Anahuac Loop Auto Tour Route- Great Texas Birding Trails Things To Do, Trip Plans Outdoor Adventure, SEE ALL

Start at White Memorial Park

From San Jacinto Battleground/Monument SHP, travel north on TX 146 to I-10, then go east on I-10 to TX 61. Traveling from Winnie, go west on I-10 to TX 61 (Exit 813). Go south on TX 61 a short distance to White Memorial Park.

White Memorial Park, located on Turtle Bayou, hosts an impressive selection of eastern woodland birds. This is an excellent place to find Red-headed Woodpeckers, and Pine, Swainson’s and Hooded warblers nest here as well as in the surrounding forests. Prothonotary Warblers are often seen along Turtle Bayou in the summer.

Trinity River Island Recreation Area and Visitor Center – Wallisville Lake Project
This site is open for day use only.
Return to I-10 and head west. Take exit 807 off of I-10 and follow the west bound service road until you U-turn before the Trinity River. Follow the east bound service road until you reach the sign identifying the entrance to the recreation area.

Located 2.5 miles south of I-10 along the east bank of the Trinity River, this recreation area and center is also the location of the administrative office for the Wallisville Lake Project. This site has numerous facilities including picnic areas, an observation tower, boat ramps, a fishing pier, and restrooms. The area is an ideal location to see gulls, terns, swallows, wading birds and Brown Pelicans. Latest bird sightings available at the visitor center.

JJ Mayes Wildlife Trace – Wallisville Lake Project

This site is open for day use only.
Return to I-10 and head west. Take exit 803 at FM 565 and U-turn to re-enter I-10 going east. Exit at the Trinity River Turnaround and watch for the entrance on the right.

A 4-mile-long driving and walking nature trail complex located along the west bank of the Trinity River, this site places you right in the middle of the brackish marshes and riparian habitats of the Wallisville Lake Project. The Trace offers a variety of ways to view the wildlife of the area. The driving trail along the top of a levee allows you to look down on the marsh, the boardwalks place you at eye level with the marsh, while the trail along the Trinity River in the riparian habitat allows you to be in close proximity with a large variety of songbirds. Picnic facilities, observation platforms, and restrooms are available. Wading birds and waterfowl can always be found along the Trace. In the spring and fall the Sawmill Trail along the Trinity River is an ideal location to observe migratory songbirds.

Mouth of the Trinity River Waterbird Rookery – Wallisville Lake Project
This site is open for day use only.
Head east on I-10 and take Exit 807 off of I-10. Follow the service road to the intersection of Wallisville-Liberty Rd. U-turn under the interstate at Wallisville-Liberty Rd. and proceed west on the service road. U-turn again under the Trinity River bridge and watch for the parking lot on the right.

Located just east of the Trinity River and south of I-10, as many as 12 species of colonial waterbirds nest and raise their young at the rookery. In addition to the colonial waterbirds, the rookery is a great location to observe seasonal waterfowl and alligators. In order to protect the wildlife of the area fishing is prohibited and we ask that you do not feed the alligators.

Hugo Point Park – Wallisville Lake Project 
This site is open for day use only.
Return to I-10 and head west (toward Houston). Take exit 803 and go south on FM 565 for approximately 1 mile to Gou Hole Rd. Turn left and travel approximately 1.7 miles to the entrance of Hugo Point Park on the left.

The boat ramps located in the park are a great jumping off point for boat trips into the marsh where a large variety of raptors and shorebirds can be viewed. In addition to the trails and an observation tower overlooking brackish marshes and Old River Lake, the park also contains picnic facilities and restrooms.

Anahuac Pumping Station
This site is open for day use only.
Return to I-10 and take exit 807, turning right on Levee Rd. and then left onto Wallisville-Turtle Bayou Rd. (the woods along Wallisville-Turtle Bayou Rd. can be excellent in spring). Go south on FM 563 and turn right on TX 61/Miller St. to the Anahuac Pumping Station.

The Chambers-Liberty Counties Navigation District has developed a nature trail along the levee that impounds Lake Anahuac. Public parking is available at the beginning of the levee, and foot traffic is allowed during daylight hours. The trail is bordered by woodlands, fresh and brackish marshes, and the open waters of Trinity Bay and Lake Anahuac.

Fort Anahuac Park
This site is open daily, and developed camping is available at the site.
Return east on TX 61 to S. Main, then go south on S. Main to Fort Anahuac Park.

The trees in this city park, bordering Lake Anahuac, should be checked during migration for landbirds.

Double Bayou Park
This site is open daily, and developed camping is available at the site.
Head south on FM 563 to Eagle Ferry Rd., and go east on Eagle Ferry Rd. to Double Bayou Park.

During migrations (particularly during the spring), no park or sanctuary is too insignificant to discount in a search for migrant landbirds. Migrants can occur ANYWHERE, so take a chance!

Smith Point and James H. Robbins Memorial Park
This site is open for day use only.
Continue east on Eagle Ferry Rd. to FM 562. Go south on FM 562 to its intersection with FM 1985, then veer right/west to continue on FM 562 to Smith Point Rd. Smith Point is one of the most isolated and undeveloped coastal peninsulas left along the Texas coast. The marshes and open grasslands along FM 562 are productive throughout the year. Travel west on Smith Point Rd. to Hawkins Camp Rd., then go north on Hawkins Camp to James H. Robbins Memorial Park.

Robbins Park offers an unobstructed view of Trinity Bay. Look for Magnificent Frigatebirds in summer and fall, both species of pelican, and an assortment of gulls and terns. Many species of shorebirds can be seen in the grassy fields, especially after a rain. The oak mottes along Hawkins Camp Rd. attract migrant landbirds in spring and fall.

Candy Cain Abshier Wildlife Management Area
This site is open for day use only.
Return on Hawkins Camp Rd. to Smith Point Rd., then head west to Plummer Camp Rd. and turn right toward the WMA.

This WMA is famous for the daily hawk watches that are conducted here from August 15 to November 15. These watches are sponsored by the Gulf Coast Bird Observatory and Hawk Watch International (contact GCBO at 979-480-0999 for information).

No autumn trip to the Texas coast is complete without joining one of these coastal hawk watches for a day. In addition to the tens of thousands of Mississippi Kites, Broad-winged Hawks, Swainson’s Hawks, falcons, and accipiters that are seen annually, species such as Swallow-tailed Kite are seen in small numbers. In addition the Smith Point Hawk Watch has tallied many unusual species including Hook-billed Kite, Harris’s Hawk, Ferruginous Hawk, and Golden Eagle. The oaks here attract many migrant landbirds after a fall cold front. The numbers of Blue-gray Gnatcatchers can be staggering. It is an excellent place to see fall migration in action.

Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge (Main Entrance)
This site is open for day use only.
Return east on Smith Point Rd./FM 562 to the intersection of FM 562 and FM 1985. Continue east on FM 1985 to Anahuac NWR (Main Entrance).Anahuac NWR is one of the premier waterfowl refuges on the Texas coast. Greater White-fronted and Snow goose flocks (with a few Ross’ mixed in) crowd the marshes and wet fields throughout the winter. After entering the refuge, travel the first road to the west toward Shoveler Pond Auto-Tour Loop. Least Bitterns (in summer), American Bitterns (in winter and migration), and Marsh Wrens (in summer) are common in these cattail marshes. Check the open waters of Shoveler Pond for Canvasbacks and Redheads (Masked Ducks have bred here in the past). Common and Purple gallinules are abundant breeders in the marshes that border the tour loop. American alligators and an occasional river otter can also be found here, swimming and sunbathing. After returning to the main entrance road, continue south toward East Bay. Short-eared Owls patrol these coastal prairies in the winter and spring (look around sunset). Sprague’s Pipits winter along the road east of Crossover Rd. Finally, the seemingly endless marshes in Anahuac are home to all of the regular rails in the U.S.—Clappers, Kings, Virginias, and Soras are all regularly seen here in spring.

Continue east on FM 1985 to TX 124. The rice fields along FM 1985 and on Anahuac NWR’s Skillern Tract often teem with shorebirds during spring migration. A late spring morning spent in this area (to see the freshwater shorebirds), combined with an afternoon at Bolivar Flats (to see the saltwater species), should yield between 30 and 35 different shorebird species.

Anahuac Area Chamber of Commerce
(409) 267-4190

Winnie Area Chamber of Commerce
(409) 296-2231


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