Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge [Liberty, TX, USA]

Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge is a series of green and wooded trails as well as hunting trails sprawling across Liberty county in Texas. We visited three different areas of the park and left a lot left for you to explore!

HQ Address: 601 FM 1011, Liberty, TX, 77575

Website: http://www.fws.gov/refuge/Trinity_River/

Admission: Free

Boar’s Den Trail (2.2 miles)

Approximate Coordinates: 30.276941, -94.795759

We knew it would be a great day when we got the car immediately bogged down in the dirt parking lot. Thanks to some Houston monsoons, the mud ate up the front-wheel drive car… We barely escaped.

Where's the tread?
Evidence of our initial struggle.
On one side of the gate
On one side of the gate, heading across the access bridge.
Bridge
Bridge over da water.

When you pull up to the parking spot make sure you go nice and slow to find the gravel path. There is no markings and parts of the short drive are rutted. Proceed with caution, and go with a buddy if it is muddy/recently rained.

The Path
The path was a little overgrown but very easy to follow.
Little Lake
Plenty of little pocket lakes thanks to the recent storms.
Green Lake
Our favorite green lake. And Charlie wanted to swim of course.

There were plenty of mosquitos and other wildlife… in the wildlife refuge. We only had one close encounter with a family of boars that wanted nothing to do with us and immediately ran off. We only saw two but it sounded like many more than that.

View into the Woods
View into the Woods

Overall I wouldn’t recommend this trail if you’re only going to pick one. It was difficult to find, not marked at all, and pretty uneventful. That being said it was a nice little walk away from the city.

McGuire Public Use Area (3.1 miles)

Approximate Coordinates: 30.176174, -94.786558

This trail was much easier to find and a lot more fun!

Narrow Trail
The first 0.25 miles is a narrow trail in between two private properties.

This one of the more exciting moments. On the property to the left we could hear 5-10 gun shots per minute, dogs barking, and hogs squealing. We were glad to walk by quickly.

Charlie
The best picture I’ve ever taken of her dog, Charlie.
Pretty Yellow Flowers
Pretty Yellow Flowers.
Bayou Pond
Bayou Pond.

This trail was drier than Boar’s Den but had still some muddy spots. One of the benefits of the McGuire Public Use Area is the two different turnaround opportunities during the main loop so you can hike less than the three miles if you desire.

Green Trail
A lovely place for a stroll.

 

 

Bug Structure
I’m no expert but I believe the ants have evolved to build snorkels…

I’ve been educated that the above picture is a crawfish mound. Weird!

Excellent Tree Coverage
The tall trees on the side of the trail provided lots of shade (when the sun occasionally shined).

Lots of natural beauty in the wildlife refuge. These areas are often ignored because lack-of-information to the public. People simply don’t know that large areas of national land are set aside for us to enjoy.

Trinity River
Trinity River, through the trees.
My Co-Explorer.
My Co-Explorer.
Berry
Gotta brush up on my boy scout fruit and berry knowledge… cause this one looks tasty.
Charlie Leads the Way
Charlie Leads the Way. Most of the time he wants us to speed up.
Caterpillar
Caterpillars were attached to every other blade of grass. We both pulled 10-15 off during the hike.
Art Shot
My attempt at an artistic shot. Look out Nat Geo.

Like I stated above, this trail was a lot of fun and you can see I took a ton of pictures!

The "Boardwalk"
What the map described as a “boardwalk” was actually an impressive bridge!
3 Tons
3 Ton weight limit.
Looking at the Water
Looking at the water, you would not want to go for a swim in the Trinity river.
Poor Charlie
Poor Charlie’s paws were not having a great time on the grate.

The bridge led to the hunting area where we decided to head back. Not sure if anyone else was out there but it was not worth finding out.

Flooding
Flooding on both side of the trail back.
Snake in the grass!
Snake in the grass! I almost stepped on this big boy. He popped his head up, I yelped, and we all went around.
The Return Trail.
The Return Trail.

Champion Lake Public Use Area

Approximate Coordinates: 29.921541, -94.799069

The last stop on our awesome trip. A small trail and butterfly garden next to two boat ramps. And the only place we saw other people all day!

Butterfly Garden
Not a single butterfly in sight, but a nice garden nonetheless.
My Favorite
My favorite flowers in the garden.
Buzz
Buzz… This guy did not like that I took his photo without asking.
Short Trail
Short Trail from butterfly garden to boat launch.
Lake view.
Lots of families fishing nearby at the end of a perfect day.

Review and Recommendations

Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge is a nice breathe-of-fresh-air coming from Houston. It is only an hour away and has many different areas to explore.

I would recommend that you don’t visit it immediately after a hard rain like we did. Circumstances forced us only to be available that day but ideally we would have waited for drier trails. Live and learn.

If you are traveling with young children or people who enjoy a little more refinement this is not the trip for you. It is relatively rugged and 99% natural. If mobility is an issue I would skip Trinity River.

However, as the photos hopefully show, this is a beautiful place to visit and full of wildlife. It is a small glimpse into what this land would look like without any civilization, and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Happy trails!

Charlie & I
Goofballs.

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