted sunning himself alongside the trail. (Photo by MikeHikes)
This rattler was about 4-5 feet long and seemed thick. I counted nine sets of buttons on his tail; they didn't rattle at us so it was a good encounter. (Photo by MikeHikes)
This Black Throated Sparrow was singing but flew away after I snapped the picture. (Photo by MikeHikes)
This is one of the two horned toads I saw today. A few years back, it was VERY rare to see a toad anytime, I hope they are making a come-back! (Photo by MikeHikes)
Just a few of the many wild flowers blooming throughout the park. (Photo by MikeHikes)
About half way through my hike, the clouds gathered and darkened; only a few rain drops fell though. Taken at the junction of Winding Snake and Chaparral Trails as I look Northwest. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Quite a few yellow flowers blooming at the Burkett Park trail head. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Saw quite a few of the lace cactus blooming but there were still some blooms that have not yet opened. (Photo by MikeHikes)
This photo was taken last week (4-22-15) while hiking - the Lace Cactus have already lost their bloom. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Perched high in the tree, this Cactus Wren was very vocal in his singing for a mate. (Photo by MikeHikes)
This guy was found on a service road and is small - maybe the size of a half dollar. Further down the same road, we found two larger horned toads. (Photo by MikeHikes)
The berries are here - very colorful and tasty! (Photo by MikeHikes)
This horned toad was sharing part of the trail with us today while on East Potts Creek Trail. After snapping his picture, he scurried off into the brush. (Photo by MikeHikes)
When the North Concho River flooded, there was a lot of debris left behind in the park that will take some time to remove. This mound is on the Shady Trail (North Shore). (Photo by MikeHikes)
Looked so nice and peaceful that I had to snap the picture. After taking the picture, I walked by and the butterfly took off. (Photo by MikeHikes)
The North Concho river is still pumping water in the O.C. Fisher Reservoir but the reservoir is only 13.5% full. The drought continues :-( (Photo by MikeHikes)
A nice day and some nice clouds in the sky. (Photo by MikeHikes)
My every move was watched intently by this young rattler. After I got a few photos, he made his way into the grass, always keeping his eyes on me. (Photo by MikeHikes)
We saw this Mourning Dove just off the Winding Snake trail. She didn't make a sound or move as we watched her. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Found this egg on the trail - I'm not enough of an expert to know if the egg was discarded after the bird hatched or if the remnants of the yolk means he didn't make it. (Photo by MikeHikes)
This was the smallest horned toad I saw today - about three inches long from the tip of his nose to the tip of his tail. He allowed me to put my camera fairly close to get this shot; when I stood up, he scampered off. (Photo by MikeHikes)
A very chipper fledgeling peeping and fluttering for food. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Watching us with interest, this Road Runner was seen on the Badlands trail. He sat in the tree watching us and allowed me to get pretty close. (Photo by MikeHikes)
These longhorns were coming to the 5 Points junction as we were leaving. Quite a few groups of cattle were out today. As can be seen, the grass has grown a lot due to the extra rains. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Spotted on the Horny Toad trail. He kept moving deeper into the trees as I tried to get a good photo. This is the best of the bunch. (Photo by MikeHikes)
With all the rains in the past month, the lake is at 14.7% which isn't much but a few months ago, all you would have seen was dry land; not a drop of water in sight. (Photo by MikeHikes)
LOTS of grasshoppers at the park. (Photo by MikeHikes)
The longhorns are hanging around the Burkett park area as well as the East Potts Creek and Armadillo areas. Be aware and don't harass them - they'll leave you alone. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Although I don't know what kind of bird lays this egg it looks like a successful birth! I hope the heat doesn't kill the new fledgeling. (Photo by MikeHikes)
This egg was laying alongside a portion of the Red Dam Loop. It was undamaged but there was no nest nearby. I suspect another bird raided the nest and dropped it. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Just a nice view of an old fence still being used to keep the longhorns confined to the old lake bed area. (Photo by MikeHikes)
As previously mentioned in my logs, the longhorns wander all over the mid and northern sections of the park. I was at the 5 Points Junction when this longhorn came to drink. When I returned later, others were there as well. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Saw this bird jump into a tree and took a few snaps to see what it was. I didn't notice the wasp until I was processing the shot but as you can see, the mockingbird did notice and was watching it closely. (Photo by MikeHikes)
A group of grasshoppers were enjoying a prickly pear fruit. (Photo by MikeHikes)
The thistle continues to sprout purple but no seeds yet for the birds. The bees and grasshoppers seem to like it though. (Photo by MikeHikes)
This is part of the North Concho River but with the water low, it is instead, a small pond. (Photo by MikeHikes)
I normally see Road Runners individually, this pair watched me at Cougar Overlook. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Lots of light purple feathergay blooming; the butterflies are feasting as are the bumblebees. (Photo by MikeHikes)
The Monarchs are migrating and this one stopped on a gayfeather to grab a bite. (Photo by MikeHikes)
One of the many Monarch Butterflies encountered on today's hike. They are migrating South for the winter. (Photo by MikeHikes)
While on the crest of Roller Coaster Trail, the view looking North. Very pleasant day when I took this photo. (Photo by MikeHikes)
First time I've seen one of these in the park. After getting some pics, he wandered away. (Photo by MikeHikes)
The sound of the shutter fascinated this wren for a short time. Eventually, he flew away. (Photo by MikeHikes)
This guy might have drown during the last heavy rainfall. No visible wounds so it was either the rain or old age. (Photo by MikeHikes)
I saw this hawk as well as a couple of others. They were not visible during the warmer months but they appear to have finally returned! (Photo by MikeHikes)
Saw this today on Armadillo Trail - looks like something the Native Americans would have launched when all other options failed. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Numerous plants were blooming along the hike - tonight we get a hard freeze so I fear these blooms will be short lived. (Photo by MikeHikes)
This grey fox ran up into the tree when our dog saw him. We kept the dog away and the fox departed in peace. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Controlled burn was conducted at the South Shore by park personnel. Much of the park has NOT been burned. (Photo by MikeHikes)
All this year I've seen rats but didn't photograph one until I went to the park's bird blind. Saw three rats at once come out and scrounge for food. (Photo by MikeHikes)
The longhorns are in the park midsection along the trails. Be aware of them and leave them alone. They won't bother you if you don't bother them! (Photo by MikeHikes)
Saw this on the old service road to Cougar Overlook - I wish they would move it to one of the main entrances. Nice use of re-bar! (Photo by MikeHikes)
The majority of the cattle are used to people but it is best to leave them alone -- especially when calves are present. (Photo by MikeHikes)
This area is off Tasajilla Flats trail. A lot of the burned material seemed to be mesquite, scrub and prickly pear cactus. I've already seen grass growing in the burned areas. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Until today, I was unaware Great Blue Herons hunted on land. This one is hunting by the parking lot for some of the numerous rodents in the park. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Water continues to flow in the North Concho which feeds O.C. Fisher Lake. Granted, it's not much water flowing but nonetheless, it is flowing. The debris in the tree above the river is from the floods of 2015. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Still smell the smoke from the burn! LOTS of brush burned as well as mesquite trees and prickly pear. I recognize the necessity of the burn but it is depressing to walk through the areas burned. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Another view of one controlled burn area with O.C. Fisher in the background. Already, green grass is growing in clumps and will hopefully, take root and flourish. (Photo by MikeHikes)
This warning was posted near a junction by a boat ramp (the boat ramp now leads to dry lake bed) when there was more traffic on the park roads. Looks like a few folks decided the sign was a too good of a target to resist. (Photo by MikeHikes)
The smell of a blooming agarita bush was unexpected but welcome! Looked and saw a bush with these small flowers just beginning to bloom. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Although the lake has more water now than it did a year ago, it still has a long ways to go before this boat ramp will be usable. (Photo by MikeHikes)
On Sunday I saw a couple of agarita bushes with a few blooms, today there were many more blooms as evidenced by this photo. Whenever I smell the blooms I think of heat, dust and mesquite smoked honey. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Some nice looking trees along the North Concho River near Cougar Overlook. (Photo by MikeHikes)
The roadrunner started to run away but as soon as I took his picture he stopped and listened to the sound of my camera's shutter at high speed (10 fps). After a few seconds, he departed and began hunting for food on the road. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Saw him coming from the area where the park's bison normally are. He saw me, sauntered across the road and disappeared in the brush. (Photo by MikeHikes)
I saw one of these birds for the first time over ten years ago but never again until yesterday while hiking on Roadrunner Trail. Beautiful little bird! (Photo by MikeHikes)
This Curved Billed Thrasher was singing loudly and for a long time. Winter appears to be over and the mating season has begun! (Photo by MikeHikes)
Watched this Pyrrhuloxia at the bird blind. Very windy which caused his crown to flutter! (Photo by MikeHikes)
These yellow flowers are appearing in greater numbers at the park. Not many bees or bugs yet. (Photo by MikeHikes)
While picking up trash I noticed this Turkey Vulture perched on a dead tree. From one "cleaner" to another, I salute you! (Photo by MikeHikes)
Like the legendary Phoenix, the park is coming back to life after the controlled burns. (Photo by MikeHikes)
1st Vermillion Flycatcher I've seen at this state park. Beautiful, flighty bird was taking a bath in the river by diving in and flying back to a tree branch to preen. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Haven't seen as many of these birds as in the past. I know they are on their way North for the warmer months. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Saw about ten Turkeys along Roller Coaster trail. They didn't panic when they saw me but kept moving into the brush. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Saw this one near the southern end of Winding Snake Trail as he was singing for a mate. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Park has signs rattler are out- my photo verifies this. This was about 3 1/2 to 4 foot long. He was gliding through the grass near the southern end of Playground trail and when he saw me, he stopped and watched but didn't rattle. (Photo by MikeHikes)
A mating pair of horned toads. First pair I've seen this year but I saw a single horned toad a month or so ago. (Photo by MikeHikes)
This hawk was flying high with an apparently damaged wing. Looks to be missing feathers only; seemed to have no effect on his flying abilities. (Photo by MikeHikes)
I saw numerous Mockingbirds singing for a mate. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Look closely at the yellow bloom and find the ant! (Photo by MikeHikes)
The hawk was being chased by the two smaller birds. Didn't seem to bother the hawk much but he did leave the area. (Photo by MikeHikes)
It's been about seven or eight years since I saw my last Blue Grosbeak at this park. I only saw this one for a few minutes before he flew off. Very colorful bird! (Photo by MikeHikes)
This Mexican ground squirrel was hiding in the weeds and popped his head up to see what I was doing. Not many of these in the park. (Photo by MikeHikes)
See log entry for the back story! (Photo by MikeHikes)
This year I've spotted more Painted Buntings than every before. This one was spotted just below Bell's Point. (Photo by MikeHikes)
While on Playground Trail, this Cactus Wren was twittering and watching me to make sure I left her nest alone. (Photo by MikeHikes)
This Lark Sparrow was very hot and trying to cool off. He allowed me to get close for a photo. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Don't normally see them eating seeds, I usually see them with insects so this was a surprise. (Photo by MikeHikes)
This skull was placed directly in the middle of the West Potts Creek Trail and I assume it was meant as a joke and not as a warning! (Photo by MikeHikes)
I saw an owl the last four times I've been to Bell's Point; this is the first time I could get a photo (from a distance). (Photo by MikeHikes)
Seems late to be building a nest (taken 8/21/16) but maybe he knows more about the upcoming weather than the weathermen. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Recent rains provided some run-off down a portion of the North Slick Rock trail. (Photo by MikeHikes)
A solitary Roadrunner preening his feathers before he flew off - not many birds were out today. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Rattlers are still out and about at the park so watch where you put your feet, your horse's hooves or your tires! (Photo by MikeHikes)
Encountered him at the beginning of the hike. Even though he was only 12-18 inches long, he acted aggressive so I gave him a wide berth and all was well. (Photo by MikeHikes)
The male Golden Fronted Woodpecker jumped into the tree and disturbed the Hummingbird. They kept an eye on each other until they both flew away. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Some will die so others may live is a harsh, but true, fact of life. This Praying Mantis was devouring the butterfly when I snapped this shot. (Photo by MikeHikes)
A sizeable rattler who acted rather aggressively; perhaps due to hunger or the time of year. He coiled about a foot off the trail continuously rattling and I was able to get by with no harm. (Photo by MikeHikes)
One of the numerous caterpillars enjoying the green plants which will become tumbleweeds. (Photo by MikeHikes)
The greenish cluster on the caterpillar's back are wasp eggs. When the eggs hatch, the wasp larvae will feed off the caterpillar - LIFE IS HARSH. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Some of the numerous pelicans flying around the park as they land or take off from O.C. Fisher reservoir. (Photo by MikeHikes)
The hawk was sitting on the branch when the two starlings appeared so he decided to leave. (Photo by MikeHikes)
This Loggerhead Shrike was ready to pounce as he watched for prey. While I observed him, his vigilance was not rewarded. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Fourth time this year the Bee Brush has produced flowers and the intoxicating vanilla scent. (Photo by MikeHikes)
One of the commonly seen birds at the park but nonetheless, always enjoyable to spot! (Photo by MikeHikes)
Quite a bit of the park was recently subject to a controlled burn. Lots of brush and vegetation has disappeared as a result. (Photo by MikeHikes)
This male Cardinal was trying to get a drink from the horse trough at 5 Points Junction. To make it a little easier for the birds, I put a few sticks across the trough so they have a place to perch and get closer to the water. (Photo by MikeHikes)
White crowned Sparrow was preening for me so I took this photo. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Accidentally disturbed an ant nest so as a peace offering, I gave them a small chunk of my Clif Bar - they seemed happy to accept the food as restitution! (Photo by MikeHikes)
These two foxes were very nonchalantly walking on Winding Snake Trail. When they saw me, they calmly took a detour and disappeared in the brush (Photo by MikeHikes)
Not many birds out today but I spotted these Inca Doves. (Photo by MikeHikes)
It's only February but the agarita are already beginning to bloom - to me, the blooms smell like a mixture of dust, mesquite smoke and honey - very intoxicating!! (Photo by MikeHikes)
He was a ways off but easy to identify. Saw two males and one female near Bell's Trail head. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Although not as fragrant as a it was a few weeks ago, there are still enough agarita in bloom to scent the air. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Numerous calves are present so give them, and their parents, a wide berth. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Saw him on Tasajilla Flats - his very bright red color caught my eye. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Saw this solitary Hummingbird Moth on Dinosaur Trail at the beginning of my hike. VERY spry and fast moving! I took numerous pictures but this is one of two that were any good. (Photo by MikeHikes)
I never tire of photographing these colorful birds! (Photo by MikeHikes)
A view of the North Concho River that feeds O.C. Fisher Lake (or reservoir). When the river is full and flows normally, the large rocks are submerged. Just shows we're still in a serious drought! (Photo by MikeHikes)
This was the first cactus flower I saw this year. Further down the trail, I saw more but there were still lots of unopened flowers on the cactus pads. (Photo by MikeHikes)
High winds kept most of the birds out of the air. This guy popped up from the ground and posed for my camera. Once I took the photo, he jumped back down. (Photo by MikeHikes)
A Scissortail Flycatcher just lifted off from the branch. Nice to see them back in the park. (Photo by MikeHikes)
This roadrunner ran in front of me on the Tasajilla Flats trail. He'd occasionally turn and squawk at me for having the nerve to follow him. (Photo by MikeHikes)
One of the numerous Kingbirds I saw today. (Photo by MikeHikes)
As can be seen, this portion of the trail has been groomed and is easy to see as well as traverse. Very nice! (Photo by MikeHikes)
First Horned Toad of 2017. Would not move until after I stepped over him when he moved a few feet to some greenery. Be cautious where you put your feet when hiking! (Photo by MikeHikes)
While on Tasajilla Flats this grey fox saw me first and took off through the brush. (Photo by MikeHikes)
What was once an uncommon bird has become very common. I see the Painted Bunting at more locations in the park on nearly every hike. A very beautiful bird! (Photo by MikeHikes)
One of the two fawns I spotted at the beginning of my hike. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Most of the park's trails are in the open with lots of sky but few trees and little shade. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Many of the trails in the southern portion of the park are rocky like this. Of course, some trails like Winding Snake, are mostly dirt. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Saw many pairs of birds today - this pair was seen at the beginning of my hike. (Photo by MikeHikes)
This nest near Bell's Point was less than an arm's length from the trail - be aware of your surroundings! (Photo by MikeHikes)
I've seen wasps attack caterpillars and spiders but never a grasshopper. Don't know if it was a successful attack or not. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Rain from a few weeks ago and the warmer than normal weather has fooled the Bee Brush to bloom for the FIFTH time this year - the plant puts out a pleasant smell to be sure. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Not much happening today so to symbolize the hike, a lonely tree. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Mesquites are beginning to lose their leaves for Fall. Still quite a few flowers blooming for the Monarch Butterflies to feast on as they head to Mexico. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Numerous animals are near Roadrunner Loop as there are water sources all around the area (Photo by MikeHikes)
Haven't seen a Kestrel in quite awhile. Unfortunately, this one was at a distance and moving away from me. (Photo by MikeHikes)
A young doe enjoying breakfast in the early morning sun. (Photo by MikeHikes)
This season's first Ruby Crowned Kinglet. Don't know if he'll stay for the Winter or is just stopping by for a short visit. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Saw this feral cat calmly walking along Winding Snake Trail until he saw me and then he was off in a flash! (Photo by MikeHikes)
A view from the Red Dam Loop looking SW. Not much green showing here but there still is some in the park. (Photo by MikeHikes)
I saw a good sized, looks to be eight pointer, buck chasing the does. This is one of the larger bucks hanging around the Tasajilla Flats area. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Look closely and you'll see the lone javalina (dark shape in the light colored, dried brush area). Had to really magnify the photos since he was a good distance away. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Been awhile since I've seen Goldfinches. Today I saw three of them on dried thistle plants. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Been awhile since I'd seen a Verdin at the park - I don't know if he's a winter visitor or just passing through. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Although 1000 acres were burned it was not a complete burn. LOTS of dead mesquite trees still standing as well as other vegetation. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Saw some Black Throated Sparrows on this morning's hike. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Didn't see a lot of birds on this hike but this Pyrrhuloxia allowed me to take his picture. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Looks like these trees were felled by one or more beavers. Will have to look for them whenever I walk along Shady Trail. (Photo by MikeHikes)
A very small portion of the Winding Snake trail is visible in this photo of the view as you look West from the Isabel Harte Day Use Area. (Photo by MikeHikes)
One of the birds I like the most! (Photo by MikeHikes)
LOTS of longhorns in the middle and northern sections of the park. Give them space; especially when calves are present. (Photo by MikeHikes)
A view of the Winding Snake Trail looking West. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Very fragrant plant which is in bloom at scattered locations in the park. Love the smell! (Photo by MikeHikes)
One of the first Vermillion Flycatchers of the year taking off from a branch. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Looking West from the trail head of Winding Snake at the Isabel Harte Day Use Area. (Photo by MikeHikes)
The view from Cougar Lookout. This rock is in the North Concho River which feeds into O.C. Fisher reservoir at the park. Even in dry years, the rock is normally covered in water with only the very top visible. Not a good sign at this time of year! (Photo by MikeHikes)
Saw two large flocks (20 - 30 birds per flock) of Cedar Waxwings today - the first of the year! (Photo by MikeHikes)
One of the first cactus flowers seen in the park. Numerous buds on the cactus so it should be pretty colorful soon. (Photo by MikeHikes)
A family of Longhorns graze in the dry North Concho riverbed (Photo by MikeHikes)
One of the numerous cactus in bloom. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Scattered patches of Bee Brush are in bloom scenting the air and attracting the bees. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Lots more cactus are in bloom and these are not all a solid yellow in color. (Photo by MikeHikes)
This rattler is small but still very potent so I gave him a wide berth when I passed him on the trail - he didn't move or rattle as I passed. (Photo by MikeHikes)
This horned toad was a little smaller than my thumb. He moved quickly across the trail and hid on the dead cactus palm. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Shared the trail this morning with a tarantula. Don't see many at the park and the few I have seen were usually in a Roadrunner's beak. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Even this Coachwhip needs water. I watched as he easily crawled up the side of the water trough, got a drink, slid down and departed. (Photo by MikeHikes)
This Cactus Wren was guarding his nest and watched my every move. I took a few snaps and left him in peace. (Photo by MikeHikes)
A solitary dove perched on a dead mesquite branch - a good symbol for today's hike. (Photo by MikeHikes)
This spider was spotted under the table at Bell's Point. Be careful where you sit! (Photo by MikeHikes)
On the Chaparral Trail, this Roadrunner was catching some shade with a grasshopper in his beak. As I approached, he ducked into a bush with his lunch. (Photo by MikeHikes)
The male caught my eye when he flew to the tree and upon closer inspection, I saw his mate in the lower right of the photo. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Never tire of smelling the vanilla scent of the Bee Brush while hiking!!!!!! (Photo by MikeHikes)
Fortunately for the butterfly, the recent rains have caused the Bee Brush to bloom and provide some food. (Photo by MikeHikes)
The majority of trails at the park are very visible and easy to traverse. A significant percentage are like this piece of Lanky Lackey. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Raining steadily when I arrived at Cougar Lookout. I noticed a Turkey Vulture and Loggerhead Shrike both patiently waiting in this dead tree. After about 15 minutes, the rain stopped and the Loggerhead flew away. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Watched a "swirl" of these gulls as they circled above O.C. Fisher Reservoir (at 8% capacity). Not much water in the lake but enough for the gulls to make a the park a rest stop on their way south. (Photo by MikeHikes)
This view of the North Concho River is on the North Scenic Loop. Normally, there is a small pond at the bottom of the drop-off. Instead, the water level is much higher; a welcome abundance as it flows to O.C. Fisher Lake. (Photo by MikeHikes)
A few Monarchs are around but the majority have already migrated; LOTS of other butterflies are still in the park! (Photo by MikeHikes)
Although it is Fall, the vegetation is still mostly green - of course, there are always a few exceptions. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Been awhile since I've seen a Bluebird at the park. This was one of two that were chittering in the tree as I approached. I got the picture then they took off. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Looking North by Northwest from Bell's Cross on top of the Big Hill. As can be seen, there isn't much color this time of year. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Log Entries
North Shore Bell's Trailhead to Cougar Lookout and back
By MikeHikes on 12/1/2018
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 9.60 Miles Duration: 4 hours

Out      Bell's Trailhead > service road (S) > Dinosaur Trail > Dinosaur Tracks Viewing Area > Dinosaur Trail > Upper Big Hill > Badlands > River Bend > service road (NE) < Cougar Lookout       6.0 miles

Return  Cougar Lookout > Javalina > River Bend (100 meters straight to service road) > service road (ENE) > Lower Ghost Camp Trail > River Bend Ghost Camp > Lower Ghost Camp > South Slick Rock > service road (NW) > Scenic Loop > service road (NW) > Shady Trail > Bell's Trailhead     3.6 miles

Temps started in the low-50's, ended in the mid-60's. Sunny with strong and steady, westerly winds of 20+ mph.

Fairly easy hike along easy to see and traverse dry trails with little to no, vegetation covering them.  With the strong winds, most of the birds either stayed low to the ground or, conversely, high in the sky riding the currents.  Numerous small birds stayed in the scrub so photos were nearly impossible.  On the other hand, I saw a couple of raptors and vultures high in the sky, riding the wind currents as they looked for food. 

Most of the leaves have fallen so the landscape is colorless, except for the cacti, junipers and a few live oaks. 


Water is available at the campground area by Bell's Trailhead.

Water, shade and info kiosk available at the Dinosaur Tracks Viewing Area.

Shade, info kiosk and bicycle repair station available at Cougar Lookout.

Water, shade, info kiosk and dry toilets available at River Bend Ghost Camp.



South Shore Playground Parking Area to Armadillo Ridge Figure 8
By MikeHikes on 11/24/2018
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 11.20 Miles Duration: 5 hours

Leg 1 -   Playground parking area > Tasajilla Flats > Nature Loop > Lanky Lackey > WS to LL Connector > Burkett Park     4.0 miles

Leg 2 -   Burkett Park > Burkett Trail > East Potts Creek > Armadillo Trail (W) > West Potts Creek > Roller Coaster > Lanky Lackey (20 m) > WS to LL Connector > Burkett Park    3.9 miles

Leg 3 -   Burkett Park > Winding Snake > Chaparral > Playground Parking Area     3.3 miles

Temp started at 43, ended at 70.  Overcast at first but cleared to sunny with high clouds.  Light then steady breeze.

Due to park closure for hunting and Thanksgiving events, I hadn't been to the park for some time.  Today there were quite a few people out hiking, biking and jogging on the trails, perhaps trying to exercise away that second, or third, piece of pie they had a few days ago.

Trails were for the most part, dry and easy to traverse.  One notable exception was the northern end of West Potts Creek trail.  Since Potts Creek has water in it and the trail crosses the creek bed, the trail itself has a section that is very muddy.  Adding to the mud, today's weather was warm so the mosquitoes were out - I have a dozen bites already swelling up. 

The other exception was on Roller Coaster trail.  There are significant portions of the southern section of the trail with standing water and mud - VERY surprising since we've had no rain yet the water trickles down from the hill above.  No idea where the source is but this is West Texas and all water is welcome.

I saw a Kestrel and a couple of Eastern Bluebirds which is unusual; especially seeing the Bluebird.  The last Bluebird I saw was at the North Shore portion of the park; to the best of my recollection, this is the first time I've seen this bird in the South Shore section (photo attached).  There were some butterflies still fluttering around and quite a few low flying/ground hugging birds that would pop up, fly about five or six feet, then disappear in the scrub.  A temperature drop is expected tonight that will last for three days then a gradual warm up before turning cold once again.  I hope all the park residents have a place to stay lined up for this changing weather.


Water, shade, info kiosk and toilets available at Playground Parking Area.

Water, shade, info kiosk and dry toilets available at Burkett Park.

IMPORTANT - The park trails map has been updated but the maps in the info kiosk have not.  Trust the park map EXCEPT in regard to Armadillo Trail; the new park map does NOT include it.  You will see trail markers (poles) with "Armadillo" painted on them at the junctions of Armadillo and East Potts Creek and at Armadillo and West Potts Creek. 

Park Mid-section Burkett Park to 5 Points Junction Loop
By MikeHikes on 11/11/2018
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 6.50 Miles Duration: 3 hours

Out     Burkett Park > WSto LL Connector > Roller Coaster > West Potts Creek > Armadillo (W) > Turkey Creek > 5 Points Junction     4.2 miles

Return 5 Points Junction > Flintstone (S) > service road (NE) > at 1st junction, turn right (SSW) to Trailhead to Trailhead Trail (service road) > Burkett Trail > Burkett Park     2.3 miles

Temps started in low 40's, ended in mid 50's.  Mostly sunny with wispy clouds and a steady SW breeze.

The trails were surprisingly damp and in some spots, very muddy.  Trails have either been groomed or the vegetation has died off because there were no issues with seeing a clear trail ahead.  As usual, there were a few spots that could use some gravel or other fill in spots but overall, the trails were good.

Lots of small butterflies and grasshoppers were seen as well as a number of small birds.  No animals were spotted.  Our first freeze of the season is predicted to occur in less than 48 hours - I hope all the park residents are prepared!


Water, shade, info kiosk and dry toilets available at Burkett Park.

Water, shade and info kiosk at 5 Points Junction.

IMPORTANT - the trail maps available at the park office have been updated and the maps in the info kiosks have not.  Trust the new map.

South Shore Playground parking area to Burkett Park
By MikeHikes on 11/2/2018
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 7.40 Miles Duration: 3 hours, 30 minutes

Out     Playground parking area > Tasajilla Flats > Lanky Lackey > WS to LL Connector > Burkett Park     4.2 miles

Return Burkett Park > Winding Snake > Chaparral > Playground parkign area                       3.2 miles

Temp started in low 50's, ended in low 70's.  Sunny with clouds, light breeze.

Leisurely hike along wet and muddy trails.  It rained two days ago and the saturated ground is still very wet.  LOTS of butterflies out today.  Bee brush is blooming as are some wild flowers.  Quite a few birds out as well although nothing unusual.  A very pleasant hike!


Water, shade, info kiosk and toilets available at Playground parking area.

Water, shade, info kiosk and dry toilets available at Burkett park.

IMPORTANT - Park trail maps have been updated and do NOT match the map in the info kiosks - trust the park map.

South Shore Playground Parking Area to Burkett Park
By MikeHikes on 10/26/2018
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 7.40 Miles Duration: 3 hours

Out     Playground parking area > Tasajilla Flats > Nature Loop > lanky Lackey > WS to LL Connector > Burkett Park      3.8 miles

Return Burkett Park > Winding Snake > Chaparral > Red Dam Loop > Chaparral > Playground parking area                    3.6 miles

Temp started at low-50's, ended at low 70's.  Intermittent northerly winds, sunny and very few clouds.

As my last report stated, the trails were wet, muddy, rough and rocky.  Lots of small birds out as were the butterflies.  I saw a few whitetail does and one fairly large 8 point buck - good luck to them as the park closed early today for a scheduled hunt.

Not much else to report !


Water, shade, info kiosk and toilets available at Playground parking area.

Water, shade, info kiosk and dry toilets available at Burkett Park.

North Shore Bell's Trailhead to Cougar Lookout
By MikeHikes on 10/22/2018
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 10.40 Miles Duration: 5 hours

Out      Bell's Trailhead > Shady Trail > Trailhead to Trailhead (South - it's a service road) > North Scenic Loop > South Slick Rock > Lower Ghost Camp > River Bend Campground > Lower Ghost Camp > service road (W 100 yards) > River Bend Trail (go straight 200 yards) > Javalina > Cougar Lookout        3.9 miles

Return  Cougar Lookout > service road (W) > River Bend (NW) > Badlands > service road (NE 30 yards) > North Slick Rock > Dinosaur Trail > Dinosaur Tracks Viewing Area > Dinosaur Trail (N) > service road (NW) > Bell's Trailhead    6.5 miles

Temps started in low 50's, ended in mid-60's.  Cloudy with intermittent breeze from the South.

Wet, muddy, rough or rocky - take your pick and one or more of those descriptions fit the trail conditions on today's hike.  We had a week of welcome rain which brought a much needed boost to the lakes and reservoirs; O.C. Fisher (at the park) went from 7.9% to 14.3 % - not much of a difference to many but a BIG improvement to the lake.  The North Concho River, which feeds the lake, for the longest time was dry in many places and was not flowing but today, it is flowing and adds even more water to the lake.  

The rains have also helped the migrating Monarchs (I saw many individuals but no large groups) by causing the Bee Brush to bloom once more.  Lots of other butterflies were present as well, all feasting on the numerous small flowers present. I saw about 20-25 Whitetail deer during the hike and for the first time, an American Badger.  

I was walking along Javalina Trail on my way to Cougar Lookout and as I rounded a small bend, I saw a badger about 20 yards in front of me.  I began to raise my camera and as I did, he ducked into a patch of prickly pear.  I waited a minute to see if he'd come back out but he didn't.  I walked slowly past and stopped about 20-30 yards away and waited.  After another minute, the badger cautiously lifted his head up and peered at me while he remained in the midst of the prickly pear.  After a few seconds, he turned and disappeared in the brush - all I saw was the top portion of his body as he scurried away.  The photo I took of him watching me from the brush wasn't worth much and I discarded it.  Oh well, next time I'll get a good photo.


Water available at Bell's Trailhead in the camping area.

Water, shade, info kiosk and dry toilets available at River Bend Campground.  

Shade, info kiosk and bicycle repair station available at Cougar Lookout.

Water, shade and info kiosk available at Dinosaur Tracking Viewing Area.

SPECIAL NOTE - On the return leg, when I came down the service road from the Badlands Trail, there is a junction of trails at the base of the hill.  The iron post trail signage says "North Slick Rock" BUT when you reach the end of the trail, there is a wooden sign that says the trail you just traversed is "Dinosaur Trail".  This can be misleading.

ALSO - The park has updated their paper maps but have not yet updated the maps in the info kiosks.

South Shore Playground parking area to Burkett Park Loop
By MikeHikes on 10/5/2018
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 7.10 Miles Duration: 3 hours, 20 minutes

Out     Playground parking area > Chaparral > Winding Snake > Burkett park        3.3 miles

Return Burkett park > Winding Snake (15 meters) > WS to LL Connector > Lanky Lackey > Nature Loop > Horny Toad > Talley Valley > Chaparral > Playground parking area     3.8 miles

Temp started in mid-70's, ended in upper 80's.  Partly sunny with fairly steady, strong breeze.

Nice hike today along trails easy to see and traverse.  Park personnel have groomed more of the trails and cleaned up a "trouble spot" on Nature Loop.  Only negative was picking up a number of GU and BLOX packets left from last weeks trail race.  Oh well, not the park's fault.

There were few birds spotted except for Turkey Vultures however, this area has been innunated by small brown butterflies - at the park as well as in town.  Saw some of them resting/eating on the plants that will become tumbleweeds.  On the same plants, the caterpillars are also eating the small leaves.  Spotted a few Monarchs, as well as a few other butterflies, eating the remaining bee brush, gayfeathers and other flowers still blooming.

One unusual sighting - saw a turtle, about the size of my fist, at the beginning of the hike.  This is the second turtle I've spotted since I started hiking at this park 18 years ago so this was definitely a noteworthy sight!


Water, shade, info kiosk and toilets available at Playground parking area.

Water, shade, info kiosk and dry toilets available at Burkett Park.

IMPORTANT - The new park trail maps are accurate with regard to all of today's trails.  The maps located in the info kiosks are not.

South Shore Playground parking area to Isabel Harte Loop
By MikeHikes on 9/28/2018
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 5.00 Miles Duration: 2 hours, 20 minutes

ROUTE   Playground parking area > Tasajilla Flats > Horny Toad > Nature Loop > park road to Isabel Harte > Chaparral > Red Dam Loop > Chaparral > Playground parking area       5.0 miles

Temps in lower 70's, sunny and a steady breeze.

Pleasant hike on a gorgeous day.  Due to an upcoming race at the park, some of the trails have been groomed and some have not.  The long, straight stretch of Nature Loop and all of Red Dam Loop haven't been groomed and need to be.  Otherwise, the trails are easy to see and somewhat easy to traverse - caution is always advised due to loose rocks/soil on the trails.

A couple of things of interest - saw a large gathering of migrating seagulls swirling in the air about O.C. Fisher (photo attached) and watched a Tarantula Hawk fly and drag a paralyzed tarantula along the park road going to Isabel Harte.  It left the tarantula in the road when we approached; we verified it was a paralyzed tarantula and walked away.  We watched and eventually, the Tarantula Hawk returned to it's prey.  Nothing we could do to help the tarantula since it was already paralyzed and would eventually die reagrdless if the hunter returned or not.  Life isn't always fair or pretty.


Water, shade, info kiosk and toilets available at Playground parking area.

IMPORTANT - As mentioned in earlier logs, the park's maps have been updated BUT they don't match all the trail signage or the maps in the info kiosk.  Notable exclusion is the absence of "Armadillo Trail" on the new maps but the trail signage still lists it.  Pay attention to where you're at and trust the park map.

Park Mid-Section Burkett Park to Cougar Lookout Loop
By MikeHikes on 9/26/2018
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 11.10 Miles Duration: 4 hours, 45 minutes

Out     Burkett park > Burkett Trail > Potts Creek > Armadillo (E) > Playground > Bell's Point > Flintstone > 5 Points Junction > Flintstone (N) > Cougar Lookout       5.2 miles

Return  Cougar Lookout > service road (W) > River Bend (SW) > 5 Points Junction > Turkey Creek > Armadillo (W) > West Potts Creek > Roller Coaster > Lanky lackey (20 meters) > WS to LL Connector > Burkett Park       5.9 miles

Temp started at 60, end at 70.  Overcast with sporadic, then steady rain (for 15 minutes).  Fairly steady northerly wind.

A nice hike with some rain.  Parts of the trails have been groomed for an up-coming race but other parts have not.  Basically, the trails nearest Burkett Park have been groomed and the furtehr north you hike, the less attention has been payed.  In particular on Playground Trail.  Vegetation continues to grow and will cover portions of the trail but the trail itself is still visible EXCEPT in the area below Bell's Point. 

This portion needs some grooming especially the portion that connects to Flintstone Trail - the last 30-40 meters is totally overgrown to the point you cannot see the trail.  Do what I did - look around and if you still cannot see the trail, walk forward (North) until you come to an old service road (it is always visible).  Once there, look in both directions and find the trail posts for Flintstone (on the north side of the road).  Flintstone is in slightly better shape and needs grooming as well - the entire length, all the way to Cougar Lookout.

Not many birds out although I got a good picture of two different birds waiting for the rain to stop (photo attached).  I did see a fairly large javalina when he burst out of a bush alongside the trail, grunted a few times and ran away.  I also saw a couple of deer and a large number of longhorns were in the Cougar Lookout section of the park.  Of note, there were a large number of calves present and for the first time since I've been hiking at the park, a longhorn bull challenged me. 

I had departed Cougar Lookout and was on the service road heading back when I saw a small herd of about 20-25 cattle in front and to the left of me about 30-40 meters away.  A large bull snorted and ran until he was in the middle of the road about 30 meters directly in front of me; three of his compadres also advanced to his immediate right and the rest of the herd stopped.  I talked and made noise while watching him.  After a minute or so, he and I just watched each other.  I noticed a section of post fence to my right and decided if the bull charged, I'd go for the fence and use it to block him.  About three minutes passed before he snorted then walked perpendicular to me towards the other side of the road.  After he got a few yards away, he did a snort/bellow and the rest of the herd slowly followed.  I waited until the herd was about 10 meters in before I continued forward.  No other confrontation was made.

This is the first time a bull has challenged me.  I attribute his actions to the presence of the numerous calves and perhaps his need to demonstrate to the herd, he was the leader.  Amusing to me - when the lead bull was in front and most of the herd was across, a different bull decided since the dominant bull was way in front, he'd go for it and mounted one of the laggard cows!  I didn't want to stick around in case the dominant bull saw what was happening to one of his harem so I picked up my pace a little.



Water, shade, info kiosk and dry toilets available at Burkett Park.

Water and shade available at Bell's Point

Water, shade and info kiosk available at 5 Points Junction.

Shade, info kiosk and a bicycle repair station available at Cougar Lookout.

IMPORTANT - As mentioned in earlier logs, the park's maps have been updated BUT they don't match all the trail signage or the maps in the info kiosk.  Notable exclusion is the absence of "Armadillo Trail" on the new maps but the trail signage still lists it.  Pay attention to where you're at and trust the park map.




South Shore Playground Parking Area to Armadillo Ridge Figure 8
By MikeHikes on 9/19/2018
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 11.10 Miles Duration: 4 hours, 20 minutes

Leg 1  -  Playground parking area > Tasajilla Flats > Nature Loop > Lanky Lackey > WS to LL Connector > Burkett Park       4.0 miles

Leg 2  -  Burkett Park > Burkett Trail > Potts Creek > Armadillo (W) > West Potts Creek > Roller Coaster > Lanky Lackey (15 meters) > WS to LL Connector > Burkett Park      3.9 miles

Leg 3  -  Burkett Park > Winding Snake > Chaparral > Playground parking area      3.2 miles

Temp started at 79, ended at 89. Partly cloudy, humid and steady southerly breeze.

Very pleasant hike today.  Most of the trails are clearly visible and easy to traverse with some exceptions.  The northern-most portion of Tasajilla Flats Trail has become overgrown due to the recent rains but on the positive side, the bee brush is in full bloom and the vanilla scent from the flowers is very pleasant.  

The northern-most portion of West Potts Creek has been worked on, however there is still a steep dropoff that requires some caution.  There are a few places along the trail where standing water is present, consequently, insect activity is high.  Speaking of insects, there was an inordinate amount of dragonflies buzzing about during the entire hike and as usual, the grasshoppers were also in abundance.  Few birds were visible although I spotted a juvenile male Vermillion Flycatcher and a Common Nighthawk. 


Water, shade, info kiosk and toilets available at Playground parking area. IMPORTANT - when I finished today's hike, I went to get water and it was not on at the sink in the Men's Room.  Don't know why and I hope it is temporary.  If the water is still turned off, water is located at other toilets in the area as well as at the various campsites nearby.

Water, shade, info kiosk and dry toilets available at Burkett Park.

IMPORTANT - As I've mentioned in my most recent reports, the park has updated the trail maps that are given out at the gate.  These maps are not 100% in sync with trail posts (notably Armadillo Trail which is absent from the map but is still seen on trail posts) and the maps displayed in the park's info kiosk.  If in doubt, trust the new paper maps!


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Recommended Item Official Guide to Texas State Parks and Historic Sites: New Edition
Laurence Parent
List Price: $27.95 Our price: $18.81 Buy Now
Since it was first published in 1996, Official Guide to Texas State Parks and Historic Sites has become Texans’ one-stop source for information on great places to camp, fish, hike, backpack, swim, ride horseback, go rock climbing, view scenic landscapes, tour historical sites, and enjoy almost any other outdoor recreation.