Brochure of Aransas National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in Texas. Published by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS).
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U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Aransas National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Information and Map Welcome to Aransas National Wildlife Refuge We invite you to drive our 16-mile auto tour, fish off our pier, stop at our Visitor Contact Station, walk up our observation towers, and relax and enjoy a picnic overlooking San Antonio Bay. Take time to stretch your legs along several miles of walking trails. You’ll find observation platforms, spotting scopes, diverse plants and wildlife, and stunning views of the bay and wildlife habitat. The trails are listed below in the order you encounter them along the auto tour loop. Trails Rail Trail (.3 mile) Waterbirds, from rails to bitterns, lurk in the reeds lining Tomas Slough. This grassy trail parallels the long, narrow pond that is home to alligators as well. Alligator Viewing Area (<.1 mile) Take a short walk up the ramp and look for alligators in Tomas Slough, one of the few freshwater resources on the refuge. On sunny days, you may see an alligator basking on the bank. Listen for frogs calling and look for fish swimming in the water. Heron Flats Trail (1.4 miles) Freshwater sloughs, shell ridges, oak forests, and tidal flats make this trail quite diverse. You’ll find two observation platforms equipped with spotting scopes. If you’re lucky, you might see a whooping crane family feeding in the marshy salt flats. Watch, too, for egrets, roseate spoonbills, pelicans, and possibly a raccoon. * Please note that this trail will not make a loop. Songbird Loop (0.1 mile) Listen to a spring songbird serenade as you wander this short woodland loop. Oak Sanctuary (.1 mile) Walk this short trail towards San Antonio Bay and experience the mystery of a 500-year old oak tree. What might you find hiding in its branches, or seeking its shade? The oak is covered in mustang grapevine. A whooping crane catches a blue crab. © Kevin Sims Dagger Point Trail (1 mile) Hike a winding trail through an oak/ red bay forest. One of the few hills on the refuge offers an excellent vista. Jones Lake (< .1 mile) A very short, paved walkway leads to a platform overlooking the lake, another potential alligator hangout. The water in this lake comes entirely from rainfall. Big Tree Trail (.7 mile) Encounter some of the refuge’s largest live oak trees along this woodland loop. Observation Towers In addition to crane watching, the two observation towers (20’ and 40’) offer a panoramic view of San Antonio Bay and Mustang Lake. Both towers are fully accessible with gently sloping ramps. One-way Loop (driving only) This 9-mile loop takes you through diverse habitat. Please note that it is oneway, and will take at least 45 minutes. Rules and Regulations • Observe speed limit of 25 mph and watch for wildlife crossing roadways. • All vehicles must be street legal and remain on designated roadways. • Feeding animals is prohibited. • No alcohol is permitted. • No littering. Please take your trash with you when you leave. • Bicycles are permitted on the paved tour loop only (no trail riding). • There is no camping on the refuge. • Pets must be kept on a standard (4-6 foot) leash at all times. Keep in mind that the refuge is wild, and you may encounter venomous snakes, alligators, and biting insects. Please stay on marked trails and use caution. Enjoy your National Wildlife Refuge! Map of Refuge and Vicinity Rail Trail il T ra il 35 239 77 2040 Port Lavaca Victoria 239 Austwell 774 Heron Flats Trail 13 r go ata il Songbird Loop Trail nd sla I da sT ra Aransas National Wildlife Refuge lat 35 Alligator Viewing Area 2040 M Fishing Access Year Round Visitor Center Restrooms Viewing Area Picnic Area Trailhead Kayak Launch He ro Rockport nF Refugio Ra Tivoli Au to On o r L u To ffic a ew yt op Oak Sanctuary Trail ra Youth Environmental Training Area (permit required) Fishing Access San Antonio Bay Wetlands Refuge Land Dagger Point Trail Tw ay tra ffi c Jones Lake Observation Deck ke La s ne Jo fic Big Tree Trail Fishing Access April 15 - Oct 14 wa ra yt Observation Towers ffic To u r L oo p Lake to North 0 tang Au Mus traf w One way One o 0 0.5 1 Kilometers 0.5 1 Miles