San Angelo State Park Log Entries


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South Shore Tasajilla Flats Loop
User: MikeHikes - 12/11/2017  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 3.30 Miles Duration: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Route  Playground parking area > Chaparral > Talley Valley > Horny Toad > Nature Loop > Tasajilla Flats > Playground parking area     3.3 miles

Temps in the upper 30's to start and mid 40's at end, sunny, no wind.

A quiet, easy hike along some trails I'm rarely on.  The trails were dry and in good repair.  There were some birds were out as well as a larger than expected number of deer who survived the recent hunts.

Very pleasant and peaceful.

NOTES

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

 

South Shore Playground parking area to Armadillo Ridge Figure 8
User: MikeHikes - 12/10/2017  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 10.80 Miles Duration: 4 hours, 30 minutes

 

Leg 1 -  Playground parking area > Chaparral > Red Dam Loop > Chaparral > Winding Snake > Burkett Park      3.2 miles

Leg 2 -  Burkett Park > Suzanne's Trail > Roller Coaster > West Potts Creek > Armadillo > East Potts Creek > Burkett Trail > Burkett Park    3.7 miles

Leg 3 -  Burkett Park > Suzanne's Trail > Lanky Lackey > Nature Loop > Tasajilla Flats > Playground parking area    3.9 miles

Temp start at 40, end at 73.  Sunny with wispy upper level clouds, light wind.

A crowded day at the park!  The warm weather brought out a lot of people today - mountain bikers, hikers and a few trail joggers.  The trails are in good condition, dry and easy to traverse.  Park personnel have groomed a few portions of the trails as well.

Usual birds were out - Mockingbirds, White Crowned Sparrows, Black Throated Sparrows, Pyrrhuloxia, and a few raptors.  No animals except for part of the official Texas Longhorn herd which were in the hiking area near Armadillo Ridge.  Not much to report other than it was a pleasant hike!

NOTES

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

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

South Shore Playground parking area to Burkett Park
User: MikeHikes - 11/26/2017  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 7.30 Miles Duration: 3 hours, 15 minutes

Out      Playground parking area > Tasajilla Flats > Nature Loop > Lanky Lackey > Suzanne's Trail > Burkett park     3.7 miles

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

Temp start at 50, end at 70, sunny, light southerly wind.

Park was crowded with holiday guests and there were more people on the trails as well.  Trails were in good condition except portions of Red Dam Loop are still overgrown but passable.  Lots of birds out, especially White Crowned Sparrows; seeing more raptors as well.  Also saw a feral cat on Winding Snake.  He was unaware of my presence for a little while but when he saw me, he was off in an instant (photo attached).

All in all, it was a good hike!

NOTES

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

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

Park Mid-Section Burkett park to 5 Points Junction
User: MikeHikes - 11/3/2017  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 7.70 Miles Duration: 3 hours, 45 minutes

Out     Burkett park > Burkett Trail > East Potts Creek > Armadillo (ENE) > Playground > Bell's Point > Playground > Flintstone > 5 Points Junction       3.9 miles

Return  5 Points Junction > Turkey Creek > Armadillo (E) > East Potts Creek > Burkett Trail . Burkett park    3.8 miles

Temp start at 50, end at 78, sunny, few clouds, light breeze.

A hike with a purpose.  Been reports of a white deer, not an albino, near Bell's Point.  We looked and couldn't find a white deer but we did see this season's first Ruby Crowned Kinglet (photo attached).

The trails are well maintained with the exception of Playground trail and it is in need of grooming and in a few places, some rock or dirt to fill eroded areas.  Still passable but ....

NOTES

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

Water and shade available at Bell's Point.

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

 

South Shore Playground parking area to Nature Loop figure 8
User: MikeHikes - 11/1/2017  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 3.20 Miles Duration: N/A

Route   Playground parking area > Chaparral > Tally Valley > Horny Toad (N)> service road (W) > Tasajilla Flats (N) > Nature Loop (S) > Horny Toad (S) > Tasajilla Flats (E)  > Playground parking area     3.2 miles

Temp from 50-52, sunny, light breeze and mild.

Easy hike along some lesser used trails.  Tally Valley and Horny Toad are in need of some maintenance, i.e., filling in rough spots with rock or dirt, but otherwise all trails in pretty good condition. Saw some deer, a Kestrel and numerous small birds.  Very pleasant hike on a beautiful Fall-like morning!

NOTES

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

South Shore Playground parking area to Burkett park
User: MikeHikes - 10/27/2017  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 6.60 Miles Duration: 3 hours, 15 minutes

Out      Playground parking area > Tasajilla Flats > Horny Toad > Nature Loop > Lanky Lackey > Suzanne's Trail > Burkett park     3.5 miles

Return  Burkett park > Winding Snake > Chaparral > Playground parking area    3.1 miles

Temps in the low 40's, strong North wind, sunny.

A cold front moved through the area giving perfect weather for a hike!  All the trails were easy to traverse; the vegetation is dying out and there were no snakes to look out for.  Saw individual birds here and there although near the end of the hike, we saw a few small groups of  whitetail deer. 

Only picked up a few pieces of trash on the trails so it was a good hike.

NOTES

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

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

Fitness Hike - Roadrunner Loop
User: MikeHikes - 10/25/2017  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 3.20 Miles Duration: N/A

Route -  Playground parking area > Roadrunner Loop > Playground parking area     3.0 miles

Working with a friend to help get him back into hiking. 

Roadrunner Loop was created for runners and hikers only - no mountain bikes or equestrians are allowed.  The trail is in an irregular oval shape, is mostly dirt and level - very easy to traverse.

It parallels the RV and tent camping areas.  There are some mesquite trees along the trail but for a good portion, the trail is in the open and there is no shade which in the Summer, can be brutal.

Numerous park birds can be seen as can deer, turkeys and javalinas.

NOTES

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

Water and toilets are available at the mid-way point by the camping area.

Water and shade is available at numerous campsites on the opposite side of the road parallelling the trail.

Park Mid-Section Burkett park to 5 Points Junction Figure 8
User: MikeHikes - 10/20/2017  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 8.20 Miles Duration: 3 hours, 30 minutes

Out      Burkett park > Suzanne's Trail > Roller Coaster > West Potts Creek > Armadillo (ENE) > Playground > Bell's Point > Playground > Flintstone > 5 Points Junction     4.6 miles

Return  5 Points Junction > Turkey Creek > Armadillo (ENE) > East Potts Creek > Burkett Trail > Burkett park      3.6 miles

Temps start at 69, rain and wind then changed to partly cloudy and warmer ending temp at 80.

Had some rain at the beginning of the hike but not enough to do much as far as making the trails muddy.  The trails are in pretty good shape and show some recent grooming by park personnel.  Although I was the only person on the trails today, not many birds were out until I reached 5 Points Junction, then they re-appeared. I saw all the usual suspects as well as a couple of Orange Crowned Warblers, which are winter visitors here, and a pretty large Great Horned Owl which flew by.   

Not much happened otherwise but it was still a good hike.

NOTES

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.

South Shore Playground parking area to Armadillo Ridge Loop
User: MikeHikes - 10/14/2017  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 10.10 Miles Duration: 4 hours, 15 minutes

Out     Playground parking area > Tasajilla Flats > Nature Loop > Lanky Lackey > Roller Coaster > West Potts Creek > Armadillo (E) > East Potts Creek > Burkett Trail > Burkett park        6.8 miles

Return Burkett park > Winding Snake > Chaparral > Red Dam Loop > Chaparral > Playground parking area        3.3 miles

Temp started at 72 ended at 85, some clouds then sunny, steady breeze, humid.

The trails are well maintained with the exception of Red Dam Loop.  I would advise anyone who is not familiar with it, to avoid it until it can be groomed.

Not many birds out at first although they did make an appearance later in the hike.  No animals or reptiles were seen.  Quite a few Monarch Butterflies were out stopping to eat the blooming Bee Brush.

Quite a few hikers and mountain bikers were out as well.  My allergies kicked in once again so although I enjoyed the hike, I'll be glad when the seasons make a change!

NOTES

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
User: MikeHikes - 10/6/2017  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 9.70 Miles Duration: 4 hours, 30 minutes

Out     Bell's Trailhead > service road (S) > Dinosaur > Dinosaur Tracks Viewing Area > Dinosaur > Lower Big Hill > service road > Scenic Loop > service road > Badlands > River Bend > service road (ENE) > Cougar Lookout      6.3 miles

Return  Cougar Lookout > Javalina > River Bend (N) >service road (ENE) > Lower Ghost Camp > River Bend Ghost Camp > Lower Ghost Camp > South SLick Rock > service road (NW) > Shady Trail > Bell's Trailhead     3.4 miles

Temps start at 72 end at 88, humid and cloudy then sunny, steady breeze.

Been awhile since I hiked the North Shore trails!  The trails have been groomed and are easy to traverse.  There were quite a few doves, mockingbirds and scissortail flycatchers out as well as butterflies and a whole lot of GRASSHOPPERS! 

There really wasn't much going on today, just a very slow hike with my allergies showing up in full force. 

On a negative note - I was recently at Glacier National Park and hiked a few trails over a three day period.  In three days, I only found one small scrap of paper on the trails.  Today, as I hiked, I picked up a Walmart bag full of trash - broken glass, old cans, plastic water bottles, GU packets and plastic bag remnants.  I know there were a lot more folks from all over the world who visited Glacier and were respectful enough to not trash up the park.  I'm positive the trash I picked up today is from the "locals" who use the park and think nothing of tossing their garbage along the trails their using.  Just doesn't make sense to me.  Off my soapbox.

NOTES

ALWAYS check with park personnel either by calling or checking their fakebook page before planning to hike - hunting season is coming up and the park is closed to hikers/bikers on certain days.

Water is available in the campground/picnic area by Bell's Trailhead.

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

Shade and info kiosk available at Cougar Lookout.

Water, shade, info kiosk and dry toilets available at the River Bend Ghost Camp. USE CAUTION IF USING THE TOILETS - snakes and bugs.

South Shore Playground parking area to Armadillo Ridge Figure 8
User: MikeHikes - 9/23/2017  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 10.20 Miles Duration: 4 hours

 

Leg 1 -  Playground parking area > Tasajilla Flats > Nature Loop > Lanky Lackey > Suzanne's Trail > Burkett Park       3.7 miles

Leg 2 -  Burkett Park > Burkett Trail > East Potts Creek > Armadillo (W) > West Potts Creek > Roller Coaster > Lanky Lackey (10 yds) > Suzanne's Trail > Burkett Park      3.6 miles

Leg 3 -  Burkett Park > Winding Snake > Chaparral > Playground parking area      2.9 miles

Temps start at 75 end at 90, sunny with some clouds, steady South breeze.

Quite a few people out today enjoying the park.  The trails have been groomed fairly recently and with the vegetation dying out somewhat, the trails are easy to see as well as easy to traverse.  Quite a few birds out at the beginning of my hike but as time progressed, there were fewer flying or singing.  Near the end of the hike I photographed a wasp riding a grasshopper.  Don't know if it was successful in stinging the grasshopper as they disappeared into some grasses and I didn't want to disturb them.  Photo attached.

Interesting event as I was driving into the park, a large Grey Fox crossed the road in front of me at a run - he was carrying a mouse or some other small mammal in his mouth.  Of course by the time I stopped the car and grabbed my camera, he was already hidden in the scrub.  I've seen quite a few foxes this year at the park and take it as a sign their population is growing. 

All else about the same at the park.

NOTES

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

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

 

 

 

Park Mid-Section Burkett park to 5 Points Junction Figure 8
User: MikeHikes - 9/2/2017  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 8.20 Miles Duration: 3 hours, 15 minutes

Out      Burkett park > Suzanne's Trail > Roller Coaster> West Potts Creek > Armadillo (NW) > Playground > Bell's Point > Playground > Flintstone > 5 Points Junction         4.5 miles

Return  5 Points Junction > Turkey Creek > Armadillo (E) > East Potts Creek > Burkett trail > Burkett park    3.7 miles

Temps start at 70 end at 85, slight then steady breeze, sunny, no clouds.

Labor Day weekend brought out a number of people to the park today.  Everyone was polite and cheerful so all was well!  Trails have been groomed in the recent past and were dry and easy to see.

Not much wildlife or birds out although I saw two white tail bucks at the start of the hike.  A negative was the discovery of a dead adult racoon in the open area of 5 Points Junction.  I didn't see any indication of a violent death so wonder if it died from old age or disease.  I left it where it was and told park personnel as I was leaving the park in case they wanted to investigate. 

NOTES

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.

South Shore Playground parking area to Armadillo Ridge Figure 8
User: MikeHikes - 8/29/2017  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 10.60 Miles Duration: 4 hours, 30 minutes

Leg 1 -  Playground parking area > Chaparral > Red Dam Loop > Chaparral > Winding Snake > Burkett park      3.2 miles

Leg 2 -  Burkett park > Suzanne's Trail > Roller Coaster > West Potts Creek > Armadillo > East Potts Creek > Burkett Trail > Burkett park    3.7 miles

Leg 3 -  Burkett park > Suzanne's Trail > Lanky lackey > Nature Loop > Tasajilla Flats > Playground parking area     3.7 miles

Temps in the low 80's, sunny with a few clouds, steady light northerly breeze.

Been awhile since I hiked!  Trails are dry and easy to traverse.  Quite a few birds out - the park is beginning to see some of the winter migrating birds come through.  Nothing unusual to report so will make this very brief.

NOTES

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

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

South Shore Playground parking area to Armadillo Ridge Figure 8
User: MikeHikes - 8/6/2017  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 10.20 Miles Duration: 4 hours

Leg 1 -  Playground parking area > Tasajilla Flats > Nature Loop > Lanky Lackey > Suzanne's Trail > Burkett park        3.7 miles

Leg 2 -  Burkett park > Burkett trail > East Potts Creek > Armadillo (W) > West Potts Creek > Roller Coaster > Suzanne's Trail > Burkett park     3.7 miles

Leg 3 -  Burkett park > Winding Snake > Chapparal > Playground parking area    2.8 miles

Temps start at 78, end at 96.  Sunny, a few wispy clouds, fairly steady West breeze.

Unusual number of people in the park today and on the trails; all mountain bikers except one equestrian.  Trails are for the most part, groomed and easy to traverse.  The major exception is on the northern portion of Tasajilla Flats where the grass has grown quite a bit.

No animals seen, even the birds were hunkered down.  I did see a few lizards and one horned toad. 

NOTES

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 Loop
User: MikeHikes - 7/30/2017  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 9.30 Miles Duration: 3 hours, 40 minutes

Out      Bell's Trailhead > service road (S) > Dinosaur Trail > Dinosaur tracks viewing area > Dinosaur Trail > Upper Big Hill > Dinosaur Trail > service road (WNW) 50m > Badlands > River Bend > service road (ENE) > Cougar Lookout          5.8 miles

Return  Cougar Lookout > Javalina > service road (ENE) 50m > Lower Ghost Camp Trail > River Bend Ghost Camp > Lower Ghost Camp Trail > South Slick Rock > service road (N) > North Scenic Loop > service road (ENE) > Shady Trail > Bell's Trailhead   3.5 miles

Temps in the mid 70's at start and mid 90's at end, sunny with a few clouds, slight breeze.

Trails are dry and easy to traverse.  Most are clear of vegetation but there are patches that need to be cleaned up.  Not as many birds out today and I only saw a few lizards and one fawn.  Don't know the reason for that.  Very peaceful and very enjoyable hike but there just wasn't much going on so I'll close this report.

NOTES

Water and shade available at the campgrounds near Bell's Trailhead.

Shade and info kiosk available at Dinosaur tracks viewing area.  NO WATER AT THIS TIME!!!!

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

Water, shade, info kiosk and dry toilets available at River Bend Ghost Camp.  CAUTION is advised if you use the dry toilets (snakes and insects).

Park Mid-section Burkett Park to Cougar Lookout Figure 8
User: MikeHikes - 7/16/2017  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 10.70 Miles Duration: 4 hours, 20 minutes

Out       Burkett park > Winding Snake (20 yds) > Suzanne's Trail > Roller Coaster > West Potts Creek > Armadillo (ENE) > Playground > Bell's Point > Playground > Flintstone > 5 Points Junction > Flintstone (NE) > Cougar Lookout         6.0 miles

Return   Cougar Lookout > service road (WSW) > River Bend (SW) > 5 Points Junction > Turkey Creek > Armadillo (ENE) > East Potts Creek > Burkett trail > Burkett park   4.7 miles

Temps - 82 at start and 100 at end, sunny with intermittent light winds.

First hike in the park's mid-section since the severe wind storm of a month ago.  Nothing on the trails now but easy to see where branches had fallen and were moved off.  Trails are dry and easy to traverse.  The North Concho River seen from Cougar Lookout still has water but the rocks in the river are easier to see which means the water level has dropped - not a good thing.

Saw two fawns at the start of the hike but no other animals; not many birds out either.  Saw a few mountain bikers but that was it. 

Not too long ago I found my first tick on my sock.  Today I found my first tick stuck to my leg.  I scrapped her off (checked and it was a female Lone Star tick), saw she still had her head so I terminated her.  Squeezed blood out of the bite wound and cleaned it best I could.  Will keep an eye on the wound but I'm not too concerned about infections right now.  In all my years of hiking, I've been lucky in never having a tick bite but this year, my string of good luck regarding ticks has been broken.      

NOTES

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

Water and shade available at Bell's Point.

Water, shade and info kiosk at 5 Points Junction.

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

South Shore Playground parking area to Burkett park
User: MikeHikes - 7/9/2017  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 6.90 Miles Duration: 3 hours

Out    Playground parking area > Tasajilla Flats > Nature Loop > Lanky Lackey > Suzanne's Trail > Burkett park         3.6 miles

Return Burkett park > Winding Snake > Chaparral > Red Dam Loop > Chaparral > Playground parking area      3.3 miles

Temps in the low 70's to start and low 80's at end, sunny, slight, steady breeze.

The park had been closed due to a severe wind storm that hit the park on June 23rd.  Park personnel have cleared the trails so they are passable but there are still some mesquite debris, i.e., sticks with thorns, on the trails.  Mountain bikers need to be aware of this.

Due to the storm and the rain, some of the loose soil has washed off exposing more rocks on the sloped portion of the trails and a little more soil now covers the rocks at the bottom of the trails.  Overall the trails are easy to traverse.

I see the same birds and a few animals but no snakes or lizards.

NOTES

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

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

South Shore Playground parking area to Burkett Park and Roadrunner Loop
User: MikeHikes - 6/12/2017  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 10.00 Miles Duration: 4 hours, 10 minutes

Leg 1 -  Playground parking area > Chaparral > Red Dam Loop > Chaparral > Winding Snake > Burkett park      3.4 miles

Leg 2 -  Burkett park > Winding Snake (20 yds) > Suzanne's Trail > Lanky Lackey > Nature Loop > Tasajilla Flats > Playground parking area    3.6 miles

Leg 3 -  Playground parking area > Roadrunner Loop > Playground parking area    3.0 miles

Temps start at 75 end at 93, sunny with a few clouds, steady light Southerly breeze.

An earlier than usual hike this morning.  Trails were dry and for the most part, easy to traverse.  Red Dam Loop and parts of Winding Snake need grooming but were easy to hike on.  Just be on the look out for snakes!

Numerous birds were seen.  A few such as the Painted Bunting and Vermilion Flycatcher were, a few short years ago, rarely seen.  Now, it's unusual if I don't see a few on my hikes.  The Yellow-billed Cuckoo is another bird I'm seeing more of as well.

While on Tasajilla Flats, I saw a grey fox but he saw me first so I only got a few photos as he took off (photo attached). 

Cottontail rabbits, white tail deer and a few lizards were spotted as well.  No snakes seen but I know they're out there.  

NOTES

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

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

Water and shade available at the campsites alongside Roadrunner Loop.

Toilets available at the half way point of Roadrunner Loop.

 

 

North Shore Bell's Trailhead to Cougar Outlook and Return
User: MikeHikes - 6/8/2017  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 9.20 Miles Duration: 4 hours

Out       Bell's Trailhead > service road (S) > Dinosaur Trail > Upper Big Hill > Badlands > River Bend > service road (NE) > Cougar Outlook      5.7 miles

Return   Cougar Outlook > Javalina > Lower Ghost Camp > River Bend Ghost Camp > Lower Ghost Camp > South Slick Rock > service road (NE) > Shady Trail > Bell's Trailhead      3.5 miles

Temps in the low 70's to start and mid 80's at end. Very high, hazy clouds and a slight Southerly breeze.

Trails are dry, easy to see and traverse. At some point, park personnel had cut back the vast majority of the vegetation from the trails. The lack of rain and the heat is keeping new growth at bay.

Quite a few birds out - Painted Buntings, some kind of hawk and a Yellow Billed Cuckoo were spotted as well as all the usual suspects. Saw my first Horned Toad of the year (photo attached). What surprised me was he didn't move as I approached, I stepped over him before he moved off the trail to some nearby greenery.

Took my shoes off to clear out some of the arrowhead weeds and a tick crawled off my sock; easy to spot and remove. In all my time hiking the park, this is the first time I'd seen one and I hope it's the last. I know a person who had a very severe reaction to Lyme Disease and I want no part of that!

I was the only person on the trails, enjoying the sounds of the wind and the birds as I hiked; it was a very pleasant.

NOTES

Water, shade, info kiosk are available at Bell's Trailhead - water is at the campsites

Shade and info kiosk available at the Dinosaur Tracks Viewing Area on Dinosaur Trail.  Water is available for horses but NO WATER FOR HUMANS.

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

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

USE CAUTION due to insects and snakes in the toilet area. 

THIS IS THE ONLY POTABLE WATER LOCATION on this hike.

Park Mid-Section Burkett park to Cougar Lookout
User: MikeHikes - 6/3/2017  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 10.50 Miles Duration: 4 hours, 20 minutes

Leg 1 - Burkett park> Winding Snake (20 yds) > Suzanne's Trail > Roller Coaster > West Potts Creek > Armadillo > Playground > Bell's Point > Playground (NW) > Flintstone > 5 Points Junction 4.5 miles

Leg 2 - 5 Points Junction > Flintstone (NE) > Cougar Lookout > service road (WNW) > River Bend (S) > 5 Points Junction 2.6 miles

Leg 3 - 5 Points Junction > Turkey Creek > Armadillo (ENE)> East Potts Creek > Burkett Trail > Burkett park 3.4 miles

Temps in the 70's, humid, overcast and a light, steady Easterly breeze.

Leisurely hike today. There were lots of birds out especially the Painted Buntings - I saw five different ones at various locations; to me, this was a large number! Cottontail rabbits, deer and a solitary javalina were also spotted.

All in all, the trails were, for the most part, clear of vegetation with the exception of Playground Trail which had some sections in need of grooming.

All the trails were visible but the overhanging vegetation is a safety concern due to the danger of stepping on a rattlesnake.  I saw a 2-3 foot non-rattlesnake stretched on a trail but was able to get it to move without incident.

As always, it was enjoyable and I can't wait for the next hike!

South Shore Playground parking area to Armadillo Ridge Figure 8
User: MikeHikes - 5/28/2017  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 10.50 Miles Duration: 4 hours, 20 minutes

Leg 1 -  Playground parking area > Chaparral > Red Dam Loop > Chaparral > Winding Snake > Burkett park       3.1 miles

Leg 2 -  Burkett park > Winding Snake (20 feet) > Suzanne's Trail > Lanky lackey (W) > Roller Coaster > West Potts Creek > Armadillo (E) > East Potts Creek > Burkett Trail > Burkett park     3.7 miles

Leg 3 - Burkett park > Winding Snake (20 ft) > Suzanne's Trail > Lanky Lackey (S) > Nature Loop > Tasajilla Flats > Playground parking area     3.7 miles

Temps in the low to mid 80's, partly cloudy and steady Northerly wind.

Memorial day weekend crowds enjoying the park today so there were quite a few people on the trails - everyone pleasant and cheerful so no problems.  Lots of birds out at first - saw Painted Buntings, Vermillion Flycatchers, Kingbirds, and all the usual crowd. After noon they all took a siesta. Still no raptors though.

Saw my first "real" snake today - about five feet in front of me getting ready to cross the trail; it was some type of coachwhip and was brownish, very long (guesstimate about four feet long) and thick.  As I was raising the camera, it did a 180 and disappeared quickly.  Still no rattlers sighted this year but I did talk to an equestrian who told me she saw three rattlers last week when she was riding in the park.

Trails have been worked on and are very easy to traverse, you'll still get some weeds in your shoes but it's not too bad. Bee brush is once again in bloom - 3rd time this year - and scents the air with vanilla perfume!

NOTES

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

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

 

South Shore Playground Parking Area to Burkett Park and Roadrunner Loop
User: MikeHikes - 5/16/2017  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 10.20 Miles Duration: 4 hours, 20 minutes

Leg 1 -  Playground parking area > Chaparral > Red Dam Loop > Chaparral > Winding Snake > Burkett park      3.6 miles

Leg 2 -  Burkett park > Winding Snake (20 yards) > Suzanne's Trail (W) > Lanky lackey > Nature Loop > Tasajilla Flats > Playground parking area   3.7 miles

Leg 3 - Playground parking area > Roadrunner Loop > Playground parking area  2.9 miles

Temp 72 to start, 88 at end.  Overcast then sunny, humid and strong WSW wind.

Park personnel have been busy !  Most of the trails have been mowed although Red Dam Loop still needs a trim.  The trails are much easier to traverse.  While you still have to watch for snakes, now it is easier to do.  Speaking of which, a park attendant told me a HUGE rattler had been killed recently - still haven't seen any this year.

I saw a fairly large number of Nighthawks flying around.  Lots of other birds including a Vermillion Flycatcher, a Painted Bunting, lots of sparrows, Mockingbirds, et al.  For some reason I haven't seen many raptors.

A good hike nonetheless!

NOTES

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

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

Water and toilets available at the mid-way point of Roadrunner Loop.

Water and shade available at numerous campsites running alongside Roadrunner Loop.

 

 

North Shore Bell's Trailhead to Cougar Lookout
User: MikeHikes - 5/7/2017  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 9.10 Miles Duration: 4 hours

Out     Bell's Trailhead > Dinosaur Trail > Lower Big Hill > service road (S then NW) > Badlands > River Bend > service road (ENE) > Cougar Lookout       5.8 miles

Return  Cougar Lookout > Javalina > Lower Ghost Camp > South Slick Rock > service road (N) > North Scenic Loop > service road (ENE) > Shady Trail > Bell's Trailhead   3.3 miles

Temps 70 to start and 87 at end, sunny, no clouds with steady South wind.

A good hike that would have been better if the trails had been groomed.  The vegetation is covering major portions of Dinosaur Trail resulting in a slower pace as I had to constantly be aware of where the trail was and watch for snakes.  The vegetation is so dense on Lower Big Hill Trail I recommend you stay off unless you are familiar with the trail and have to use it - use Upper Big Hill instead.

Saw two snakes today - one about 8-10 inches long, very thin and dark grey/black in color.  The second was a 2-3 foot water snake in a pond - unknown what type.

The sun was shining, there was a steady breeze to keep pesty bugs off, the wildflowers were blooming, bugs pollinating and bird singing with quite a few lizards sunning - it was a very good hike!

NOTES

Water and shade available at Bell's Trailhead - water in the campground/picnic areas.

Shade and info kiosk available at the Dinosaur Tracks Viewing Area - NO WATER AVAILABLE AT THIS TIME.

Shade, info kiosk and a Bicycle Repair Station (!) available at Cougar Lookout.  The repair station is legit and contains attached tools and an air pump.

Water, shade, info kiosk and dry toilets available at the River Bend Ghost Camp. CAUTION WHEN USING THE TOILETS DUE TO INSECTS/SNAKES.

South Shore Playground parking area to Armadillo Ridge Figure 8
User: MikeHikes - 4/26/2017  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 10.10 Miles Duration: 4 hours, 20 minutes

Leg 1 -   Playground parking area > Chaparral > Talley Valley > Horny Toad > Nature Loop > Lankey Lackey > Suzanne's Trail > Burkett park   3.2 miles

Leg 2 -  Burkett park > Burkett Trail > East Potts Creek > Armadillo (W) > West Potts Creek > Roller Coaster > Suzanne's Trail > Burkett park   3.7 miles

Leg 3 -  Burkett park > Winding Snake > Chaparral > Red Dam Loop > Chaparral > Playground parking area    3.2 miles

Temp in the low 70's, sunny, STRONG northerly winds.

Good hike today with quite a few animals spotted - javalina, cottontail rabbit, Jack Rabbit, white tail deer, and a Mexican ground squirrel.  The winds were VERY strong and kept a lot of the birds out of the air - when I saw birds, they never flew more than a few feet away.

Trails were dry, some had been groomed but a lot of them have become covered with vegetation; especially some type of knee high, or taller, weeds with a very sharp, pointed head that has a tendency to jab you when you walk through a patch.  The Talley Valley trail is in need of some repairs due to erosion as well as the vegetation so caution is advised if you hike it.

Bee brush is once again blooming and scent the air.  I was surprised at the relatively low number of cactus flowers in bloom.  The ones in bloom have numerous bees and other insects acting as pollinators. 

The Boy Scout bridge on Burkett Trail has signs posted advising caution due to bee activity - first time I've seen this type of sign.  I didn't notice any bees but the wind may have kept them at bay.

All in all, a good hike.

NOTES

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

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

South Shore Playground parking area to Burkett Park Figure 8
User: MikeHikes - 4/15/2017  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 9.90 Miles Duration: 3 hours, 45 minutes

Leg 1 -  Playground parking area > Roadrunner Loop > Playground parking area     3.0 miles

Leg 2 -  Playground parking area > Tasajilla Flats > Nature Trail > Nature Loop > Lanky Lackey > Suzanne's Trail > Burkett park     3.6 miles

Leg 3 -  Burkett park > Winding Snake > Chaparral > Red Dam Loop > Chaparral > Playground parking area       3.3 miles

Temps 70 to start, 76 at end.  Overcast, humid and steady South wind.

Lots of people in the park today - RV's in almost all the spots, kids on bikes, runners, hikers and bikers on the trails.  Trails dry and easy to hike but vegetation covers them in spots.  Saw my first cactus flower, as well as my first lizard, of the year on this hike.  

Did the hike in sandals (Teva Hurricane XLT) and had no problems.  The vast majority of the trails are rocky so I usually get about 400-500 miles out of a pair of sandals before the rocks feel like they are coming through the soles and the sandals are replaced.  Surprisingly, I rarely have any problems with thorns, stickers or rocks while hiking.  I like how my feet stay cool but acknowledge they get DIRTY!!

NOTES

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

Water and shade available at many campsites alongside the Roadrunner Loop.  Toilets available at the mid-way point.

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

Park Mid-Section Burkett park to Cougar Lookout
User: MikeHikes - 4/7/2017  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 10.80 Miles Duration: 4 hours, 25 minutes

Out     Burkett park > Suzanne's Trail > Roller Coaster > West Potts Creek > Armadillo (E) > Playground > Bell's Point > Playground > Flintstone > 5 Points Junction > Flintstone (N) > Cougar Lookout       6.0 miles

Return  Cougar Lookout > service road (WNW) > River Bend (S) > 5 Points Junction > Turkey Creek > Armadillo (E) > East Potts Creek > Burkett trail > Burkett park    4.8 miles

Temps 55 to start and 70 at end, sunny with wispy clouds and strong SW winds.

A windy hike today!  Trails are dry and easy to traverse, some vegetation has encroached on the trails but they are still easy to see.  Watch for snakes!

Saw a Grey Fox on Flintstone trail but no photo.  LOTS of wildflowers have bloomed and the Bee Brush continues to put forth lots of small white flowers which perfumed the air with the scent of vanilla.

NOTES

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

Water and shade available at Bell's Point.

Shade and info kiosk available at Cougar Lookout.

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

South Shore Roadrunner Loop Fitness Hike
User: MikeHikes - 4/6/2017  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 1.60 Miles Duration: 45 minutes

Route   Playground parking area > Roadrunner Loop > Playground parking area       1.6 miles

Temp in low 70's, sunny and light breeze.

Fitness hike on a portion of the Loop.  Saw a Vermillion Flycatcher, White Crowned Sparrows, Curved Bill Thrashers, Mockingbirds.  No animal activity.  The trail is mostly hard packed dirt with rocks.  Portions are overgrown with grass and wild flowers but the trail is easy to find and traverse.

NOTES

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

North Shore Bell's Trailhead to Cougar Lookout
User: MikeHikes - 3/31/2017  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 9.50 Miles Duration: 4 hours

Out       Bell's Trailhead > Dinosaur > Upper Big Hill > Badlands > River Bend > service road (ENE) > Cougar Lookout        5.8 miles

Return   Cougar Lookout > Javalina > Lower Ghost Camp > River Bend Ghost Camp > South Slick Rock > service road (NW) > Scenic Loop > service road (WNW) > Rocky Creek > service road (N) > Shady Trail > Bell's Trailhead     3.7 miles

Temps started at 75 ended at 91, sunny, breezy.

Dinosaur Trail and portions of Badlands Trail need to be groomed - the grass and flowers are covering portions of the trails.  While that might not sound like much, the wildflowers attract bees.  I was not stung but there were LOTS of bees buzzing around for quite awhile as I walked Dinosaur Trail.  Additionally, rattlesnakes have been sighted - I have NOT seen one this year.

The hike itself was a good one - I saw lots of lots of yellow flowers and numerous butterflies as well as a Hummingbird Moth (photo attached).  I was surprised when I saw numerous, but not all, Lace cactus blooming.

There were few birds out for some reason although I saw no raptors overhead - the wind was blowing pretty strong so maybe that's the reason.

Although this hike was uneventful, it was pleasant nonetheless.

NOTES

Water available at Bell's Trailhead - look in the campsites for a faucet. THERE IS NO WATER UNTIL YOU GET TO THE RIVER BEND GHOST CAMP ON THE RETURN LEG.

Info kiosk and shade available at the Dinosaur Tracks viewing area. NO WATER AVAILABLE AT THIS TIME.

Info kiosk and shade available at Cougar Lookout.

Water, shade, info kiosk and dry toilets available at the River Bend Ghost Camp.  USE CAUTION AT THE TOILETS DUE TO INSECTS.

 

 

South Shore Playground parking area to Armadillo Ridge Figure 8
User: MikeHikes - 3/24/2017  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 10.50 Miles Duration: 4 hours, 5 minutes

Leg 1 -  Playground parking area > Tasajilla Flats > Nature Trail > Nature Loop > Lanky Lackey > Suzanne's Trail > Burkett park        3.6 miles

Leg 2 -  Burkett park > Burkett > East Potts Creek > Armadillo (W) > West Potts Creek > Roller Coaster > Suzanne's Trail > Burkett park    3.6 miles

Leg 3 -  Burkett park > Winding Snake > Chaparral > Red Dam Loop > Chaparral > Playground parking area     3.3 miles

Temps start at 60's end in mid-70's, sunny, steady breeze with STRONG gusts.

Dry trails, easy to traverse.  Some portions of Tasajilla Flats have been groomed recently.  The grass continues to grow covering last year's controlled burns and the Bee Brush is finally producing small white flowers and vanilla scent.  The agarita bushes, although a health green, have already lost their blooms so there is no smell from them.

Saw lots of birds including a Vermillion Flycatcher (photo attached) - the first one this year.  I also saw a coyote laying on West Potts Creek trail but when he saw me raise my camera, he was off and running.  A little while later on Winding Snake Trail near Burkett park, I saw a grey fox but when I saw him, he saw me at the same time and bolted into the brush.  Oh well, no photos were taken but seeing them both on the same hike was nice!

Was told the rattlers are out but I didn't see any.  Still, I recommend you always watch where you step as you enjoy the trails.

NOTES

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

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

 

North Shore West Annex
User: MikeHikes - 3/16/2017  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 6.40 Miles Duration: 3 hours, 15 minutes

Temps in the low 70's, sunny and strong breeze.

This section of the park is infrequently used by hikers and there isn't a "trail" listed on the park maps. The trail I took consist of an old dirt road and numerous cow paths running alongside, and to, the North Concho River.

If you choose to go, go to the North Entrance and park your vehicle at the restroom parking area by the entrance.  On foot, leave the park and cross FM2288.  You'll see an area where local youths (I assume) park and drink beer.  At the fence there is a swing gate you'll go through and at that point, you are in the park again.  The old dirt road is visible directly ahead and runs parallel to the North Concho River on your left.

You're able to hike in this area along cow paths and the dirt road for approx 3 miles until you come to the park boundary which is marked by a barb wire fence and a few signs.  At that point, you will turn around and return along the same route or you can blaze a new one back to the starting point.

This area is used primarily by hunters so make sure you check in with park personnel to ensure there are no hunts scheduled.  This area has the potential to either by very good or very blase.  The river is a water source for many animals and birds as well as the longhorns.  There are numerous trees in the area so the chance to see birds here that are not in other areas of the park are good IF you're lucky.  

Be advised there are no facilities along the trail so bring your own water and food.  The longhorns are numerous so give them a wide berth.  In addition, on the South side of the river, some of the area is private property - respect the landowner's rights and don't trespass.  I suggest you stay on the north side of the river.

NOTES

Water, shade, info kiosk and toilets available at the North Shore entrance restrooms - where you should park.

STRONGLY ENCOURAGE you to talk to park personnel before entering the area due to scheduled hunts.

If you have the time, do a recon using Google Earth to see what the area looks like. 

Park Mid-section Burkett Park to 5 Points Junction
User: MikeHikes - 3/8/2017  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 7.90 Miles Duration: 3 hours, 20 minutes

Out     Burkett park > Burkett > East Potts Creek > Armadillo (N) > Playground > Bell's Point > Playground > Flintstone > 5 Points Junction    3.6 miles

Return  5 Points Junction > Turkey Creek > Armadillo (W) > West Potts Creek > Roller Coaster > Suzanne's Trail > Burkett park    4.3 miles

Temps in the low 60's, overcast and light breeze.

Dry trails that are easy to traverse.  Lots of birds out but nothing unusual except for the number of American Kestrels I'm seeing.  I've seen more already than I normally do in a year. 

The majority of the trails are a mixture of dirt and rock; because of the dry weather, the soil seems loose so watch your footing.

NOTES

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.

South Shore Playground parking area to Armadillo Ridge Figure 8
User: MikeHikes - 2/28/2017  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 11.10 Miles Duration: 4 hours, 30 minutes

Leg 1 -  Playground parking area > Chaparral > Red Dam Loop > Chaparral > Winding Snake > Burkett park     3.7 miles

Leg 2 -  Burkett park > Suzanne's Trail > Roller Coaster > West Potts Creek > Armadillo > East Potts Creek > Burkett Trail > Burkett park    3.6 miles

Leg 3 -  Burkett park > Suzanne's Trail > Lanky Lackey > Nature Loop > Nature Trail > Tasajilla Flats > Playground parking area    3.8 miles

Temps in the 70's, sunny with high thin clouds, steady breeze.

Dry trails very easy to traverse, parts of Tasajilla Flats has recently been groomed.  Lots of "shrub birds" out signing for mates.  Saw my first group of Meadowlarks near the parking area!  Grass and other ground cover plants are coming up all over the park and the numerous Bee Brush plants have greens leaves but no smell yet.  Even more agarita bushes are blooming and scenting the air.

There were hikers and a few mountain bikers enjoying the warm weather and the trails.  Not much else going on - it was a nice hike!

NOTES

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

Water, shade, info kiosk and dry toilets available at Burkett park - THE WATER  IS FLOWING AGAIN!

North Shore Bell's Trailhead to Cougar Lookout
User: MikeHikes - 2/24/2017  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 9.70 Miles Duration: 4 hours, 15 minutes

Out     Bell's Trailhead > Dinosaur Trail > Dinosaur Tracks Viewing Area > Dinosaur Trail > Lower Big Hill > service road (S) > North Scenic Loop > service road (S then W) > Badlands > River Bend > service road (NE) > Cougar Lookout         6.1 miles

Return  Cougar Lookout > Javalina > Lower Ghost Camp Trail  > River Bend Ghost Camp > Lower Ghost Camp Trail > North Slick Rock > service road (N) > Shady Trail > Bell's Trailhead     3.6 miles

Temps start at 60 end at 66, sunny, steady North breeze.

Dry trails, very easy to follow.  LOTS of birds out including Killdeer, Western Bluebirds (photo attached), Kestrels, Loggerhead Shrikes, Black thoated sparrows, turkeys, Great Blue Herons.  Butterflies are also becoming more numerous as they look for the few flowers and blooming agaritas to gather sustenance.

The longhorns are in this section of the park and there are a few calves with them - keep your distance, don't startle them and they'll leave you alone.

NOTES

Water is available in the campground at Bell's Trailhead.

Shade and info kiosk (damaged) are available at the Dinosaur Tracks Viewing area. WATER HAS BEEN TURNED OFF AT THIS TIME.

Shade and info kiosk available at Cougar Lookout.

Water, shade, info kiosk and dry toilets available at River Bend Ghost Camp.  THIS IS THE ONLY WATER AVAILABLE ON THIS ROUTE.

Use caution when using the dry toilets. 

 

Park Mid-section Burkett Park to Cougar Lookout
User: MikeHikes - 2/21/2017  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 8.20 Miles Duration: 3 hours, 30 minutes

Out      Burkett park > Suzanne's trail > Roller Coaster> West Potts Creek > Armadillo > Turkey Creek > 5 Points Junction > River Bend > service road (ENE) > Cougar Lookout      5.2 miles

Return Cougar Lookout > serice roads (WSW) > Burkett Trail > Burkett park     3.0 miles

Temp 60 at start, 79 at end, steady WNW breeze, sunny.

Very leisurely hike along mostly dry trails.  The intoxicating smell of blooming agarita bush was in the air!  To me it smells like dust, mesquite smoke and honey - I wish they sold it in a can!

Trails are easy to traverse as the vegetation has not yet grown.  LOTS of Black Throated Sparrows and White Crowned Sparrows are out.  Many of the birds are singing as they look for mates.  Not much else to report but all in all, it was a very pleasant hike.

NOTES

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

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

Shade and info kiosk available at Cougar Lookout

South Shore Playground parking area to Burkett park
User: MikeHikes - 2/17/2017  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 7.90 Miles Duration: 3 hours

Out      Playground parking area > Chaparral > Talley Valley > Horny Toad > Nature Trail > Nature Loop > Lanky Lackey > Suzanne's Trail > Burkett park      3.4 miles

Return  Burkett park > Winding Snake > Chaparral > Red Dam Loop > Chaparral > Playground parking area (plus cleanup on two trails)    4.5 miles

Temp at the beginning of the hike was 50, at the end of the hike 59, sunny and strong breeze.

A leisurely hike on damp trails.  I picked up trash while hiking and after my main hike ended, I revisited a couple of trails to gather more trash the recent fires have uncovered.  Most of the trash is old bottles and cans - unfortunately, there was quite a bit of broken glass as well.  

Talley Valley has some severe erosion in parts so caution is advised.  The trail has a slight incline in spots so with all the rocks in the trail and the recent rains we've had, the soil is a little loose and could contribute to a fall.

Not many birds out today - I did see a couple of raptors flying around so that may be the reason.

The majority of the trails are still in good shape and the vegetation has not yet started to grow so they are easy to see.  Snake warnings are already out although I have not seen any.

NOTES

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

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

South Shore Playground parking area to Burkett Park to Roadrunner Loop
User: MikeHikes - 2/10/2017  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 9.80 Miles Duration: 3 hours, 45 minutes

Leg 1 - Playground parking area > Tasajilla Flats> Nature Trail > Nature Loop > Lanky Lackey > Suzanne's Trail > Burkett park       3.8 miles

Leg 2 - Burkett park > Winding Snake > Chaparral > Playground parking area     3.0 miles

Leg 3 - Playground parkng area > Roadrunner Loop > Playground parking area    3.0 miles

Temps in the low 60's to start and mid-70's to end, Strong West wind, and sunny.

Leisurely hike along dry, hard packed dirt and rock trails.  Not too many birds out today, perhaps because of the wind.  Picked up two bags of trash and found a couple of piles of cans I'll get on another day.

Not much else to say except pick up any trash you find and make sure you don't leave any yourself.

NOTES

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

Water, shade, info kioska nd dry toilets available at Burkett Park.

Water and shade available at multiple campsites alongside Roadrunner Loop.  At the mid-point of the Loop there is a toilet as well.

South Shore Playground parking area to Armadillo Ridge Figure 8
User: MikeHikes - 2/6/2017  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 11.20 Miles Duration: 4 hours, 30 minutes

Leg 1 - Playground parking area > Chaparral > Red Dam Loop > Chaparral > Winding Snake > Burkett park     3.7 miles

Leg 2 - Burkett park > Suzanne's Trail > Roller Coaster > West Potts Creek > Armadillo Trail > East Potts Creek > Burkett trail > Burkett park   3.7 miles

Leg 3 - Burkett park > Suzanne's Trail > Lanky Lackey > Nature Loop > Nature Trail > Tasajilla Flats > Playground parking area     3.8 miles

Temps started at 60 and ended at 75, overcast but became sunny, steady West wind.

Walked along some trails I haven't been on since the controlled burn of a few months ago.  LOTS of the vegetation has been burned and the trails, with a few exceptions, are in much better condition, are easy to locate and traverse. The fires also made visible trash from the past when the present day trails were part of the lake bed - I picked up two bags full within the first hour of hiking.  Frustrating BUT once it's picked up, it's GONE!

There were numerous birds out and about, even though it's early Feb, it seems Spring is just around the corner. 

Saw a pair of grey foxes walking along the Winding Snake trail and took a few photos (attached). When the fox saw me it didn't panic but took a detour into the brush very calmly.

 Saw a couple of hikers and a few mountain bikers otherwise, it was just me walking, listening to the birds signing and the wind blowing.  A very enjoyable day.

NOTES

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 Lower Ghost Camp
User: MikeHikes - 2/2/2017  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 6.60 Miles Duration: 3 hours

Out    Bell's Trailhead > Dinosaur > Dinosaur Track Area > Dinosaur > Upper Big Hill > Badlands> River  Bend > Lower Ghost Camp      4.2 miles

Return Lower Ghost Camp > Lower Ghost Camp Trail > River Bend Ghost Camp > South Slick Rock > service road (N) > North Scenic Loop > service road (N) > Shady Trail > Bell's Trailhead    2.4 miles

Temps in the low 50's, sunny with wispy clouds, steady North wind.

A month or so ago, controlled fires burned some of the vegetation and cleared the trails.  Trails are dry and fairly hard packed now.  LOTS of birds out especially Cardinals and Woodpeckers.  Not much else going on but it was a good hike nonetheless.

NOTES

Water available at the campground by Bell's Trailhead.

Water, shade and info kiosk at Dinosaur Track Viewing area.

Water, shade, info kiosk and dry toilets available at River Bend Ghost Camp.  CAUTION - dry toilets are old and rarely used, be careful if you have to sit on one!!

 

Dry trails

South Shore Playground parking area to Burkett + Roadrunner Loop
User: MikeHikes - 1/30/2017  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 9.90 Miles Duration: 4 hours

Leg 1 -   Playground parking area > Tasajilla Flats > Nature Trail > Lanky Lackey > Suzanne's Trail > Burkett park       3.8 miles

Leg 2 -  Burkett park > Winding Snake > Chaparral > Playground parking area       3.0 miles

Leg 3 -  Playground parking area > Roadrunner Loop > Playground parking area     3.1 miles

Temps in the low to mid 70's, sunny and a steady breeze.

Nice hike today along dry trails.  Walked the entire Tasajilla Flats trail and in the first and fourth sections, it had been burned.  A lot of the dead brush is gone and the trail is very visible. 

All of the trails are visible and easy to hike. Not many birds out today but I did see a few.  I was warned by a guy driving his pick-up to be on the look out for snakes.  I asked if he saw any and he said no, but this is West Texas so they'll be out.  Didn't understand the logic but I did appreciate the sincere concern.  Stay safe!

NOTES

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

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

Water and shade available at many points along Roadrunner Loop and there is a toilet in the camping areas adjacent to the trail near the mid-point.

 

Park Mid-Section Burkett park to 5 Points Junction
User: MikeHikes - 1/27/2017  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 8.10 Miles Duration: 3 hours, 15 minutes

Out      Burkett park > Burkett trail > East Potts Creek > Armadillo (NE) > Playground > Bell's Point > Playground (N) > Flintstone > 5 Point Junction       3.4 miles

Return   5 Points Junction > Turkey Creek > Armadillo (W) > West Potts Creek > Roller Coaster > Lanky Lackey > Suzanne's Trail > Burkett park    4.7 miles

Temps in the low 40's, overcast and steady NE breeze.

Trails were dry and relatively clear of vegetation.  Saw some birds, a porcupine and a white tailed deer but no humans.  Not much going on except the peace and quiet of walking the trails.

NOTES

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.

 

South Shore Playground parking area to Burkett Park
User: MikeHikes - 1/22/2017  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 6.80 Miles Duration: 3 hours

Out    Playground parking area > Tasajillo Flats > Horny Toad > Nature Loop > Lankey Lackey > Suzanne's Trail > Burkett park       3.5 miles

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

Temps in the lid-50's, sunny and windy.

Good hike today along areas that have been recently burned. The smell of burned vegetation was present but not overpowering.  Found trash as usual but that was to be expected after a burn clears the brush.  I saw a blue grey gnatcatcher and a pair of Kestrels as well as the usual birds.  Also saw a couple of white tail deer.

The trails are hard packed and the fire has cleaned a lot of the overgrown brush and vegetation away.  Still some on the trails but they are much easier to hike now.

NOTES

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

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

South Shore Roadrunner Loop
User: MikeHikes - 1/21/2017  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 1.70 Miles Duration: 1 hour

Route  Playground parking area > Roadrunner Loop (W) > Playground parking area

Temps in the low 60's, partly cloudy and steady breeze.

Simple hike/fitness walk going out to the road by the bison viewing area, turning around and retracing my steps.  Trail still damp and there were a few birds out..

 

South Shore Roadrunner Loop
User: MikeHikes - 1/20/2017  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 3.20 Miles Duration: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Route   Playground parking area > Roadrunner Loop > Playground parking area

Temps in the low 60's, mostly sunny with whispy clouds and variable winds.

First entry for 2017.  Starting with 1572 miles hiked and 204 log entries.

The loop is designated "hikers only". The trail is easy to traverse and can be done by anyone who can walk. It has one or two very slight inclines but for the most part is level.  There are a few areas where rocks and/or grass is prevalent but the majority of the trail is packed dirt.  After a rain, it will be muddy.

You are walking alongside roads and camping areas at the South Shore - you can't get lost!  Birds are usually plentiful and today I saw quite a few "common birds" nothing unusual.

NOTES

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

Water, shade and toilets available at the camping area near the half way point.

Water and shade available at numerous camp sites along the roads.

South Shore Playground parking area to Roadrunner Loop
User: MikeHikes - 12/26/2016  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 0.75 Mile Duration: 30 minutes

End 2016 with total miles hiked = 1572; miles hiked this year = 482.

Route   Playground parking area > Roadrunner Loop (E) > Playground parking area.

Temps in the low 70's, sunny and slight breeze.

The trail is mostly dirt with some rocks and level.  Saw some quail as well as a few other birds.  Not much to report because I had to quit due to an injury.

NOTES 

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

South Shore Playground parking area to Burkett Park
User: MikeHikes - 12/16/2016  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 7.30 Miles Duration: 3 hours

Out    Playground parking area > Tasajilla Flats > Nature Loop > Lanky Lackey > Suzanne's Trail . Burkett park         3.7 miles

Return Burkett park > Winding Snake > Chaparral > Red Dam Loop > Chaparral > Playground parking area     3. 6 miles

Temps in the mid 50's, partly cloudy, strong wind.

Easy hike today along damp trails. The trails are better looking than in the recent past since the vegetation has died back although Red Dam Loop was still overgrown in more than one spot, so much that unless you knew where the trail was, you might have wandered off it.

Lots of birds out as well as a few deer.  I saw an Orange Crowned Warbler as well as kestrels, numerous sparrows and other birds.   

NOTES

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

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

 

South Shore Playground parking lot to Armadillo Ridge
User: MikeHikes - 11/28/2016  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 9.90 Miles Duration: 4 hours

Out     Playground parking lot > Tasajilla Flats > Nature Loop > Lanky Lackey > Roller Coaster > West Potts Creek > Armadillo >East Potts Creek      5.9 miles

Return East Potts Creek > Burkett Trail > Burkett park > Winding Snake > Chaparral > Playground parking lot     4.0 miles

Temps in the 60's, sunny and consistent, STRONG westerly wind.

The wind was so strong, few birds were out.  I was surprised seeing a few buterflies and dragonflies out.  What was really surprising was seeing Bee Brush beginning to bloom again!  This is the fourth time this year the plant has produced flowers and the vanilla scent (photo attached).

Three mountain bikers shared the trails with me, otherwise it was very peaceful listening to the wind go through the trees and brush.  One of the better hikes I had lately!!

NOTES

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

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

South Shore Playground parking area to Burkett park and Roadrunner Loop
User: MikeHikes - 11/19/2016  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 9.90 Miles Duration: 4 hours

Leg 1 - Playground parking area > Chaparral > Talley Valley > Horny Toad > Nature Loop > Lanky Lackey > Suzanne's Trail > Burkett park    3.4 miles

Leg 2 - Burkett park > Winding Snake > Chaparral > Red Dam Loop > Chaparral > Playground parking area         3.5 miles

Leg 3 - Playground parking area > Roadrunner Loop > Playground parking area     3.0 miles

Temps start at 45 and end at 62, sunny, with a light, steady wind.

Cold start to a day of hiking.  Trails were dry and the vegetation is dying off BUT the Talley Valley and majority of Red Dam Loop trails are overgrown and should be avoided unless you are familiar with them.  Numerous parts of both trails are so overgrown that the trail disappears so unless you're already familiar with the trail, best to stay off these two until park personnel have a chance to cut back the vegetation.

Not many birds were out except for a few Loggerhead Shrikes (photo attached) and two different red-tailed hawks.  A couple of butterflies were seen which surprised me.  Since it's Saturday, the trails had a few more more people on them - hikers and mountain bikers - than I usually encounter.  Everyone was in a cheerful mood as they enjoyed the weather and the trails.

NOTES

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

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

Water, shade and toilets available at the mid-way point on Roadrunner Loop.

Water and shade available along Roadrunner Loop at the campsites.

 

North Shore Bell's Trailhead to Cougar Lookout
User: MikeHikes - 11/14/2016  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 9.50 Miles Duration: 4 hours

Out       Bell's Trailhead> service road (S) > Dinosaur > Lower Big Hill > service road (S) > Badlands > River Bend > service road (E) > Cougar Lookout       5.9 miles

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

This is my 200th log entry!!

Temps start at 62 end at 75, light winds, partly cloudy then sunny.

Haven't hiked in a few weeks due to weather and park closure for hunting.  Most of the trails have been groomed BUT the southern portion of River Bend and most of Javalina are R-O-U-G-H!!!  The combination of wet trails and the park's longhorns have really done a number on the trails - they are difficult to walk and will be for awhile.

Still lots of caterpillars and butterflies but the Monarchs are mostly gone.  A good day for a hike!

NOTES

Water available at Bell's Trailhead in the campground.

Water, info kiosk and shade available at Dinosaur Tracks viewing area.

Info kiosk and shade available at Cougar Lookout.  CAUTION - there are a lot of wasps/yellowjackets by the info kiosk.

Water, info kiosk, shade and dry toilets aavilable at the River Bend Ghost Camp.  CAUTION should be exercised when using the dry toilets.

South Shore Roadrunner Loop (Partial)
User: MikeHikes - 10/30/2016  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 2.40 Miles Duration: 1 hour

Just a fitness hike around part of the Roadrunner Loop.  Saw White Crowned Sparrows, a few woodpeckers and other birds as well as a flock of Pelicans leaving O.C. Fisher Reservoir (photo attached). 

A pleasant, slow hike.

NOTES

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

Water and shade available along the route at the campsites.

South Shore Playground parking Area to Armadillo Ridge Figure 8
User: MikeHikes - 10/28/2016  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 9.80 Miles Duration: 4 hours

Out     Playground parking area > Chaparral > Talley Valley > Horny Toad > Nature Loop > Lanky lackey > Suzanne's Trail > Burkett park > Burkett Trail > East Potts Creek > Armadillo     4.5 miles

Return Armadillo (W) > West Potts Creek > Roller Coaster > Lanky Lackey (20 yds) > Suzanne's Trail > Burkett park > Winding Snake > Chaparral > Playground parking area    5.3 miles

Temps started at 63 ended at 83, sunny, steady breeze.

A good long hike through a few trails I haven't been on in awhile.  Talley Valley should be avoided at this time unless you are already familiar with it - very high vegetation hides the trail as well as the trail needs some fill rock/dirt in many places. 

Since my last hike, there has been trail maintenance on other sections such as Nature Loop  so personnel are working but it's going to take awhile to get all the trails back up to speed.  In the meantime, watch your footing and slow down.

There were a large number of butterflies out; a few Monarchs but mostly "other types" that I don't know the names of.  Still quite a few flowers and shrubs with blooms the butterflies visited as well as numerous caterpillars.  All in all, an enjoyable hike.

North Shore Bell's Trailhead to 5 Points Junction
User: MikeHikes - 10/20/2016  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 11.00 Miles Duration: 5 hours, 20 minutes

Out      Bell's Trailhead > Dinosaur > Upper Big Hill > service road (S) 100 yds > Badlands > River Bend > 5 Points Junction      6.1 miles

Return  5 Points Junction > Flintstone (N) > Cougar Lookout > Javalina > Lower Ghost Camp > River bend Ghost Camp > South Slick Rock > service road (N) > Scenic Loop > service road (ENE) > Shady Trail > Bell's Trailhead    4.9 miles

Temps 65 at start 75 at end, light overcast then sunny, steady northerly winds.

Trails have been groomed for the most part but are still rough in spots.  No animal acitivity, some birds but once again, mostly caterpillars eating and spinning their cocoons.  Last week at the South Shore, the bugs ate tumbleweeds.  Today on this hike, they were eating Bee Brush shrubs.

The breeze kept me cool and the hike was enjoyable!

NOTES

Water is available at Bell's Trailhead in the nearby campground.

Water, shade and info kiosk available at Dinosaur Tracks viewing area on Dinosaur Trail.

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

Shade and info kiosk available at Cougar Lookout.

Water, shade, info kiosk and dry toilets available at River Bend Ghost camp. ADVISE CAUTION WHEN USING TOILETS.

 

 

South Shore Roadrunner Loop to Burkett Figure 8
User: MikeHikes - 10/13/2016  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 9.60 Miles Duration: 4 hours

Leg 1 - Playground parking area > Roadrunner Loop > Playground parking area        2.9 miles

Leg 2 - Playground parking area > Tasajilla Flats > Nature Loop > Lanky Lackey > Suzanne's Trail > Burkett park     3.8 miles

Leg 3 - Burkett park > Winding Snake > Chaparral > Playground parking area     2.9 miles

Temps at 55 to start and 65 at end, overcast, light cool wind.

A good hike today on dry trails with an overcast sky.  Not many birds out and about.  Vegetation is slowly beginning to die off although the trails could use some trimming.  On a positive note - the final section of Tasajilla Flats that connects to the Nature Loop, had been mowed again and the trail is much easier to traverse.  The same cannot be said for Nature Loop!

Of interest - about 12 - 14 years ago, during the Winter, severe Northerly winds brought an inordinately large amount of tumbleweeds into the area that Winding Snake goes through. In some cases, the piles of tumbleweeds were 8 - 10 foot tall.  As time passed, the tumbleweeds broke down and disappeared.  Don't know if it was due to the rains we've had or "just because" but a lot of green plants that will soon turn into brown tumbleweeds are growing.  There were numerous caterpillars eating the small leaves and flowers (photo attached).  Not all caterpillars were the same either - I counted at least five different types enjoying the abundant food available.

NOTES

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

Water, shade and toilets available at the camping area along the Roadrunner Loop.

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

North Shore Bell's Trailhead to Cougar Lookout
User: MikeHikes - 10/5/2016  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 9.30 Miles Duration: 4 hours

Out     Bell's Trailhead > service road (S) > Dinosaur Trail > Upper Big Hill > Dinosaur > service road (NW 50 yds) > Badlands > River Bend > service road (NE) > Cougar Lookout        5.8 miles

Return Cougar Lookout > Javalina > Lower Ghost Camp > River Bend campground > South Slick Rock > service road (N) > North Scenic Loop > service road (E then N) > Shady Trail > Bell's Trailhead    3.5 miles

Temps 75 to start and 90 at end, sunny, steady SW breeze.

Last time I hiked this route, the trails were muddy and it started to rain which made them even worse.  Well, the once smooth trails have, because of the prior rains, become hard and difficult to traverse!  Humans, bicycles and animals had gouged the muddy dirt and when it dried, it looked and felt, like broken chunks of concrete.  It will be some time before the clods are broken down and the trails are smooth once again.

Saw quite a few Monarch butterflies today in the pecan groves and along the river banks.  A rattler was also encountered and was fairly aggressive but no harm was done to me or the snake.

A good hike overall and this hike brings me to the 1,500 recorded mile mark!!

NOTES

Water available at Bell's Trailhead in the nearby campground area.

Water, info kiosk and shade available at the Dinosaur track viewing area.

Info kiosk and shade available at Cougar Lookout.

Water, shade, info kiosk and dry toilets available at the River Bend Ghost Campground.  CAUTION when using the dry toilets.

Park Mid-section Burkett to Cougar Lookout Figure 8
User: MikeHikes - 9/29/2016  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 10.70 Miles Duration: 4 hours, 30 minutes

Out     Burkett park > Suzanne's Trail > Roller Coaster > West Potts Creek > Armadillo > Playground > Bell's Point > Playground (N) > Flintstone > 5 Points Junction > Flintstone (N) > Cougar Lookout     6.0 miles

Return Cougar Lookout > service road (W) > River Bend (S) > 5 Points Junction > Turkey Creek > Armadillo (E) > East Potts Creek > Burkett Trail > Burkett park    4.7 miles

Temps in the low 70's to start and low 80's at end, sunny, dry and steady, light North wind.

Five days ago was the last time it rained yet many portions of the trails today were damp and in a few places, very muddy.  Otherwise, the trails were shaggy and hiking was slow because of the ever present danger of rattlers lying under the tall grasses.

Lots of birds today as well as insects (photo attached).  Not much to report that hasn't already been said - the trails are becoming more overgrown with vegetation and if you don't know where you're going, it is easy to lose the trail at certain points. 

NOTES

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

Water and shade available at Bell's Point.

Shade and info kiosk at Cougar Lookout.

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

South Shore Playground parking area to Burkett and Roadrunner Loop
User: MikeHikes - 9/23/2016  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 9.90 Miles Duration: 4 hours

Leg 1  Playground parking area > Chaparral > Red Dam Loop > Chaparral > Winding Snake > Burkett park    3.3 miles

Leg 2  Burkett park > Suzanne's Trail > Lanky Lackey > Nature Loop > Tasajilla Flats > Playground parking area    3.6 miles

Leg 3  Playground parking area > Roadrunner Loop > Playground parking area   3.0 miles

Temps in the low 80's, steady wind, sunny, light humidity.

I wanted to hike Roadrunner Loop since I haven't been on it in awhile but couldn't stop there so I decided to do my "normal" hike in reverse order - glad I did!

I started Leg 1 around 0930 and saw lots of birds including the attached photo of a male Golden Fronted Woodpecker being shadowed by a Hummingbird.  Further on, I saw this season's first Goldfinch and the first verified Monarch butterfly. 

Trails were dry except in a few widely scattered low spots where they were slightly muddy.  Park personnel have mowed but the vegetation grows and grows! 

Two notes of interest - (1)  there are LOTS of ground bees on the top of Red Dam (part of the Red Dam Loop) and the vegetation is extremely thick so my advice is to avoid this trail until Winter and (2) the portion of Tasajilla Flats that had been impassable has been mowed BUT it is still very rough.  If you hike it, watch where you place your feet!

NOTES

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

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

Water and shade is available in the campgrounds along the North, West and South sides of Roadrunner Loop.

South Shore Playground parking area to 5 Points Junction Figure 8
User: MikeHikes - 9/15/2016  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 13.80 Miles Duration: 5 hours, 30 minutes

Out     Playground parking area > Tasajilla Flats > Horny Toad > Nature Loop > Lanky Lackey > Suzanne's Trail > Burkett park > Burkett Trail > East Potts Creek > Armadillo > Playground > Bells Point > Playground (N) > Flintstone > 5 Points Junction        6.8 miles

Return 5 Points Junction > Turkey Creek > Armadillo (W) > West Potts Creek > Rollercoaster > Suzanne's Trail > Burkett Park > Winding Snake > Chaparral > Playground parking area    7.0 miles

Temps in the 80's, mostly sunny, light wind and humid.

Long hike today along dry trails that are in need of trimming.  For the past two years, San Angelo has had above average rain.  This, coupled with the park's mesquite eradication program and last year's controlled fires, have caused the vegetation to grow rapidly.  There have been efforts by park personnel to mow but the vegetation is winning the battle.  If you hike, be aware of the possibility of snakes in the underbrush. 

On the majority of my hikes I encounter a snake, mostly rattlers but not always.  Today I saw a Sonoran Gopher Snake (photo attached) who wanted me to believe he was a rattler by rearing up and acting aggressive - problem with the act, he was about 12-18 inches long.  Nonetheless, I gave him a wide berth and all was well.

Lots of grasshoppers out today and there are still a few patches of Bee Brush blooming and scenting the air - a long but pleasant hike.

NOTES

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

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

Water and shade available at Bell's Point -on Playground trail near the North end.

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

South Shore Playground parking area to Armadillo Ridge Loop
User: MikeHikes - 9/8/2016  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 9.70 Miles Duration: 3 hours, 45 minutes

Out     Playground parking area > Tasajilla Flats > service road (E) > Nature Loop > lanky Lackey > Roller Coaster > West Potts Creek > Armadillo (E) > East Potts Creek     5.6 miles

Return  East Potts Creek > Burkett Trail > Burkett park > Winding Snake >Chaparral > Playground parking area  4.1 miles

Temps started in the mid 80's ended in upper 90's, sunny, light steady SW wind.

Trails are dry and in need of trimming which park personnel are doing.  Due to rains in the recent past, there are portions of all the trails that could use some repair - either with fill dirt or rock.

Saw quite a few birds today including a juvenile male Vermillion Flycatcher, Yellow Billed Cuckoo, Loggerhead Shrike and numerous Mockingbirds, Sparrows and Quail.

Saw a fairly large rattler (photo attached) who I convinced to turn around and go back into the brush. 

NOTES

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

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

 

Park Mid-section Burkett park to 5 Points Junction
User: MikeHikes - 9/4/2016  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 6.00 Miles Duration: 2 hours, 30 minutes

Out     Burkett park > Burkett trail > service road (ENE) > service road (W) > 5 Points Junction     2.5 miles

Return 5 Points Junction > Turkey Creek > Armadillo > East Potts Creek > Burkett trail > Burkett park    3.5 miles

Temps in the low 90's, partly cloudy, steady wind and slightly humid.

Almost all of the trails were dry with a few muddy spots.  Trails could use another trim but they were all passable.  No animal or reptiles seen, just some birds including this preening Roadrunner (photo attached).  Quite a few folks on the trails for Labor Day weekend !

NOTES

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

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

 

North Shore Bell's Trailhead to Cougar Lookout
User: MikeHikes - 9/1/2016  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 9.10 Miles Duration: 4 hours

Out      Bell's Trailhead > service road (S) > Dinosaur > Badlands > River Bend > service road (E) > Cougar Lookout       5.6 miles

Return  Cougar Lookout > Javalina > Lower Ghost Camp > North Slick Rock > service road (N) > Bell's Trailhead        3.5 miles

Temps in the mid-70's, very humid, cloudy, rain.

The trails had been mowed but were wet and mud due to recent rains. As I was hiking the rains started and continued for some time.  Shelter was obtained at Cougar Lookout as I waited until the rains abated.  On the return hike, the trails were even wetter and muddier than before, in one case a stream was gushing down a portion of a trail (photo attached).  On the return leg, I had to use the service roads that had been recently scraped.  On numerous sections, I was walking through ankle to calf deep water.

Prior to the rains I saw a rattlesnake lying by the trail as I rounded a bend - startled me as well as the snake but he slid sideways into the brush watching me all the time with a few rattles given.  Also saw a Horned Toad and a few birds.  The sagebrush and beebrush were blooming as well.

NOTES

Water, shade and info kiosk available at Bell's Trailhead.

Water, shade and info kiosk available at Dinosaur Tracks viewing area.

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

WATER AVAILABILITY AT THE RIVER BEND GHOST CAMP IS FAIRLY RECENT.  There had been water but about 2-3 years ago, it was shut off, now it is back on.  This is significant because it is one of two water spots in the North Shore area.

South Shore Playground parking area to Armadillo Ridge Figure 8
User: MikeHikes - 8/21/2016  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 10.60 Miles Duration: 4 hours, 20 minutes

Out     Playground parking area > Tasajilla Flats > service road (E) > Nature Loop > Lanky Lackey > Suzanne's trail > Burkett park > Burkett trail > East Potts Creek > Armadillo       5.0 miles

Return Armadillo (W) > West Potts Creek > Rollercoaster > Suzanne's trail > Burkett park > Winding Snake > Chaparral > Red Dam Loop > Chaparral > Playground parking area      5.6 miles

Temps in the low 70's to start and low 80's at end, mostly cloudy, intermittent winds, humid.

I went on a slow, careful trek today along this route.  Recent rains have made the trails either (a) wet and muddy or (b) wet and rocky depending on how much of the soil was washed away.  There were a few Bee Brush beginning to bloom once more so that was a pleasant scent to encounter.  Saw lots of birds and there were more people on the trails than usual  - I saw 1  runner, 2 mountain bikers and 4 hikers - not many, to be sure, but for this park, quite a few!

All in all, the trails need to be groomed and in some spots, repaired with fill dirt or rock to combat the erosion the rains have caused.  The final section of Tasajilla Flats trail (the northernmost leg) is impassable - the vegetation is very thick and higher than the 7 foot tall signpost.

NOTES

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

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

Park Mid-section Burkett park to Bell's Point
User: MikeHikes - 8/7/2016  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 4.60 Miles Duration: 2 hours, 15 minutes

Out      Burkett park> Burkett > East Potts Creek > Armadillo (E) > Playground > Bell's Point      2.5 miles

Return  Bell's Point > Playground (N) > service road (NE) > service road (SW) > Burkett > Burkett park  2.1 miles

Temp about 103, mostly sunny, light wind, HOT!

Fitness hike with friends.  Saw a Great Horned Owl near Bell's Point and heard (twice) sounds of a cat but we couldn't see it.  Don't know if it was a feral cat or a bobcat kitten.

NOTES

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

Water and shade available at Bell's Point.

CAUTION  - shaded areas have active wasp/hornet nests in the corners - be careful.

 

Park Mid-section Burkett to Cougar Overlook
User: MikeHikes - 8/4/2016  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 8.40 Miles Duration: 3 hours, 20 minutes

Out     Burkett park > Suzanne's Trail > Rollercoaster > West Potts Creek > Armadillo > Turkey Creek > 5 Points Junction > River Bend > service road (NE) > Cougar Overlook      5.3 miles

Return  Cougar Overlook > service road (SW) > Burkett Trail > Burkett park    3.1 miles

Temp was 80 at start and 97 at end, sunny, no clouds, steady light SW breeze.

Haven't been to Cougar Overlook in quite awhile and I wanted to see how the N Concho River was flowing.  Along the way, I saw three Roadrunners and it looked like it was one adult and two juveniles.  Numerous small birds, no reptiles or animals at all.

When I arrived at the Overlook, I immediately saw the river, while still flowing, has decreased in depth - there is a prominent rock that has been completely covered with water but it is now visible to a small degree.

Walked back along the service roads which have been recently scrapped.  Saw one mountain biker and that was it!

NOTES

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

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

Shade and info kiosk available at Cougar Overlook.

CAUTION - all shade areas have active wasp/hornet nest so be careful where you sit!

South Shore Playground parking area Figure Eight
User: MikeHikes - 7/29/2016  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 9.50 Miles Duration: 3 hours, 30 minutes

Leg 1 - Playground parking area > Roadrunner Loop > Playground parking area    3 miles

Leg 2 - Playground parking area > Tasajillo Flats > service road (E) > Nature Loop > Lanky Lackey > Suzanne's Trail > Burkett park     3.7 miles

Burkett park > Winding Snake > Chaparral > Playground parking area  2.8 miles

Temps in the upper 70's to upper 80's, sunny, some clouds, steady low breeze.

Two separate hikes connected by the Playground parking area.  Roadrunner Loop is a 3 miles route that is a flat dirt trail with some shade.  Saw quite a few birds including a Painted Bunting and a hummingbird.  An easy way to stretch the legs.

The second hike is over very familiar terrain and is somewhat more difficult with rocky trails and slight hills.  Park personnel have been working to clean the overgrown parts BUT there is a major blockage, to the point of it being immpassable, on the final portion of Tasajilla Flats trail (i.e., the northernmost portion that connects to Nature Loop).  Recommend you do what I did - when you come to the final portion entrance, take the service road East and connect with the southern point of the Nature Loop trail.  By doing so, you'll avoid all the overgrown area and not lose much mileage.

Saw quite a few birds including the juvenile Scissortail Flycatcher (photo attached).  All in all the trails have been worked on but are not quite up to the level they have been in the past.

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

Water, shade and toilets available at the half way point on Roadrunner Loop.

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

Park Mid-section Burkett park to 5 Points Junction
User: MikeHikes - 7/24/2016  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 6.10 Miles Duration: 2 hours, 30 minutes

Out       Burkett park > Burkett > service road (NE) > firebreak road (W) > 5 Points Junction       2.5 miles

Return   5 Points Junction > Flintstone (S) > Playground > Bell's Point > Playground > Armadillo > East Potts Creek > Burkett > Burkett park   3.6 miles

Temps at and above 100, sunny, humid and a steady breeze from the South.

Easy hike for the first part of the hike along roads although the fireroad had been mowed awhile back, some of the cut weeds were sharp!

Return route was along trails, some overgrown in parts but passable.  Saw an owl but couldn't get a photo.  Not much going on due to the time of day and the heat - most of the birds were staying still and there were a few lizards out - that's all.

NOTES

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

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

Water and shade available at Bell's Point.

CAUTION - All shaded areas have wasp nests.  The covered area at Bell's Point has wasp nest in each corner!  Be aware where you sit.

Park Mid-Section Burkett park to 5 Points Junction
User: MikeHikes - 7/19/2016  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 7.60 Miles Duration: 3 hours

Out       Burkett park > Suzanne's Trail > Rollercoaster > West Potts Creek > Armadillo > Turkey Creek > 5 Points Junction       4.1 miles

Return   5 Points Junction > Flintstone (S) > Playground > Bell's Point > Playground > Armadillo > East Potts Creek > Burkett > Burkett park      3.5 miles

Temps in the 80's to start and mid 90's at end.  Sunny and a steady light breeze from the South.

An easy hike today with absolutely no one else on the trails.  I spotted some birds, a few lizards and two shed snake skins but no snakes - one discarded skin was almost 6 feet long. The bee brush is still blooming and putting out a fragrant scent but there were few wildflowers still in bloom. It is evident park personnel have mowed some of the trails but not all of them as there are more than a couple of sections which are VERY overgrown. 

NOTES

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

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

Water and shade available at Bell's Point.

CAUTION - Wasp/hornet nests are under all of the covered, i.e., "shade" areas.  Be cautious when resting in the shade!

Park Mid-Section Burkett park to Bell's Point
User: MikeHikes - 7/10/2016  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 4.70 Miles Duration: 2 hours

Out      Burkett park > Burkett trail > East Potts Creek > Armadillo shortcut > Playground > Bell's Point         2.7 miles

Return  Bell's Point > Playground (N) > service road (NE) > service road (SW) > Burkett Trail > Burkett park     2.0 miles

Temps in the mid 90's, sunny, a little humid and a steady wind.

Fitness hike with a friend.  Parts of the trails are still overgrown but they are passable.  Saw a Painted Bunting for the first time on the Playground Trail just below Bell's Point.  This year I've seen more Painted Buntings at more locations in this park, than any time in the past. (photo attached)

NOTES

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

Water and shade available at Bell's Point. 

CAUTION - at both locations, there are active wasp/hornet nests in the upper corners of the shade coverings.  Be careful!!

South Shore Playground parking area to Burkett park
User: MikeHikes - 7/2/2016  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 6.00 Miles Duration: 2 hours, 20 minutes

Out      Playground parking area > Tasajilla Flats > Horny Toad > Nature Loop > Lanky Lackey > Suzanne's Trail > Burkett park      2.7 miles

Return  Burkett park > Winding Snaker > Chaparral > Red Dam Loop > Chaparral > Playground parking area       3.3 miles

Temps in the low 80's, a few clouds and a steady breeze.

A nice hike today along familiar trails.  Some portions of the trails could use another trimming but for the most part, they are passable.  Saw an interesting bird nest (photo attached).  The back story - whenever I hike I pick up trash so I always carry a bag with me.  On some occassions, I've picked up too much trash and run out of space in my bag so when I find more trash, I stage it along the trail where I'll see it next time and gather it.  A month or so ago, I staged a can and a broken bottle in the tree trunk just off a trail with the intent of gathering it when I came by next time.  I waited too long as can be seen in the photo!  A Mourning Dove decided the trunk was the perfect place to build a nest so, I'll give her a month or more before I return to clean out the trunk.

NOTES

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

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

 

South Shore Short hike
User: MikeHikes - 6/25/2016  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 3.00 Miles Duration: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Route   Playground parking area > Tasajilla Flats > Nature Loop (S) > Horny Toad > Tasajilla Flats > Playground parking area     3.0 miles

Temp in the mid 80's, overcast and light wind.

A short hike today.  Tasajilla Flats trail has been partially cleared of high vegetation BUT the final section is still EXTREMELY choked with vegetation - be prepared!

Nature Loop and Horny Toad trails have been cleared.  All the trails are "rockier" because the recent rains washed off the topsoil, so wear good shoes!   Didn't see any wildlife and not many birds were out either.

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

South Shore Playground parking area Figure 8
User: MikeHikes - 6/5/2016  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 9.80 Miles Duration: 3 hours, 20 minutes

Leg 1 - Playground parking area > Roadrunner Loop > Playground parking area      3.1 miles

Leg 2 - Playground parking area > Tasajilla Flats > Nature Loop > Lanky Lackey > Suzanne's Trail > Burkett park > Winding Snake > Chaparral > Red Dam Loop > Chaparral > Playground parking area   6.7 miles

Temps in the low 80's, sunny w/clouds, steady light breeze.

We've had much needed and welcome, rain off and on for the past week so the trails are damp and slick for the most part - vegetation has gone WILD!  In addition, when I hiked through portions of the trails that blocked the wind, the gnats were thick and FEROCIOUS!

There are sections of Tasajilla Flats and Roadrunner Loop that are extremely difficult to hike through - some of the brush is chest high and the trail was hidden.  I talked to a ranger about closing some of the trails due to the thick vegetation, he told me the park personnel planned to begin trail maintenance this coming week.

Saw lots of birds today including a Blue Grosbeak, Painted Bunting, Yellow Billed Cuckoo, two Roadrunners and lots of Black-throated Sparrows.

I also saw a Mexican Ground Squirrel which is not common for the park (photo atttached).

NOTES

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

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

South Shore Playground parking area to Burkett Park
User: MikeHikes - 5/29/2016  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 6.00 Miles Duration: 2 hours

Out     Playground parking area > Chaparral > Red Dam Loop > Chaparral > Winding Snake > Burkett Park       3.2 miles

Return Burkett park > Suzanne's Trail > Lanky Lackey > Nature Loop shortcut > Horny Toad > Tasajilla Flats > Playground parking area   2.8 miles

Temps in the mid 80's, partly cloudy and steady breeze.

Today, many birds were seen including a Blue Grosbeak (photo attached) as well as lots of lizards.  The vegetation is growing over many sections of the trails although there are a few areas that have been cut.  Caution is advised when on the trails because of snakes.  A new alert for bees has been posted as well.

NOTES

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

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

Park Mid-Section Burkett Park to 5 Points Junction
User: MikeHikes - 5/22/2016  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 6.80 Miles Duration: 2 hours, 15 minutes

Out     Burkett park > Burkett > East Potts Creek > Armadillo > Playground > Bell's Point > Playground > Flintstone > 5 Points Junction     3.4 miles

Return 5 Points Junction > Turkey Creek > Armadillo  (E) > East Potts Creek > Burkett > Burkett park     3.4 miles

Temps in the mid 80's, humid, cloudy and light wind.

Very humid and hot but a nice hike.  There really wasn't much going on today; saw lots of lizards, some birds and one small horned toad.  I watched a hawk being chased off by two smaller birds (photo attached) which looked like a pair of Kingbirds.

NOTES

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

Water and shade available at Bell's Point.

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

North Shore Bell's Trailhead to Dinosaur Loop
User: MikeHikes - 5/15/2016  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 4.70 Miles Duration: 2 hours

Route   Bell's Trailhead > Shady Trail > service road (SW) > service road (W) > Dinosaur Trail > service road (N) > Bell's Trailhead

Temps in the low 70's, cloudy and steady breeze.

Very nice day to hike with friends.  Lots of cactus are blooming, other flowers are in bloom, lots of birds and a few lizards as well as a snake.  The trails are becoming overgrown with vegetation and there is some kind of taller grass that has arrowheads that stick to your clothes as you pass by.  Kept getting jabbed in my socks so was constantly stopping and pulling the thorny seeds out.

NOTES

Water is available at Bell's Trailhead.  Look around for the fountain by the parking area.

Water , shade and info kiosk available at Dinosaur Tracks viewing area.  ONLY WATER AVAILABLE IN THE NORTH SHORE AREA.

South Shore Playground parking area to 5 Points Junction
User: MikeHikes - 5/6/2016  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 14.70 Miles Duration: 6 hours

Out     Playground parking area > Tasajilla Flats > Nature Loop > Lanky Lackey > Suzanne's Trail > Burkett park > Suzanne's Trail > Roller Coaster > West Potts Creek > Armadillo > Turkey Creek > 5 Points Junction   8.2 miles

Return 5 Points Junction > Flintstone (S) > Playground Trail >Armadillo (W) > East Potts Creek > Burkett Trail > Burkett park > Winding Snake > Chaparral> Playground parking area   6.5 miles

Temps in low 70's to start and upper 80's at end.  Sunny and windy.

Lesiurely hike today. Major portions of the Tasajilla Flats trail is overgrown with vegetation - be careful and make sure you don't step on a snake!  I saw lots of lizards, lots of birds including Black Throated sparrows, a Yellow Billed Cuckoo, a couple of Night Hawks, a Great Horned Owl and numerous Mockingbirds.  There are many wildflowers out and the prickly pear cactus are starting to bloom as well.  The scent of vanilla from the Bee Brush shrubs is very strong!

Found a dead Worm Snake that was about 4 inches long and as thick as a piece of heavy twine - there were no marks on him so I have no idea why he died. Further on, I found a dead lizard with no visible marks on him either.

I saw a mountain biker when I started and two mountain bikers near the end of the hike; otherwise, the trails were mine!  A great hike overall!

NOTES

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

Water, shade, info kiosk and dry toilets available at Burkett park (visit on way out and back).

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

Water and shade available at Bell's Point - 1/2 miles South from the northern end of Playground Trail.

 

South Shore Playground parking area to Burkett Park
User: MikeHikes - 5/1/2016  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 6.40 Miles Duration: 2 hours, 45 minutes

Out     Playground parking area > Tasajilla Flats > Nature Loop (short) > Lanky Lackey > Suzanne's Trail > Burkett park      3.2 miles

Return  Burkett park > Winding Snake > Chaparral > Red Dam Loop > Chaparral > Playground parking area   3.2 miles

Temps in the low 60's, overcast, windy.

A good hike - saw lots of birds including a male Painted Bunting, a Bullock's Oriole, Lark Sparrows and lots of others.  Also saw a rather large Coachwhip.

The trails are shaggy with new vegetation.  A few sections have been cut because of an organized race yesterday but otherwise, the grass is growing.

Photo attached is of a hawk that has some serious looking damage to his wing yet didn't seem to have any issues with his flying ability. 

NOTES

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

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

 

Park Mid-Section Burkett park to Bell's Point
User: MikeHikes - 4/24/2016  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 4.70 Miles Duration: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Out     Burkett park > Burkett > East Potts Creek > Armadillo (E) > Playground > Bell's Point          2.7 miles

Return  Bell's Point > Playground (N) > service road (ENE) > service road (SW) > Burkett > Burkett park   2.0 miles

Temps in the low 80's, sunny and steady wind.

Nice hike with friends. Saw a Coachwhip snake, a mating pair of Horned Toads, a porcupine and a roadrunner with a mouse in it's beak.  Some trash on the trails as well but it wasn't much.

Only one low spot on the trail was muddy so I won't complain.  All in all, a nice hike.

South Shore Playground to Burkett park
User: MikeHikes - 4/10/2016  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 5.90 Miles Duration: 2 hours, 30 minutes

Route   Playground parking area > Tasajilla Flats > Horny Toad > Nature Loop > Lanky Lackey > Suzanne's Trail > Burkett park > Winding Snake > Chaparral > Playground parking lot     5.9 miles

Temps in the mid 70's, sunny and windy.

Fitness hike with friends.  Not much to report.  The trails are good, quite a few birds out but no reptiles or animals. 

Any time you can hike with friends, it's a good hike.

Two Hikes in One Day
User: MikeHikes - 4/5/2016  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 10.70 Miles Duration: 4 hours

First Hike -

Playground parking area > Roadrunner Loop > Playground parking area     3.1 miles

Second Hike -

Out      Burkett park > Suzanne's Trail > Roller Coaster > West Potts Creek > Armadillo > Turkey Creek > 5 Points Junction      4 miles

Return  5 Points Junction > Flintstone (S) > Playground > Bell's Point > Playground > Armadillo > East Potts Creek > Burkett Trail > Burkett park     3.6 miles

Temps in the mid 60's to start and upper 70's at end, sunny and steady, breeezy wind.

Wanted to do two hikes today and did.  On the first hike, I saw three Vermillion Flycatchers which is very unusual because in all the years visiting this park, this is the first year I've seen ANY of these birds and now they're all over!

Second hike was just as interesting as I saw my first Black Chinned Hummingbird of the year as well as my first rattler.  Also saw many other birds and a feral cat running on the trail.  The vegetation continues to grow and the trails are looking shaggier all the time. 

The scent of just blooming Bee Brush was carried on the steady winds as well as the scent of other flowers - very pleasant indeed!

NOTES

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

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

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

Water and shade available at Bell's Point (near the North end of Playground Trail).

 

South Shore Playground parking area to Armadillo Ridge
User: MikeHikes - 4/2/2016  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 8.40 Miles Duration: 3 hours, 15 minutes

Out       Playground parking area > Tasajilla Flats > Horny Toad > Nature Loop > Lanky Lackey > Roller Coaster> West Potts Creek > Armadillo (E) > East Potts Creek    4.5 miles

Return   East Potts Creek (S) > Burkett Trail > Burkett park > Winding Snake > Chaparral > Playground parking area    3.9 miles

Temps in the mid-50's to start and mid-60's at end, sunny and light northerly wind.

Another Verdin day!  Prior to this year, I saw my first and only Verdin about 10 years ago - in the past 6 weeks, I've seen three Verdin in three different locations so unless the same bird is getting chased out of each area, there are a few around now.

Unfortunately, I also saw my second dead skunk - one last week at the north shore and one today.  In both cases, the carcass was lying right in the middle of the trail and the body had been consumed.  Nature can be cruel but .....

Picked up some trash from Horny Toad and hopefully I will continue to find less each trip.  Quite a few people on the trails today but there was plenty of room for everyone.

All in all a nice hike!

NOTES

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

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

Trailhead to Trailhead Burkett Park to Bell's Trailhead
User: MikeHikes - 3/24/2016  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 16.20 Miles Duration: 6 hours, 30 minutes

Out      Burkett Park > Suzanne's Trail > Rollercoaster> West Potts Creek > Armadillo > Turkey Creek > 5 Points Junction > River Bend > Badlands> Dinosaur Trail > service road (N) > Bell's Trailhead       10.3 miles

Return  Bell's Trailhead > Shady Trail > service road (WSW) > South Slick Rock > Lower Ghost Camp > service road (S) > Cougar Overlook > service road (WSW) > Burkett Trail (S) > Burkett park                             5.9 miles

Temps started at 52 and ended at 67, sunny and a pretty steady Northerly wind.

A long hike I wanted to do while the weather was cooler.  Note to self - don't wear wool socks!  I had holes on both socks at the same place - the ball of each foot now has a sizeable blister, no fun.

The hike otherwise was enjoyable.  I saw lots of birds including Turkeys (photo attached), quail, different sparrows, a Vermillion Flycatcher (second I've seen at the park), Ash Throated Flycatchers and a Myrtles Warbler (second at the park).  Later by the river, large alligator turtles were floating and I spooked a Great Blue Heron.  Near Cougar Overlook there were a few longhorns with their calves so I gave them a wide berth.

The trails are dry and decent although with Spring finally here, some of the trails North of 5 Points Junction, have spots that are "shaggy" with vegetation but I was able to go through it.

No snakes or other reptiles and no animals, today was Bird Day.

NOTES

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

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

Water, shade and info kiosk availabe at the Dinosaur Tracks Viewing area along Dinosaur Trail.

Water, shade and info kiosk available at Bell's Trailhead.  You have to look for the water receptacle North of the dumpster in the park.

Shade and info kiosk available at Cougar Overlook.

South Shore Strawberry Trail and Roadrunner Loop
User: MikeHikes - 3/21/2016  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 1.30 Miles Duration: 45 minutes

Route  Playground parking area > Strawberry Trail > Roadrunner Loop (W)    1.3 miles

Temps in the upper 40's, sunny and windy.

An easy hike going NE along Strawberry Trail and returning on Roadrunner Loop to the parking area. Saw quite a few birds including a pair of Meadowlarks (photo attached).  A very relaxing hike to start the day!

NOTES

Water, shade, info kiosk and toilets available at Playground parking area AND near the turn-around point.

North Shore West Annex (across from North Entrance)
User: MikeHikes - 3/20/2016  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 5.70 Miles Duration: 2 hours, 30 minutes

Temps in the low 60's, sunny and light wind.

Route is easy to follow - you go in the gate, follow the path/dirt road for approx 3 miles.  When you come to the barbed wire fence turn around and go back the same route.

Although the land itself isn't too scenic, you can walk among desiduous trees, along the river, observe quite a few cattle, and view some birds - this was a good hike.  I saw for the first time a White Faced Ibis and for the first time at this park, a pair of Vermillion Flycatchers. (photo attached)

The first part of the path is overgrown but once you come to the power lines, the path widens into a dirt road and is pretty good.  Only issues you may have are the longhorns; a few were standing their ground on the road so we gave them a wide berth and made a detour. 

The North Concho River has water flowing and that is always good.  Still lots of debris from last year's floods along the banks and where the water was high.  Quite a few ducks and turtles as well.

NOTES

Recommend you check in at the North Shore gatehouse and park by the bathhouse.  You will cross the road (FM2288) and the swinging gate is there. 

Water, shade and toilets available at the North Shore bathhouse - there are no facilities available on the West side of FM2288.

South Shore Playground parking area to 5 Points Junction
User: MikeHikes - 3/16/2016  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 14.70 Miles Duration: 5 hours, 45 minutes

Out     Playground parking area > Tasajilla Flats> Nature Loop > Lanky Lackey> Suzanne's Trail > Burkett park > Suzanne's Trail > Roller Coaster > West Potts Creek > Armadillo (E) > Turkey Creek > 5 Points Junction      8.2 miles

Return  5 Points Junction > Flintstone (N) > Playground > Bell's Point > Playground > Armadillo (W) > East Potts Creek > Burkett Trail > Burkett park > Winding Snake > Chaparral> Playground parking area     6.5 miles

Temps in the mid 60's to start and mid-80's at end. Sunny and some occassional breezes.

A leisurely paced hike today to stretch the legs and see the trails.  As always, trash was picked up and unfortunately, by picking up an old can, I spooked a small brown snake which looks like a "Worm Snake" to me.  I left him alone so I hope he survives.

Saw a few white tail deer, lots of birds including another Verdin (the third one I've seen in my life).  The trails are dry and clearly marked, although I always find trash, it wasn't that much so I was pleased.

All in all, it was a very good hike!

South Shore Clean the Trails Day Hike
User: MikeHikes - 3/15/2016  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 4.90 Miles Duration: N/A

Temps in the lower 70's, sunny and steady wind.

Today was "clean up the trails" day.  I hiked the Roadrunner Loop, the Lanky Lackey and Horny Toad trails with the specific purpose of picking up trail trash.  Needless to say, the vast majority of trash was old cans and bottles with a few modern pieces of trash throw in.

The trails picked were ones that I had seen specific areas of heavy trash on.  I cleaned up all of Lanky Lackey and about 90% of the broken glass on Horny Toad.  Roadrunner Loop seems to grow trash every time I hike it so I can't tell how much more I will find.

NOTES

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

Water and toilets available at the mid-way point on Roadrunner Loop (at the campground).

 

Park Mid-Section Burkett park to Cougar Overlook
User: MikeHikes - 3/13/2016  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 5.70 Miles Duration: 2 hours, 30 minutes

Out    Burkett park > Burkett Trail > service roads (ENE) > Cougar Overlook     3.0 miles

Return  Cougar Overlook > service roads (WSW) > cattle trails > Burkett park  2.7 miles

Temps in the mid-70's, sunny and windy.

Fitness hike with friends.  After a few days of welcome rains, decided to do a relatively simple hike on the service roads due to potentially wet and muddy trails.  Saw quite a few birds and the yellow flowers have started to appear (photo attached).

Saw the first horned toad of the year as well!

NOTES

Water, shade, info kiosk and dry toilets available at Burkett Park. NO OTHER WATER IS AVAILABLE ON THIS ROUTE.

Info kiosk and shade available at Cougar Overlook.

 

 

South Shore Roadrunner Trail PLUS Fitness Hike
User: MikeHikes - 3/6/2016  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 3.90 Miles Duration: 2 hours, 15 minutes

Temps in the low 70's, cloudy and windy.

Fitness hike with friends along Roadrunner Trail at the South Shore.  Not much to see, just a chance to hike and talk. 

Went to the bird blind and saw some birds (photo attached).

NOTES

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

Water and toilets available at the campground at the mid-way point.

South Shore Playground parking lot Figure 8
User: MikeHikes - 2/26/2016  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 11.10 Miles Duration: 5 hours

Hike 1   Playground parking lot > Roadrunner Loop > Playground parking lot    3.2 miles

Hike 2 -

Out      Playground parking lot > Chaparral > Red Dam Loop > Chaparral > Winding Snake > Burkett park     4.0 miles

Return  Burkett park > Suzanne's Trail > Lanky Lackey > Nature Loop > Tasajilla Flats > Playground parking lot    3.9 miles

Temps in the mid-40's to start and 67 at end, sunny, steady 10 mph breeze.

Did two separate hikes with the Playground parking lot being the common point of departure and return.  

The Roadrunner Trail (Loop) is a fairly wide and level dirt trail that is designated for hikers only.  I've worked diligently to clean it of trash and yet, I still manage to find some!  Fortunately the vast majority is "old trash" such as bottles and cans.  I find it interesting that each time I do a trash pick-up I swear I get it all, only to find on my next hike, I find enough to fill another bag or two!   There were some birds looking for mates (see attached photo) but otherwise, not much going on.

The second hike was from Playground to Burkett park - done many times in the past.  Trails are in very good condition and with a recent, light rain, some of the burnt wood smell has begun to dissipate AND there are green shoots coming up from the cactus and new grass in the burned areas.   Agarita bushes continue to bloom and release their scents which is very pleasant!

NOTES

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

Water and toilets available at the mid-way point of the Roadrunner Loop.

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

South Shore Roadrunner Trail Trash and Hike
User: MikeHikes - 2/20/2016  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 8.80 Miles Duration: 5 hours, 30 minutes

Temps in the mid-60's to low 70's, cloudy, light wind.

Today was spent cleaning up what I called "The Loop" but what is really called "Roadrunner Trail".  Roadrunner Trail is a mostly dirt, fairly level loop about 3 - 3 1/2 miles in diameter.  My distance was so high because as I hiked, I picked up trash, left the full bag on the side of the road, hiked back to the car, drove the car to the trash (not recorded!), park the car there, then hike again as I picked up more trash, repeated numerous times.

All told, I picked up a LOT of trash and the trail looks a lot better and is much safer (there were numerous broken bottles and glass shards).  The trail doesn't have a lot to offer but if you get there early in the morning, there are numerous birds and some animals moving about. 

I was on the trail yesterday and saw a Verdin (photo attached) - didn't see him today as I was concentrating on finding and removing as much debris as possible.

NOTES

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

Water and toilets available at the mid-way point of the loop.

South Shore Roadrunner Loop off Strawberry Trail
User: MikeHikes - 2/19/2016  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 2.40 Miles Duration: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Temps in the mid-60's, sunny and slight breeze.

Route   Playground parking lot > Hiking Loop (W) > service road (N) > Playground parking lot

Today I hiked along the west portion of Roadrunner Loop which is between 3 - 3 1/2 miles in length.  It is designated as "Hikers Only" and provides a safe, fairly level dirt path for hiking or jogging.  Controlled burns have cleared some of the area encircled by the trail.

Lots of trash laying about and I will get it tomorrow.  Best thing about the hike - I saw a Verdin and a grey fox! 

NOTES

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

Water and toilets available at the mid-point by the Lake View campground.

South Shore and Mid-Section Trash and Hike
User: MikeHikes - 2/18/2016  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 9.90 Miles Duration: 4 hours, 30 minutes

Trash Hike  -

    North end of Horny Toad > Talley Valley > return       2.0 miles

Real Hike   -

    Out      Burkett park > Suzanne's Trail > Roller Coaster > West Potts Creek > Armadillo > Turkey Creek > 5 Point Junction       4.3 miles

    Return  5 Points Junction > Flintstone (S) > Playground > Bell's Point > Playground (S) > Armadillo > East Potts Creek > Burkett Trail > Burkett park    3.6 miles

Temps in the low 60's to start and low 70's at end, sunny, STRONG gusty WSW wind.

I decided to do a "short" hike on Horny Toad and Talley Valley to complete last week's trash pick-up.  I filled two more 40 pound bags and quit - there are still at least one, if not two, more bags I will get next week.  Surprisingly, I found a LARGE trash dump of cans and bottles from the "old days" that I will not mess with since it is off the beaten trails.

My real hike was from Burkett Park to 5 Points Junction and as usual it was very nice!  The trails are in good repair for the most part and the constant wind blew the heavy scent of blooming agarita bushes to me as well as kept me cool. 

I saw a Roadrunner (photo attached) that was fascinated with the sound of my camera shutter in high speed mode.  Also saw numerous other birds but no reptiles or mammals.

NOTES

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

Water, shade and info kiosk at 5 Points Junction.

Water and shade at Bell's Point.

Park Mid-Section Burkett Park to Cougar Overlook
User: MikeHikes - 2/14/2016  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 8.40 Miles Duration: 4 hours, 45 minutes

Out     Burkett park > Burkett > service roads (ENE) > old boat ramp (S) > fence line (E then N) > Cougar Overlook     3.5 miles

Return Cougar Overlook > Flintstone > 5 Points Junction > Flintstone > Playground > Bell's Point > Playground > shortcut to Armadillo > East Potts Creek > Burkett > Burkett park   4.9 miles

Temps in the mid-70's, sunny then partly cloudy and light breeze.

Did a roundabout route to Cougar Overlook by hiking along a cow path along the barb wire fence bordering the grazing area for the longhorns; the longhorns were in the area but left us alone as we hiked by them.

Not much to report about the route except we saw quite a few water birds along the North Concho River.

Return route was along designated trails.  We saw lots of birds, including a juvenile Broad-Winged Hawk, a kestrel and a pair of Great Horned Owls. Additionally, we saw a cottontail as well as a jack rabbit!  A longer than expected hike but an enjoyable one.

NOTES

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

Shade and info kiosk available at Cougar Overlook.

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

Water and shade available at Bell's Point.

South Shore Playground to Armadillo Ridge PLUS
User: MikeHikes - 2/12/2016  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 14.50 Miles Duration: 6 hours

1st Leg   Playground parking area > Chaparral > Talley Valley > return        1.4 miles

2nd Leg  Playground parking area > Tasajilla Flats > Horny Toad > return    2.2 miles

3rd Leg   Playground parking area > Tasajilla Flats > Nature Loop > Lanky Lackey > Suzanne's Trail > Burkett park > Burkett > East Potts Creek > Armadillo     5.2 miles

4th Leg   Armadillo (W) > West Potts Creek > Roller Coaster > Suzanne's Trail > Burkett park > Winding Snake > Chaparral > Playground parking area            5.7 miles

Temps started in the mid-40's ended in the mid-70's, sunny and steady wind.

The first two legs were a combination of hiking and trash pick-up.  Picked up two 40 pound bags of trash; unfortunately, there is enough trash to fill another bag or two waiting for me - I'll get that picked up next week.

The final two legs were hiking with minor trash pick-up - it's just an unfortunate fact that not all people who use our parks are responsible enough to pick up after themselves.  I won't get on THAT soapbox but it irks me to no end to walk along the trail and see a styrofoam cup, water bottle, GU package or candy wrapper laying just off the trail because some "nature lover" couldn't be bothered to put the empty in a trash can.

More agarita bushes blooming, many birds out and at the end of the hike, I saw an armadillo - the first in quite a long time!

NOTES

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

Water, shade, info kiosk and dry toilets available at Burkett park - you will be here twice if you follow my route.

South Shore Roadrunner Loop off Strawberry Trail
User: MikeHikes - 2/11/2016  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 2.00 Miles Duration: 1 hour

Route    Playground parking lot > Hiking Loop > service road (N) > Playground parking lot      2.0 miles

Temp at 80 degrees, sunny, light wind.

Did a half loop of a newer trail near the Playground parking lot. It is designated "hikers only" and is mostly dirt, fairly flat and wide.  The trail was created by bulldozing a lane to encircle the land between the different campgrounds at the South Shore.  Part of the land has been burned and there really isn't much scenery to see although you can see the lake (photo attached). 

The trail is a good one if you want to go for a run but don't want to run on the pavement.

NOTES

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

Water and toilets available near the mid-way point at a campground.

Park Mid-Section Burkett Park to Cougar Overlook
User: MikeHikes - 2/7/2016  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 8.30 Miles Duration: 3 hours

Out       Burkett Park > Burkett Trail > service roads (ENE) > Cougar Overlook      3.5 miles

Return  Cougar Overlook > Flintstone > 5 Points Junction > Flintstone(S) > Playground > Armadillo > East Potts Creek > Burkett Trail > Burkett Park    4.8 miles

Temps about 70, sunny and light wind.

A good hike with a surprising number of people on the trails.  Watched at Cougar Overlook, a Kestrel search for prey.  Quite a few small birds and a couple of mice were also spotted.

While on Flintstone Trail, I thought I smelled agarita blooms so I looked around and found a bush that is beginning to flower (photo attached).  In my mind, this is too early for blooms but it has been a warm and dry Winter in San Angelo and the proof is on the bush.

NOTES

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

Shade and info kiosk available at Cougar Overlook.

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

Water and shade available at Bell's Point - on return leg near the northern end of Playground Trail.

South Shore Tasajilla Flats Hike and Trash Loop
User: MikeHikes - 2/5/2016  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 4.20 Miles Duration: 3 hours

Final third of the Tasajilla Flats Trails > Nature Loop (S)     

Sunny with temps in the mid 40's and gusty winds.

Wanted to complete the trash pick up along the Tasailla Flats Trail I started earlier this week.  Hiking along the trail and spotting trash was not the most ideal hike but a necessary one.  Made about three complete circuits, and then some, gathering four big bags of trash consisting of bottles, cans, car parts and a few things that I couldn't identify.

I am certain when this portion of the park was underwater, it was a favorite cove for fisherman.  Fishing must be a dehydrating task as attested by the numerous beverage containers found which I know were tossed over the side of the boat. I assume modern day fishermen have more respect for the environment and don't do the same thing but ......

Still have a few trails that need to be scoured but I feel confident the vast majority of the trash has been picked up along this trail.

 

Park Mid-Section Burkett park to Cougar Overlook
User: MikeHikes - 2/4/2016  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 8.90 Miles Duration: 3 hours, 45 minutes

Out      Burkett Park > Burkett Trail > service roads (ENE) > Cougar Overlook    3.5 miles

Return  Cougar Overlook > Flintstone > 5 Points Junction > Turkey Creek > Armadillo (W) > West Potts Creek > Roller Coaster > Suzanne's Trail > Burkett Park   5.4 miles

Temps at 44 to start and 59 at end, sunny and light wind from the West.

Slow hike along some of the roads to Cougar Overlook.  I saw a LARGE grey fox near an old boat ramp in the middle of nowhere.  The fox was about 30 meters in front of me and bounded across the road in two leaps, disappearing into the scrub.

Lots of white crowned sparrows as well as a few other birds.  I also saw a red tailed hawk flying overhead.  In 2015, there were few raptors out and now it seems that on every hike lately, I've seen one or more raptors - a good sign!

Vegetation has been cleared from the trails either by fire or by park personnel.  Trash pick-up continues but visible trash is decreasing.

NOTES

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

Shade and info kiosk at Cougar Overlook.

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

South Shore Tasajilla Flats Trail Loop
User: MikeHikes - 2/1/2016  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 1.80 Miles Duration: 45 minutes

Route  Last third of Tasajilla Flats > Nature Loop (S) > turn around and go back the same way        1.8 miles

Temps in the mid-50's, sunny and light wind.

Easy hike along the final third of the Tasajilla Flats Trail -- I saw a few birds as well as a large Roadrunner sitting in a tree during my hike. 

Today, the O.C. Fisher Reservoir is only a pale shadow of what it once was; many of the park trails traverse what used to be the lake bed.  The fairly recent controlled burn revealed LOTS of bottles and cans that had been tossed overboard and sank to the lake's bottom.

As I hiked, I picked up trash and easily filled three 40 pound bird seed bags with broken bottles, old cans, a huge piece of rope and various metalic objects.  Unfortunately, I'll have to make another visit, or two, to completely eradicate the trash along this trail.  I know of at least two other trails where the trash is pretty bad so I'll hit those trails a little later. 

Tasajilla Flats trail is in good shape - the burn cleared out all the overgrown vegetation that had been choking the trail.  I don't know how long it takes Bee Brush to grow but I'll be looking for it along this trail - when the Bee Brush blooms the scent is very heavy in this area.

South Shore Playground parking area to Burkett Park
User: MikeHikes - 1/31/2016  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 6.30 Miles Duration: 2 hours, 30 minutes

Out      Playground parking area > Tasajilla Flats > Talley Valley > Horny Toad > Nature Loop > Lanky Lackey > Suzanne's Trail > Burkett park    3.2 miles

Return  Burkett park > Winding Snake > Chaparral > Red Dam Loop > Chaparral > Playground parking area     3.1 miles

Temps in the upper 70's, sunny and slight wind.

Good day for a hike as evidenced by the LARGE number of people on the trails!  LOTS of cars in the parking areas as well.  Trails very nice and the smoky smell of the prescribed burns still lingers in the air.  Not many birds around although we saw a couple of white tail deer on the return leg.  All in all, a good hike.

NOTES

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

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

North Shore Shady Trail Loop
User: MikeHikes - 1/30/2016  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 1.00 Mile Duration: 45 minutes

Route   Bell's Trailhead > Shady Trail > service road (N) > Bell's Trailhead   1.0 miles

Temps in the mid 60's, sunny, light wind.

Short stroll along Shady trail and back on the service road running parallel to the trail.  Saw lots of birds and a couple of Red Tail hawks.  On the way out saw a Great Blue Heron hunting in the fields.

NOTES

Water, shade and toilets available at the campground near Bell's Trailhead.

South Shore Playground parking area to Armadillo Figure 8
User: MikeHikes - 1/28/2016  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 11.20 Miles Duration: 5 hours, 30 minutes

Out     Playground parking area > Tasajila Flats > Nature Loop > Lanky Lackey > service road (NE) > Winding Snake (N) > Burkett park > Suzanne's Trail > Roller Coaster > West Potts Creek > Armadillo (E) > East Potts Creek         6.9 miles

Return  East Potts Creek > Burkett > Burkett park > Suzanne's Trail > Lanky Lackey > service road (NE) > Winding Snake (S) > Chaparral > Playground parking lot    5.3 miles

Temps started in the mid-40's ended at 72, sunny, light wind.

Leisurely hike.  Watched a Great Blue Heron hunt for rodents at the Playground parking lot - I was not aware the Great Blue hunted on dry land!

Saw some white tail deer, lots of white crowned sparrows and black throated sparrows.  Trails were dry, no issues except I picked up four bags of trash.  Hopefully, I'm getting the last of the "old" trash that was left before people became aware of the environment.

NOTES

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

Water, shade, info kiosk and dry toilets available at Burkett park - if you follow my route you'll visit the park twice.

North Shore Bell's Trailhead to Ghost Camp Loop
User: MikeHikes - 1/24/2016  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 7.20 Miles Duration: 2 hours, 45 minutes

Route   Bell's Trailhead > Dinosaur Trail > Badlands > Riverbend > service road (NE) > Lower Ghost Camp Trail > South Slick Rock > Scenic Loop > service road (N) > Shady Trail > Bell's Trailhead     7.2 miles

Temps in the low 70's, sunny and steady wind.

Fitness hike with friends.  The trails are dry and easy to hike for the most part, vegetation has died back and there are few people on the trails.

NOTES

Water available in the campground by Bell's Trailhead.

Water, shade and info kiosk available at Dinosaur Tracks area.

Shade, info kiosk and dry toilets available at River Bend ghost camp (return leg on Lower Ghost Camp Trail).


 

South Shore Playground parking area to 5 Points Junction Loop
User: MikeHikes - 1/21/2016  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 14.30 Miles Duration: 5 hours, 25 minutes

Out       Playground parking area > Tasajilla Flats > Nature Loop > Lanky Lackey > Roller Coaster > West Potts Creek > Armadillo > Turkey Creek > 5 Points Junction     7.8 miles

Return  5 Points Junction > Flintstone (S) > Playground > Armadillo > East Potts Creek > Burkett > Burkett park > Winding Snake > Chaparral > Playground parking area     6.5 miles

Temps in the mid 40's to start and 59 at end, sunny and strong northerly wind.

A long hike today along the park's major south and central trails.  The park has some areas burned from a controlled burn a month ago so lots of trash was uncovered which I picked up.  Still more out there so if you see trash, please pick it up!

Not much wildlife except for the beginning of the hike when I flushed about a dozen white tails out including three bucks that were 6 and 8 points looks like they'll get the chance to grow a bit larger this year!

All in all an uneventful hike but nonetheless, an enjoyable one.

NOTES

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

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

Water and shade available at Bell's Point - approx .30 miles South of the junction of Flintstone and Playground trails (return leg).

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

Park Mid-Section Burkett Loop
User: MikeHikes - 1/17/2016  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 6.40 Miles Duration: 2 hours, 20 minutes

Route     Burkett park > Burkett > service road (ENE) > service road (W) > Turkey Creek (S) > Armadillo (W) > West Potts Creek > Roller Coaster > Lankey Lackey > service road (E) > Winding Snake > Burkett park     6.4 miles

Temps in the lower 60's, partly cloudy, some wind.

A fitness hike with friends.  Lots of cattle out so we stayed on the road longer than originally planned to avoid them.  We had no issues with the cattle - we just didn't want to inadvertantly cause them any stress.

Trails were in good condition but the park has posted a notice that from now until the end of February 2016, they will perform trail maintenance so you have to call the park prior to hiking to ensure the trail(s) will be open.

NOTES

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

Park Mid-Section Burkett to Cougar Overlook via Roads and Trails
User: MikeHikes - 1/14/2016  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 9.40 Miles Duration: 4 hours

Out      Burkett park > Burkett > service roads E then NE > Cougar Overlook        3.8 miles

Return  Cougar Overlook > Flintstone > 5 Points Junction > Tirkey Creek > Armadillo (W) > West Potts Creek > Roller Coaster > Suzanne's Trail > Burkett park    5.6 miles

Temps in the mid 50's to start and mid-60's at end, sunny and steady constant winds.

Just meandered down the old service roads to Cougar Overlook and returned on the western trails.  Lots of longhorns out with their calves.  I saw quite a few Black Throated Sparrows throughout the hike as well as Mourning Doves and a few other types. 

I saw a couple of mountain bikers racing down the trails but otherwise the trails were mine!

NOTES

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

Shade and info kiosk at Cougar Overlook.

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

Park Mid-Section Burkett Park to Cougar Overlook
User: MikeHikes - 1/7/2016  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 10.10 Miles Duration: 3 hours, 40 minutes

Out     Burkett park > Burkett > East Potts Creek > Armadillo (W) > Playground > Flintstone > Cougar Overlook             4.8 miles

Return  Cougar Overlook > service road (W) > River Bend (S) > 5 Points Junction > Turkey Creek > Armadillo (W) > West Potts Creek > Roller Coaster > Suzanne's Trail > Burkett park               5.3 miles

Two years ago today, I made my first log entry!!

Temps in the mid 40's to start and upper 50's at end.  Sunny and windy.

Trails were damp which surprised me; we've have no real rain for awhile.  Very pleasant otherwise, no animals but quite a few birds.  The park's longhorns were near the Armadillo Ridge area and on the trails but they left me alone.  All in all, a nice day to hike !

NOTES

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

Water and shade available at Bell's Point (near the northern end of Playground Trail).

Water, shade and info kiosk available at 5 Points Junction - you'll hit this area on the way out and the return if you follow my route.

Shade and info kiosk available at Cougar Overlook.

North Shore Bell's Trailhead loop
User: MikeHikes - 1/3/2016  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 6.60 Miles Duration: 2 hours

Start 2016 with 1,090 logged miles.

Route  Bell's Trailhead> Shady Lane > service road > Scenic Loop > Lower Slick Rock> River Bend Ghost Camp > service road > Badlands (N) > Dinosaur > Bell's Trailhead      6.6 miles

Temps in the mid 50's, sunny and slight wind.

First hike of 2016 with friends.  Park personnel did some controlled burning but not on the trails.  Talked to a mountain biker who told us he saw a mountain lion on Christmas day near the River Bend Ghost Camp.  Would like to see and photograph one myself!

NOTES

Water available in the campground at Bell's Trailhead.

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

Water, shade and info kiosk available at Dinosaur Tracks Exhibit Area --- UPDATE  --- a week ago the water was not available; it is NOW!!!

South Shore Playground parking area to Armadillo Ridge Figure 8
User: MikeHikes - 12/23/2015  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 10.40 Miles Duration: 3 hours, 40 minutes

Out      Playground parking area > Chaparral > Winding Snake> Suzanne's Trail > Roller Coaster > West Potts Creek > Armadillo (East)     5.4 miles

Return East Potts Creek > Burkett > Burkett park > Suzanne's Trail > Lanky Lackey > Nature Loop > Tasajilla Flats > Playground parking area   5.0 miles

Temps low 60's to start and low 70's at end.  Sunny and constant, STRONG westerly wind.

Park conducted controlled burns a few weeks ago and this is the first time I've been out there since.  The area North from Playground parking area to an area South of Burkett park was burned.  Smell of woodsmoke is still in the air.  Saw a few deer and some rats as well as birds in the burned out areas. 

With the vegetation burned, some trash is visible such as old cans and bottles so I pick those up when I can reach them.

NOTES

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

Water, shade, info kiosk and dry toilets available at Burkett Park - at the midpoint of the figure 8 if you follow my route.

South Shore Playground parking area to Burkett Park and back
User: MikeHikes - 12/6/2015  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 7.10 Miles Duration: 2 hours, 30 minutes

Out     Playground parking area > Chaparral > Red Dam Loop > Chaparral > Winding Snake > Burkett park       3.4 miles

Return Burkett park > Suzanne's Trail > Lanky Lackey > Nature Loop > Tasajilla Flats > Playground parking area  3.7 miles

Mid 60's, light wind, sunny.

Been awhile since I hiked and this was just a good fitness hike with friends.  Saw 4 or 5 rats near the end of the hike.  Not much else going on, just a good hike and conversation with friends.

NOTES

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 Dinosaur Loop
User: MikeHikes - 11/22/2015  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 7.20 Miles Duration: 2 hours, 45 minutes

Route   Bell's Trailhead > Shady Trail > service road (S) > Scenic Loop > South Slick Rock > Lower Ghost Camp > service road (W) > Badlands > Upper big Hill > Dinosaur > service road (N) > Bell's Trailhead       7.2 miles

Temp in mid-50's, sunny and light wind.

Fitness hike with friends - saw lots of turkeys, deer and birds.  Also had a grey fox run into a tree when he saw the dog with us (photo attached).

Good hike with good friends!

NOTES

Water available near Bell's Trailhead in camping area. THIS IS THE ONLY WATER AVAILABLE UNTIL YOU GO TO 5 POINTS JUNCTION.

Info kiosk and dry toilets available at River Bend Ghost Camp.

Info kiosk and shade available at Dinosaur tracks area - NO WATER AVAILABLE at this point in time.

 

South Shore Playground parking area to 5 Points Junction Figure 8 Loop
User: MikeHikes - 11/21/2015  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 14.70 Miles Duration: 5 hours, 15 minutes

Out      Playground parking area > Chaparral > Red Dam Loop > Chaparral > Winding Snake > Burkett park > Suzanne's Trail > Roller Coaster > West Potts Creek > Armadillo (East) > Turkey Creek > 5 Points Junction    7.3 miles

Return  5 Points Junction > Flintstone (South) > Playground > Armadillo (West) > East Potts Creek > Burkett Trail > Burkett park > Suzanne's Trail > Lanky Lackey > Nature Loop > Tasajilla Flats    7.4 miles

Temps in the low 40's, sunny, strong wind with gusts from the North made the temp feel like 30's.

Due to allergy issues, park closures for hunting and the weather, I hadn't hiked in almost two weeks - this was long overdue!

Very cold with the wind but there were quite a few folks out on the trails - hikers and mountain bikers.  Not much animal activity and the birds were visible but sparse. 

The most surprising thing to me was the fact that bee brush was blooming  (photo attached) and not just in one section of the park but over a large area.  The smell of vanilla was not as strong as it was in the summer but when the wind died down, it was a very pleasant scent!

NOTES

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

Water, shade, info kiosk and dry toilets available at Burkett park - you'll visit twice if you follow my route.

Water, shade and info kiosk at 5 Points Junction.

Water and shade available at Bell's Point - about 1/2 mile South from the northern end of Playground Trail.

Park Mid-Section Burkett park to 5 Points Junction Fitness Hike
User: MikeHikes - 11/8/2015  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 7.00 Miles Duration: 2 hours, 30 minutes

Route  Burkett park > Burkett > service road (ENE) > service road (West) > 5 Points Junction > Flintstone Trail (S) > Playground > Armadillo (W) > West Potts Creek > Roller Coaster > Suzanne's Trail > Burkett park     7.0 miles

Temps in the low 60's, partly cloudy some wind.

A very nice fitness hike with friends.  Saw a couple of longhorns and an interesting rock (photo attached).  Not much else to report!

NOTES

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

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

Water and shade available at Bell's Point - at the northern end of Playground, go 1/2 miles South.

 

 

South Shore Playground parking area to Armadillo Ridge Figure 8
User: MikeHikes - 11/4/2015  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 10.60 Miles Duration: 4 hours

Out    Playground parking area > Tasajilla Flats > Nature Loop > Lanky Lackey > Suzanne's Trail > Burkett park > Burkett Trail > East Potts Creek > Armadillo          4.8 miles

Return  Armadillo (West) > West Potts Creek > Roller Coaster > Suzanne's Trail > Burkett park > Winding Snake > Chaparral > Red Dam Loop > Chaparral > Playground parking area   5.8 miles

Temps in the upper 60's, cloudy and overcast, steady breeze.

Fairly cool day for a hike.  I didn't start until 10:00 and was surprised to see a feral cat on the nortern end of Tasajilla Flats and about 1/2 mile further on the Nature Loop, I saw a bobcat walking away from me.  Birds were all over the place and I'm seeing more hawks out and about.    I also saw four moutain bikers which also surprised me.

All in all a nice day to go for a hike.

NOTES

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

Water, shade, info kiosk and dry toilets available at Burkett park - if you follow my route you will visit Burkett park twice.

and a bobcat on Tasajilla Flats, near the northern end

North Shore Bell's Trailhead to 5 Points Junction Loop
User: MikeHikes - 11/1/2015  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 11.50 Miles Duration: 4 hours, 30 minutes

Out      Bell's Trailhead > service road (S) > Dinosaur > Lower Big Hill > service road (S) > Scenic Loop > service road (S then W) > Badlands > River Bend > 5 Points Junction     6.8 miles

Return  5 Points Junction > Flintstone (NE) > Javalina Trail > Lower Ghost Camp > South Slick Rock > service road (N then NE) > Shady Trail > Bell's Trailhead      4.7 miles

Temps in the 60's to start and then upper 70's at th end, sunny and a very light breeze.

We had some serious rain on Friday and the run-off flowed into the North Concho River which in turn, fills the O.C. Fisher Reservoir.   The river did nor flood as it had in May of this year but the water was flowing! 

I also saw some floating spider webs but I didn't see any spiders.  Turkeys, a couple of deer and lots of birds were seen.  Surprisingly, I saw two pairs of hikers as well as a pair of mountain bikers - very unusual but it was Sunday so perhaps it is normal.

A good hike overall.

NOTES

Info kiosk available at Bell's Trailhead.

Water, shade and info kiosk available at Dinosaur Tracks area (approx 1.5 miles from Bell's Trailhead on Dinosaur Trail).  This is the ONLY water on the North Shore trails - hydrate.

Water, shade and info kiosk at 5 Points Junction.  LAST WATER if you follow my route.

Shade and info kiosk at Cougar Overlook - junction of FLintstone and Javalina trails.

Info kiosk, shade and dry toilets available at the River Bend ghost camp - located at the junction of Lower Ghost camp and South Slick Rock Trails.

 

South Shore Playground parking area to 5 Points Junction Figure 8
User: MikeHikes - 10/28/2015  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 14.00 Miles Duration: 5 hours, 15 minutes

Out     Playground parking area > Tsajillo Flats > Nature Loop > Lanky Lackey > Suzanne's Trail > Burkett park > Burkett Trail > East Potts Creek > Armadillo (East) > Playground > Flintstone > 5 Points Junction     7.1 miles

Return  5 Points Junction > Turkey Creek > Armadillo (West) > West Potts Creek > Roller Coaster > Suzanne's Trail > Winding Snake > Chaparral > Playground parking area    6.9 miles

Temps in the low 60's climbing to mid 70's, northerly breeze, sunny.

Great day to hike!  Saw hawks, a black feral cat, a Red Fox (no photo), couple of field mice and rats, LOTS of birds (photo attached) and a Checkered Garter Snake which surprised me.

Enjoyed the hike, solitude and nice weather.

NOTES

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

Water, shade, info kiosk and dry toilets available at Burkett park - this is the connector for the figure 8 so you will visit twice.

Water and shade available at Bell's Point (1/2 mile Soutyh of junction of Playground and Flintstone trails)

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

Park Mid-Section Burkett Park to 5 Point Junction
User: MikeHikes - 10/25/2015  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 4.40 Miles Duration: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Route    Burkett park > Burkett trail > service road (ENE) > service road (W) . Flintstone Trail (NE) > 5 Points Junction > service road (dirt, East) > service road (asphalt WSW), Burkett Trail, Burkett Park      4.4 milrd

Temps in the 60's, windy and clear. 

Today was a fitness hike, we travelled most of the route on service roads.  Saw a red eyed box turtle for the first time (photo attached).  Not much else, just a pleasant hike with friends.

NOTES

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

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

 

Park Mid-Section Burkett Park to Cougar Overlook
User: MikeHikes - 10/18/2015  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 10.10 Miles Duration: 3 hours, 50 minutes

Out     Burkett park > Suzanne's Trail > Roller Coaster > West Potts Creek > Armadillo > Turkey Creek > River Bend > service road (ENE) > Cougar Overlook     5.3 miles

Return  Cougar Overlook > Flintstone > Playground> Armadillo > East Potts Creek > Burkett Trail > Burkett Park    4.8 miles

Temps in the low 70's to start, low 80's at end, steady breeze, mostly cloudy turning to mostly sunny.

A very good day to hike!  I saw a Great Horned Owl right at the start of the hike, otherwise just the usual birds on the trails.  A few lizards scurried and two rats were also observed.

This log entry brings me to 1,000 logged miles!!

NOTES

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

Water, shade and info kiosk available at 5 Points Junction - where Turkey Creek, River Bend and Flintstone trails intersect.  If you follow my route, you will pass this area on the way out and on the return.  Suggest you hydrate both times.

Shade and info kiosk available at Bell's Point - on the return leg, about .5 mile South on Playground Trail.

North Shore Bell's Trailhead to Ghost Camp Loop
User: MikeHikes - 10/14/2015  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 7.10 Miles Duration: 3 hours, 20 minutes

Out       Bell's Trailhead > Shady Trail > service road (S) > Scenic Loop > service road (S) > South Slick Rock > Lower Ghost Camp > service road (W) > River Bend (N)        3.0 miles

Return   River Bend (N) > Badlands > service road (WNW) > Dinosaur Trail > service road (N) > Bell's Trailhead      4.1 miles

Temps started in the low 70's and ended in the low 90's, sunny and fairly constant 10 mph breeze.

Been awhile since I hiked the North Shore and I wanted to see the Monarch Butterflies - they were still there but not in the thousands as they had been.  Nonetheless, there were still quite a few around which was very nice to see.

Also saw some turkeys, lots of birds, especially woodpeckers, a small deer and I watched a snake swimming in the river.

Not a bad hike at all!

NOTES

Info kiosk at Bell's Trailhead - NO WATER.

Info kiosk, shade and dry toilets available at the River Bend ghost camp - water for animals at the trough.

Info kiosk, shade and water available at the Dinosaur Tracks area - this is the ONLY water for humans on the route.

South Shore Playground parking area to Armadillo Ridge
User: MikeHikes - 10/7/2015  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 9.70 Miles Duration: 3 hours, 40 minutes

Out     Playground parking area > Tasajilla Flats > Nature Loop > Lanky Lackey > Roller Coaster > West Potts Creek > Armadillo (East) > East Potts Creek          5.5 miles

Return  East Potts Creek > Burkett Trail > Burkett park > Winding Snake > Chaparral > Playground parking area       4.2 miles

Temps in the 80's, mostly steady breeze and partly cloudy.

Lots of birds today -  I spooked two Nighthawks off their perches, three Great Blue Herons flew overhead as did a few Turkey Vultures.  Lots of sparrows, woodpeckers, flickers, etc.  Also saw a single cottontail rabbit. 

The Monarch Butterflies are migrating south so I saw lots of them as well (photo attached).  I know they like milkweed but they also seem to like the purple gayfeathers that are scattered throughout the park.

The trails are looking better because of the vegetation has died back some.  A few places still have over hangs of weeds and the gnats are still active!

All in all, a good hike!

NOTES

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

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

Park Mid-Section Burkett to 5 Points Junction
User: MikeHikes - 10/4/2015  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 5.80 Miles Duration: 2 hours, 20 minutes

Route    Burkett park > Burkett > service road (NNE) > service road (W) > Flintstone Trail (N) > 5 Points Junction > Turkey Creek > Armadillo (W) > West Potts Creek > Roller Coaster > Suzanne's Trail > Burkett Park    5.8 miles

Temps in the low 80's, light wind and cloudy.

Been over two weeks since I hiked so this felt good.  Not much to see but walk and talk with friends. 

NOTES

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

Water, shade and info kiosk at 5 Points Junction.

 

Park Mid-Section Burkett park to Cougar Overlook
User: MikeHikes - 9/10/2015  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 10.20 Miles Duration: 3 hours, 45 minutes

Out      Burkett park > Burkett > East Potts Creek > Armadillo > Playground > Flintstone > Cougar Overlook     4.8 miles

Return  Cougar Overlook > service road (W) > River Bend (SW) > Turkey Creek > Armadillo (W) > West Potts Creek > Roller Coaster > Suzanne's Trail > Burkett park       5.4 miles

Temps in the low 80's to start and low 90's to end.  Partly cloudy and light breeze.

The hike was a good one for wildlife!  There were no people on the trails the entire time I hiked but I saw jack rabbits, LOTS of quail, deer and a grey fox.  The fox was walking south on Flintstone Trail where it connects to Playground Trail - I was on Playground.  He saw me, let me get a few pictures and then went back the way he came.

The vegetation is dying out as Fall approaches so the trails are easier to hike; there are still parts that are overgrown but not many.

Looking forward to the cooler weather so all the snakes hibernate.  I saw one snake briefly - it looked to be about three or four foot long, fairly thick and a light, pale green in color.  He shot across the trail about five feet in front of me as I was at the end of Suzanne's trail.  No rattles and he was fast so I saw him maybe two seconds at the most.

All in all, a good hike!

NOTES

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

Water and shade available at Bell's Point - near the northern end of Playground trail.

Water, shade and info kiosk available at 5 Points Junction - where Flintstone, River Bend and Turkey Creek trails meet.  You will visit this area going out and coming back, if you follow my route.  Hydrate both times!

North Shore Fitness Hike
User: MikeHikes - 9/6/2015  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 3.30 Miles Duration: 1 hour, 15 minutes

There was an info kiosk at the beginning of the service road but no water.

Wandered along the Shady Trail and service roads heading South then West before going North to the starting point.  Hard to describe the route !

Since we were walking on dirt service roads, we saw quite a few snake trails crossing from one side of the road to the other - fortunately, no snakes were encountered.

Hot and dry with little wind, the hike was uneventful.  We did have the opportunity to talk as we walked so that was a good thing. 

 

 

South Shore Playground parking area to 5 Points Junction
User: MikeHikes - 9/5/2015  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 13.60 Miles Duration: 5 hours, 20 minutes

Out     Playground parking area > Tasajilla Flats > Horny Toad > Nature Loop > Lanky Lackey > Roller Coaster > West Potts Creek > Armadillo > Turkey Creek > 5 Points Junction             6.9 miles

Return  5 Points Junction > Flintstone (South) > Playground > Armadillo > East Potts Creek > Burkett Trail > Burkett park > Winding Snake > Chaparral > Playground parking area        6.7 miles

Temps in the mid 80's, VERY humid, light wind and partly cloudy to start.  Temps around 98, less humid, light winds and sunny on return.

The humidity was a killer today!  I was drenched in sweat within 20 minutes of hiking and this is on slightly inclined terrain.  As I continued to hike, the humidity eased some and the wind picked up a little so it was do-able.

Saw some mountain bikers and a trail runner today which was pretty unusual.  Not much animal activity except for two rats scampering into the weeds as I approached.  The thistle is growing (photo attached) and being used by grasshoppers and bees.  Vegetation is drying out even more so the park's predominant color is golden brown except for the broom weed which continues to stay green.

It was a hot and dry hike but a nice one.

NOTES

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

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

Water and shade available at Bell's Point - about .75 miles south  from 5 Points Junction on Playground trail.

Water, shade, info kiosk and dry toilets available at Burkett Park - at the junction of the southern end of Burkett Trail and northern end of Winding Snake Trail.

 

Park Mid-section Burkett to Bell's Point Fitness Hike
User: MikeHikes - 8/30/2015  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 5.10 Miles Duration: 2 hours

Out      Burkett park > Burkett Trail > service road (NE) > service road (WNW) > Playground Trail > Bell's Point        2.2 miles

Return  Bell's Point > Playground (S) > Armadillo > East Potts Creek > Burkett Trail > Burkett park     2.9 miles

Temps in the lower 90's, sunny and somewhat consistent breeze.

A couple of small lizards, a lone mountain biker and a few birds were observed.  Today was just a nice day to talk and hike with friends!

NOTES

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

Water and shade available at Bell's Point - watch for wasps!!

South Shore Playground parking area to Armadillo Figure Eight
User: MikeHikes - 8/27/2015  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 11.10 Miles Duration: 5 hours

Out     Playground parking area > Tasajilla Flats > Nature Loop > Lanky Lackey > Suzanne's Trail > Burkett park > Burkett Trail > East Potts Creek > Armadillo       5.5 miles

Return Armadillo (West) > West Potts Creek > Roller Coaster > Suzanne's Trail > Burkett park > Winding Snake > Chaparral > Playground parking area   5.6 miles

Temps at 85 to start and 103 at finish, sunny with fairly constant winds.

The dry weather has impacted the vegetation quite a bit - lots of dead or dormant weeds and grasses.  The park personnel have run mowers over some of the trails but there are still sections where the weeds are over six feet high; namely the northern portion of Tasajilla Flats as well as a few portions of the Nature Loop.  Always have to be cautious about stepping on snakes or the park's smaller inhabitants like horned toads.

Saw more field rats today which is becoming the norm - don't like it but what can you do?

Not much trash to pick up and it felt very nice walking along the trails so this was a good hike!

NOTES

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

Water, shade, info kiosk and dry toilets available at Burkett park.  If you follow my route exactly, you will visit Burkett park going out and coming back.  HYDRATE!!!!

Trailhead to Trailhead - Burkett Park to Bell's Trailhead
User: MikeHikes - 8/18/2015  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 18.60 Miles Duration: 7 hours

Out    Burkett park > Suzanne's Trail > Roller Coaster > West Potts Creek > Armadillo > Turkey Creek > River Bend > Badlands > Dinosaur > Upper Big Hill > Dinosaur > service road (N) > Bell's Trailhead      10.4 miles

Return  Bell's Trailhead > Shady Trail > service road (SE) > Scenic Loop > South Slick Rock > Lower Ghost Camp > service road (SE) > Flintstone > Playground > Armadillo > East Potts Creek > Burkett Trail > Burkett park    8.2 miles

Started the hike with temps in the mid-80's, steady breeze and mostly cloudy, ended the hike with temp of 104, variable speed wind and most sunny.  Reminder to self - do NOT do this during Summer!!

Today seemed to be "small day" meaning I saw small lizards, small birds and small rodents.  The rodents appeared to be field rats, not as large as a Norwegian rat yet larger than a mouse.  What is unusual is that I've NEVER seen them in the park before except for this year which happens to be wetter than normal (although we are still in a drought). 

I also have not seen as many raptors nor snakes so perhaps that is another reason for the rodent population explosion.

The park personnel have worked on some of the trails but there are still sections that need to be mowed and some sections that have been mowed, need another cut.  There is some kind of weed that when cut becomes stiff and it's like walking through a bunch of small spears that stab your feet and legs - not fun, hence the 4 star rating.

Last thing - WASPS.  At most of the watering or shade areas listed below in "Notes", there are at least two large active wasp nests on the underhang of the roof.  Be careful!

NOTES

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

Water, shade, and info kiosk available at 5 Points Junction (where Turkey Creek, River Bend and Flintstone trails meet).  You will visit this area twice if you follow my route.

Water, shade, info kiosk available at Dinosaur tracks area - this is the ONLY water in the northern part of the park.  HYDRATE!!!!

Info kiosk and shade available at Cougar Overlook (where the southern end of Javalina and northen end of Flintstone trails meet).

Water and shade available at Bell's Point (about .25 - .50 mile from the northen end of Playground Trail on the return leg).  LAST PLACE FOR WATER on the return leg.

 

Park Mid-Section Burkett park to Bell's Point Fitness Hike
User: MikeHikes - 8/16/2015  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 4.80 Miles Duration: 1 hour, 45 minutes

Route    Burkett park > Burkett Trail > service road (NE) > service road (WNW) > Playground Trail (South) > Armadillo > East Potts Creek > Burkett Trail > Burkett park      4.8 miles

Temps in the upper 90's, light variable wind, sunny.

Fitness hike with friends.  The wind was welcome when it blew but there were periods when it didn't and all we felt was the hot and dry air.  Most of the vegetation is dying so the trails are not as overgrown as they have been.

Only saw a few birds and a few lizards - that was it.  Not much else to report.

NOTES

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

Water and shade available at Bell's Point (on the return leg).

South Shore Playground parking area to Burkett Park
User: MikeHikes - 8/8/2015  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 7.60 Miles Duration: 3 hours, 15 minutes

Out       Playground parking area > Tasajilla Flats > Nature Loop > lankey Lackey > Suzanne's Trail > Burkett Park     4.1 miles

Return  Burkett Park > Winding Snake > Chaparral > Red Dam Loop > Chaparral > Playground parking area     3.5 miles

Temps in the mid 80's to start and mid 90's at end, steady breeze and sunny.

Fitness hike with a friend.  Not much to report but to repeat the trails are being worked on but they still need more work; especially the last section of Tasajilla Flats.

Of interest, found a bird egg (photo attached) laying next to the trail with no nest near by - I believe it is a house finch egg.  Don't think it will hatch but you never know.

NOTES

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

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

South Shore Playground parking area to Armadillo Ridge
User: MikeHikes - 8/5/2015  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 9.90 Miles Duration: 3 hours, 45 minutes

Out      Playground parking area > Tasajilla Flats > Nature Loop > Lanky Lackey > Roller Coaster > West Potts Creek > Armadillo Trail (east)       5.7 miles

Return  Armadillo Trail > East Potts Creek > Burkett Trail > Winding Snake > Chaparral > Playground parking area     4.2 miles

85 degrees to start, end at 98, steady wind and sunny.

After not hiking for a few weeks, today's hike was very much needed.  The weather was hot and dry but the wind made it do-able.  Although part of the trails have been mowed, other parts still overgrown - part of Tasajilla Flats had plants taller than me covering the trail.

Most of the trails at the park are rocky with a covering of loose soil.  Because of the dry conditions, the dirt on the trails is loose and dry.  Coupled with the mowed and dead vegetation laying on the trails, in some places, it was slick and almost like walking on ice - be careful!

NOTES

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

Water, shade, info kiosk and dry toilets available at Burkett Park (return leg - junction of southern end of Burkett Trail and north end of Winding Snake Trail).

Park Mid-Section Burkett to Bell's Point Fitness Hike
User: MikeHikes - 7/19/2015  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 4.50 Miles Duration: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Route    Burkett park > Burkett Trail > service road (ENE) > service road (NNW) > Playground > Armadillo > East Potts Creek > Burkett Trail > Burkett park       4.5 miles

Temps in the mid-90's, sunny and a steady breeze.

Fitness hike with a friend.  the wind kept us comfortable but nonetheless, it was warm.  Some of the park's younger longhorns were curious about us but they didn't bother us too much. 

Grass is still high and the cattle were enjoying it.  Be aware of the cattle when you hike the park because they are in all the mid-section and northern parts of the park.

NOTES

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

Water and shade available at Bell's Point - near the northern end of Playground Trail.  CAUTION - there are at least two wasp nest in the shaded area at Bell's Point.

Park Mid-Section Burkett Park to Cougar Overlook
User: MikeHikes - 7/18/2015  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 11.30 Miles Duration: 5 hours, 30 minutes

Out       Burkett park > Suzanne's Trail > Roller Coaster > West Potts Creek > Armadillo > Turkey Creek > River Bend > service road (East) > Cougar Overlook        5.8 miles

Return  Cougar Overlook > Flintstone > Playground > Armadillo > East Potts Creek > Burkett Trail > Burkett park     5.5 miles

Temps started in the low 80's and ended at 99 degrees, sunny and a steady breeze at 10-12 mph.

A good day for a hike!  It was hot but the low humidity and steady breeze made the hike very enjoyable.  The trails are dry but still have many sections overgrown with vegetation.  Nonetheless, it was fairly easy to find the trail and walk through the flexible stems.

Lots of grasshoppers of various sizes and colors, lizards and one horned toad.  Bee brush blooms and as always, the scent is very pleasant.

One interesting note - on Pulliam Point, we saw four people dressed in camouflage utilities.  "JADE HELM" is on-going so I assumed they were part of it (although I was unaware any of the exercise being conducted in San Angelo).  Waves were exchanged and we continued to hike.  Later, we saw a Blackhawk flying off to the East.  I still have my guns and I can assure you, San Angelo is NOT under martial law.

NOTES

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

Water, shade and info kiosk available at 5 Point Junction - (northern end of Turkey Creek, southern end of River bend and Flintstone trails converge).  If you follow my route you will visit this point on both legs of the hike.

Shade and info kiosk available at Cougar Overlook.

Water and shade available at Bell's Point - near the northern end of Playground Trail on the return leg.

Park Mid-Section Burkett Park Fitness Hike Loop
User: MikeHikes - 7/12/2015  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 4.60 Miles Duration: 2 hours

Route    Burkett Park > Burkett Trail > service road (East) > service road (West) > Playground (South) > East Potts Creek > Burkett Trail > Burkett Park         4.6 miles

Temnps in the mid-90's, sunny and a slight breeze.

Fitness hike with a friend.  Basically wandered on some service roads we haven't been on in awhile.  Fixed a cattle water tank and had a few cattle chase the dog that was with us!

NOTES

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

Water and shade available at Bell's Point (near northern end of Playground Trail).

South Shore Playground parking area to Armadillo Ridge
User: MikeHikes - 7/11/2015  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 10.10 Miles Duration: 5 hours

Out       Playground parking area > Tasajilla Flats > Horny Toad > Nature Loop > Lanky Lackey > Roller Coaster > West Potts Creek > Armadillo (East) > East Potts Creek > Burkett Trail > Burkett Park       7.0 miles

Return   Burkett Park > Winding Snake >Chaparral > Playground parking area        3.1 miles

Temps in the low 90's, partly cloudy, steady 10-15 mph southerly breeze.

Checked O.C. Fisher lake prior to the hike and although it is only 14.7% full, it is looking a lot better than it did six months ago when it was near empty.  Still need LOTS more rain!!!

The trails are getting rougher because the recent rains have washed more of the topsoil off them exposing the rock underneath.  Additionally, the rains have spurred the vegetation to grow which covers parts of the trails.  A few places have been mowed by the park personnel but there is a lot more to do.

Saw one large horned toad, lots of lizards and birds.  One bird spotted was a Yellow Billed Cuckoo (photo attached) which I seem to see once every other year. 

Also, lots of people were using the park today.  Among them was a father & his daughter who were hiking with no clue where they were or where they were going - of course, they had one 16 oz bottle of water between them and were not dressed in clothes appropriate for hiking.  Gave them some more water and tried to guide them onto some easy trails.  Whether they listened or not I have no idea.

NOTES

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

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

 

Park Mid-Section Burkett Park to 5 Point Junction
User: MikeHikes - 7/5/2015  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 7.40 Miles Duration: 2 hours, 45 minutes

Out     Burkett park > Burkett Trail > East Potts Creek > Armadillo > Playground > Flintstone > 5 Points Junction     3.7 miles

Return  5 Points Junction > Turkey Creek > Armadillo (East) > East Potts Creek > Burkett Trail > Burkett park      3.7 miles

Temps in the upper 80's, partly cloudy and a 10-15 mph southerly breeze.

Fitness hike with a friend today.  Saw a male Painted Bunting at Burkett Park horse trough but by the time I brought my camera up, he flew away.  First time I've seen this bird at Burkett Park.

Bee brush is begining to bloom again and I've seen a few cactus flowers blooming for the second time this season.  There are also some wildflowers to be seen.

LOTS of longhorns running around today - saw at least four groups of them at various points during the hike.  A few were curious but no problems encountered.

All in all, a good day to hike!

NOTES

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

Water and shade available at Bell's Point (near the northern end of Playground Trail).

Water, shade and info kiosk availabe at 5 Points Junction (where Flintstone, Turkey Creek and River Bend trails intersect).

North Shore Bell's Trailhead to Cougar Overlook
User: MikeHikes - 7/2/2015  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 9.90 Miles Duration: 4 hours, 45 minutes

Out      Bell's Trailhead > Shady Trail > service road (South) > Scenic Loop > service road (South) > Upper Slick Rock > Lower Ghost Camp > service road (West) > River Bend (South) > Javalina Trail > Cougar Overlook     3.8 miles

Return  Cougar Overlook > service road (West) > River Bend (North) > Badlands > Upper Big Hill > Dinosaur Trail > service road (North) > Bell's Trailhead     6.1 miles

Temps in the upper 70's to mid 80's, partly cloudy and a constant 10-15 mph South wind.

Haven't been to the North Shore in a few weeks and I'm sorry to report, it may be awhile before I return - the trails are OVERGROWN to an unprecedented degree.  The above avaerage rains coupled with the normal growing season has seen an explosion in vegetation growth.  So much so, that vast parts of the trails are totally overgrown and IMO, not safe to walk on due to the presence of snakes (rattlers).

On the positive side, there was hardly any trash to pick up and the one rattler we did encounter, was seen in a clear part of the trail so there was no danger. 

I don't plan to go back to the North Shore for at least a month in the hope the park personnel will have time to run a brush hog on the trails and/or the vegetation will die back some.

I recommend that hikers stick to the park's South and Mid sections for hiking.

NOTES

Info kiosk available at Bell's Trailhead.  STRONGLY Recommend you have plenty of water prior to your hike - there is ONE location for potable water on all these trails (see below).

Shade, info kiosk and dry toilets available at the River Bend Ghost Camp (at the north end of the Lower Ghost camp Trail). WATER FOR ANIMALS ONLY is available.

Shade and info kiosk available at Cougar Overlook.

Shade, info kiosk and water available at the Dinosaur Track area.  This is the ONLY potable water available on the North Shore trails. 

 

Park Mid-Section Burkett to 5 Point Junction Fitness Hike
User: MikeHikes - 6/28/2015  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 7.10 Miles Duration: 2 hours, 30 minutes

Route   Burkett park > Burkett Trail > East Potts Creek > Armadillo > Playground > Flintstone > 5 Points Junction > Turkey Creek (South) > Armadillo (East) > East Potts Creek > Burkett Trail > Burkett park   7.1 miles

Fitness hike with a friend.  Temps in the mid to upper 80's, sunny and very light breeze.

Trails were muddy in spots due to a downpour last night but otherwise, not too bad.  Still overgrown with vegetation in spots.

Didn't see much wildlife except for the lizards and a very cute pyrrhuloxia fledgeling (photo attached). 

NOTES

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

Water and shade available at Bell's Point (near the northern end of Playground Trail).

Water, shade and info kiosk available at 5 Points Junction (where FLintstone, Turkey Creek and River Bend trails meet).

South Shore Playground parking area to 5 Point Junction
User: MikeHikes - 6/24/2015  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 13.70 Miles Duration: 5 hours, 15 minutes

Out      Playground parking area > Tasajilla Flats > Nature Loop > Lanky Lackey > Roller Coaster > West Potts Creek > Armadillo > Turkey Creek > 5 Points Junction        7.3 miles

Return  5 Points Junction > Flintstone (South) > Playground > Armadillo > East Potts Creek > Burkett Trail > Winding Snake > Chaparral > Playground parking area   6.4 miles

Temps in the upper 70's to start and mid-80's at end.  Partly cloudy and stead southerly breeze at 10 mph.

A good hike today - the wind kept the majority of the bugs off me as I wandered the trails.  Most of the trails are still overgrown although park personnel have mowed some sections of them. 

Bee brush is blooming once again and the vanilla scent was pretty heady.  I saw four horned toads today (photo attached) at various points on the route as well as numerous lizards.  The reptile population seems to have exploded with all the wet weather, dense vegetation and large bug population!

Cicadas were THICK - at times, there were swarms of cicadas flying towards me and smacking into my hat or body.  Of course, their chirping noise was very L-O-U-D as well. 

No rattlers spotted today!

NOTES

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

Water, shade and info kiosk available at 5 Points Junction (where Turkey Creek, River Bend and Flintstone trails converge).

Water and shade available at Bell's Point (On the return leg near the northern end of Playground trail).

Water, shade, info kiosk and dry toilets available at Burkett Park (at the southern end of Burkett trail and the northern end of Winding Snake trail).

Park Mid-Section Burkett to Bell's Point
User: MikeHikes - 6/21/2015  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 5.40 Miles Duration: 2 hours, 15 minutes

Out       Burkett Park > Burkett Trail > East Potts Creek > Armadillo > Playground > Bell's Point        2.7 miles

Return   Bell's Point > service road (West) > Turkey Creek (South) > Armadillo (East) > East Potts Creek > Burkett Trail > Burkett Park   2.7 miles

Temps in the upper 80's, partly cloudy, steady southerly wind.

Fitness hike with a friend.  The trails were pretty good although the grasses are still somewhat high.  Found a small bird's egg on the trail (photo attached) later identified as a Titmouse egg.

Some of the park's longhorns were clustered around the cattle tank on top of Armadillo Ridge and a few of the young bulls were curious about us but left us alone.

NOTES

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

Water and shade available at Bell's Point.
 

South Shore Playground parking area to Armadillo Ridge
User: MikeHikes - 6/19/2015  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 10.40 Miles Duration: 4 hours, 30 minutes

Out        Playground parking area > Tasajilla Flats > Nature Loop > Lanky Lackey > Roller Coaster > West Potts Creek > Armadillo Ridge (East) > East Potts Creek > Burkett Trail > Burkett Park            7.1 miles

Return   Burkett Park > Winding Snake > Chaparral > Playground parking area    3.3 miles

Temps in the mid 80's, partly cloudy and a steady southerly wind.

Haven't hiked in a week due to weather issues so this hike felt very good.  The trails are still overgrown but park personnel have recently mowed parts of the trails.  With all the rains, they will be working for quite awhile getting all the trails back in shape.

Saw a group of hikers, looked like students from ASU, finishing their hike as we came to Roller Coaster Trail.  Otherwise, no other people were on the trails but we did see lots of birds, lizards and a solitary horned toad.

NOTES

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 Overlook
User: MikeHikes - 6/10/2015  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 9.50 Miles Duration: 4 hours, 30 minutes

Out     Bell's Trailhead > Shady Trail > service road (S) > Scenic Loop > service road (S) > South Slick Rock > Lower Ghost Camp > service road (S) > Cougar Overlook        3.3 miles

Return Cougar Overlook > service road (W) > River Bend (N) > Badlands > Dinosaur Trail > Upper Big Hill > Dinosaur > service road (N) > Bell's Trailhead      6.2 miles

Temps low 80's to low 90's, mostly sunny, light 10-15 mph southerly breeze.

A nice day for a hike.  I was at the North Shore trails two weeks ago which was the first time there since the big flood.  Park personnel have worked on some of the trails - clearing debris and cutting vegetation but there is still a lot of work to be done.   There is still lots of grass which needs to be cut, especially on Dinosaur Trail, and some of the trails need to be smoothed out.

Buzzing in my ears and flying into my eyes, gnats made their presence known constantly.  Their friends, the biting flies, stopped by as well but the mosquitoes which plagued me two weeks ago, were not bothersome at all.

Saw some lizards and at the beginning of the hike, we filled our snake quota by seeing a two foot long rattler (photo attached).  Of course, we picked up a bag of trash along the trails so I consider this to have been a good hike!

NOTES

Shade, info kiosk, dry toilets and water for ANIMALS ONLY available at the River Bend Ghost Camp.

Shade and info kiosk available at Cougar Overlook.

Shade, info kiosk and water available at the Dinosaur Tracks area - this is the ONLY water available on the North Shore trails so make sure you have water with you prior to hiking.

South Shore Playground to Isabel Harte
User: MikeHikes - 6/7/2015  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 5.00 Miles Duration: 2 hours, 20 minutes

Route   Playground parking area > Chaparral > Red Dam Loop > Chaparral > park road (West) > Nature Loop > Tasajilla Flats > service road (East) > Horny Toad > Tasajilla Flats > Playground parking area

Fitness hike with friends.  Temps in mid-80's partly cloudy and a slight constant breeze.

Just a good hike at a good pace!  Nothing unusual to report.

NOTES

Water, shade, info kiosk and toilets available at Playground parking area - on this route, there are no other water areas so hydrate before leaving.

Park Mid-Section Burkett Park to Cougar Overlook
User: MikeHikes - 6/4/2015  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 8.90 Miles Duration: 4 hours, 10 minutes

Out     Burkett Park > Burkett Trail > service road (ENE) > Cougar Overlook       3.0 miles

Return  Cougar Overlook > Flintstone > Turkey Creek > Armadillo (W) > West Potts Creek > Roller Coaster > Suzanne's Trail > Burkett Park    5.9 miles

Low 80's, slight breeze, mostly sunny.

A hike with a friend. We saw four horned toads; two of them were quite small, lots of lizards and birds.  The mosquitoes were not bad at all, I don't know if it was because of the steady breeze, time of day or the fact the trails had dried out a little more.

Not much trash encountered which is always a good thing.  Saw one mountain biker as we were on the retunr leg.  All in all, a very nice hike!

NOTES

Water, shade, info kiosk and dry toilets available at Burkett Park. Hydrate because there is no water available along this route for 5 more miles.

Shade and info kiosk at Cougar Overlook.

Water, shade and info kiosk at 5 Points Junction (where Flintstone, Turkey Creek and River Bend trails intersect) on the return route.  Last water available on this route.

Park Mid-Section Burkett Park to Cougar Overlook
User: MikeHikes - 5/31/2015  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 8.20 Miles Duration: 3 hours, 30 minutes

Out     Burkett Park > Burkett Trail > service road (ENE) > Cougar Overlook       3.0 miles

Return Cougar Overlook > Flintstone > Turkey Creek > Armadillo (E) > East Potts Creek > Burkett Trail > Burkett Park    5.2 miles

Temps in the low 80's, slight breeze and partly cloudy.

A good hike with friends.  An unusual incident on the Boy Scout Bridge near the north end of Burkett Trail.  As we were crossing the bridge, we saw a snake (non rattler) had trapped itself between some bridge planks and couldn't get loose.  We were able to lift a plank and the snake dropped down from the bridge, hit the brush below and disappeared - no idea how long it had been caught.

Mosquitoes were still present but not as bad as my previous hike - due to bug spray or ?? I don't know.

We saw some horned toads, lots of lizards and numerous grasshoppers that were built like tanks.

NOTES

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

Water, shade and info kiosk at 5 Points Junction (where Flintstone, Turkey Creek and River Bend trails meet) on return leg.  This is the only water stop for humans on the route.

Burkett Park to Bell's Trailhead
User: MikeHikes - 5/28/2015  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 19.30 Miles Duration: 7 hours, 30 minutes

Out     Burkett Park > Burkett Trail > East Potts Creek > Armadillo > Playground > Flintstone > Javalina > Lower Ghost Camp > South Slick Rock > service road (N) > Scenic Loop > service road (ENE) > Shady Trail > Bell's Trailhead    8.8 miles

Return  Bell's Trailhead > service road (S) > Dinosaur Trail > Upper Big Hill > Badlands > River Bend > Turkey Creek > Armadillo (W) > West Potts Creek > Roller Coaster > Suzanne's Trail > Burkett Park  10.5 miles

Low 80's, light wind increasing in intensity as the hike progressed, partly cloudy sky with periods of bright sun.

This is the first time I've had a chance to walk the northern trails since the big rain storms of a few weeks ago which flooded the northern section of the park and brought the OC Fisher lake from less than 1% to almost 14% full.

To put it briefly - all the northern trails have flood damage including flood debris blocking the trail, embankments near the trail being washed away (which I believe will cause the trail to be re-routed for safety reasons), damage from the Longhorns using the muddy trails and making them very difficult to traverse, overgrown vegetation masking the trails and making snake avoidance difficult and finally, the ever present stagnant mud and MOSQUITOES.

This is not to say the trails in the park's trails in the mid-section and southern portions were pristine; they are not, but the storm's effects are negligible in comparison with the exception of the overgrown vegetation and numerous mosquitoes.

The mosquitoes were incessant - at one point while on Roller Coaster, the buzzing I heard was so loud,  I thought I was walking past a beehive, but I quickly realized mosquitoes were making the noise.  I didn't bring bug repellent so I was constantly swatting and killing mosquitoes in all the low lying areas I traversed yet I still counted 30 bites the following morning.

As the day progressed, the winds picked up so when I was in areas that were higher up and in the open, the mosquitoes weren't as bad but when I had to go into the dips and valleys - it was a constant battle!!

The positives of the recent rains far outweigh the negatives and I will be prepared for future hikes by bringing lots of repellent!

NOTES

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

Water amd shade available at Bell's Point (near the northern end of Playground Trail).

Water, shade, amd info kiosk available at 5 Points Junction (River Bend, Turkey Creek and Flintstone intersection).  If you follow my route you will visit this on both legs of the trip.  I STRONGLY advise you to hydrate as much as possible when visiting - there is one water area in the northern portion of the park and if you follow my return route, this is the last water area as you hike back to Burkett Park.

Shade and info kiosk available at Cougar Overlook (junction of northern end of Flintstone and Jvaalina trails).

Shade, info kiosk and dry toilets available at River Bend Campground (ghost camp) near the northern end of the Lower Ghost Camp Trail.  Water is also available for ANIMALS only.

Water, shade and info kiosk available at the Dinosaur tracks area along Dinosaur Trail (about 1.5 miles South from Bell's Trailhead).  This is the ONLY water area in the northern portion of the park.

Park Mid-Section Burkett to Bell's Point Fitness Hike
User: MikeHikes - 5/24/2015  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 4.80 Miles Duration: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Route  Burkett Park > Burkett Trail > East Potts Creek > Armadillo > Playground > Bell's Point     2.4 miles (return same route)

A fitness hike with friends - weather was warm, light breeze and sunny. 

After the recent rains, the park vegetation is growing even more!  The trails were dry and the only difference is some of the looser topsoil was washed away. 

I had the opportunity to meet Mr Bell at Bell's Point where he was enjoying the day.  I thanked him for all the work he had done for the park - Bell's Point, Bell's Trailhead (North Shore) and Bell's Cross (near Big Hill) are all named after him in recognition of his over 30 years of volunteer work. 

NOTES -

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

Water and shade available at Bell's Point.

 

South Shore Playground to Burkett Park
User: MikeHikes - 5/21/2015  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 7.70 Miles Duration: 3 hours, 30 minutes

Out    Playground parking area > Tasajilla Flats > Nature Loop > Lanky Lackey > Suzanne's Trail > Burkett Park      4.3 miles

Return Burkett Park > Winding Snake > Chaparral > Playground parking area          3.4 miles

Cool, windy, overcast day.

With all the recent record setting rains, the North Shore of the park is closed so we decided to see what damage, if any, was done to the South SHore trails.  Besides occassional muddy spots on the trail, the trails were in pretty good shape.  The vegetation is growing and in some cases, it covers the trail(s) but the damage was a lot less severe than I though it would be.

Saw a few birds and lots of cactus blooms!  Otherwise, not much to report.

NOTES

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 Lower Ghost Camp Fitness Hike
User: MikeHikes - 5/3/2015  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 6.40 Miles Duration: 2 hours, 35 minutes

Route   Bell's Trailhead > Shady Trail > service road (SSW) > Scenic Loop > service road (SSW) > Lower SLick Rock > Lower Ghost Camp > service road (West) > River Bend (NNW) > Badlands > Upper Big Hill > Dinosaur Trail > service road (N) > Bell's Trailhead     6.4 miles

This was a fitness hike with friends.  Temps in the lower 80's, sunny and a good breeze.

At the trailhead, Fido found a non-poisonous snake which caused the snake to immediately slither to safer surroundings.  A lot of the trails are overgrown with some type of weed hanging over the trail.  When I walked through them, the weeds would get into my hiking shoes and stab my ankles.  Numerous times I had to stop and clean my shoes and socks.

When we were on the service road west of the Lower Ghost Camp, we saw a tiny horned toad (photo attached) about the size of a half dollar.  A little further down the road, Fido found two horned toads which I assume were mating.  Pretty good day to see three horned toads so close together.

The hike was a little longer than expected but on a positive note, I was able to verify the accuracy of my pedometer by comparing it to a GPS app and the readings were almost identical.

NOTES

Water for animals ONLY, info kiosk, shade and dry toilets available at Upper Ghost Camp.

Water, shade and info kiosk available at Dinosaur Tracks area.

Park Mid-Section Burkett Park to Cougar Overlook
User: MikeHikes - 5/2/2015  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 11.30 Miles Duration: 5 hours, 30 minutes

Out      Burkett Park > Suzanne's Trail > Roller Coaster > West Potts Creek > Armadillo > Turkey Creek > River Bend > service road (ENE) > Cougar Overlook       5.9 miles

Return  Cougar Overlook > Flintstone > Playground > Armadillo > East Potts Creek > Burkett Trail > Burkett Park     5.4 miles

Temps in the low 70's, sunny and breezy.  As the day progressed, the temps increased to the low 80's by the time we finished.

A relaxing hike along the western trails and a return along the eastern trails.  MANY flowers in bloom and I saw the first cactus flowers of the year on the Playground Trail south of Bell's Point!

Numerous mountain bikers, hikers and two trail runners were encountered - all meets were conducted courteously by both parties.  It was very unusual to see soo many people on the trails. Birds continue to sing their mating songs and with the numerous flowers blooming and filling the air with their scent --- it was a very pleasant day with a noteable exception.

Unfortunately, and I hope it was by accident, two good sized lizards were smashed by mountain bikers at different locations; one was still alive but suffering so I had to decapitate him with my knife; the ants were already feasting on the head and body by the time I had cleaned and stowed my blade. 

Please be aware of where you place your feet or roll your tires - watch out for the park's small inhabitants, enjoy the scenery and don't worry so much about how fast you finish your ride or hike.

NOTES

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

Water, shade and info kiosk available at 5 Points Junction (intersection of northern end of Turkey Creek and southern end of River Bend trails).  If you follow my route, you will return to 5 Points after you leave Cougar Overlook along Flintstone Trail.

Shade and info kiosk available at Cougar Overlook.

Water and shade available at Bell's Point (near the northern end of Playground Trail).

Park Mid-Section Fitness Hike
User: MikeHikes - 4/28/2015  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 4.20 Miles Duration: 1 hour, 45 minutes

Route    Burkett Park > Suzanne's Trail > Roller Coaster > West Potts Creek > Armadillo > Turkey Creek > service road (East) > Armadillo Trail > East Potts Creek > Burkett Trail > Burkett Park      4.2 miles

Temps is the upper 50's, overcast, a few spots of light rain and a light northerly breeze.

Did a fitness hike in the late afternoon to stretch the legs and clear the lungs.  Saw one Roadrunner on Roller Coaster Trail and a few other birds, otherwise, no other park natives.  

I re-calibrated my pedometer based on GPS readings and discovered I had short-changed all my prior log's mileage reports by 5-9%.  I plan to keep checking the distances recorded by the pedometer vs the GPS unit (I don't own the GPS - a hiking partner does) when I can and try to get my pedometer as accurate as possible.  Oh well, better to under-estimate rather than over-estimate, my mileage. 

Ending this on a positive note - this is my 100th log entry!!!

NOTES

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

South Shore Fitness Loop Hike
User: MikeHikes - 4/26/2015  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 3.00 Miles Duration: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Route  Playground parking lot > Fitness Loop      3.0 miles

Fitness hike along the newest trail in the park (it's about a year old but I've never walked it).  It is a wide dirt path that loops an area near the camping areas in the park.  Nothing spectacular about it.

NOTES

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

Park Mid-Section Burkett Park to Bell's Point
User: MikeHikes - 4/26/2015  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 5.50 Miles Duration: 2 hours

Out      Burkett Park > Burkett Trail > East Potts Creek > Armadillo > Playground > Bell's Point         2.5 miles

Return  Bell's Point > service road (West) > Turkey Creek > Armadillo (East) > East Potts Creek > Burkett Trail > Burkett Park    3.0 miles

A good hike with friends!  Low 80's, sunny and steady winds.

With the rains, the trails are looking overgrown.  If the wind dies, the gnats become vicious and will attack my legs, arms, ears, nose and eyes -- no fun there!

The longhorns are in the park's mid-section so be cautious.  We had a nursing cow rapidly approach us to the consternation of all; I assumed there was a calf nearby but we didn't see one.  A fellow hiker commented perhaps the cow was in distress so a call was made to the park office and I hope the cattleman comes check his charge.

NOTES

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

Water for ANIMALS available at Armadillo Ridge.

Water and shade available at Bell's Point (near the end of Playground Trail).

South Shore Playground parking area to 5 Points Junction
User: MikeHikes - 4/22/2015  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 13.40 Miles Duration: 5 hours, 15 minutes

Out       Playground parking area > Tasajilla Flats > Nature Loop > Lanky Lackey > Roller Coaster > West Potts Creek > Armadillo > Turkey Creek > 5 Points Junction     7.1 miles

Return   5 Points Junction > Flintstone > Playground > Armadillo > East Potts Creek > Burkett Trail > Burkett park > Winding Snake > Chaparral > Playground parking area    6.3 miles

Low 70's, overcast and variable wind to start, low 80's, overcast and steady wind on the return leg. 

Nobody else was on the trails although there were ferocious swarms of gnats which would attack when the wind died down.  As the hike continued, the winds became steady and the gnats went away.

I saw one dead garter snake with no indication of what had killed it.  Also found, on a different section of the trail, a dead lizard and again, no indication of what killed it.  On a positive note, I saw about five lizards at various times and locales while on the hike.

Lots of birds, the lace cactus and bee brush are blooming as well as a great number of wild flowers scattered throughout the park. Very pleasant scents during the entire hike.

No animals and no rattlers seen!

NOTES

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

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

Water and shade available at Bell's Point (return leg on Playground Trail).

Water, shade, info kiosk and dry toilets available at Burkett Park (return leg at junction of Burkett and Winding Snake trails).

 

Park Mid-Section Burkett Park to Armadillo Ridge Fitness Hike
User: MikeHikes - 4/19/2015  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 3.80 Miles Duration: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Route   Burkett Park > Burkett Trail > East Potts Creek > Armadillo > Playground > service road (West) > Turkey Creek > Armadillo (West) > West Potts Creek > Roller Coaster > Suzanne's Trail > Burkett Park     3.8 miles

Upper 70's, sunny and a good breeze.

A fitness hike along familiar trails as I try out my new Teva sandals.  Had some serious rainfall on Friday but there were only spots on the trails that were muddy - overall most of the trails were dry.  Nothing else to report except it was a good walk while having a good conversation amongst good friends. 

NOTES

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

Cattle tank of water for animals on Armadillo Ridge.

South Shore Playground parking area to Burkett Park
User: MikeHikes - 4/13/2015  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 6.10 Miles Duration: 2 hours, 50 minutes

Out      Playground parking area > Tasajilla Flats > Horny Toad > Nature Loop > Lanky Lackey > Suzanne's Trail > Burkett Park       3.2 miles

Return  Burkett Park > Winding Snake > Chaparral > Playground parking area          2.9 miles

Temps in the low 70's, overcast and very light wind.

Had a little rain last night but the trails were only slightly muddy.  Vegetation was wet though so after a short time on the trails, my feet were soaked.  We saw one small snake on Horny Toad - it was thin and had a greenish coloring; I saw the lower half on the trail and when I raised my camera to get a picture, the snake slithered off into the bushes.  No rattles, no worries!

Flowers continue to bloom and the birds are singing for mates.  Quail spotted again and again so there should be quite a few young ones in the near future.

NOTES

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

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

Park Mid-Section Burkett Park to Chaparral Fitness Hike
User: MikeHikes - 4/12/2015  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 4.30 Miles Duration: 1 hour, 40 minutes

Route    Burkett Park > Suzanne's Trail > Lanky Lackey > Nature Loop > service road (E) > Chaparral > Winding Snake > Burkett Park     4.3 miles

Temps in low 80's, sunny and a good breeze.

Hiked with a friend just to stretch the legs and get some fresh air.  Bee brush is beginning to bloom in the south part of the park so the scent of vanilla was detected.  No snakes although we talked to a woman who saw three rattlers on Winding Snake trail a few days earlier.  All the more reason to slow down and watch where you step.

NOTES

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

Water and shade available at Chaparral Pavillion - where service road and Chaparral trail meet.

Trailhead to Trailhead Burkett Park to Bell's Trailhead trails only route
User: MikeHikes - 4/8/2015  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 17.30 Miles Duration: 7 hours, 20 minutes

Out      Burkett Park > Burkett Trail > East Potts Creek > Armadillo > Playground > Flintstone > Javalina > Lower Ghost Camp > South Slick Rock > service road (N) > Scenic Loop > service road (NE) > Shady Trail > Bell's Trailhead         7.5 miles

Return  Bell's Trailhead > service road (S) > Dinosaur > Upper Big Hill > Dinosaur > service road (W for .1 mile) > Badlands > River Bend > Turkey Creek > Armadillo > West Potts Creek > Roller Coaster > Suzanne's Trail > Burkett park       9.8 miles

Started the hike in the low 70's, overcast, humid and a good west breeze.  Ended in the 80's, overcast, humid and the same wind.

I wanted to hike from trailhead to trailhead using as many trails as possible.  So I went North on the eastern trails and returned on the western trails. 

I saw two horned toads, lots of bird activity and of course, lots of blooming flowers and other plants.  Very noticeable was the scent of vanilla from the "just beginning to bloom" bee brush plants throughout the route.

Although I was able to finish the hike, I wouldn't recommend this route in the Summer when the heat is in the upper 90's and above.

NOTES

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

Water and shade available at Bell's Point (near the northern end of Playground Trail).

Water, shade and info kiosk avaiable at 5 Points Junction (about .75 miles north of Bell's Point on Flintstone Trail).  If you follow my route, you will return to 5 Points at the southern end of River Bend Trail. 

I STRONGLY SUGGEST YOU HYDRATE AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE BECAUSE THIS IS THE LAST PLACE FOR WATER BOTH HEADING NORTH AND RETURNING SOUTH.

Info kiosk and shade available at Cougar Overlook (at junction of northern end of Flintstone and southern end of Javalina).

Info kiosk, shade and dry toilets available at the Upper Ghost Camp (near the northern end of Lower Ghost Camp Trail).

Water and info kiosk available at Dinosaur Track viewing area.

Park Mid-Section Burkett Park to Bell's Point Fitness Hike
User: MikeHikes - 4/5/2015  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 5.60 Miles Duration: 2 hours

Out     Burkett Park > Burkett trail > East Potts Creek > Armadillo > Playground > Bell's Point      2.4 miles

Return  Service road (West) > Turkey Creek (South) > Armadillo (East) > East Potts Creek > Burkett Trail > Burkett Park   3.2 miles

Fitness hike at the park - low 70's, partly cloudy and a nice breeze.  Lots of bird activity as the mating season is here.  The Black Throated Sparrow (Photo attached) was singing until I took his picture, then he departed.

Saw quite a few mountain bikers on the slightly muddy trails.  Greetings were exchanged, trail etiquette followed and no bad feelings on either parties.  A few small pieces of trash were picked up but otherwise, an uneventful yet relaxing fitness hike.

NOTES

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

Water and shade available at Bell's Point.

Park Mid-Section Burkett Park to Cougar Overlook
User: MikeHikes - 3/31/2015  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 7.80 Miles Duration: 3 hours, 45 minutes

Out      Burkett Park > Burkett Trail > East Potts Creek > Armadillo > Playground > Flintstone > Cougar Overlook              5.0 miles

Return  Cougar Overlook > service road (West) > River Bend (South) > service road (SSW) > Burkett Trail > Burkett Park     2.8 miles

Warm temps, overcast and a breeze to keep us cool and keep the bugs off.

Hiked out through the park's eastern trails and returned along the service roads that ran alongside the long dried lakebed.  Saw the first rattler of 2015 (photo attached); he was lying right alongside the trail.  I saw him and we gave him a wide berth - he kept tasting the air as we moved around him but he didn't coil up nor rattle so I considered this a peaceful encounter.

Quite a few birds singing, agaritas and flowers continue to bloom.  Saw more people on the trails than usual including two young female athletes training for a race in Montana - to each his own.

Stay safe on the trails!

NOTES

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

Water, info kiosk and shade available at 5 Points Junction (along Flintstone Trail).

Info kiosk and shade available at Cougar Overlook.

South Shore Playground to Burkett Park
User: MikeHikes - 3/29/2015  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 6.30 Miles Duration: 3 hours

Out      Playground parking area > Tasajillo Flats > Nature Loop > Lanky Lackey > Suzanne's Trail > Burkett park        3.4 miles

Return  Burkett Park > Winding Snake > Chaparral > Red Dam Loop > Chaparral > Playground parking area    2.9 miles

Temps in the low 70's, sunny and a good breeze to keep the bugs away.

Nice hike at the park today.  The yellow flowers are blooming and the butterflies are returning.  I saw quite a bit of bird activity as the mating season begins.  First hummingbird of the year was spotted!

I was so intent on looking for snakes that I didn't notice a large owl perched alongside the path not five feet in front of me until he leapt into the air and flew away.  This caused numerous small birds to sound the alarm.

Another first for this year - saw a Texas spiny lizard (photo attached) sunning along the trail - he didn't mind having his picture taken and was in the same position as I left him.

NOTES

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

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

North Shore Park Extension
User: MikeHikes - 3/23/2015  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 6.00 Miles Duration: 3 hours

NOTE - This section of the state park is on the West side of FM2288 directly across from the North Shore check-in gate.  You can park by the toilets on the East side of FM2288 just past the check-in gate or on the West side of FM2288 by the swinging entrance gate to this section of the park.  I recommend you park by the toilets.

 

Mild temps, sunny and a light wind made this hike enjoyable.  I'd been to this section of the park last year and wanted to revisit it since I saw different birds nesting along the North Concho River which runs through.  Unfortunately the words "runs through" are a misnomer - the North Concho River, as of this writing, consists of sections of water alternating with sections of dry river bottom; the drought continues.

Can't say much for the hike route itself.  Since this section of the park is normally used solely by the park's longhorns and seasonal hunters, there are no hiking trails per se; consequently, we hiked on an overgrown dirt service road that ran parallel to the North Concho River - the road was very muddy in places.  

I hoped to see Mississippi Kites nesting, as I had last year, but there were none.  Only wildlife I saw today, besides the heron, was a single turkey vulture, cardinals, sparrows and some ducks on the river.  I did see quite a bit of was trash - mostly fired shotgun shells, paper, and old cans. 

Unless I want to look for juvenile Great Blue Herons, I don't think I'll be back to this section of the park anytime in the near future.

Trailhead to Trailhead Burkett to Bell's Trailhead
User: MikeHikes - 3/19/2015  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 14.70 Miles Duration: 6 hours, 25 minutes

Out      Burkett Park > Suzanne's Trail > Roller Coaster > West Potts Creek > Armadillo > Turkey Creek > River Bend > Badlands> Dinosaur Trail > Bell's Trailhead     9.5 miles

Return  Bell's Trailhead > Shady Trail > service road (S) > South Slick Rock > Lower Ghost Camp > service road (S) > Burkett Trail > Burkett Park     5.2 miles

Low 60's, partly cloudy, light wind to start and mid 70's, overcast and light wind when I ended.

This hike took me from the park's mid-section along the trails on the western edge of the park to the northern trailhead, Bell's, where I came back on some trails but mostly park service roads.

LOTS of agarita bushes in bloom and their scent was a constant reminder that Spring is here!  Wandered at a leisurely pace and enjoyed the scents, sounds and sights of the park.

Another reminder of Spring was seen in the bird activity as well as the younger longhorns beginning to establish their standing in the pecking order by butting heads.  Although my hiking route took me among them, I never felt threatened and I stayed away from the contests.

NOTES

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

Water, shade, info kiosk and a porta toilet (unknown how long it will be here) at 5 Points Junction (junction of Turkey Creek and River Bend heading North).

Water, shade and info kiosk at Dinosaur Tracks area. LAST PLACE TO GET WATER FOR HUMANS IF YOU FOLLOW MY ROUTE.

Shade at Bell's Trailhead.

Shade, info kiosk, dry toilets and water for HORSES ONLY at Upper Ghost Camp (along Lower Ghost Camp trail).

Shade and info kiosk at Cougar Overlook.

 

Park Mid-Section Burkett Park to Bell's Trailhead
User: MikeHikes - 3/15/2015  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 5.20 Miles Duration: 2 hours, 10 minutes

Route    Burkett Park > Burkett Trail > service road (ENE) > Cougar Outlook > service road (WNW) > South Slick Rock > service road (N) > Shady Trail > Bell's Trailhead        5.2 miles

Return    via vehicle to Burkett Park.

Low 60's, overcast and a light wind. I've wanted to do a trailhead to trailhead hike for some time and today I did a "junior" version. Easy hike with the vast majority of the miles hiked along service roads with the remaining short stretches, on trails. 

In the northern part of the park, the longhorns are currently grazing.  They are used to people, consequently, they are not shy and will get fairly close.  Remember, they are NOT pets and should be treated with caution.

NOTES

Water, shade, info kiosk and dry toilets available at Burkett Park.  This is the ONLY place to get water for humans on the route - there are a few cattle tanks and horse troughs where water is available for horses.

Shade and info kiosk at Cougar Outlook.

Shade, info kiosk, dry toilets and water for horses available at Upper Ghost Camp.

Park Mid-Section Burkett Trail
User: MikeHikes - 3/13/2015  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 1.20 Miles Duration: 45 minutes

Warm, sunny day with a light breeze.  Walked from Burkett Park along Burkett Trail and back.

Saw a solitary longhorn near the turnaround point.  It looked like the same cow I saw in the same general vicinity last week.  I talked to the park personnel on my way out and they assured me the longhorn was in good health and was properly looked after.  For whatever reason, she wanted some solitude from the rest of the herd.

Also saw an AWACS plane (photo attached) which is very unusual for this area.

Nobody else on the trails; it was a good hike.

 

North Shore Bell's Trailhead to Cougar Overlook
User: MikeHikes - 3/11/2015  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 6.00 Miles Duration: 3 hours

Out      Bell's Trailhead > service road (South) > North Slick Rock > Lower Ghost Camp > service road (SE) > Cougar Overlook        2.7 miles

Return  Cougar Overlook > service road (North) > Javelina Trail > Lower Ghost Camp > South Slick Rock > service road (North) > Shady Trail > Bell's Trailhead   3.3 miles

Foggy, lower 50's and overcast to begin but clear, lower 70's and sunny by the time we finished.

Saw quite a few birds out this morning as we tramped along the wet roads and trails.  Some of the agarita bushes are blooming so the scent of mesquite smoke and honey was in the air.  The trails were sticky in spots but by the time we finished, most of the mud had dried on the trails as well as on our hiking shoes.

NOTES

NO WATER for humans is available on this route - be prepared !

Shade and info kiosk available at Cougar Outlook.

Shade, info kiosk and dry toilets available at Upper Ghost camp (near the junction of Lower Ghost Camp and South Slick Rock trails).

Park Mid-Section Burkett to Armadillo Ridge Plus Fitnes Hike
User: MikeHikes - 3/8/2015  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 3.70 Miles Duration: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Route  Burkett Park > Suzanne's Trail > Roller Coaster > West Potts Creek > Armadillo Trail > Turkey Creek (North) > service road (East) > Playground Trail > Armadillo Trail > East Potts Creek > Burkett Trail > Burkett Park     3.7 miles

Just a fitness hike with friends.  Temps in the low 50's, overcast and slight breeze - no bad actually!  The route looks more complicated than it is - basically, we went West for a short distance before heading North until we came to the first service road crossing Turkey Creek Trail.  Followed it East until we came to the point where it crossed Playground Trail.  Got on Playground Trail heading South and continued on the listed trails until we arrived back at Burkett Park.

NOTES

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

South Shore Playground parking area to Armadillo Ridge
User: MikeHikes - 3/3/2015  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 9.30 Miles Duration: 3 hours, 20 minutes

Out     Playground parking area > Tasajilla Flats > Nature Loop > Lanky Lackey > Rollercoaster > West Potts Creek > Armadillo Ridge (East) > East Potts Creek > Burkett Trail > Burkett Park       6.6 miles

Return  Burkett Park > Winding Snake > Chaparral > Playground parking area    2.7 miles

Foggy and overcast, low 40's to begin but temps rose to the low 60's, partly cloudy and no fog by the time we finished.  The trails were damp and sticky in places making us stop a few times to knock the mud off our hiking shoes.

Found a pile of eight golf balls behind a agarita shrub along a trail - no idea why the balls were there.  Saw a couple of road runners (photo attached) as well as other birds.  One of the resident longhorns had wandered away from the main herd and looked out of place so we called park personnel to retrieve the animal - I assume they did.  Not much trash besides the golf balls was found during the hike.  The fresh air and exercise plus relaxing with a post-hike cigar and bottle of stout when I got home made this a very good day!

NOTES

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

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

Park Mid-Section Burkett Park to Cougar Overlook
User: MikeHikes - 2/26/2015  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 7.20 Miles Duration: 3 hours, 30 minutes

Out     Burkett Park > Burkett Trail > East Potts Creek > Armadillo Ridge > Playground > Flintstone > River Bend > service road (ENE) > Cougar Outlook      4.5 miles

Return  Cougar Outlook > service roads (WSW) > Burkett Trail > Burkett Park    2.7 miles

Temp in the mid-30's, overcast and a strong northerly wind made this a cold, gloomy hike.  We were dressed for the weather though so the only time it was bad was when the winds hit us in the face. 

I wanted to do this route since I had not been on the service roads in quite awhile.  Saw one group of three and one group of six, deer at different locations on the hike, some of the Official State of Texas Longhorns were seen on the way back and quite a few birds were flying about.  Even though it was cold, all the animals still had to eat.

NOTES

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

Water and shade available at Bell's Point (near the junction of Playground and Flintstone Trails).

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

Shade and info kiosk available at Cougar Overlook.

South Shore Playground parking area to Armadillo Ridge Figure 8
User: MikeHikes - 2/20/2015  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 9.20 Miles Duration: 3 hours, 50 minutes

1st Leg - Playground parking area > Tasajilla Flats > Nature Loop > Lanky Lackey > Suzanne's Trail > Burkett Park     3.3 miles

2nd Leg - Burkett Park > Burkett Trail > East Potts Creek > Armadillo Ridge (West) > West Potts Creek > Roller Coaster > Suzanne's Trail > Burkett Park     3.3 miles

3rd Leg - Burkett Park > Winding Snake > Chaparral > Playground parking area         2.6 miles

Sunny, breezy and temps in the upper 60's to start and near 80 at the end.  Excellent weather for a hike and I wanted to get one in before the upcoming cold front on Sunday which is supposed to drop temps in the 30's.

The weather is fooling the plants and animal.  Smelled the familiar scent of agarita blooms and found more than one bush beginning to bloom with yellow flowers.  The smell can be described as mesquite smoke and honey!  More surprising, I saw my first snake of 2015 as well (photo attached).  Found out it is a Texas Patchnose Snake - probably about 24 inches long.  He was stretched out along the Lanky Lackey trail and I was surprised to see him this early in the year. 

I got a few pictures and when I moved closer, he slithered away.  A good hike!

NOTES

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

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

South Shore Playground to Burkett Park
User: MikeHikes - 2/15/2015  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 5.70 Miles Duration: 2 hours, 10 minutes

Out     Playground parking area > Tasajilla Flats > Horny Toad > Nature Loop > Lankey Lackey > Suzanne's Trail > Burkett Park         2.7 miles

Return  Burkett Park > Winding Snake > Chaparral > Red Dam Loop > Charparral > Playground parking area      3.0 miles

Warm, sunny with a slight breeze.   No wildlife and only a few birds observed but nonetheless, a very pleasant and relaxing hike!

NOTES

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

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

South Shore Playground to Armadillo Ridge
User: MikeHikes - 2/12/2015  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 9.60 Miles Duration: 4 hours, 15 minutes

Out    Playground parking area > Chaparral > Red Dam Loop > Chaparral > Winding Snake > Burkett Trail > East Potts Creek Trail > Armadillo Ridge (West) > West Potts Creek > Roller Coaster > service road (NNE) > Burkett Park         6.6 miles

Return Burkett Park > Suzanne's Trail > Lankey Lackey > Nature Loop > Horny Toad Trail > Tasajilla Flats > Playground parking area    3.0 miles

Basically, North bound on the eastern trails and return on the western trails.  Cool, overcast and slightly windy day.  Don't know if it was because of the overcast day, the cold or something else but there were very few birds and no wild life out.  I did see a nice male ladderback woodpecker (photo attached).

All in all, an uneventful but very pleasant hike.

NOTES

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

Water, shade, info kiosk and dry toilets available at Burkett Park (outward and return routes).

North Shore Bell's Trailhead to 5 Points Junction
User: MikeHikes - 2/10/2015  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 9.60 Miles Duration: 4 hours, 10 minutes

Out       Bell's Trailhead > service road (S) > Dinosaur Trail > Upper Big Hill > Badlands > River Bend > 5 Points Junction         5.2 miles

Return   5 Points Junction > Flintstone (NNE) > Javalina > Lower Ghost Camp Trail > South Slick Rock > service road (N) > Scenic Loop > service road (ENE) > Shady Trail > Bell's Trailhead       4.4 miles

Hike began with sunny skies, steady South wind and 60 degree temps but ended at 80+ degrees!  I wandered through the North Shore primarily to see what the park looked like after the prescribed burns of a month or so ago.  The biggest area burned is on Dinosaur Trail, which is mostly open, but there are areas scattered around that were burned as well. 

No wildlife observed, just birds.  Surprisingly, I picked up three bags of trash today.  Most of it was old stuff so I'll credit the burn with uncovering the old cans and glass.  I found a relatively new and functional, although slightly melted, flashing safety light.  I stowed it in my pack and will keep in just in case!

NOTES

Water, shade and info kiosk at Dinosaur Tracks area.

Water, shade and info kiosk at 5 Points Junction - BE ADVISED this is the last place you will have the opportunity to get water if you follow my route.  HYDRATE WHILE YOU CAN!

Shade and info kiosk at Cougar Outlook (junction of Flintstone and Javalina trails on return leg).

Dry toilets, shade, info kiosk and water FOR HORSES ONLY at the Upper Ghost Camp (junction of Lower Ghost Camp and South Slick Rock trails on return leg).

Park Mid-section Burkett to 5 Points Junction
User: MikeHikes - 2/4/2015  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 7.40 Miles Duration: 3 hours, 30 minutes

Out     Burkett Park > Suzanne's Trail > Rollercoaster > West Potts Creek > Armadillo > Turkey Creek > 5 Points Junction   4.0 miles

Return  5 Points Junction > Flintstone > Playground > Armadillo Ridge > East Potts Creek > Burkett Trail > Burkett Park     3.4 miles

Upper 40's and overcast to start but the clouds cleared and the temp was up in the 60's by the time we finished.

Nice leisurely hike.  The trails were still damp after Saturday's welcome rains.  Not many birds and no wild life observed.  Any hike is a good one so I won't complain!

NOTES

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

Water, shade and info kiosk at 5 Points Junction.

Water and shade available at Bell's Point (on return leg).

 

 

 

 

Park Mid-Section Burkett Park to Cougar Outlook
User: MikeHikes - 1/30/2015  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 9.00 Miles Duration: 3 hours, 45 minutes

Out      Burkett Park > Suzanne's Trail > Rollercoaster > West Potts Creek > Armadillo > Turkey Creek Trail > Riverbend Trail > service road (ENE) > Cougar Outlook     4.6 miles

Return   Cougar Outlook > Flintstone > Playground > Armadillo > East Potts Creek > Burkett Trail > Burkett Park     4.4 miles

Upper 40's, overcast and mild wind.

Basically used the park's west side trails to head North then the east side trails to return (South bound).

Some birds and a couple of white tail deer were all the wildlife I observed during the hike.  Not much else to report, the trails were nice and dry plus, there wasn't much trash to pick up.

NOTES

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

Water, shade and info kiosk at 5 Points Junction (outbound & return).

Shade and info kiosk at Cougar Outlook.

Water and shade at Bell's Point (return).

 

North Shore Bell's Trailhead to Cougar Outlook
User: MikeHikes - 1/27/2015  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 6.50 Miles Duration: 3 hours, 30 minutes

Out Bell's Trailhead > Shady Trail > service road > Scenic Loop > South Slick Rock > Lower Ghost Camp > Upper Ghost Camp > service road > Cougar Outlook 3.0 miles

Return Cougar Outlook > service Road (West) > Riverbend Trail (North) > Badlands > Big Hill (North) > service road > Rocky Creek > service road > Bell's Trailhead 3.5 miles

Upper 50's to 70 degrees, no wind and sunny.

Nice hike to stretch the legs with my hiking partner. Some prescribed burning completed but no impact on the trails. LOTS of birds out today! This route has NO WATER available - be prepared by bringing your own. Nonetheless, it was a very nice hike.

NOTES

Info kiosk, shade, dry toilets and water for HORSES at Lower Ghost camp.

Info kiosk and shade at Cougar Outlook.

Park Mid-Section Fitness Hike
User: MikeHikes - 1/25/2015  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 4.90 Miles Duration: 1 hour, 45 minutes

Out     Burkett Park > Burkett Trail > East Potts Creek > Armadillo > Playground > Bell's Point 2.5 miles

Return Bell's Point > service road (West) > Turkey Creek (South) > Armadillo (East) > East Potts Creek > Burkett Trail > Burkett Park 2.4 miles

Weather was low 60's, light breeze and sunny. LOTS of people on the trails today!!!

NOTES

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

Water and shade available at Bell's Point.

Park Mid-section Fitness Hike
User: MikeHikes - 1/18/2015  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 3.90 Miles Duration: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Route   Burkett park > Suzanne's Trail > Rollercoaster > West Potts Creek > Turkey Creek (North) > service road (East) > Playground Trail > Armadillo > East Potts Creek > Burkett Trail > Burkett park        3.9 miles

Just a nice day to hike with friends!  Nothing to report.

NOTES

Water, info kiosk, dry toilets, shade at Burkett park

 

South Shore Playground parking area to 5 Points Junction
User: MikeHikes - 1/15/2015  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 12.90 Miles Duration: 5 hours, 40 minutes

Out        Playground parking area > Tasajilla Flats > Nature Loop > Lanky Lackey > Rollercoaster > West Potts Creek > Armadillo > Turkey Creek > 5 Points Junction     7.1 miles

Return   5 Points Junction > Flintstone (South) > Playground > Armadillo > East Potts Creek > Burkett Trail > Winding Snake > Chapparal > Playground parking area          5.8 miles

Sunny, temps in the 50's, light North wind.  Trails were nice and I was the only person on them for the majority of time.  No wildlife observed except for birds.

I came across two ladies who were lost at Burkett Park and was able to set them on the correct trails back to their destination.  They had no trail map and just a vague notion of where they were.  The state park has made major improvements to their trails in the 15 years I have hiked them but there can always be more especially in trail name markers. 

I think it goes without saying to readers of this website, you must be prepared when you hike - whether it is a one mile walk or a multi-mile trek.  I always carry plenty of water, some trail food, a few emergency items such as duct tape, parachute cord, knife, whistle, etc. I have experienced being about halfway out on a multi-mile trek when one of my sandals tore - a bit of duct tape held it together until I made it back to the car.  Always be prepared!

NOTES

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

Water, shade, info kiosk and dry toilets available at Burkett park (north end of Winding Snake trail).

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

Water and shade available at Bell's Point (near junction of Flintstone and Playground trails).

 

South Shore Playground parking area to Burkett park
User: MikeHikes - 1/8/2015  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 6.30 Miles Duration: 3 hours, 15 minutes

Out     Playground parking area > Tasajilla Flats > Nature Loop > Lanky Lackey > connector to Burkett park > Burkett park                3.7 miles

Return Burkett park > Winding Snake >Chaparral > Playground parking area               2.6 miles

Temps in the mid 20's, light wind and partly cloudy/overcast. 

Lots of "Firsts" -

1st hike of 2015,

1st log entry for 2015,

1st time wearing my new Hi-Tec hiking boots,

1st time in 2015 I fell on my ass from stepping on slippery mud,

1st time in 2015 we saw two javalinas up close and personal (photo attached),

so I consider this an auspicious start to the new year!

NOTES

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

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

South Shore Playground to Armadillo Ridge Figure 8
User: MikeHikes - 12/26/2014  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 9.40 Miles Duration: 4 hours, 10 minutes

Out     Playground parking area > Chaparral > Winding Snake> connecting trail (West) > Roller Coaster > West Potts Creek > Armadillo > East Potts Creek > Burkett Trail > Burkett Park        5.9 miles

Return  Burkett Park > connecting trail (West) > Lanky Lackey > Nature Loop > Tasajilla Flats > Playground parking area          3.5 miles

Temps in the 60's, sunny and a light wind.  Been fighting a respiratory issue and hadn't hiked in awhile so did it today AND this hike marks my logging over 500 miles this year - next year will be 550 or more miles!

NOTES

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

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

 

Park Mid-Section Burkett to Cougar Lookout
User: MikeHikes - 12/17/2014  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 8.40 Miles Duration: 4 hours, 30 minutes

Out    Burkett park > Burkett Trail > service road East then NE then East to cattle gate> Old boat ramp to end (right side of road) > follow fence East then North > old boat ramp by Cougar Lookout > Cougar Lookout     3.6 miles

Return Cougar Lookout > Flintstone> Playground > Armadillo > East Potts Creek > Burkett Trail > Burkett park      4.8 miles

Overcast, low 50's light wind.  Wanted to hike along the fence line which goes into the old lake bed.  Wandered around for a bit through LOTS of tumbleweeds and high grasses.  Got to Cougar Lookout and won't try that route for another year.

Came back along established trails and had a good time all in all.  As I hiked, I collected enough trash to completely fill a Walmart bag but the vast majority was older stuff.

NOTES

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

Shade and info kiosk available at Cougar Lookout.

Water, shade and info kiosk available at 5 Points junction (about a mile SW of Cougar Lookout on Flintstone Trail).

Water and shade available at Bell's Point (about a mile SE of 5 Point Junction along Playground Trail).

South Shore Playground parking area to Armadillo Ridge Area
User: MikeHikes - 12/13/2014  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 10.20 Miles Duration: 4 hours, 45 minutes

Out   Playground parking area > Tasajilla Flats > Nature Loop > Lanky Lackey > Roller Coaster > West Potts Creek > Turkey Creek > 1st service road (East) > Playground Trail       5.6 miles

Return Playground Trail > Armadillo Trail > East Potts Creek > Burkett Trail > Winding Snake > Chaparral > Red Dam Loop > Chaparral > Playground parking area                          4.6 miles

Overcast with a good wind and mid 60's temperatures.  Saw a white tail doe right off the bat but no other large wild life.  Lots of birds including some black throated sparrows. 

There were some mountain bikers enjoying the trails - a ll encounters were pleasant and civil.  I was surprised there weren't more folks on the trails but I am not complaining.

NOTES

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

Water, shade, info kiosk and dry toilets available at Burkett Park (junction of Burkett and Winding Snake trails).

 

 

 

South Shore Playground to Burkett Park
User: MikeHikes - 12/9/2014  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 5.80 Miles Duration: 3 hours

Out      Playground > Tasajilla Flats > Horny Toad > Nature Loop > Lanky Lackey > connecting trail to Burkett Park > Burkett Park         3.0 miles

Return  Burkett Park > Winding Snake > Chaparral > Playground      2.8 miles

Cooler temps and a light breeze with some FOG (which for this park is unusual).

Saw a couple of bucks, one a six point and the other an eight pointer, as we were driving to the parking area -  by the time I had the camera out, they were gone.  Trails were "crowded" with two mountain bikers, one hiker and one walker PLUS three javalinas just off the Lanky Lackey trail near Burkett Park.

As usual trash was found, to include GU packets, but for the most part it was old stuff.  Not much else happening

NOTES

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

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

Park Mid-Section Burkett to Armadillo Ridge Fitness Hike
User: MikeHikes - 12/7/2014  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 3.00 Miles Duration: 1 hour

Route   Burkett Park > connecting trail from Winding Snake to Lanky Lackey > Roller Coaster > West Potts Creek > Armadillo (East) > East Potts Creek > Burkett Trail > Burkett Park     3.0 miles

Fitness hike doing the loop.  Cooler temps, overcast and a few rain drops.  Nothing observed, nothing to report.

NOTES

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

North Shore Bell's Trailhead to Cougar Lookout Figure 8
User: MikeHikes - 12/5/2014  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 9.10 Miles Duration: 5 hours

Out     Bell's Trailhead > Dinosaur Trail > Upper Slick Rock > Lower Ghost Camp Trail > service road (East then South) > Cougar Lookout   4.7 miles

Return  Cougar Lookout > service road (West) > River Bend (North) > Badlands Trail > service road (East then North) > Scenic Loop > service road (North then East then North) > Shady Trail > Bell's Trailhead    4.4 miles

Nice temps, light breeze and sunny.  Walked, talked and picked up trash; there was still some residue from the bike race of a few weeks back to include race route marking tape and the ever present GU packages. 

I learned of an interesting product when I found an empty bottle some biker "accidently" dropped - an electrolyte replacement drink called "Dill Juice" or "Pickle Juice" or something which is made with real dill pickle juice.  AMAZING! 

If you want to drink pickle juice, save some money and buy a large jar of dill pickles - you get juice to drink and dill pickles to eat.  With the money you've saved, I'll sell for a reasonable price, some marvelous rocks; rocks which make marvelous pets!

NOTES

Water, shade and info kiosk on Dinosaur Trail where the dinosaur tracks are - this is the ONLY location where water can be had on this route.

Shade, info kiosk and dry toilets at River Bend Campground (ghost camp). Water for HORSES ONLY also available

Shade, info kiosk available at Cougar Lookout.

North Shore Bell's Trailhead to 5 Points Junction
User: MikeHikes - 11/26/2014  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 10.00 Miles Duration: 4 hours, 15 minutes

Out     Bell's Trailhead > Dinosaur Trail > Upper Big Hill > Dinosaur Trail > Badlands > River Bend > 5 Points Junction                     5.6 miles

Return 5 Points Junction > Flintstone Trail > Javalina > service road (East) > Lower Ghost Camp > South Slick Rock > service road (North) > Scenic Loop > service road (North then East then North) > Shady Trail > Bell's Trailhead     4.4 miles

Temps started in the upper 40's which rose to mid 60's, sunny and light winds - perfect hiking weather!  There was no one on the trail but of course, there was trash - two bags full of tape used to mark the trails for a mountain bike race of three weeks ago as well as numerous GU and Clif Shot Bloks empty packages.  Guess the racers were too focused on the race to realize they were trashing the trails they used.

NOTES

Water, info kiosk, shade available on Dinosaur Trail by the tracks.

Water, info kiosk, shade available at 5 Points Junction - this is the last place to get water on the route I've listed.

Info kiosk and shade available at Cougar Lookout (junction of Flintstone and Javalina Trails).

Info kiosk, shade and dry toilets available at Upper Ghost Camp near the end of the Lower Ghost Camp Trail - water for HORSES ONLY also available.

Park Mid Section Burkett to Bell's Point
User: MikeHikes - 11/23/2014  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 5.50 Miles Duration: 2 hours

Out       Burkett Park > Burkett Trail > East Potts Creek > Armadillo > Playground Trail > Bell's Point              2.2 miles

Return   Bell's Point > Playground Trail (North) > service road (East) > Turkey Creek > Armadillo (East) > East Potts Creek > Burkett Trail > Burkett Park   3.3 miles

A very pleasant hike with friends - nice temps, nice wind, sunny day.  All in all just a fitness hike.  Didn't really see much although we did see a total of five mountain bikers and one hiker so for us, the trails were "crowded"!

NOTES

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

Water, info kiosk and shade available at Bell's Point.

South Shore Playground to Armadillo Ridge
User: MikeHikes - 11/19/2014  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 10.50 Miles Duration: 5 hours, 30 minutes

Out     Playground parking area > Chaparral > Red Dam Loop > Chaparral > Winding Snake > Roller Coaster > West Potts Creek > Armadillo (East)       5.7 miles

Return  Armadillo > East Potts Creek > Burkett Trail > Lanky Lackey > Nature Loop > Tasajilla Flats > Playground parking area       4.8 miles

Nice day - temps cool but warmed up to 69, light cooling winds, sunny sky.  Been a week or more since I hiked last in the park and it was very enjoyable.  Basically, did a figure 8 with the crossing point at Burkett Park.  Saw a few butterflies, birds, white tail deer and bugs.  Unfortunately, I picked up enough trash along the trails to fill two plastic bags.   

NOTES

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

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

South Shore Fitness Hike
User: MikeHikes - 11/2/2014  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 2.80 Miles Duration: 1 hour

Did a quick hike along a fairly new trail.  Park at the Playground parking area and walk across the road to the trail.  The trail runs parallel to the South Shore's main road and follows the road along the camping areas.  As far as I know, the trail has yet to be named - it is basically a bulldozed trail that forms a square.

NOTES

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

North Shore Bell's Trailhead to 5 points (Multi-Trail) Junction
User: MikeHikes - 10/31/2014  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 8.90 Miles Duration: N/A

Out      Bell's Trailhead > Shady Trail > service road (South) > Scenic Loop > service road (SSW) > Badlands > River Bend > 5 Points Junction    4.5 miles

Return  5 Points > Flintstone > Javalina > Lower Ghost Camp > South Slick Rock> Lower Big Hill Trail > Rocky Creek Trail > service road (NE) > Bell's Trailhead    4.4 miles

The weather was cooler with a steady northerly wind.  Saw some Fall colors on the trees but nothing spectacular.  A few birds were out, one snake (non-rattler) and few bugs.  I was surprised to see a sunflower in full bloom and a moth sipping the nectar (photo attached).  A nice hike through the park but nothing noteworthy.

NOTES

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

Shade and info kiosk available at Cougar Outlook (at Javalina and Fintstone trail junction).

Shade, info kiosk and dry toilets available at Upper Ghost Camp (near junction of Lower Ghost Camp and South Slick Rock trails.  Water for HORSES ONLY also available. 

South Shore Playground to Amarillo
User: MikeHikes - 10/27/2014  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 10.10 Miles Duration: 5 hours

Out      Playground parking area > Tasajilla Flats > Nature Loop > Lanky Lackey > service road > Burkett Park > Burkett Trail > East Potts Creek > Armadillo      5.0 miles

Return  Armadillo (West) > West Potts Creek > Roller Coaster > service road (East) > Winding Snake > Chaparral > Playground parking area   5.1 miles

A very pleasant hike today!  Did a big loop on the west side of the South Shore and then returned on the east trails.

Not much wildlife although we saw a couple of white tail deer and a few birds.  What is surprising to me is the fact some of the bee brush is blooming once again, just in time for the monarchs as the fly south for the winter.  Saw more than one type of butterfly enjoying the sweet smelling nectar and pollen.

NOTES

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

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

South Shore Playground to Burkett Fitness Hike
User: MikeHikes - 10/26/2014  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 5.10 Miles Duration: 2 hours

Route   Playground parking area > Chaparral > Winding Snake > Burkett Park > Lanky Lackey > Nature Trail > Horny Toad > Talley Valley > service road (East) > Chapparal > Playground parking area     5.1 miles

Just a hike with friends through the park.  We saw a cottontail rabbit and "saved" a tree lizard by spooking a roadrunner who was hunting it - I've attached a photo of the road runner to this report.

NOTES

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

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

Park Mid Section Burkett Park to Cougar Lookout
User: MikeHikes - 10/24/2014  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 9.40 Miles Duration: 4 hours

Out        Burkett Park > Park road (West) > Rollercoaster > West Potts Creek > Armadillo > Turkey Creek > River Bend > service road (East) > Cougar Lookout       4.7 miles

Return   Cougar Lookout > Flintstone > Playground trail > Armadillo > East Potts Creek > Burkett Trail > Burkett Park      4.7 miles

Warm , pleasant day with light winds.  Took my time walking and really enjoyed feeling the breeze on my skin, listening to the birds and just being with Nature.  Saw lots of flowers and bees and butterflies including Monarchs.  On the return leg I had to deal with some of the Longhorns kept at the park - they decided to lay on Flintstone Trail and I patiently got them up - unfortunately, they decided to walk along the trail in front of me so I was stepping around L-O-T-S of fresh cow dung.  After a quarter mile or so, they decided to get off the trail as I continued on.  Was concerned because there was a large bull in the group and numerous calves but nothing negative happened. 

NOTES

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

Water, info kiosk and shade available at the 5 Points Junction (where Turkey creek, River Bend and Flintstone trails meet).  You will go here on both legs of the hike if you follow my route.

Info kiosk and shade available at Cougar Lookout.

Water and shade available at Bell's Point - found on the retunr leg along the Playground Trail.

South Shore Fitness Hike
User: MikeHikes - 10/19/2014  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 3.50 Miles Duration: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Route   Playground parking area > Tasajilla Flats > Nature Loop > park road to Isabel Harte entrance> old boat ramp road (SSE) > Chaparral Trail > Playground parking area       3.5 miles

A nice day to hike a short trek!!  Nothing much of interest, trails were nice, saw two mountain bikers otherwise, nobody else at the park.

 

South Shore Playground to Multi-Trail Junction and back
User: MikeHikes - 10/16/2014  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 12.40 Miles Duration: 5 hours, 10 minutes

Out      Playground parking area > Chaparral > Winding Snake > Burkett Trail > East Potts Creek > Armadillo > Playground Trail > Flintstone Trail > Multi-Trail Junction         5.8 miles

Return  Turkey Creek > Armadillo > West Potts Creek > Roller Coaster > Lanky Lackey > Nature Trail > Horny Toad > Talley Valley > Chaparral > Playground Parking Area  6.6 miles

Basically, this hike went from the Playground parking area  North along the eastern trails and returned from the Multi-Trail Junction - where Turkey Creek, River Bend and Flintstone Trails meet - along the western trails back to the Playground parking area.

Weather was warm (low 90's) windy and the park was quiet.  Not much to see along the trail although there were some birds and a few interesting bugs (photo attached).

At the end of the hike, I was having a few hip discomforts but managed to push through and enjoy the hike. 

One thing to mention - please make sure if you get water from a fountain, you ensure the faucet is turned off.  The fountain at the Multi-Trail junction was not shut off and quite a lot of water was on the ground;  so much so, the water coming out of the faucet was extremely low flowing due to low pressure.

NOTES

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

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

Water and shade available at Bell's Point (along the Playground Trail).

Water, shade, info kiosk available at the Multi-Trail Junction.

 

Fitness Hike
User: rodavenport - 10/12/2014  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 17.00 Miles Duration: N/A

Getting into shape for some serious hiking in a couple of weeks. Beautiful autumn day for the hike. It had rained the night before so the trails were pretty slick in places. I acutally got to see the Longhorns that are roaming in the park.

North Shore Bell's Trailhead to Cougar Outlook
User: MikeHikes - 10/8/2014  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 9.00 Miles Duration: 4 hours, 45 minutes

Out     Bell's Trailhead > service road (N then SW) > Dinosaur Trail > Big Hill > South Slick Rock > Lower Ghost Camp > service road (S) > Cougar Outlook      4.8 miles

Return Cougar Outlook > service road (W) > River Bend Trail > Badlands Trail > service road (N) > Scenic Loop > service road (NE) > Shady Trail > Bell's Trailhead   4.2 miles

Partly cloudy to start, mild temps and a light breeze made this a good day to hike.  Less than 30 minutes after we started, I spotted the first of three snakes, a non-rattler, who was trying to warm up.  After a little gentle prodding with a weed stalk, he slithered away.  Walking along  further the second snake made an appearance, a black/dark grey snake that had a light orange/red collar and looked like an overgrown worm.  Got a picture of his head before he disappeared.  The final snake was a brother to the second but longer - no rattles, no worries!

Saw a few mountain bikers otherwise the trails were ours.  Picked up a bit more trail trash than usual but otherwise, another great day to hike at the park.

NOTES

IMPORTANT - Bring your own water to start and make sure you drink as much water as you can when you get to the Dinosaur track area - it is the ONLY place water is available on this hike.

Water, shade and info kiosk available on Dinosaur Trail near the dinosaur tracks - about a mile or more from Bell's Trailhead/parking area - this is the ONLY water available on this route.

Shade, info kiosk, dry toilets and water FOR HORSES ONLY at the Upper Ghost Camp.  The park has capped off the water fountain - unknown why they did this.

Info kiosk and shade available at Cougar Outlook.

North Shore Fitness Hike
User: MikeHikes - 10/5/2014  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 3.00 Miles Duration: 1 hour, 20 minutes

This was just a fitness hike in a big loop starting at Bell's Trailhead and heading South along Shady Trail and park service roads.  Not much to report but the weather was nice (low 90's and a slight breeze) and the only wildlife observed were scissortail flycatchers.

We did see a group of mountain bikers (a few adults and a bunch of children) otherwise we were the only ones on the trails/roads.

One item of interest - for whatever reason, the park has capped off a water fountain at the Upper Ghost Camp.  The water trough for horses is still there and full but the water fountain for humans, has been capped. 

Park Mid Section Burkett to Cougar Outlook
User: MikeHikes - 10/3/2014  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 9.60 Miles Duration: 4 hours, 15 minutes

Out       Burkett Park > Burkett Trail > East Potts Creek > Armadillo > Playground > Flintstone > Cougar Outlook           4.5 miles
Return   Cougar Outlook > service road (West approx .25 miles) > River Bend (SSW) > Turkey Creek > Armadillo > West Potts Creek > Rollercoaster > park road (NNE) > Burkett Park    5.1 miles

Use Google Earth or a park map to follow my path.

Today I took a leisurely hike through the park midsection.  The temps were in the mid 70's to low 80's and a slight breeze kept insects at bay.  I saw two raptors overhead and although I didn't get a picture due to trees being in the way, I was able to watch an aerial battle between the larger raptor (picture attached) and a small one - the smaller raptor chased the larger bird away.

A couple of snakes were seen as well but since they were not rattlers and did not bother me, no worries!

All in all, it was a very pleasant hike!!

NOTES

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

Water and shade available at Bell's Point on the outbound portion of the hike.  Bell's Point is near the end of the Playground trail.

Water, shade and info kiosk are available at the Multi-Trail junction where the Turkey Creek, River Bend and Flintstone trails converge.  If you follow my route, you will visit this location on the way out and on the return journey.

Shade and info kiosk are available at the Cougar Outlook.

More miles
User: rodavenport - 9/28/2014  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 19.25 Miles Duration: N/A

I went back to SASP again this weekend and tried to pick up some of the trails that I had missed the prior week. Again its a nice place to log some serious miles.

South Shore Playground to Multi-Trail Junction
User: MikeHikes - 9/23/2014  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 11.60 Miles Duration: 5 hours, 15 minutes

Out    Playground parking area > Tasajilla Flats > Nature Loop > Lanky Lackey > Roller Coaster > West Potts Creek > Armadillo > Turkey Creek Trail > Multi-Trail Junction       6.6 miles

Return Service road (East  .5 miles) > Service road (SSW) > Burkett Trail > Burkett Park > Winding Snake > Chaparral> Playground parking area    5.0 miles

Easiest to trace the route either via Google Earth or buy a laminated park map at the South Shore office for $3.

Low 80's, a light steady breeze and a somewhat overcast sky.  Lots of grasshoppers, lizards and quail!  I don't hunt quail but I must have flushed at least five coveys of anywhere from 10 - 30 birds per covey.  The mesquite beans are beginning to change color here and provide some color although the park conducted aerial spraying to eradicate the majority of the mesquites and it has worked. 

A couple of comments concerning the route specifically the return leg.  The first service road I used today, runs due East from the Multi-trail Junction where the Turkey Creek, River Bend and Flintstone trails converge.  The road is overgrown but passable and runs for approximately 1/2 mile.  This road ends at a cattle tank and if you look right you will see another service road about 50 yards away that has an asphalt surface.  This road runs SSW and is the one I took.  About a mile or so later, this road will split - I took the left (SSW) leg. 

The surface changes to mostly dirt and eventually connect to the Burkett Trail which is bordering Pulliam Point.  The service roads run throughout the entire park and are easy to see in an aerial photo or the laminated map. Most of these roads are being allowed to return to nature and some are returning quicker than others.  Be advised - I have encountered rattlesnakes on these roads although no snakes were seen today.

NOTES

Water, shade, info kiosk and toilets available at Playground parking area.  Suggest you hydrate and have full water containers since the next water stop is 6.6 miles away.

Water, shade, and an info kiosk are available at the Multi-trail Junction.

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

lots of miles
User: rodavenport - 9/20/2014  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 21.75 Miles Duration: 8 hours, 20 minutes

I've been looking for someplace to log a lot of miles without doing a lot of backtracking. I found that SASP worked out pretty good. They advertise 50 miles of trail however I would say its closer to 30. They have quite a bit of side by side trail, one for horses and one for bikes. I wouldn't necessarily call it two trails since they are so close together and they use the same name. They have their trails broken down into so many segments. It does get a bit confusing with all of the segments, service roads and side by side trails. I think I was over half done hiking before I understood their trail marking system. Make sure and take a trail system map and utilize the larger maps at all of the waterholes to help keep yourself straight.

It was a beautiful day to hike. Weather was pleasant and I made very good time. There is not a lot of elevation change in the trails, what there is isn't real difficult. For the most part it wasn't very scenic. It was sad to see the dried up lake and all of the abandoned campground and picnic sites around the lake.  There was very few people even in the SP. Once I started hiking I saw 2 people in 8 hours. There was evidence of trail maintenance and there is potable water in faucets every 3 or 4 miles so you don't have to lug a ton of water with you.

I started too late in the day for such a long hike. It got dark on me about 1.5 hours away from my vehicle. I had a headlamp with me but I had no spare batteries and the headlight started dimming so I made the decision to jump onto the park road and hike the last 2.5 miles back to my vehicle.

Overall I enjoyed the hike. I plan on going back and doing some more of the odds and ends trails later. If your looking for a good place to log some miles San Angelo is a good place to do it.

Park Mid Section Burkett Park to Cougar Outlook Figure 8
User: MikeHikes - 9/18/2014  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 9.80 Miles Duration: 5 hours

Out    Burkett Park > park road (West) > Roller Coaster > West Potts Creek > Armadillo > Turkey Creek > River Bend Trail > service road (East) > Cougar Outlook      5.2 miles

Return Cougar Outlook > Flintstone > Playground > Armadillo > East Potts Creek > Burket Trail > Burkett Park    4.6 miles

Recommend you look at Google Earth to follow the route we took.

Humid, overcast and a light breeze.  We walked the trails seeing two snakes (non-rattlers), a horned toad and numerous lizards - one lizard was quite large; the largest I've seen at the park.

This is directed to a "mountain biker" - slow down A$$HOLE !!  Although you obviously thought nothing of running over a horned toad in your quest to get through the trails as quickly as possible, there aren't many horned toads left in the park.  Rather than race along the trails, why don't you slow down and enjoy the scenery?  By the way, I'm getting tired of picking up your empty GU packets, water bottles and discarded inner tubes - if you bring it in, take it out.

NOTES

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

Water, shade, info kiosk available at the Multi Trail junction - you will visit this area on your way out and on your way back, if you follow my route.

Shade and info kiosk available at Cougar Outlook.

Water and shade available at Bell's Point - on the Playground Trail.

Suggest you purchase a laminated park trails map at the South Shore gatehouse ($3).  Shows all the trails in the park.

South Shore Playground to Burkett Park
User: MikeHikes - 9/15/2014  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 6.00 Miles Duration: 2 hours, 20 minutes

Out        Playground parking area > Tasajilla Flats > Horny Toad > Nature Loop > Lanky Lackey > park road (NNE) > Burkett Park     3.0 miles

Return    Burkett Park > Winding Snake > Chaparral > Playground parking area      3.0 miles

Humid, cloudy, little wind and low 80's temperature - perfect weather for a hike!  Saw a couple of white tail deer, coveys of quail, nighthawks and other birds.  Saw one mountain biker on the trail otherwise, I was the only person on the trail. 

NOTES

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

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

South Shore Playground to Armadillo Figure 8
User: MikeHikes - 9/10/2014  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 9.90 Miles Duration: 4 hours, 20 minutes

Out      Playground parking > Tasajilla Flats > Nature Loop > Lanky Lackey > park road (NE) > Burkett Park > Burkett Trail > East Potts Creek > Armadillo Trail               4.9 miles

Return  Armadillo Trail (West) > West Potts Creek > Roller Coaster > park road (NE) > Burkett Park > Winding Snake > Chaparral > Playground parking                     5.0 miles

Record setting heat and a steady breeze made this a very nice hike.  Trails are starting to become overgrown in places due to the heat and moisture in the air.  Saw one snake today which was on the Tasajilla Flats trail about a mile on the trail - not a rattler!

The ponds on Winding Snake and Lacky Lankey are becoming overrun with cattails - I hope the park personnel clear them out this winter.  As of this writing, there is a scant measure of water in O.C. Fisher and it is located by the dam gate - no water activities there.

Not many birds or other wildlife were seen - must have been too hot!

NOTES

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

Water, shade, info kiosk and dry toilets available at Burkett Park which you will visit twice if you follow my route

Burkett to Armadillo Fitness Hike
User: MikeHikes - 9/7/2014  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 3.80 Miles Duration: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Out      Burkett Park > Burkett Trail > East Potts Creek > Armadillo Ridge shortcut > old service road (West) > Turkey Creek (South)  1.5 miles

Return  Turkey Creek > Armadillo Trail > West Potts Creek > Roller Coaster Trail > park road (NE) to Burkett Park   2.3 miles

No pictures - just a short hike from Burkett Park to Armadillo Ridge and return along a different route.  Nice breeze, overcast sky and a walk in the park - doesn't get better than that!

NOTES

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

North Shore Bell's Trailhead to Cougar Outlook
User: MikeHikes - 9/4/2014  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 8.10 Miles Duration: 4 hours, 20 minutes

Out     Bell's Trailhead > service road > Dinosaur Trail > Big Hill > Badlands (Horse) > River Bend Trail > Javalina Trail > Cougar Outlook     5.4 miles

Return Cougar Outlook > service roads > Lower Ghost Camp Trail > service roads > Bell's Trailhead     2.7 miles

Today was a first - I saw three rattlesnakes within 30 minutes of starting the hike!  Last week, I saw one two foot rattler in the mid section of the park and thought I was doing pretty good.  Today not 100 feet into the hike, I saw a rattler that was about 5-6 foot long stretched across the road (photo attached).  When I enlarged the photo, I counted eleven (11) sets of rattles on his tail. 

Started walking on Dinosaur Trail and within 20 minutes saw two rattlers, one darker, medium sized and one lighter in color and smaller, separated by about 50 yards of trail.  Needless to say,  for the rest of the hike, my eyes were glued to the ground looking for more snakes but did not find any.

The winds picked up and kept the temps tolerable for the hike, lots of birds to be seen and as the day progressed, more lizards appeared, including a solitary tree lizard near the end of the hike.

Nice temps, windy, saw lots of wildlife, had the trails to myself the entire time - all in all, a very good day!

NOTES

Suggest you bring your own water when you first begin the hike - there is no water available at the trail head/parking area.

Water, shade and info kiosk available at the dinosaur track area on Dinosaur Trail.

Shade and info kiosk available at Cougar Outlook.

Water, shade, info kiosk and dry toilets available at the Upper Ghost Camp (some maps say River Bend camping area) on the return leg.

Park Mid-Section Burkett Park to Cougar Outlook
User: MikeHikes - 9/1/2014  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 9.50 Miles Duration: 4 hours, 20 minutes

Out     Burkett Park > park road (West) > Roller Coaster > West Potts Creek> Turkey Creek> River Bend > service road (East) > Cougar Outlook      4.8 miles

Return  Cougar Outlook > Flintstone > Playground Trail > Armadillo > East Potts Creek > Burkett Trail > Burkett Park    4.7 miles

Windy and hot are the best ways to describe today's hike. Not many birds, reptiles or insects were visible today although there were at least a dozen mountain bikers I saw at various times on the trails. Some of the vanilla scented bee brush is in bloom and patches of thistle have started to bloom as well.  Not much of interest on this hike but regardless of what I see or don't see, every hike is worth the time and effort - I always look forward to the next one!

NOTES

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

Water, shade and info kiosk available at the junction of Turkey Creek, River Bend and Flintstone trails (about 3.5 miles out).  If you follow my route exactly, you'll return to this point when you travel the Flintstone Trail from Cougar Outlook.

Shade and info kiosk available at Cougar Outlook  (4.8 miles out).

Water and shade available at Bell's Point - on the return leg as you're hiking on Playground Trail - about 1 mile from the multi trail junction.

Burkett to Armadillo Fitness Hike
User: MikeHikes - 8/31/2014  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 3.80 Miles Duration: N/A

Out     Burkett Park > Burkett trail > East Potts Creek > Armadillo Ridge shortcut > old service road (West) > Turkey Creek (South)  1.5 miles

Return  Turkey Creek > Armadillo Trail > West Potts Creek > Roller Coaster Trail > park road (NE) to Burkett Park   2.3 miles

No pictures today - just a short hike from Burkett park to Armadillo Ridge and back along.  Nice breeze, sunny skies and a walk in the park - can't get much better than that!

NOTES

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

Park Mid-Section Burkett Park to Multi Trail Junction
User: MikeHikes - 8/28/2014  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 7.10 Miles Duration: 3 hours, 30 minutes

Out       Burkett Park > Burkett Trail > East Potts Creek > Armadillo Ridge Trail > Playground Trail > Flintstone > Multi Trail Junction     3.3 miles

Return   Turkey Creek > Armadillo Trail (West) > West Potts Creek > Roller Coaster Trail > park road > Burkett Park     3.8 miles

Today was a great day to hike!  The bee brush is still in full bloom and scented the air, I saw lots of birds I normally don't see such as three roadrunners, black throated sparrows, orchard orioles, hummingbirds as well as the "usual suspects" plus I saw my first rattler for this year (photo attached) as well as a tree lizard.

The trails are still somewhat "rough" from the drenching rains we received in late May but they are passable, you just have to be cautious when going uphill and especially downhill.

Encountered one mountain biker at Bell's Point (marked on the park maps near the northern end of the Playground Trail) otherwise, the trails were mine.

NOTES

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

Water and shade available at Bell's Point (about 2 miles from Burkett Park).

Water, shade, info kiosk available at the Multi Trail Junction - where Flintstone, Turkey Creek and River Bend trails converge.

South Shore Playground to Armadillo Ridge
User: MikeHikes - 8/25/2014  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 9.50 Miles Duration: 4 hours, 15 minutes

Out      Playground parking lot > Chaparral > Red Dam Loop > Chaparral > Winding Snake > Burkett Trail > East Potts Creek > Armadillo Ridge        4.2 miles

Return  Armadillo Ridge Trail (West) > West Potts Creek > Play Ground Trail > Lanky Lackey > Nature Loop > Tasajila Flats > Playground parking lot   5.3 miles

This hike was different from the one taken last week - I went a slightly different route by taking Red Dam Loop.  The other major difference was the abundance of bee brush flowering and perfuming the air with the scent of vanilla.

Surprisingly, I saw four moutain bikers during the hike which is why I rated Solitude at 4.5.  I'm sure seeing only four others on a four hour hike would be considered an extremely small number but at this park it is an unusually large number.

All in all, a very nice hike!!

NOTES

Water, shade, toilets and an info kiosk are available at the Playground parking lot.

Water, shade, dry toilets and an info kiosk is available at Burkett Park - at the northern end of Winding Snake Trail about 3 miles from the Playground on the route I took.

North Shore Extension Photo Op Hike
User: MikeHikes - 8/22/2014  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 6.00 Miles Duration: N/A

This park extension is on the West side of FM2288 directly across from the North Shore check-in station.  There is no official trail but I followed the old dirt service road that parallels the North Concho River.  Route out is three (3) miles which is the same route I took to return.  Take a look at Google Earth for a better view but the old road basically goes West until you hit the park boundary by a farmstead which has donkeys.

I was on this route almost two weeks ago and wanted to see if I could find more wildlife if I hiked earlier so I arrived when the park opened and started walking.  Definitely more birds were found - a great blue heron, ducks, Mississippi Kites, turkey vultures, cardinals, scissortails, etc.  Not as many lizards and no snakes.  I saw one feral housecat which took off when he saw me.

This is a very nice hike with shade, patches of water in the river bed and some longhorns wandering around.  I got quite a few pictures and have included one of an adult MS Kite and two juvenile Kites.

NOTES

VERY IMPORTANT - The entrance to this portion of the park is not locked but you MUST check in at the South or North Shore gates and see if the area is open for hikers - hunting season starts soon and this part of the park will be closed to hikers. Be aware that I found quite a few crushed beer cans and spent shotgun shells so play it safe - make sure those irresponsible hunters who drink their breakfast, don't mistake you for their target.

Water and toilets are available at the North Shore gate check-in where you park.  There are no facilities on the trail.

Park Mid Section Burkett Park to Cougar Outlook
User: MikeHikes - 8/20/2014  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 7.00 Miles Duration: 3 hours, 15 minutes

Out      Burkett Park > Burkett Trail > East Potts Creek Trail > Armadillo Ridge Trail (West) > Turkey Creek Trail (North) > River Bend Trail > service road (East) > Cougar Outlook     4.3 miles

Return  Cougar Outlook > service road (WSW) > asphalt service road (South) > dirt service road (WSW) > Burkett Trail > Burkett Park    2.7 miles

Basically this route consist of going out on the trails and returning via the service roads.  I suggest using Google Earth to see the route as it is fairly easy to follow.

We've had a few days of much needed rain, which didn't do much except get the trails wet and full of sticky mud so I waited until the trails dried up a bit.  Warm temps were tempered by fairly consistent winds today as I hiked.

Not much to see in the way of wildlife unless you count the longhorns - I ran into two groups of them; we acknowledge each other's presence and left it at that.  

Saw one hiker at Burkett Park as I was leaving, otherwise I had the trails to myself for the entire hike.

NOTES

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

Water, shade and info kiosk are available at the northern end of Turkey Creek Trail where it joins the River Bend and Flintstone Trails - this is about 3.2 miles outward bound on this hike.  I suggest you take the time to hydrate and refill all bottles because there is no other water available.

NO WATER, only shade and an info kiosk are available at Cougar Outlook.

 

South Shore Playground to Armadillo Ridge
User: MikeHikes - 8/15/2014  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 9.60 Miles Duration: 4 hours, 30 minutes

Out     Playground parking lot > Tasajilla Flats Trail > Horny Toad Trail > Nature Loop > Lanky Lackey Trail > Roller Coaster Trail > West Potts Creek Trail > Armadillo Ridge (East) > East Potts Creek Trail > Burkett Trail > Burkett Park       6.8 miles

Return  Burkett Park > Winding Snake Trail > Chaparral Trail > Playground Parking lot      2.8 miles

 Walking along, listening to the birds, warm temps and constant light breeze, this hike was the epitome of a relaxing hike.  Cottontail rabbits, lots of birds, lizards, a solitary frog and a roadrunner were some of the park's residents we encountered.

The trails are well marked and easy to traverse although there are a few areas where the rocks are more pronounced but all in all, an easy hike.  If you go, please do not drop trash on the trails!  If you pack it in, pack it out AND if you see trash, please pick it up.

NOTES  

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

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

 

North Shore Park Extension Hike
User: MikeHikes - 8/11/2014  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 7.20 Miles Duration: 4 hours

The portion of the park I hiked today is on the western side of FM2288 across from the North Shore park entrance.  This trail does not have a name - rather, it is a hike along an old service road which is best seen using Google Earth.

The hike was a VERY enjoyable one today with warm temps, a light breeze and new terrain to see!!  This portion of the park is know as one of the locations where the longhorns roam and for hunting. 

The route is fairly easy to follow - you follow an old dirt, service road that runs alongside the North Concho River as you head West, the road ends and you can either retrace your original route or wander around a bit on the numerous cattle paths.  I crossed the dry riverbed where the large power stanchions are and wandered back to the North Shore check in station along another dirt service road.

Lots of bird activity today - ducks, hawks, Mississippi Kites, orioles, canyon towhees and others.  Lizards were numerous as well, some of them quite large.  Longhorns grazed and watched as we trudged along enjoying the quiet solitude of the hike.

NOTES

Water, info kiosk and toilets are available at the North Shore check in station where I parked.

VERY, VERY, VERY IMPORTANT - if you decide to hike this route you MUST talk to the personnel at the South Shore check in station.  Hunting goes on for various types of game to include doves, javalinas, turkey and deer.  Because this area is rarely used by hikers (to the best of my knowledge no bikers or equestrians are allowed in this part of the park) the game is more numerous than the other sections and is quite popular with hunters.

North Shore Bell's Trailhead to Cougar Outlook
User: MikeHikes - 8/7/2014  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 7.80 Miles Duration: 3 hours, 45 minutes

Out    Bell's Trailhead > Shady Trail > old service road (South) > Scenic Loop > service road > North Slick Rock Trail > Lower Ghost Camp Trail > service road (East then South) > Cougar Outlook      3.3 miles

Return  Cougar Outlook > service road (West) > River Bend Trail (North) > Badlands Trail > service road to Big Hill > service road to end (North) > fire road (South) to parking lot by Bell's Trailhead     4.5 miles

The route may look complicated but it really isn't!  Take a look at Google Earth or the park map available for $3 at the South Shore check in station and you'll see what I mean.

This route was taken because of the heat and humidity.  The wind was relatively low so I tried to stay in the open as much as possible to catch the breeze and it worked pretty well.  Although gnats and biting flies were present, there weren't many so I won't complain about them.

One highlight of the hike was seeing the juvenile Scissortail Flycatchers without their signature tail feathers.  The parents had their long tail feathers but the juveniles, while able to fly easily, did not yet possess them.

The other highlight was seeing not one, but TWO horned toads!  This may seem trivial to some but there have been many hikes when I've seen no horned toads so seeing two of them in different places, was very nice!  I got some good pictures of one toad (attached to this report) that seemed interested in what I was doing .  He heard the click of the shutter and saw himself reflected in the lens so he climbed stalks of grass and scrub to get closer.  After he decided he saw enough, off he went.

Unfortunately, I still find trash on the trails - most of the trash found on this hike was "newer" trash such as GU packets and water bottles.  Finding two inner tubes stretched across a trail sign was not an accidental dropping. 

If you pack it in, show some courtesy to the other hikers, bikers, equestrians and residents of the park, by packing your trash out.  Thank you!!

NOTES

Bell's Trailhead is a parking area only - info kiosk is gone.

Water, shade, dry toilets and an info kiosk are available at the Upper Ghost Camp on the outward bound portion of the hike located at the southern end of the North Slick Rock Trail.   

This is the only location on this route that has water so I recommend you hydrate and refill all water carriers here.

Shade and an info kiosk are available at Cougar Outlook.

South Shore Playground to Armadillo Ridge
User: MikeHikes - 7/31/2014  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 8.80 Miles Duration: 3 hours, 30 minutes

Out  Playground parking lot > Tasajilla Flats Trail > Nature Trail> Lanky Lackey Trail > Roller Coaster Trail > West Potts Creek Trail > Armadillo Ridge Trail (East) > East Potts Creek Trail > Burkett Trail > Burkett Park    6.2 miles

Return  Burkett Park > Winding Snake Trail > Chaparral Trail > Playground parking lot   2.6 miles

Overcast day with a light north wind and some cooler temps made for a good hike.  The trails are becoming somewhat overgrwon with vegetation due to recent rains and humid air.  Some of the trails have been cleared but the weeds continue to grow!  Caution is advised to watch for snakes and other reptiles. 

When I was nearly finished with the hike, I saw one bicyclist at the end of Chaparral Trail - solitude was nice! 

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

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

Park Mid Section Burkett to Bell's Point
User: MikeHikes - 7/28/2014  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 6.60 Miles Duration: 3 hours, 30 minutes

Out   Burkett Park > park road (West) > Roller Coaster Trail > West Potts Creek Trail > Armadillo Ridge Trail (East) > Playground Trail > Bell's Point     3.7 miles

Return Bell's Point > dirt service road (WSW) > Turkey Creek Trail (South) > Armadillo Ridge Trail (East) > East Potts Creek Trail > Burkett Trail > Burkett Park   2.9 miles

An easy hike through the middle section of the park.  Hot temps, little wind but no bugs!  It has been awhile since I hiked so I took it fairly easy and just meandered through the trails.  I took a shortcut when I left Bell's Point on an old, dirt service road that went WSW for awhile until I came to the Turkey Creek Trail that crossed the road.

Not much to report - the hike was pleasant and I saw one hiker on a park road at the beginning of the hike but nobody on the trails.

NOTES

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

Water and shade are available at Bell's Point which is shown on the park maps.

Park Mid Section Burkett to Cougar Overlook Figure Eight
User: MikeHikes - 7/12/2014  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 9.20 Miles Duration: 4 hours

Out     Burkett Park > park road (West) > Roller Coaster Trail > West Potts Creek > Armadillo Trail > Turkey Creek Trail > River Bend Trail > service road (East) > Cougar Overlook       4.7 miles

Return Cougar Overlook > Flintstone Trail > Playground Trail > Armadillo Trail > East Potts Creek > Burkett Trail > Burkett Park         4.5 miles

If you have a map or use Google Earth and follow the route I took, you'll see why I call this a Figure Eight.

Warm temps, sunny, and a fairly constant breeze made today's hike a very nice one indeed!  When I hiked this same trail on 6/19/2014 there was a very noticeable scent of vanilla in the air from one of the blooming bushes, unfortunately, the scent has all but disappeared.

On the positive side though, there were no gnats!! I assume the drier air and steady breeze had something to do with that one.  As always, pick up any trash you find, take your time and enjoy the trails!

NOTES

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

Water, infor kiosk and shade are available at the Multitrail Junction where Turkey Creek, River Bend and Flintstone Trails intersect.  You will come to this spot twice if you follow my route.

Water and shade are available at Bell's Point which is near the northern end of the Playground Trail and is shown on the trail maps.

Shade and info kiosk are available at Cougar Outlook (the mid-way point).

South Shore Burkett Park to MultiTrail Junction
User: MikeHikes - 7/6/2014  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 5.60 Miles Duration: 3 hours

Out    Burkett Park > Burkett Trail > East Potts Creek Trail > Armadillo Trail (East) > Playground Trail > Flintstone Trail > MultiTrail Junction   3.2 miles

Return  Service Road (East) > asphalt\gravel\dirt service road (SSW) > Burkett Trail > Burkett Park    2.4 miles

An easy outing today as I wandered North to the multitrail junction where the Turkey Creek, River Bend and Flintstone Trails converge.  My return route was along some old, unused service roads I hadn't been on for some time. The entire route is easily seen with a park map.  I saw a dozen whitetail deer as I was on the Playground Trail near Bell's Point, otherwise, an uneventful hike but nonetheless, an enjoyable one! 

NOTES

Water, info kiosk, shade are available at the Multitrail Junction. 

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

Water and shade are available at Bell's Point (on Playground Trail as you head North and prior to the Flintstone Trail junction).

South Shore Fitness Hike
User: MikeHikes - 6/29/2014  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 3.20 Miles Duration: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Route    Playground Parking Lot > Tasajilla Flats Trail > Nature Trail > service road (East) then old boat ramp road (paved) which goes SE > Chaparral Trail > Playground Parking Lot

Just a short hike around the South Shore of the park.  Thanks to "Lone Star" for the appropriate title!

NOTES

Water, info kiosk, and bathroom available at Playground parking lot.

The service road we took goes to the Isabel Harte Day Use Area - be advised there is an active bee hive in the Isabel Harte sign on the south side of the road.  We stayed as far away as possible and the bees did not bother us.

 

 

North Shore Bell's Trailhead to Cougar Outlook
User: MikeHikes - 6/23/2014  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 8.20 Miles Duration: 4 hours, 30 minutes

Out        Bell's Trailhead > Dinosaur Trail > Upper Big Hill > Badlands Trail > River Bend Trail > service road (East) > Cougar Outlook  5.4 miles
Return    Cougar Outlook > service roads (North) > North Scenic Loop > service roads (NNE) > Shady Trail > Bell's Trailhead              2.8 miles

Best way to understand and trace my route is to look at Google Earth satellite view or a trail map - it is easy to follow !!!

A very nice hike that takes you along the edge's of the North Shore's boundaries.  Due to recent severe winds, tree branches were downed and although the majority of the trails are clear and passable, there are bits of tree debris, to include mesquite branches with thorns attached, still on the trail, so caution is advised.  I had to stop a few times and pull mesquite branches off the soles of my hiking sandals - the thorns were embedded in the soles!

The day was overcast, high humidity with temps mid to upper 80's to start and gradually increasing to low 90's by the time the hike was complete.  Inconsistent winds allowed the ever present gnats to swarm but there weren't too many mosquitoes.

Saw a large (about 4 foot long) non poisonous snake on the trail, I believe it was a rat snake, as well as numerous lizards and birds.  The most interesting birds spotted were two juvenile Great Horned Owls (picture attached) on Dinosaur Trail and a male Painted Bunting on the Badlands Trail.

NOTES

The info kiosk at Bell's Trailhead has been destroyed by the high winds - unknown if/when it will be repaired or replaced.

Water, shade and an info kiosk are available at Dinosaur Trail rest stop (outward bound) and the Upper Ghost Camp (on the return leg) which also has dry toilets.

Park Mid Section Burkett to Cougar Overlook Figure Eight
User: MikeHikes - 6/19/2014  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 9.00 Miles Duration: 4 hours, 30 minutes

Out     Burkett Park > park road (West) > Roller Coaster Trail > West Potts Creek > Armadillo Trail > Turkey Creek Trail > River Bend Trail > service road (East) > Cougar Overlook       4.6 miles

Return Cougar Overlook > Flintstone Trail > Playground Trail > Armadillo Trail > East Potts Creek > Burkett Trail > Burkett Park         4.4 miles

If you have a map or use Google Earth and follow the route I took, you'll see why I call this a Figure Eight.

A very nicely scented hike today !  The bee balm bushes are beginning to flower and the vanilla scent is in the air.  The gnats were also out and were bothersome when in valleys or areas where the breeze did not hit me.  Otherwise, a very enjoyable hike.

One thing that I noticed is the trails have become "rockier" than they were in the past.  A few weeks back we had a very heavy rainfall which washed a lot of soil from the trails exposing the rocks or bedrock underneath.  Last week, severe winds hit the area and knocked down quite a few branches in the park and probably also blew away some more topsoil from the trails.

I have bumped the difficulty scale up a half point because of this.  There are a few trails that you have to be more cautious on - Armadillo Trail, Roller Coaster, parts of Flintstone and Playground.  Of course, you should always be careful when you hike but you really need to pay more attention when you are on these trails.

I saw a snake today but couldn't get a photo.  It was a rather large snake and was as green as a prickly pear palm.  I caught a glimpse of him as he slithered away as I approached. 

NOTES -

Toilets, info kiosk, shade and water are at Burkett Park. 

Water, shade and info kiosk at the Multi Trail Junction where Turkey Creek, River Bend and Flintstone Trails meet.  If you follow my route you will arrive at this junction on your way out and on your return.

Water and shade are also available at Bell's Point which is on the Playground Trail and is shown on park maps. 

South Shore Playground to Burkett Park
User: MikeHikes - 6/15/2014  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 6.00 Miles Duration: 3 hours

Out      Playground parking lot > Chaparral Trail > Winding Snake Trail > Burkett Park            2.8 miles

Return  Burkett Park > service road > Lanky Lackey Trail > Nature Loop Trail > Tasajillo Flats Trail > Playground parking lot    3.2 miles

A few days ago, there were severe, northerly winds that hit the park and San Angelo - the downtown portion of the city was hit by two small F0 tornadoes!  The park had some wind damage, primarily broken branches from mesquite trees and info kiosk roofs torn off.  On the trails I hiked today, the downed branches had been moved off the trails and the trails were passable.

It was very warm and humid with some cooling winds.  For some reason, there were lots of lizards running around as well as quite a few turkey vultures which were chased by red winged blackbirds in some cases.  Amusing to watch as the blackbirds dived at the vulture until the vulture flew away. 

NOTES

Water, info kiosks (minus roofs) and toilets available at the Playground parking lot and Burkett Park.

Although the fallen tree limbs have been removed from the trails, there are still some smaller branches and mesquite thorns on the trails - keep an eye open for them and if you can, clear the trail whenever possible.  I was doing quite a bit of clean up on this hike!

I suggest prior to visiting the park, you should check the park's facebook page for the latest info - for example, the West Potts Creek Trail will be closed on June 17-18 for bridge repairs.

North Shore Big Square hike
User: MikeHikes - 6/10/2014  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 9.90 Miles Duration: 4 hours, 30 minutes

Out       Bell's Trailhead > Dinosaur Trail > Upper Big Hill Trail > Badlands Trail > River Bend Trail > Multi Trail Junction          5.5 miles

Return  Flintstone Trail > Javalina Trail > Lower Ghost Camp Trail > Upper Ghost Camp Trail > South Slick Rock Trail > service road >North Scenic Loop > service road > Shady Trail > Bell's Trailhead             4.4 miles

This route encompasses the outer trails along the North Shore.  The vast majority of the trail is dirt although there are a few places where it is rocky, in particular the Upper Big Hill trail which has a steep incline as well as rock and the South Slick Rock trail which has a steep decline and loose rock/dirt.  Although there are quite a few trails listed, all the trails are easy to see and connect to one another.  The laminated park map available for $3 at the South Shore station or Google Earth are the best ways to view my route.

Temps started in the lower 70's and rose to the mid-80's during the hike, a light northerly wind kept the majority of bugs off but when I went into areas of no wind, the gnats were a force to be reckoned with!  I'm sure our recent rains helped increase the gnat's activity and although I don't like gnats, I'll tolerate them if it means we get more rain.  

LOTS of lizards out and about as well as birds.  Saw a group of four Great Blue Herons near Shady Trail when I was outward bound and one Great Blue on my return leg.  The extra water in the creek area has been a boon to the wildlife!

A tip of the hat to the park staff who maintain the trails!  Even after the rains, the trails are easy to traverse and in a few cases, I could see where park personnel had already repaired rain damaged sections. 

Keep up the good work!!

NOTES

Info kiosk at Bell's Trailhead, no water.  

Water, shade and info kiosk are available at the Dinosaur Trail rest area, the Multi Trail junction (where Turkey Creek, River Bend and Flintstone Trails meet - my half way point) and at the Upper Ghost Camp area which is also called River Bend Camp Area on a few signs in the park.  This last area also has dry toilets available.

Ground bees are active so be aware of them!  I saw a small group at the southern end of the Shady Trail in the service road.  They didn't bother me and I didn't bother them.

 

South Shore Playground to Nature Trail
User: MikeHikes - 6/8/2014  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 2.40 Miles Duration: 1 hour

Out        Playground parking lot > Tasajillo Flats Trail > Nature Trail                          1.5 miles

Return    Nature Trail > Horny Toad Trail > Tasajillo Flays Trail > Playground parking lot       .9 miles

After another much welcomed rain, I took a short hike to see how the trails looked - they are in very good shape and no problems were encountered.  With the rains we've had lately, the grasses are growing, along Nature Trail in particular, which means you have to be a little more cautious in watching for snakes and other trail hazards. 

Not much else to say except to watch for fellow trail users, both human and otherwise!

Park Mid-Section Burkett Park to Multi-Trail Junction and Back
User: MikeHikes - 6/5/2014  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 6.60 Miles Duration: 3 hours

Out     Burkett Park > Burkett Trail > East Potts Creek Trail > Armadillo Trail > Playground Trail > Flintstone Trail > Multi-Trail Junction        3.0 miles

Return  Turkey Creek Trail > Armadillo Trail > West Potts Creek Trail > Roller Coaster Trail > Park Road > Burkett Park                             3.6 miles

After the recent rains, this is the first opportunity I've had to walk a lot of the trails.  In a nutshell, if the trail was somewhat rocky, it is now very rocky, if the trail was rocky, it is now extremely rocky.  The rain washed a lot of the loose dirt from the trails, thereby exposing the rocky caliche or bedrock underneath.  The mostly hard packed dirt trails, have some gourges cut through them exposing rocks, tree roots, etc.  Bottom line - the trails are still very easy to find but you have to take more time hiking them to avoid injuries.

On the plus side, the rain has triggered plant and flower growth through the park, lots of new cactus blooms, fragrant "bee balm" bushes that smell like vanilla are releasing their perfume and other blooming flowers are keeping the bees and other insects busy.

NOTES -

1.  Water, shade and info kiosk available at Burkett Park and at the Multi-Trail Junction which is my name for the area where Turkey Creek, River Bend and Flintstone trails meet.  All trails are easily seen using Google Erath or the map on this website.

2.  As of this writing, some ground bee activity has been noticed on Burkett Trail and reported to the park rangers - unknown what action, if any, they will take.  I am not a bee expert so I treat all bees as if they will swarm and sting.  There have been stories in the local news a year or so ago about two people who were killed after disturbing ground bee hives. 

Be alert, look at the scenery, stay safe and enjoy the hike!

 

 

Park Mid-Section Burkett Park to Cougar Outlook via service roads
User: MikeHikes - 5/28/2014  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 5.40 Miles Duration: 2 hours, 45 minutes

Out       Burkett Park > Burkett Trail > dirt/gravel/asphalt service road > Cougar Outlook    2.7 miles

Return   Cougar Outlook > asphalt/gravel/dirt service road > Burkett Trail > Burkett Park    2.7 miles

Had a long weekend of much needed, record setting rains - a little over 7 inches in less than four days!!  The trails at the park were too muddy to hike so I used the service roads to get in a stroll.  LOTS of birds and bugs and the cactus are blooming - saw my first orange cactus blossoms of the year.

Not much else to say except I was told by park personnel some of the trails have been damaged and will need repairs but there are numerous trails and service roads which are usable so I will continue to enjoy the park.

NOTES -

Water, dry toilets and an info kiosk at Burkett Park - no other water available on the route.  Cougar Outlook has an info kiosk but that's it.

Suggest you call the park before heading out and check on the trail availability.  Was told the North Shore trails have not been checked yet - the North Shore is the area where the majority of the water poured into the park.

Park Mid-Section Burkett Park to Cougar Outlook
User: MikeHikes - 5/22/2014  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 7.40 Miles Duration: 3 hours, 30 minutes

Out     Burkett Park > Burkett Trail > old dirt/gravel/asphalt raod > River Bend Trail (ENE) > old service road (East) > Cougar Outlook       2.7 miles

Return  Cougar Outlook > Flintstone Trail (SSW) > Turkey Creek Trail > Armadillo Trail (West) > West Potts Creek > Roller Coaster Trail > park road (NNE) > Burkett Park   4.7 miles

 

Easy to hike route - most of the outward route is on an old park road that is no longer used.  Return is along established trails that connect to one another and are easy to find on a map or on the ground.

It was humid, windy and overcast. I watched a grey fox as he hunted and got a few good pictures - this is the second fox I've seen in all my years hiking at the park - a year or so ago, I saw a red fox for two or three seconds as he bounded away from me.  This time, the wind was blowing toward me so he couldn't get my scent and when he noticed me standing perfectly still, he walked closer to investigate.  Once he caught a whiff, he took off.

A leisurely hike, not many bugs, temps were tolerable and I watched a grey fox - a very good hike indeed!!

 

 

South Shore Playground Parking Lot to Burkett Park
User: MikeHikes - 5/19/2014  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 6.10 Miles Duration: 4 hours

Out    Playground Parking Lot > Chaparral Trail > Red Dam Loop > Chaparral Trail > Winding Snake > Burkett Park         3.4 miles


Return  Burkett Park > Park road to Lanky Lackey Trail > Nature Trail > Horny Toad Trail > Tasajillo Flats Trail > Playground Parking Lot       2.7 miles

Warm and breezy day, lots of wind to keep the bugs off and keep the heat from being an issue.  Trails are easy to follow and connect to one another with the exception of -

(1)  Burkett Park to Lanky Lackey - take the park road West for about 1/10 of a mile, look for the Lanky Lackey signpost on the left side of the road; the signpost for Roller Coaster Trail is on the right side of the road.

(2)  Lanky Lackey to Nature Trail -  When you exit Lanky Lackey, directly across the road is the signpost for Nature Loop, I did not take that route but instead, walked West on the park road about 100 yards until I saw the signpost for Nature Trail.  Nature Trail is a shorter trail that does not include the Nature Loop.  It is easy to see and hike.

NOTES -

Perhaps you will note the time taken on the hike - I spent an inordinate amount of time picking up trash; I had one bag full by the time I arrived at the end of Chaparral Trail on my outward bound leg.  On the return route, I had another bag 1/2 full. 

With the strong West Texas wind, I'm aware some trash was blown in BUT I know the empty GU packets and plastic water bottles tossed by the trail, were not blown in but deliberately dropped by inconsiderate park users. 

PLEASE - be considerate and remember why you enjoy using the park.  If you bring it IN, take it OUT when you leave!

South Shore Big Figure Eight Route
User: MikeHikes - 5/15/2014  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 12.30 Miles Duration: 5 hours, 45 minutes

Out      Playground Parking Lot > Tasajillo Flats Trail > Nature Trail > Lanky Lackey Trail > park road to Burkett Park > Burkett Trail > (East) Potts Creek Trail > Armadillo Trail > Playground Trail > Flintstone Trail > Turkey Creek, River Bend and Flintstone Trails Converge       6.3 miles

Return   Turkey Creek Trail > Armadillo Trail > West Potts Creek Trail > Roller Coaster Trail > park road to Burkett Park > Winding Snake Trail > Chaparral Trail > Playground parking Lot     6.0 miles

A perfect day!  Temps in the mid 70's to start, sunny and a fairly consistent west wind, made this a very long but enjoyable hike.  One feature of the San Angelo State Park that I really like - the trails are easy to follow and on this route, all connect with the exception of the area near Burkett Park when you get on an asphalt park road to reach the parking area.

I called this a "figure eight" route because if you follow on the map, the outward and return trips converge at Burkett Park.  This came in handy because Burkett Park has water for humans and horses as well as a trash can where trash found on the trails can be deposited.

Most of the trails are somewhat rocky due to the caliche soil but there are stretches of softer, hard packed soil with few rocks.  Please take a look at my earlier log entries for trail details and/or use Google Earth - you can clearly see the trails and how easy they are to follow.  There aren't many trail signs but if you get a laminated park map at the South Shore gatehouse ($3) or a free paper trail map (not as good but usable), you realize you can't get lost in the park.

NOTES

(1)  An info kiosk and water is available at Burkett Park and at the junction of Turkey Creek, River Bend and Flintstone trails (turn around point).  Dry toilets are available at Burkett Park.

(2)  Please pick up any trash you encounter!!  There is a trash can at Burkett Park as well as at the Playground parking Lot.  I have walked these trails for years and continue to find cans, glass bottles, pieces of broken glass, plastic bottles and GU packets.  I do not understand why some people have no problem whatsoever in leaving their empty food and water containers, and other trash, along the trails. 

BE A RESPONSIBLE PERSON - If you carry it into the park, take it out of the park when you leave.

South Shore Loop
User: MikeHikes - 5/10/2014  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 6.10 Miles Duration: 2 hours, 30 minutes

Out         Playground Parking lot> Tasajilla Flats> Nature Loop> Lanky Lackey> Burkett Park       3.5 miles

Return     Burkett Park> Winding Snake> Chaparral Trail> Playground Parking Lot                   2.6 miles

See a detailed route description in my log entry of 4/3/14 titled "South Shore Outer Loop"

Temps were in the low 80's, a sunny sky with a good breeze, nice and quiet so you could hear all the birds, more cactus are in bloom, watching lizards scamper and birds flying - a perfect day to visit, and hike, the park!

 

 

 

North Shore Bell's Trailhead to Cougar Outlook and return
User: MikeHikes - 5/3/2014  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 7.40 Miles Duration: 3 hours, 45 minutes

Out        Bell's Trailhead > Shady Trail > Service Road > Scenic Loop > South Slick Rock Trail > Service Road > Cougar Outlook      3.2 miles
Return  Cougar Outlook > Service Road > River Bend Trail > Badlands Trail > Big Hill Road > Rocky Creek Trail > Shady Trail > Bell's Trailhead    4.2 miles  

This hike wanders through the North Shore portion of the park. The service roads used as a trail, or as a connector to a trail, are hard packed dirt and easy to traverse.  There are only a few areas of difficulty and those are at the Big Hill Road on the return portion and a small piece of the South Slick Rock trail on the outbound portion.  Otherwise, an easy hike!

At the time of the hike, some prickly pear cactus have blooms but the vast majority of cactus do not yet have their flowers.  Birds are active, many lizards were spotted and other flowers are blooming.

NOTE -

An info kiosk, shaded tables, dry toilet and water are available at the Upper Ghost Camp (River Bend campground).  The turn around point (Cougar Outlook) has an info kiosk and a shaded pavillion but no water - plan accordingly.

South Shore Playground to Armadillo Ridge and back
User: MikeHikes - 5/1/2014  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 8.60 Miles Duration: 4 hours, 15 minutes


Out      Playground Parking Area > Tasajillo Flats Trail > Nature Loop Trail > Lanky Lackey Trail > Roller Coaster Trail > West Potts Creek Trail > Armadillo Ridge Trail > East Potts Creek Trail Signpost               4.9 miles

Return  East Potts Creek Trail > Burkett Trail > Winding Snake Trail > Chapparal Trail > Playground Parking Area    3.7 miles

This hike is described in detail in my prior log entry of 4/16/2014 and titled "South Shore Playground - Armadillo Ridge Loop".

The temps were in the low 60's, a light breeze, lots of birds singing and in the four hours I was hiking, I saw only one mountain biker on the trails - what more can you ask for ?!?

For those sharp eyed readers who noticed the mileage discrepancy between my prior log entry and this one - I use a pedometer and although I try to keep the same stride on each hike, it is apparent I do not.  One of these days I may get a GPS unit and record precise mileage but until then, my pedometer is what I use as a mileage recorder.

 

South Shore Playground to Burkett Park
User: MikeHikes - 4/28/2014  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 6.10 Miles Duration: 4 hours

Out     Chaparral > Red Dam Loop > Chaparrel > Winding Snake > Burkett Park     3.1 miles

Return  Lanky Lackey > Nature Loop > Horny Toad > Tasajilla Flats > Playground parking area    3.0 miles

This hike takes you from the South Shore Playground parking area along the eastern edge of the park before returning through the middle of the park's southern section. 

Enter the park through the South Shore Gatehouse and drive to the Playground Parking Area where you will see the signpost for the Chaparral Trail.  Take the trail and when you cross a paved road, you'll see a signpost for Red Dam Loop which you will take.  This loop will take you up along the Red Dam which, I have been told, was a good place to fish when there was abundant water in the now dried lake.

Red Dam will end at Chaparral on the other side of the now dry inlet.  Turn right and follow Chaparral through the Isabel Harte area until the trail ends at a paved road.  Across the road, is a gravel road which you take and it will connect you to the Winding Snake Trail. 

Winding Snake is an easy to hike trail with only a few small inclines to traverse.  A pond is some distance down the trail and you may see some bird and wildlife using the water.  Continue on Winding Snake until it ends at Burkett Park which has dry toilets, an info kiosk and water for humans and horses.

Departing Burkett Park, you take the paved road West (up hill) and look for the Lanky Lackey signpost on the left side of the road.  Lanky Lackey is pretty rocky but definitely hike-able.  You will stay on the trail to the end which is at a paved road near the entrance to Isabel Harte.

Across the road, you will see the signpost for Nature Loop Trail which you take.  Follow Nature Loop all the way to the end - when you are on the long, straight portion of Nature Loop, you are heading South and will see a signpost for Tasajilla Flats Trail on your right - DO NOT TAKE IT.  Continue straight and the Nature Loop Trail will end at a gravel road.  Across this road is the signpost for Horny Toad Trail. 

Horny Toad will have you climb, via switchback, a small hill.  When you get to the top, you will walk along the plateau for a bit heading West.  The trail will curve to the South and you'll see a signpost for Talley Valley Trail - DO NOT TAKE IT - continue on Horny Toad.  Horny Toad will end at a junction of Tasajilla Flats and you will turn left (East).  Follow the trail all the way back to the Playground parking area.

North Shore Bell's Trailhead to Upper Ghost Camp Loop
User: MikeHikes - 4/27/2014  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 5.40 Miles Duration: 2 hours, 15 minutes

Out       Bell's Trailhead > Dinosaur Trail > Big Hill Trail > Badlands Trail (Horse) > Service Road  > Upper Ghost Camp     3.4 miles

Return   Upper Ghost Camp Trail > South Slick Rock > Scenic Loop > Service Road > Rocky Creek Trail > Service Road > Shady Trail > Bell's Trailhead    2.0 miles

This hike begins and ends at Bell's Trailhead located in the North Shore portion of the park.  The longest stretch is Dinosaur Trail which goes West and then South through mostly open areas before going into mesquite and prickly pear groves.  Near the actual dinosaur tracks, there is an info kiosk and water for humans and horse plus shade - no tables!  Continue on Dinosaur Trail which breaks at the Big Hill you will climb - this hill is the most difficult climb in the entire park!  Once you top the hill you will walk a short distance on the plateau; you can take either the trail to your left or the dirt road, until you come to the cattle gate.  Cross the gate and look to the right for the signpost for Badlands Trail (Horse & Hiker).

Suggest you take this trail and follow it to the end which is at a service road - River Bend Trail for Horse & Hiker is directly across the road and is marked as such.  Turn left (East) on the service road and hike it a short distance to the ghost camp where you will follow the road to the left - straight will take you down an old boat ramp.

A dry toilet, info kiosk and water for humans and horses is located here.  On the East side of the picnic tables, you will see a dirt trail - this is the Upper Ghost Camp Trail and you will go left (North) .  The trail ends at a cattle gate which you cross and you'll immediately see the signpost for South Slick Rock which you will take.  Follow it to the end and you will come to a junction.  Go slightly right on the service road and within 50 meters you will see the trail and signpost for Scenic Loop on the right.  Take it all the way and it will lead back to the service road once again, at a cattle gate.  

Cross the gate and there are a few benches under a shade tree.  The service road goes to the right but you want to look to the left at about 10 o'clock.  You'll see a service road which you will take for about a quarter mile at the most.  Watch for a signpost for Rocky Creek Trail on your right; follow the trail when you come to it.  This trail is an almost a straight line through prickly pear and mesquite trees.  At the end of the trail, you will come to a "Y" - take the left leg of the road.  You'll drop down the road and back up the other side.  Continue along the road and you'll see the signpost for Shady Trail.  Get on the trail and follow it back to Bell's Trailhead.

NOTES -

Water is available along the Dinosaur Trail approx 1 - 1.5 miles down the trial.  Water also available at the Upper Ghost Camp which may be called "River Bend Campground" on some maps.

 

South Shore Burkett Park to Cougar Outlook via Service Roads
User: MikeHikes - 4/24/2014  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 5.60 Miles Duration: 2 hours, 30 minutes

Out       Burkett Park > Burkett Trail > Dirt\Gravel\Asphalt old service road > Flintstone Trail > Cougar Outlook     2.9 miles
Return  Dirt\Asphalt\Gravel Road > Burkett Trail > Burkett Park     2.7 miles

This route begins and ends, at Burkett Park, accessible from the South Shore Gatehouse.  You take Burkett Trail North and wander along a mesquite grove and lots of red earth.  Stay on the trail and at one point it will go either to the right or straight - the right branch has you cross a bridge over a dried creek, the straight thru option, has you go down into the dried creek and back up the other embankment. 

Both branches connect  to the same trail a short distance later.  If you take the right branch, when you cross the bridge, you'll see a trail on the right - don't take it, stay on the trail ahead of you. The trail will end at a dirt road and the signpost for Potts Creek is across the road.  You will turn right onto the dirt road and this is what you will be on for the majority of this hike.

The road is dirt and easy to travel.  When you come to a junction, turn right and the road becomes gravel.  Eventually the road surface becomes asphalt - Mother Nature is hard at work reclaiming it. The road will go ENE and you will eventually come to a gate.  When you cross the gate, you are now in an area where the longhorns like to hang out and graze (at the time of this writing).  Make sure the gate has closed behind you!!

Take the old asphalt road directly ahead of you, not the left hand dirt road going through the ghost camp.  Follow the road until you come to where it branches right or hard left (there is a shot up Yield sign on the right).  Go left and follow the road until you are outside the ghost camp area.

Just ahead, you'll see a trail entrance on the left - that is Flintstone Trail heading West - you want to head East, so take the eastern portion of the FlintstoneTrail on your right.  It is a narrow, dirt trail that is easy to see and hike. Shade, prickly pear cactus and solitude as you follow the trail which changes into a rocky trail with some slight inclines.  

The trail ends on a cleared area with a covered pavillion and info kiosk.  You are at Cougar Outlook  which gives you a good view of the North Concho River which has varying amounts of water.

When you depart, look West and you will see a bike rack - there is a dirt road going to the left or right - take the left branch and follow it until the road "T's" into another asphalt road.  Turn left and continue.  A short distance away, you will come to the point where you accessed Flintstone Trail.  From here, you stay on the asphat road and retrace your steps back to Burkett Trail and Burkett Park.

NOTES -

Water is NOT available except at Burkett Park - the starting and ending point of the hike.  There is an area where the cattle graze that has water tanks BUT I do not know if the water is potable to humans - I wouldn't chance it myself.
  . 

North Shore Dinosaur Loop
User: MikeHikes - 4/21/2014  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 6.40 Miles Duration: 4 hours

Out      Bell's Trailhead > Dinosaur Trail > Upper Big Hill Trail > Dinosaur Trail > North Slick Rock Trail > Lower Ghost Camp Trail   3.7 miles

Return  Service Road (West) > River Bend Trail > Badlands Trail> Service Road > Shady Trail > Bell's Trailhead      2.7 miles

This route will take you in a loop along the upper 1/3 of the North Shore portion of the park.

Starting at Bell's Trailhead, you will walk along a dirt road for 50 meters or so until you come up to the beginning of the Dinosaur Trail which heads West.  The trail goes through open areas, somewhat rolling terrain and a few places where there are mesquite trees.  As you follow the trail, you'll cross a dry creekbed and on the other side, an info kiosk, water and shade is available.  It is also where you will see the dinosaur tracks.

Leaving this area, you will go from single track trail to a dirt road with lots of shade from the mesquites.  After a short distance, Dinosaur Trail will appear on the left and reverts back to a single track trail.  Continue to hike the trail as it meanders SE and South.  You'll begin climbing, not severe, and will eventually head downhill before coming to a junction where you will see a signpost for "Upper Big Hill" - take it and climb the steep rocky road.  When you crest the hill, you are on a dirt road on the plateau.  Recent construction on the right has nothing to do with the state park.

Anyway, continue on the dirt road and you will come to a cattle gate, go through it and look to your left, you'll see Dinosaur Trail once again.  Continue on this trail to the end and you will reach a junction where you'll see the signpost for North Slick Rock and South Slick Rock trails.  Take the North Slick Rock trail.  Follow the trail as it goes up and down along rocky terrain - easy to see.  The trail ends at a cattle gate and you are now at the River Bend Campground where an info kiosk, lots of covered tables, a dry toilet and water for human and horses is available.  Suggest you fill your water containers!!

Looking East, you'll see the river and a rocky trail; this is the Lower Ghost Camp Trail.  It will take you along the edge of the camp and down alongside an abandoned concrete boat ramp.  The trail goes along the boat ramp and then goes to the right which goes up hill into another ghost camp.  Another cattle gate you'll go through and stop.  You are at the end of the "Out" portion of this hike.

At this point, you are on an old service\asphalt\dirt road that goes West.  Take this road and on the right hand side (North) of the road near the end, you'll see the signs for River Bend Trail - I suggest you take the Biker and Hiker trail.  This trail goes for a relatively short distance before connecting to the Badlands Trail which you will follow to the end.  As always, I suggest you stay on the hiker/biker trail.  At the end of this trail you come to a service road at the top of a plateau.  Look slightly to your right and follow the service road down.  At the base of the hill, you' re at the same spot you were earlier when you went on the North Slick Rock Trail.  

OK, you will turn left on the service road and follow it to the cattle gate which you'll cross. There are a few benches under the pecan trees if you need a break - no water available.  You will stay on the road by going right and continue until the road makes a sharp left turn; instead of going on the road, look directly ahead to the trail.  Go down the side of a dried creekbed and up the other side where you'll look to the right for the Shady Trail signpost.  

Shady Trail has shade and is a pleasant dirt trail to walk.  Follow it to the end at you are back at Bell's Trailhead.

 

South Shore Burkett Park to Cougar Outlook and return
User: MikeHikes - 4/19/2014  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 9.00 Miles Duration: 4 hours, 30 minutes


Out   Burkett Park > Roller Coaster Trail > West Potts Creek Trail > Armadillo Ridge Trail > Turkey Creek Trail > River Bend Trail > asphalt road to Cougar Outlook      4.7 miles

Return  Flintstone Trail > Playground Trail > Armadillo Ridge Trail > East Potts Creek Trail > Burkett Trail > Burkett Park       4.3 miles


This route takes you NNW along the western edge of the middle section of the park, then cuts East for a short distance before drifiting SW back to the starting point of the hike.

Enter through the South Shore gate and drive a few miles to Burkett Park where there is a parking area, water, dry toilets and an info kiosk.  You will walk back up the road to the Burkett park entrance and look to the right, you'll see the signpost for Rollercoaster Trail - take it.

This trail is aptly names and is easy to follow; the only area where it is not, it at the crest about 1/2 way on the trail.  The single track trail joins a dirt road which goes West.  You'll follow this road and come to a three way junction - the left is a fire road, the center is the trail, the right branch takes you to an asphalt road that goes downhill.  Take the center branch and Rollercoaster continues as a series of easily traversed switchbacks, the trail ends at the asphalt road you could have taken earlier.  Across the road is the signpost for West Potts Creek Trail.  

Follow West Potts Creek which begins as a sandy trail and ends at Armadillo Ridge Trail in rock.  Armadillo Ridge trail is an easily seen trail that travels upward over rocky terrain.  You will go a relatively short distance before encountering the signpost for Turkey Creek Trail which heads North.

Turkey Creek is hard packed dirt for the most part and will go through open areas, mesquite groves and the ever present prickly pear cactus.  You will cross a couple of old roads but the trail signposts are clearly visible on the opposite side.  I recommend if you hike, you take the routes marked "hiker and biker" since they are smoother in comparison to the "Horse and Hiker" trails.  In either event, the trail ends at the same place where you will take the River Bend Trail as it continues North.  At this junction, there is an info kiosk, covered table and water for humans and horses.  Prior to going on this trail, I suggest you top off any water containers; it will be a few miles before you have the opportunity to again.

River Bend has many open areas while you hike.  Continue on this trail until you come to the second old road where you will turn right (East).  To ascertain if you are on the correct road, look to your right - Cougar Outlook is clearly visible with a covered table pavillion.  This area also has an info kiosk but NO WATER.  Go to the outlook and take a look! 

For the return leg, you will begin at the clearly marked Flintstone Trail (sometimes called "Flintstone Village" trail).  Follow this trail as it heads South then Southwest.  You will cross an old asphalt road at one point.  This trail also takes you to the junction of Turkey Creek and River Bend Trails where you were earlier.  This time, look for the Flintstone Trail signpost and continue your hike.  The end of Flintstone is across from the signpost for Playground Trail.  

Playground trail wanders through mesquite groves and climbs to Bell's Point.  Bell's Point has a covered table and water but no info kiosk.  If you look South you can see Pulliam Point and, depending on the weather, a little further to Burkett Park which is the beginning point of this hike. 

Be advised the sign for Bell's Point has a wooden sign underneath indicating this is Flintstone Trail which is INCORRECT - you are on Playground Trail.  Perhaps in the future, the rangers will remove the Flintstone trail sign, perhaps not.

In any event, follow Playground Trail SW as it goes along some fingers of land and switchbacks.  The path is rocky, narrow and easily seen - be aware of bicyclists as hikers have to give way to bicyclists and as I said, the trail is narrow.

Playground Trail will end and Armadillo Ridge Trail begins near the abandoned picnic area of Armadillo Ridge.  Armadillo Ridge will wander a bit and ends at the (East) Potts Creek signpost.  If you feel you are on the wrong path, climb to the plateau and walk to the old picnic table at the SE point, you'll see the signpost for (East) Potts Creek Trail. 

East Potts Creek is an easy to walk trail and usually will provide shade through the mesquite grove. This trail ends where Burkett Trail begins.  Follow Burkett Trail as it takes you around the plateau of Pulliam Point and goes back to Burkett Park.

NOTES -

This is the first time in a long while, I hiked on a Saturday and the park was much busier than I usually experience; hence, the Solitude rating of "3" vs my normal rating of "5" when I have the park to myself.  There were four other hikers I saw but the overwhelming majority of the other trail users were mountain bikers. 

The vast majority were courteous - if I had already moved off the trail, a "thank you, have a good day" salutation was given as they pedaled past.  If I was unaware of them, they announced their presence while still a ways back, giving me plenty of time to move off the trail and again, pleasantries were exchanged.

Unfortunately, a few seemed to be more concerned with how quickly they could race along the trail rather than safely share the trail. During this hike, on two separate occassions, two different bicyclists almost caused a collision as they came upon me from behind and only at the last moment, did I hear their approach.  In both cases, I had to jump out of the way while the bicyclist sped by, head down and legs pumping, with not a word exchanged as they passed.  I feel sorry for these folks - so focused on their tires, they don't see the park.  Not my idea of a good time but I pass no judgement - to each his own.  

Regardless of how you traverse the trails - by horse, bike or on foot, please watch out for your fellow nature lovers and share the trails safely. 

South Shore Playground - Armadillo Ridge Loop
User: MikeHikes - 4/16/2014  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 8.40 Miles Duration: 4 hours

Out    Playground > Tasajillo Trail > Nature Loop > Lanky Lackey > Rollercoaster Trail > West Potts Creek > Armadillo Ridge Trail > Junction of Armadillo and (East) Potts Creek Trail       5.1 miles

Return  (East) Potts Creek Trail > Burkett Trail > Winding Snake > Chaparral Trail      3.3 miles

This loop takes you West then North from the South Shore playground parking lot along the western edge of the park to Armadillo Ridge before going east then south back to the playground area - in effect, this route forms a large rectangle.  This hike encompasses most of the South Shore's trails and goes just a little further into what I call the middle section of the park.  All the trails are easy to follow and are for the most part, composed of small rock and dirt; some inclines but nothing severe.  Mesquite trees are starting to leaf out and a few cactus are blooming notably the horse crippler and lace cactus.  Nesting time is beginning as well so many song birds can be heard and seen establishing their territory.

Starting at Tasajillo Flats, you head West and then North as the trail takes you through mesquite groves, open spaces and lots of native grasses.  The trail ends at the connection with Nature Loop trail and there, you will turn left (North).  A short distance away a junction appears and you turn right (East) onto the bigger portion of Nature Loop.  

Nature Loop Trail ends nears the entrance to Isabel Harte Multiuse Area; Lanky Lackey starts directly across the road.  Take Lanky Lackey to the end and you connect to Rollercoaster Trail - aptly named but not extremely difficult to hike.  Rollercoaster is a long trail and at one point, the trail is on a dirt road for a short distance before the trail re-emerges on the right.  At trail's end, West Potts Creek signpost is visible; take it and follow to the end which connects to Armadillo (Ridge) Trail.  

Follow Armadillo Ridge trail East until it connect to (East) Potts Creek Trail - there is a signpost at the junction.  Take East Potts Creek which goes South, and you will come to the signpost for Burkett Trail.  Follow the trail along the bottom edge of the finger of land where Pulliam Point is located and continue in a southerly direction to Burkett Park where dry toilets, water, an info kiosk and shade are.

Winding Snake Trail signpost can be easily seen and you will follow the trail South.  The trail runs for a little over a mile and ends at a gravel road at the Isabel Harte area.  Follow the gravel road to the end and you will see the signpost for Chaparral Trail which drifts South and West.  Take the trail across the ravine and up the next side.  Continue on this trail and you will eventually cross a paved road.

After walking for awhile, the trail will look like it terminates at the end of an embankment. Directly ahead is the signpost for Talley Valley which you will NOT take; instead, you will turn left on the gravel road and walk for about 30 meters and look to the right for the remainder of Chaparral Trail.  Follow to the end and you are back at the playground parking area.

NOTES

(1)  Info kiosk, water and toilets are available at the starting point, Playground parking area, and a little past the midway point, Burkett Park.

(2)  Trail names - Not all the trail names match what is on Google Earth and the trail map.  Some signposts have various spellings - for example "TasajillA Flats" and "TasajillO Flats" for the same trail, the eastern portion of Potts Creek Trail is labeled "Potts Creek" whereas the western portion is labeled "West Potts Creek" AND in this case, Google maps has Armadillo Ridge Trail connecting to Burkett Trail and Rollercoaster Trail omitting any mention of east or west Potts Creek Trail.  I have tried to be as consistent as possible in the names in my log entries.  Please purchase a park map for $3 at the South Shore gatehouse.

(3)  Time of hike - Don't assume the time listed is an indication of the terrain or trail's difficulty in traversing it; when I hike, I'm in no hurry!!  I take photographs, pick up any trash I find along the trail, watch the birds and enjoy being with nature.   

Park Mid-Section Western Loop
User: MikeHikes - 4/13/2014  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 6.00 Miles Duration: 2 hours, 30 minutes

Out    Burkett Park > Burkett Trail > East Potts Creek > Armadillo Ridge > Playground > Old Road      3.2 miles
Return  Turkey Creek (South) > Armadillo Ridge > West Potts Creek > Rollercoaster Trail > Asphalt road to Burkett Park   2.8 Miles

This loop will take you through the park's mid-section and along the western edge of the park .  

Enter through the South Shore gatehouse and drive a couple of miles to Burkett Park which is the trailhead for the Burkett Trail.  You'll head North along a hard packed dirt trail with a few sections of loose, small rock.  Lots of red earth here!  Near the mid-point of this trail, you'll walk beneath Pulliam Point on the left - this is the furthest point on the South Shore you can drive to.  Rounding the point, the trail is narrow, climbs slightly and full of small rocks.  Be aware of bicyclist on the trail - it is somewhat narrow and you will have to give way.

Follow the trail and at a small junction, stay to the right, you'll cross a bridge over a dry creek.  Continue straight to the end and you'll see a signpost for Potts Creek across a dirt road - this trail is actually East Potts Creek Trail although some maps, and Google Earth, call it "Armadillo RidgeTrail".

East Potts Creek is mainly flat, hard packed dirt and meanders through mesquite groves.  Near the end of this trail you'll climb a bit and come to a signpost for "Armadillo".  Go to the right.

As you climb this trail, keep you eyes open when you reach the crest.  You'll see an abandoned picnic area and you need to look for a dirt path leading into the day use area.  Take the dirt path and follow it to a cattle water tank.  Near the tank, look for a straight dirt path that is a little to your right (about 45 degrees - North).  Follow it and you will connect to the Playground Trail.  Unfortunately, there is no signpost marking this trail but if you come to a road and look right, you'll see an abandoned pavillion shelter.  Cross the road and follow the trail.

About 50 meters or so you should see another trail on your right, joining this trail - continue to go straight.

Now, this is where having a laminated map of the trails (available for $3 at the South Shore gatehouse) comes in handy.  You will stay on the Playground Trail for quite awhile and it has switchbacks which may confuse you.  The trail is rocky and narrow in places as it takes you along the edges of some fingers of land.  Easy rule of thumb - the trail is very clearly defined and although there are a few loops in the trail, follow it generally ENE to Bell's Point, a local landmark where a marker, covered table and water is available.

When you leave Bell's Point you are still on Playground Trail for a short while.  Again, no signpost but just follow the easily seen trail, not the old road.  The trail will take you down into a valley and through mesquite groves until you come to a dirt road.  At this point, you'll see a signpost for Flintstone Trail - once again, Google Earth does NOT show this, it says Playground Trail continues when it actually ends at this point.

At the dirt road, turn left (West) and walk about a quarter mile until you see the Turkey Creek Trail sign on the left (South).  The first sign is for hikers and horses, I recommend you go a little further down the road until you see the trail designated for hikers and bikers.

Follow Turkey Creek until it "T"s into the Armadillo Ridge Trail. Turn right (West) and follow Armadillo RidgeTrail until it ends and you see the West Potts Creek trail signpost which immediately begins at this point.

West Potts Creek trail ends at an asphalt road and Rollercoaster Trail is directly across. 

Hike Rollercoaster all the way to the end and you come to an asphalt road.  Directly across the road is the signpost for Lanky Lackey trail, you will not take this but will turn left (North) on the road.  The road branches about 30 meters later, take the right hand branch (East) - this takes you to Burkett Park and the end of the hike.

NOTES -

(1)  Be advised the Playground Trail is probably the least well marked trail in the entire park.  There is only one signpost denoting this trail and it is where Flintstone ends and Playground begins.  When you are on Armadillo Ridge trail and crest the ridge, I strongly suggest you look for the cattle tanks at the abandoned day use area and follow the path rather than negotiate the entire Armadillo Ridge trail.  There are a few animal trails that could be mistaken for the designated trail.

(2)  At the time of this writing, some cactus were beginning to bloom - notably the horse crippler cactus.  

(3)  I suggest you drink plenty of water and fill your water containers at both Burkett Park and Bell's Point - stay hydrated!!

 

Park Mid-Section Eastern Loop
User: MikeHikes - 4/10/2014  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 5.50 Miles Duration: 3 hours

Out      Burkett Park > Burkett Trail > East Potts Creek > Armadillo Trail > Playground Trail > Flintstone Trail        3.2 Miles
Return  Dirt Road > Asphalt\Gravel\Dirt Road > Burkett Trail > Burkett Park     2.3 Miles

This loop will take you through the park's mid-section before returning along the eastern edge of the park .  Turn around point is where Turkey Creek, River Bend and Flintstone Trails meet.  The return route is along old park roads until you get to Burkett Trail.  

Enter through the South Shore gatehouse and drive a couple of miles to Burkett Park which is the trailhead for the Burkett Trail.  You'll head North along a hard packed dirt trail with a few sections of loose, small rock.  Lots of red earth here!  Near the mid-point of this trail, you'll walk beneath Pulliam Point on the left - this is the furthest point on the South Shore you can drive to.  Rounding the point, the trail is narrow, climbs slightly and full of small rocks.  Be aware of bicyclist on the trail - it is somewhat narrow and you will have to give way.

Follow the trail and at a small junction, stay to the right, you'll cross a bridge over a dry creek.  Continue straight to the end and you'll see a signpost for Potts Creek across a dirt road - this trail is actually East Potts Creek Trail although some maps, and Google Earth, call it "Armadillo Trail". 

East Potts Creek is mainly flat, hard packed dirt and meanders through mesquite groves.  Near the end of this trail you'll climb a bit and come to a signpost for "Armadillo".  Go to the right.

As you climb this trail, keep you eyes open when you reach the crest.  You'll see an abandoned picnic area and you need to look for a dirt path leading into the day use area.  Take the dirt path and follow it to a cattle water tank.  Near the tank, look for a straight dirt path that is a little to your right (about 45 degrees - North).  Follow it and you will connect to the Playground Trail.  Unfortunately, there is no signpost marking this trail but if you come to a road and look right, you'll see an abandoned pavillion shelter.  Cross the road and follow the trail. About 50 meters or so you should see another trail on your right, join this trail - continue to go straight.

Now, this is where having a laminated map of the trails (available for $3 at the South Shore gatehouse) comes in handy.  You will stay on the Playground Trail for quite awhile and it has switchbacks which may confuse you.  The trail is rocky and narrow in places as it takes you along the edges of some fingers of land.  Easy rule of thumb - the trail is very clearly defined and although there are a few loops in the trail, follow it generally ENE to Bell's Point, a local landmark where a marker, covered table and water is available. 

When you leave Bell's Point you are still on Playground Trail for a short while.  Again, no signpost but just follow the easily seen trail, not the old road.  The trail will take you down into a valley and through mesquite groves until you come to a dirt road.  At this point, you'll see a signpost for Flintsone Trail - once again, Google Earth does NOT show this, it says Playground Trail continues when it actually ends at this point.

OK, cross the dirt road and you're on Flintstone trail.  Follow it until you come to the junction of River Bend, Turkey Creek and Flintstone Trails which is on your left.  Water for humans and horses, an info kiosk and a shaded table are here.  Suggest you fill any water containers you have.

On your departure you will look East and see a straight dirt road - follow it.  This road is very easy to travel and will end at a water tank (I would NOT use it to fill my water containers but horses may drink from it).  Follow the bend in the road to the right and within 50 meters, you'll come to an old asphalt road.  Look to the left and you'll see a gate which is accessable for hikers but for this trip, you will go to your right and follow the asphalt road  heading West.  

Follow the road as is gradually drifts south and west and changes from asphalt to gravel.  When you come to a junction where the road changes to dirt on the left, go left (WSW).  Follow this road as it takes you back towards Pulliam Point and the signpost for Burkett Trail which you take back to Burkett Park and the end of this trip.

NOTES -

(1)  the Playground Trail is probably the least well marked trail in the park.  I believe there is only one signpost denoting this trail and it is where Flintstone ends and Playground begins.  I strongly suggest you look for the cattle tanks at the abandoned day use area on Armadillo Ridge.

(2)  Some of the official State of Texas Longhorn Herd is located at the park.  On this hike, I saw quite a few of these cattle on the other side of the fence right before I got on the asphalt road but I ran into some others wandering loose further along the road itself.  Leave them alone especially if calves are present.  

(3)  I cannot emphasize enough my suggestion to buy one of the laminated trail maps available at the South Shore gatehouse.  Cost is $3 and well worth it.

(4)  Suggest you do a satellite recon using the map linked to this report (I do not have the capability to mark my trial) and follow the route I took by going to the Earth view and looking at the actual terrain. 

Of note, Google Earth does NOT list Burkett Park or Burkett Trail.  Both are easily found though  by zoooming in where Lanky Lackey and Rollercoaster Trail meet.  Look to the  ENE and you will see a parking area with an out building and covered table; that is Burkett Park.  Burkett Trail begins here and you can easily follow it to the trail marked "Armadillo Ridge" which is an incorrect designation.  The signpost on teh ground reads "Potts Creek" and it is the eastern trailhead for the trail.  Google Earth also lists "Playground Trail as starting earlier than it really does at Armadillo Ridge (the abandoned day use area on the finger of land).

(5)  While some of my directions may be confusing, rest assured you cannot get lost in this park!  Western edge is FM 2288 and the Eastern edge is the dried lakebed.  On many of the trails, you can look around and see where you are in relation to the lakebed and some prominent landmarks.  For example, at one point along the gravel road on the return leg, I could clearly see my car parked at Burkett Park a few miles away.

South Shore Inner Loop 2
User: MikeHikes - 4/7/2014  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 5.40 Miles Duration: 2 hours, 45 minutes

Out      Chapparel > Winding Snake > Burkett Park        2.9 miles
Return  Lankey Lackey> Nature Trail (shortcut) > Horny Toad > Talley Valley > gravel road shortcut to Chapparel > Playground parking lot   2.5 miles

   The route begins at the South Shore Playground Parking Lot.  You will follow the Chapparel Trail as it drifts ENE to the Isabel Harte Multiuse Area.  The trail ends and you follow a gravel road directly in front of you for 20-30 meters to the Winding Snake Trail.  This hard packed dirt trail goes NNW along the edge of the dried lake bed.  You will pass a few abandoned picnic shelters about 2/3 of the way along the trail.  The trail ends at Burkett Park where dry toilets, a few shaded picnic tables and water, for humans and horses, is available.

   Walk East along the paved road from Burkett and turn left at the "T" in the road.  Look left and you will see the signpost for Lankey Lackey Trail, a winding rocky trail.  At the end of the trail you come to a paved road which will take you to the Isabel Harte Multiuse Area on your left.  As mentioned in a previous log entry, avoid going near the stone sign - it has an active beehive within it.

   If you look directly across the road, you'll see an archway for the Nature Loop, for this trip, I choose to go right along the road until I came to the second signpost for the Nature Loop.  Follow the trail and you'll soon see on your left a trail heading straight South.  If you continue on the original trail, you will make a small loop and end up at a junction where you can join this same trail - I hope that didn't confuse anyone!!

   I took the straight South route and bypassed the small loop.  In either event, follow the Nature Trail to the end and across the asphalt/gravel road, the signpost for Horny Toad is seen. The trail goes up along a ridgeline and switches back.  At or near the top of the ridge, you'll see a signpost for Talley Valley Trail on the left.  Follow Talley Valley as it takes you South. When you come to a gravel road, Talley Valley continues straight ahead - due to adverse weather, I turned left on the gravel road until I came to the Chapparel Trail on the right.  A short distance later, less than a quarter mile, I was back at the playground parking lot.

 

South Shore Inner Loop 1
User: MikeHikes - 4/6/2014  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 2.80 Miles Duration: 1 hour


Out     Chapparel > Talley Valley > Horny Toad > Nature Trail > Tasajilla Flats Connection     1.0 miles

Return  Tasajilla Flats Trail > Playground parking lot    1.8 miles

   This route begins at the South Shore's Playground Parking Lot.  The easy to follow trails gives you a chance to stretch your legs while seeing a good sample of the South Shore. You will go North through the lower middle portion of the South Shore portion of the state park before heading West along the Tasajilla Flats Trail which drifts West, South, then East and ends at the starting point. All trails are easy to follow and the biggest difficulty will be footing on some of the small, loose rock on the hike.  

 

South Shore Outer Loop
User: MikeHikes - 4/3/2014  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 6.10 Miles Duration: 3 hours

Out       Playground Parking Lot > Tasajillo Flats Trail > Nature Trail > Lankey Lackey Trail > Burkett Park      3.5 miles

Return   Winding Snake Trail > Chapparal Trail > Playground Parking Lot       2.6 miles

This loop will take you along the western and eastern edges of the South Shore portion of San Angelo State Park.  Most of the trails are level but there are some inclines and declines, nothing severe.  Trails are composed of hard packed dirt and small rocks.  Info kiosk, water and toilets are available at the playground parking area and at Burkett Park, the turnaround point.

The longest single leg of this loop is the Tasajillo Flats Trail which is 1.8 miles long.  This trail meanders through mesquite trees, prickly pear cactus and open areas. The first portion of the trail is level but after crossing the road near the South Shore gatehouse, the trail changes and becomes slightly rolling terrain.  This will continue for awhile before you reach another road which you cross.  This final portion of the trail is mostly level, hard packed dirt.  At the end of this trail, you come to a "T" which is the Nature Trail, turn left.  You'll go about 100 - 150 meters before you come to another junction.  Turn right and you'll be on the Nature Loop Trail.

Nature Loop Trail is mostly level, hard packed dirt with lots of mesquite trees.   At the end of the trail, you'll have the most severe incline of the entire hike for maybe 100 - 150 meters.  When you crest the incline, which is the end of the Nature Loop Trail, you'll see the signpost for the Lankey Lackey Trail across the road.  A word of caution - if you look to the right, you'll see the Isabel Harte Multi-Use Area stone sign - AVOID GOING NEAR IT.  There is an active beehive inside the stonework and if you watch, you will sometimes see streams of bees going in and coming out of, the sign.

Lankey Lackey Trail is mostly small rock, level is some places but mostly slight inclines.  At one point about 3/4 of the way through, the trail crosses a stream which is channeled through a culvert - no wet feet!!

Follow the trail to the end and when you come to the road, look right and you'll see the Burkett Park sign.  Follow the road to Burkett Park where there is dry toilets, water for human and horse and a table with shade.

Winding Snake trail begins here and you will take this back toward the playground starting point.  Mostly level, mostly dirt trail with many open areas as well as some areas with lots of mesquite trees, this trail goes along the western edge of the dried up lake bed.  Depedning on the time of day, deer are present as well as porcupines, birds, snakes and lizards.  

Follow this trail and at the very end it will have a left and right branch.  Either is ok to take as they both terminate near the same place but I recommend the right branch for first time users.  When you crest the easily hiked slope, follow the gravel road on the right and it will take you to the final trail, Chapparal Trail.  At this point you are at the Isabel Harte Multiuse Area and you can see easily where the lake was and where the dam gates are.  Not much to see right now though.  

Follow the trail through Isabel Harte and beyond as the trail goes through a former lake channel.  The trail does have some shady areas as you get closer to the playground. You will walk along some picnic areas and eventually, will come to a paved road, cross and continue to follow the trail until you come to some embankments.  At this point, you're at the end of Chaparral Trail, and you'll see the signpost for Talley Valley Trail straight ahead, do NOT take this.  Instead, turn left along the gravel road and walk about 30 meters or so, the final leg of the Chapparal Trail is on the right.  A short distance on this and you've reached the playground where you started.

 

North Shore Loop
User: MikeHikes - 3/27/2014  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 10.30 Miles Duration: 4 hours, 30 minutes

Out (WSW) ---  Bell's Trailhead > Dinosaur Trail > Upper Big Hill Trail > Dinosaur Trail > Badlands Trail > Riverbend Trail to end    5.9 miles

Return (ENE) --- Flintstone Trail > Javalina Trail > Lower Riverbend Trail > Lower Ghost Camp Trail > South Slick Rock > Scenic Loop > Shady Trail > Bell's Trailhead     4.4 miles

OVERVIEW - This route encompasses all the North Shore's major trails.  The northern portion of the park has more ecological diversity compared to the southern portion.  Pecan trees, the North Concho River, and more open spaces are just a few features which differentiate the two sections of the park.  

At the parking area by Bell's Trailhead and along Shady Trail, there are numerous pecan trees which attract squirrels and a colony of American Robins who live here year round.  Evidence of beavers is present along the river although I have not seen one.  

As you walk along Dinosaur Trail, you'll see long rows of felled mesquite trees.  Some years ago, there was a mesquite tree eradication project where the trees were cut down and laid in long columns to be harvested at a later date - some of those trees are now being harvested.  

About 3/4 of the way along Dinosaur Trail, you'll come across a normally dry creek bed. When you get to the kiosk, you'll see a fenced area.  On the other side of the fence in the creek bed, are dinosaur tracks but thede tracks are not as clear cut as the tracks located in the Dinosaur Valley SP at Glen Rose.  Water for horses and humans is available.

Following the trail, you'll walk through mesquite trees and then open areas until you come to the Big Hill.  Climb it by following the rocky road, at the top is Bell's Cross where you can scan the area.  Continue south along the road and you will come to the Badlands Trail.

The trail is mostly dirt with some small rock but is very easy to traverse.  Continue along this trail to the well marked River Bend Trail.  Recommend hikers take the Horse/Hiker branch as it takes you in a more direct route to your ultimate destination.  Follow this trail until you come to the junction of River Bend, Turkey Creek and Flintstone Trails.  An information kiosk, canopy covered table and water are available.

Departing along Flintstone Trail you are now heading ENE toward an area overlooking the North Concho River known as Cougar Outlook.  You can get a good view of the river as well as the now dried lake bed.  You will also see the marker for the Javalina Trail.

Javalina Trail is easy to hike, mostly dirt and small rock although there is a spot fairly close to the beginning of the trail where you have to hike over large flat rocks.  Near the end of the trail, you will connect briefly with the Lower River bend Trail for about 50 meters then you will see a gravel/dirt road and a post for Lower Ghost Camp Trail.  

This trail will take you through two ghost camp areas that are not used.  Continue on the trail and you will run parallel to a small creek that may have water by a concrete boat ramp (no longer used).  You are now at the River Bend Campground which has a dry toilet, info kiosk and water.  This campground is used on a few occassions but not too often.  

At the end of the trail you will come to a gate and on the other side is the sign for South Slick Rock Trail.  Be advised the dirt and rock is very loose and it is easy to fall.  At a certain point, you come to a branch, go right and it will take you down to the dirt road. If you go left or straight, you will be on the Upper Slick Rock Trail which will take you up and to Bell's Cross.  

If you follow the right branch, you will descend slightly and go down to a dirt road.  Look about 100 feet away and on the right, is the Scenic Loop Trail post.  The Scenic Loop wanders through pecan trees and gives you a view of the North Concho River.  Watch for Great Blue Herons!

At the end of Scenic Loop you come to another gate.  Go through and follow the dirt road to the right.  Maybe a quarter mile along the road, you will see the sign for Shady Trail and can see the path.  Be careful going down the dry creek because the dirt is loose.  Follow the signs to Shady Trail.  

You will wander through a narrow trail above and alongside the North Concho River lined with tall pecan trees.  Look for signs of beaver activity!

The end of the trail is at Bell's Trailhead.

NOTES -

(1)  Water for humans and horses is available at the Dinosaur Trail track area, the southernmost point of the River bend Trail and at the ghost camp of River Bend Camp.  

(2)  Some of the official State of Texas Longhorn Herd are at San Angelo State Park. They are moved from place to place to graze and you may encounter them while hiking.  PLEASE close all gates you pass through and do not disturb the animals; especially if there are calves around.

(3)  Some trails in the park have separate paths designated Bikers and Hikers, Horses and Hikers or Multiuse.  These paths may run parallel to each other and some will join for certain distances.  Use the path designated for your mode of travel - there have been incidents of bikers and equestrians being on the wrong path which have caused discord.  The park has informed everyone they will enforce the rules and fine offenders who use the wrong path.

(4)  Prior to coming to the North Shore, visit the South Shore park station and buy a laminated satellite view map of the park.  Cost is $3 and well worth it.

(5)  Suggest you stock up on water prior to the hike and you always stop to refill your water carrier at every opportunity - especially in the Summer as the temps can easily reach the 100's. 

(6)  The park is large and has numerous trails and roads that can be hiked, biked or ridden on horse.  Although the park advertises having over 50 miles of trails, you really can't get lost.  The park is bordered by FM 2288 on the West edge and the dried lake bed on the East edge.  The park is approx eight miles in length from North to South.

Middle Park Loop
User: MikeHikes - 3/20/2014  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 7.00 Miles Duration: 3 hours

Out ---- Burkett Park > Roller Coaster Trail> West Potts Creek Trail> Turkey Creek Trail  3.7 miles

Return --- Flintstone Trail> Playground Trail> East Potts Creek Trail> Burkett Trail> Burkett Park  3.4 miles

This route will take you along the western edge of the middle of the park. All trails are easy to follow and are marked well.  Trails are dirt and small rock, mostly level with slight inclines and declines although "Roller Coaster Trail" is aptly named!  LOTS of solitude - I met one older hiker at the mid-point otherwise, the trails were mine.  There is always some traffic noise from FM2288 on the edge of the park but it is easy to tune it out.  Keep in mind, the maps show a sizeable O.C. Fisher Lake but it is dry.  Recommend you look at Google Earth and you can follow the route I took, the trails are easy to spot. 

NOTES -

(1)  Burkett Park trailhead is near the junction of Lanky Lackey and Rollercoaster Trail.

(2)  Google Earth lists "West Potts Creek Trail" as "Armadillo Ridge Trail"; follow Armadillo Ridge Trail and you will see where it connects to Turkey Creek Trail. 

(3)  If you visit the park I strongly suggest you purchase a laminated trail map for $3 from the park store when you check in at the South Shore gate.  It has all the trails clearly marked and can be carried with you. 

(4)  At most of the major trail junctions, there is an info kiosk with your location, a park map and GPS coordinates.  Water is available at some locations for humans and horses.

South Shore - Tasajilla Flats
User: MikeHikes - 1/7/2014  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 3.00 Miles Duration: N/A

Dirt and rock trail, inclines and declines but mostly level. Trail starts at the playground parking lot and meanders West before winding North.  Trail well traveled and easy to follow. As you walk or bike, you will see birds, cactus and mesquite trees. Solitude is the predominant feature of the hike. Although the park is at San Angelo's edge, the park is so large it is not uncommon to hike for hours and not see a single person on the trails. Traffic noises can be heard from FM2288 but they can be tuned out.  This trail terminates at The Nature Trail.

User: sajarez - 3/8/2008  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 8.00 Miles Duration: 6 minutes

this was our first venture out to hike a trail that wasn't close to home  (about a 2 hour drive) very worth it

User: Eveline - 11/1/2003  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 6.20 Miles Duration: N/A