Return to San Angelo State Park

South Shore Playground Parking Area to Burkett Park
User: MikeHikes - 7/17/2019  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: halfstar Solitude: 5stars
Distance: 6.80 Miles Duration: 3 hours, 20 minutes

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

Leg 2 -  Burkett Park > WS to LL Connector > Lanky Lackey > Nature Loop > Horny Toad > Talley Valley > Chaparral > Playground parking area   3.4 miles

Temps in mid- 70's to mid-80's.  Sunny with some clouds, humid and steady 10mph breeze.

I started earlier than usual.  The animal, bird and insect activity was higher than normal.  Among the highlights were young white tail bucks, tarantulas (which I don't usually see), hummingbirds fighting among themselves as well as one hummingbird defending his territory from a Lark Sparrow.  There were an unusually large flock of grackles hanging around, making lots of noise for no visible reason.

My "first for this year" rattlesnake sighting was made when a 3-4 foot rattler decided to cross the trail about 10 feet in front of me. He started across but then stopped so I tossed a few small stones by him so he'd move.  He made a coil and shook his rattle a few times but seemed to recognize I was not a real threat.  He slowly went into the brush and I quickly got past him. 

I also witnessed a fight to the death between a Black Widow spider and a black wasp; the wasp appeared to have won the battle as it dragged the spider away.

The trails have been groomed and are easy to see except for a few sections of Red Dam Loop.  These sections weren't groomed because the mowing machines can't get to those areas due to the terrain.  IMO hand held weed whackers will be needed to clear those areas.

NOTES

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

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

IMPORTANT - in my last report, I said the faucet at Burkett was damaged, it has been repaired and water is now available.

Park Mid-Section Burkett Park to 5 Points Junction Loop
User: MikeHikes - 7/12/2019  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 1star Solitude: 5stars
Distance: 8.40 Miles Duration: 4 hours

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

Return  5 Points Junction > Turkey Creek > Armadillo (W) > West Potts Creek > Rollercoaster > WS to LL Connector > Burkett Park     4.5 miles

Temp started at 74, ended at 92.  HUMID, sunny and light to no breeze.

A hot and humid hike today along mostly, groomed and easy to see trails.  Notable exceptions were most of Playground Trail as well as the northernmost section of West Potts Creek Trail.  There were some birds out, no animals except for two cottontails and a lone Jack Rabbit (photo attached).  Grasshoppers are still around and in fairly large numbers, there are some flowers still in bloom, a few strands of Bee Brush are scenting the air and the majority of the park's vegetation is still green; in part, due to some fairly brief but heavy rains on Monday.

NOTES

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

IMPORTANT - as of this report, the water is NOT available at Burkett due to the faucet head breaking on Thursday (July 11, 2019).  Park personnel are aware of the problem and I'm sure the faucet will be repaired soon BUT it is better to bring your own water just in case.

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 + Roadrunner Loop
User: MikeHikes - 6/28/2019  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4point5stars Difficulty: 1star Solitude: 5stars
Distance: 9.30 Miles Duration: 4 hours

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

Leg 2 -  Playground parking area > Tasajilla Flats > Horny Toad > Nature Loop > Lanky Lackey > WS to LL Connector > Burkett Park      3.3 miles

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

Temp started at 73, ended at 90.  Overcast then partly cloudy.  Intermittent light winds.

The trails were dry and easy to traverse, in large part because park personnel have been busy cutting the vegetation and clearing the trails.  A case in point is Roadrunner Loop - a month or so ago, the trail had some very overgrown areas but it has been recently groomed and leveled so it was fairly easy to hike along. 

Today was also a good day to view the various birds populating the park. Besides the usual birds, I also saw a Painted Bunting, a Vermillion Flycatcher, a few Black Throated Sparrows and a Verdin - the Verdin being the first I've seen since 2015 or 2016. 

NOTES

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

Water and shade available at various campsites along part of Roadrunner Loop.  There is a toilet near the mid point as well.

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

 

South Shore Playground Parking Area to Armadillo Ridge Figure 8
User: MikeHikes - 6/22/2019  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 1star Solitude: 3stars
Distance: 10.80 Miles Duration: 4 hours, 30 minutes

Leg 1 -  Playground parking area > Tasajilla Flats > Nature Loop > Lanky Lackey > WS to LL Connector > Burkett Park      3.8 miles

Leg 2 -  Burkett Park > Burkett Trail > (East) Potts Creek > Armadillo (SW) > West Potts Creek > Rollercoaster Trail > WS to LL Connector > Burkett Park   3.7 miles

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

Temp started at 75, ended at 93.  Sunny, then partly cloudy with steady southerly winds.

The vast majority of the trails were dry, easy to traverse and had been groomed with a few notable exceptions - portions of Red Dam Loop (Leg 3) and the section from West Potts Creek/Armadillo junction to Potts Creek (Leg 2).  Both of these areas are overgrown so caution is advised where you place your feet - I saw the tail end of a snake (no rattles) as it slithered into the brush when I slowly approached through the high vegetation covering some of the Red Dam Loop trail.

There were numerous birds singing and I saw a couple of deer, a cottontail rabbit and a grey fox trotting along the road. While hiking along Burkett Trail (Leg 2) I noticed numerous bees buzzing about. I realized the trail goes through a grove of mesquite trees and the trees have produced fronds which appear to attract the bees. The bees were really numerous but didn't bother me so I picked up the pace until their buzzing sound was in the background.

Since the day was so nice, as well as being a Saturday, there were a larger than usual number of hikers and mountain bikers enjoying the trails with me.

Overall, it was very pleasant to hike, listen to the birds, hear the wind blowing through the trees and feel the warmth of the sun.

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 Park to 5 Points Junction and back
User: MikeHikes - 6/14/2019  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: halfstar Solitude: 5stars
Distance: 6.40 Miles Duration: 3 hours, 30 minutes

Out     -  Burkett Park > WS to LL Connector > Rollercoaster > West Potts Creek > Armadillo > Turkey Creek > 5 Points Junction        4.3 miles

Return - 5 Points Junction > Flintstone (S) > service road (ENE) > Trailhead to Trailhead (S) > Burkett Trail > Burkett Park     2.1 miles

Temp in mid-70's, sunny with a few clouds, steady wind.

Leisurely hike along dry, groomed trails.  The park personnel had been out and cut back a lot of vegetation from the listed trails although there were a few spots they didn't get.  Overall though, the trails were very nice!

With the somewhat high winds, didn't see a lot of birds flying around except for Turkey Vultures.  Saw the "first of this year" Horned Toad (photo attached) - it was small, about the size of my thumb, but active.  Lots of flowers were still in bloom, additionally, the bee brush is still in bloom and scenting the air.

An easy, relaxing hike for sure!

NOTES

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

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

South Shore Playground Parking Area to Burkett Park Loop
User: MikeHikes - 6/6/2019  [View Log Page]
Rating: 3point5stars Difficulty: 1point5stars Solitude: 5stars
Distance: 7.10 Miles Duration: 3 hours

Out -     Playground Parking Area > Tasajilla Flats > Nature Loop > Lanky Lackey > WS to LL Connector > Burkett Park      4.0 miles

Return - Burkett Park > Winding Snake > Chaparral > Playground Parking Area     3.1 miles

Temp started at 65, ended at 73.  Sunny, few clouds, slight breeze.

Despite some rain earlier in the morning, I decided to hike.  The trails were very muddy or at best, merely wet.  Because of all the recent rains, the vegetation has grown a LOT!  As of this morning, Tasajilla Flats was very overgrown (photo attached) as were parts of Winding Snake. I'm sure once the ground dries out, park personnel will be assigned to groom the trails so I advise anyone planning to hike, to first check with the park personnel and get the latest trail info. 

A small group of Whitetail deer were spotted and I saw a pair of Yellow Billed Cuckoos, the first seen in a few years.  There are still wildflowers and bee brush in bloom although I didn't see any cactus flowers at all.  Surprising to me, there were few mosquitoes out.  One more piece of good news - I saw no trash on the trails!!

Although it was not the best of hikes, it was better than sitting at home.

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 then Isabel Harte
User: MikeHikes - 5/25/2019  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 1star Solitude: 5stars
Distance: 9.70 Miles Duration: 4 hours, 20 minutes

Leg 1 -  Burkett Park > WS to LL Connector > Rollercoaster > West Potts Creek > Armadillo > Turkey Creek > 5 Points Junction        4.3 miles

Leg 2 -  5 Points Junction > Flintstone (S) > service road (ENE) > Trailhead to Trailhead (S) > Burkett Trail > Burkett Park     2.1 miles

Leg 3 -  Burkett Park > Winding Snake > park road to Isabel Harte entrance > Lanky Lackey > WS to LL Connector > Burkett Park    3.3 miles

Temp started at 76, ended at 79.  HUMID, overcast and light rain (rain ended after Leg 2 completed).  Light winds.

Trails were wet and overgrown in places due to recent rains and vegetation growth.  One or two spots on West Potts Creek have fairly large brush/tree branches blocking the trail.  Rollercoaster Trail had numerous places where running water was coming off the hill.  Because of the rains, there are lots of places on all the trails that have no soil on the trail, only rocks.  With the moisture, there were slick spots galore as well as lots of sticky mud.  With the moisture comes mosquitos and gnats!

There were some birds out, a group of 20 park longhorns were blocking parts of Turkey Creek and were very reluctant to move - eventually they did. No other animals or reptiles were seen.  I spotted a Blue Grosbeak (first for the year) near Burkett Trail, numerous Mockingbirds as well as all the other usual suspects.  Lots of flowers are still in bloom, numerous butterflies are out and the cactus seem to have a second spurt of yellow cactus flowers.

Even though it was a fairly uneventful hike, I'd rather be hiking in the rain than sitting in a dry house!

NOTES

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

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

 

North Shore Bell's Trailhead to Cougar Outlook and back
User: MikeHikes - 5/16/2019  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 1star Solitude: 5stars
Distance: 9.60 Miles Duration: 4 hours, 20 minutes

Out       Bell's Trailhead > Shady Trail > Trailhead to Trailhead (S) > North Scenic Loop > South Slick Rock > Lower Ghost Camp Trail > River Bend Camp Area > Lower Ghost Camp Trail (S) > service road (50 meters) > River Bend (100 meters) > Javalina > Cougar Outlook         3.5 miles

Return   Cougar Outlook > service road (W) > River Bend (NW) > Badlands > service road (N 50 meters) > Dinosaur Trail (N) > Dinosaur Tracks Viewing Area > Dinosaur Trail (N) > service road (N) > Bell's Trailhead   6.1 miles

Temp started at 69, ended at 80.  Overcast then partly cloudy with light to intermittent winds.

I hiked this in reverse order than I normally do and have decided I'll do it the way I'm used to for future hikes.  The trails were dry with some spots wet with morning dew.  The majority of the trails have been groomed and leveled fairly recently but there are a few areas that are in dire need of grooming, specifically the South Slick Rock Trail and the portion of Lower Ghost Camp Trail that is below the River Bend Camp Area.  Vegetation is very high and in a few places, the trail was not visible.

The water continues to flow in the North Concho River but no water fowl were seen in the wet areas.  As a matter of fact, not many birds were spotted today while I hiked. I saw a couple of Whitetail deer, numerous park longhorns and a pair of javalinas.  I startled the javalinas as I walked past them hidden in the brush; one became pretty agitated so I continued my hike at a slightly brisker pace until we had some distance between us. 

The flowers still display their colors and the butterflies are very numerous. I find it ironic when I hear, or read, about locals who will drive for hours so they can "see flowers" yet they won't drive a few minutes/miles to the park, get out of their car, walk the trails and see more flowers than they would from their car as it whizzes down the road.

One interesting, and sad, find - a lone cicada was on Javalina Trail and seemed to be on his/her last legs.  I assume it hatched too early and will, unfortunately, die a lonely death as I've neither seen, nor heard, any other cicadas. 

It was a good hike although not what I had hoped for with regard to picture taking.

NOTES

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

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

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

Shade and info kiosk available at Dinosaur Tracks Viewing Area.  IMPORTANT - the water faucet has been turned OFF and I have no idea if/when it will be turned on again - the problem has been reported to park personnel.

South Shore Playground Parking Area to Burkett Park and Roadrunner Loop
User: MikeHikes - 5/13/2019  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4point5stars Difficulty: 1star Solitude: 5stars
Distance: 9.50 Miles Duration: 4 hours, 30 minutes

Leg 1 -  Playground parking area > Chaparral > Winding Snake > Burkett Park         2.9 miles

Leg 2 -  Burkett Park > WS to LL Connector > Lanky Lackey > Nature Loop > Horny Toad > Talley Valley > Chaparral > Playground parking area      3.5 miles

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

Temp started at 50, ended at 75.  Sunny, slight breeze.  Humid at first then drier air.

Today's hike could be entitled "There Will Be Mud".  After some always welcome rain on Saturday, I started early to get sunrise photos of O.C. Fisher with morning fog (photo attached).  Then I began my hike - the trails were "wet to muddy" for the entire hike.  Of course with the rain, comes vegetation growth which means high, wet grass.  My feet and sandals were caked in mud but seeing so many different birds made the hike enjoyable. In addition to seeing all the "usual suspects", I was pleased to see numerous Dicksissels and Nighthawks; both of which I haven't seen for some time.  I also saw a Painted Bunting, a pair of Killdeer and a solitary Great Blue Heron by the reservoir - no photos attached but a couple of good photos are on my hard drive.

The flowers continue to blossom but the Indian Blankets are slowly fading; a few Mexican Hats were spotted and will soon take up the "red flower" spot at the park.  More cactus blooms are on visible as well.  Bee brush, always giving off a pleasant scent, are thicker and as full of buzzing bees and other insects as I've ever seen them.

The biggest bonus though was watching a female Grey Fox while I was hiking.  She walked onto the trail about 20 meters in front of me, stopped and saw me.  After watching for a few seconds, she walked along the trail for a bit before disappearing into a pile of junipers and cactus.  I waited for her to come back out or go into a more pictureesque spot but she never did.  rather than continue to wait  for her, I left her in peace.

A very 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.

Water and shade are available at various campsites parallel to portion of Roadrunner Loop.  There is a toilet available at the Loop's mid-point.

 

Park Mid-section Burkett Park to Cougar Lookout Loop
User: MikeHikes - 5/6/2019  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4point5stars Difficulty: 1star Solitude: 5stars
Distance: 10.40 Miles Duration: 4 hours, 40 minutes

Leg 1 -  Burkett Park > Burkett Trail > (East) Potts Creek > Armadillo (E) > Playground > Bell's Point > Playground (N) > Flintstone > 5 Points Junction     3.5 miles

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

Leg 3 -  5 Points Junction > Turkey Creek > Armadillo (W) > West Potts Creek > Roller Coaster > WS to LL Connector > Burkett Park     4.3 miles

Temp started at 68, ended at 83.  Sunny, with a light breeze which gradually became a steady breeze about half way through the hike.

Flowers were everywhere!  Yellow, red, blue, purple, white - it didn't matter, they were all in abundance.  The bee brush is blooming and a few cactus flowers are beginning to open.  Unfortunately, I missed the Lace Cactus bloom and only saw the withered flowers. 

The trails for the most part, have been groomed and are in very good repair but there are a few notable exceptions - specifically, Armadillo Trail heading East/North as well as part of the Playground Trail.  Armadillo, in particular, has vegetation completely covering the trail so it was a matter of being very careful where I placed my feet - no desire to step on any of the park residents, whether poisonous or not!  The same can be said for some of the portions of Playground Trail located between the junction of Armadillo and Playground and South of Bell's Point.  It looks like park personnel will have to use hand held weed whackers to clear the brush.

I saw numerous birds, a few lizards and some of the park's longhorns. I'll say it again - the longhorns will leave you alone if you leave them alone ESPECIALLY if there are calves around (like there were today).  Although I've seen no snakes so far this year, I found the remains of two snakes - both long dead and in the process of being consumed by insects; surprising to me, a large group of small butterflies were feasting on the remains of a 3-4 ft long coachwhip that was partly opened.  These same small butterflies are seen on piles of dung - seems Nature lets nothing go to waste.

This hike bumps me up on the Texas Hiking website roster for miles hiked from #3 to #2 - give me a few years and I may surpass #1.  I didn't realize until a few minutes ago, I was already #2 in miles hiked on the national Hiking Trailhead website.

NOTES

Water, shade, info kiosk and dry toilets available at Burkett Park.  This will be the last time I mention this - the water at Burkett looks "chalky" but its safe to drink - I've suffered no ill effects after consuming it on my last few hikes.

Water and shade available at Bell's Point.

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

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

South Shore Playground Parking Area to Burkett Park and back
User: MikeHikes - 5/1/2019  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 1star Solitude: 5stars
Distance: 7.30 Miles Duration: 3 hours, 20 minutes

Out      Playground parking area > Chaparral > Red Dam Loop > Chaparral > Winding Snake > Burkett Park        3.4 miles

Return  Burkett park > WS to LL Connector > Lanky Lackey > Nature Loop > Tasajilla Flats > Playground parking area     3.9 miles

Temp in the low 70's, overcast and h-u-m-i-d with sporadic, light winds.

Trails were damp with morning dew in places but dry otherwise.  Vegetation continues to grow but the trails are easy to see - even when the vegetation is chest high (as on portions of Winding Snake).  Numerous birds were out and singing for mates, the wild flowers, in all colors, are in bloom including bee brush; butterflies were feasting on all the flowers and bee brush. 

The moisture laden air dampened any traffic noises so all I heard were the birds singing as I hiked the trails in perfect solitude. It doesn't get better than this!

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 still "milky" but has no odor or discernible taste; I've suffered no ill effects after drinking it.

 

North Shore Park Extension
User: MikeHikes - 4/18/2019  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: halfstar Solitude: 5stars
Distance: 6.10 Miles Duration: 3 hours, 30 minutes

Route - Park at the restrooms by the North Shore entrance then exit the park on foot and cross FM2288.  You will see a swinging gate that grants access to the park.  Round trip mileage is 6 miles.

Temps in the low 70's, partly cloudy then sunny, with fairly strong N by NW winds.

Once or twice a year, I hike this route which does not follow a named trail; instead, the trail is an old dirt road which fades into a single dirt trail as you walk deeper into the park.  There are numerous cow/animal trails crisscrossing the entire section of the park, nonetheless, the trail can be found if you look for it.  The trail ends at the fence line of a house on private property.  I recommend you come back the same way although you can follow another trail that runs parallel to the original trail for about 1/2 mile before you have to cut back to the original trail.

The main trail runs roughly parallel to the North Concho River - this river feeds into O.C. Fisher Reservoir located in the main section of the park.  It is recommended you stay on the North side of the river since private property runs along the river on the South side.  Additionally, the north side also has more trees and vegetation than the south side. Depending on the time of year, the vegetation may be thicker and higher than you'd expect. There are usually numerous members of the park's longhorn herd in the area so be aware of them - they'll leave you alone if you leave them alone.

As to the hike itself - this is one of the better hikes at the park to see birds you don't normally see elsewhere in the park due to the proximity of the river, the amount of shade trees and large swatches of grass and flowers.  Being west Texas, the river may or may not have water in it (it has quite a bit of water at the moment) which will affect the number and variety of birds you'll see. 

Ducks, Great Blue Herons, a Crested Caracara, Kingbirds, Vermillion Flycatchers, Western Bluebirds as well as sparrows, house finches and other birds were seen.  No animals besides the longhorn cattle were spotted and I saw my first reptile of the year - a lizard. 

The trail was overgrown with vegetation but fairly easy to hike on.  I made numerous forays along animal trails to the river as I looked for birds.  Some of these trails led to overlooks of the river, others took me to the river itself.  Caution is advised because these trails are NOT MAINTAINED and, some that go to the river, are fairly steep and slippery with loose dirt.

NOTES -

Before going on the hike, I STRONGLY RECOMMEND you talk to park personnel to ensure the area is open to hiking since it is sometimes closed due to hunting when other portions of the park are still open.  Additionally, it doesn't hurt to let them know you plan to be there hiking.

I recommend you look at this portion of the park using Google Earth (imagery is listed as 2019).  If the imagery date is correct, the photos were taken in January or February since the trail is easily seen and not obscured by vegetation.

Water, info kiosk and toilets available at the North Shore entrance (where you should park).  THERE IS NO WATER OR SANITARY FACILITIES AVAILABLE ON THE ROUTE.  Make sure you take plenty of water and bring your own paper in case "nature calls".

North Shore Bell's Trailhead to Cougar Lookout and back
User: MikeHikes - 4/11/2019  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 1star Solitude: 5stars
Distance: 10.00 Miles Duration: 4 hours

Out      Bell's Trailhead > Trailhead to Trailhead (S) > Dinosaur Trail > Dinosaur Tracks Viewing Area > Dinosaur Trail > Upper Big Hill > Dinosaur Trail (S) > service road (NW) 50 meters > Badlands > River Bend Trail > service road (NE) > Cougar Lookout       6.1 miles

Return  Cougar Lookout > Javalina > River Bend (NW) 100 meters > service road (NE) > Lower Ghost Camp Trail > River Bend Ghost Camp > Lower Ghost Camp Trail > South Slick Rock > Trailhead to Trailhead (N) > Rocky Creek > service road (N) > Shady Trail > Bell's Trailhead    3.9 miles

Temp started at 67, ended at 76.  Sunny with a 15mph steady westerly wind.

Very pleasant day for a hike.  Yesterday, the temp tied the record high at 99 degrees, today it was 76 due to a cold front that moved in last night. 

The yellow flowers are back!  Large portions of the park have yellow and purple flowers in abundance.  There were numerous butterflies, including a few Monarchs, but not many bees.  There were many birds  and I saw my "first for this year" Western Bluebird as well as a Kingbird. 

The native vegetation is growing and some portions of the trails are shaggy.  Nonetheless, the trails are easy to see and hike on.

 

NOTES

Water available at the campsites near Bell's Trailhead.  I advise you to have plenty of water before hiking.

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

    IMPORTANT - Although there is a water faucet here that has provided water in the past, there has been NO WATER AVAILABLE for at least three weeks (or more).  Don't know when, if ever, the water will be available.

Shade, info kiosk and a 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 toilets due to insects, reptiles and possibly no TP available.

Park Mid-section Burkett Park to 5 Points Junction Loop
User: MikeHikes - 3/27/2019  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 1star Solitude: 4point5stars
Distance: 6.50 Miles Duration: 3 hours, 30 minutes

Out     Burkett Park > WS to LL Connector > Roller Coaster > West Potts Creek > Armadillo > Turkey Creek > 5 Points Junction    4.0 miles

Return 5 Points Junction > Flintstone (S) > service road (NNE) > service road (SSE) > Burkett Trail > Burkett Park     2.5 miles

Temps started in low 60's, ended in low 70's.  Slight overcast with somewhat steady breeze.

An easy hike along dry and easy to see trails.  The yellow flowers are still present but the blue/purple flowers are multiplying in number.  There was a faint perfume to the air but since the agaritas have lost their blooms, the scent is faint.  In the near future, Bee Brush will have it's tiny, white vanilla scented flowers blooming.

Saw a large Javalina run across the trail about 30 yards in front of me - I readied the camera to capture a photo of the "family" but no family appeared.  Numerous birds were singing, the trails were nice and the weather was great - a very nice hike!

NOTES

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

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

South Shore Playground Parking Area to Armadillo Ridge Figure 8
User: MikeHikes - 3/21/2019  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 1star Solitude: 5stars
Distance: 11.10 Miles Duration: 4 hours, 30 minutes

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

Leg 2 -  Burkett Park > WS to LL Connector > Roller Coaster > West Potts Creek > Armadillo > (East) Potts Creek > Burkett Trail > Burkett Park     3.8 miles

Leg 3 -  Burkett Park > WS to LL Connector > Lanky Lackey > Nature Loop > Tasajilla Flats > Playground parking area    3.9 miles

Temp started at 60, ended at 72.  Partly cloudy to slight overcast.  Sporadic, light SW breeze.

Pleasant hike with numerous birds singing and lots of flowers blooming.  Yellow is the predominant flower color followed by patches of blue/purple flowers with spots of white and orange flowers seen as well.  Butterflies and blue dragonflies were out as well as other, less appreciated bugs such as flies and gnats. 

The trails are easy to see and were dry with the exception of a few wet spots on the Red Dam Loop as well as near the western end of West Potts Creek trail.  On the "dry" trails, the rocky soil has become loose in places so caution is advised when going up or down an incline (such as Roller Coaster); very easy to fall or twist an ankle by stepping on the wrong piece of soil.

NOTES

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

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

    IMPORTANT - the water at Burkett Park looks "chalky" or mineralized however, it doesn't have an odor or taste so it's safe to drink. 

North Shore Bell's Trailhead to River Bend Ghost Camp Loop
User: MikeHikes - 3/14/2019  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 1star Solitude: 3point5stars
Distance: 7.10 Miles Duration: 3 hours, 15 minutes

Out      Bell's Trailhead > Trailhead to Trailhead (S 50 meters) > Dinosaur Trail > Dinosaur tracks Viewing Area > Dinosaur Trail > Upper Big Hill > service road (100 meters) > Badlands Trail > River Bend Trail > Lower Ghost Camp trail > River Bend Ghost Camp    5.3 miles

Return  River Bend Ghost Camp > Lower Ghost Camp trail > South Slick Rock > Trailhead to Trailhead (N) > North Scenic Loop > Trailhead to Trailhead > Shady Trail > Bell's Trailhead   1.8 miles

Temp started at 52, ended at 62.  Sunny with strong NNW winds at 10-15 mph.

A shorter than usual, easy hike along trails that were 90% dry and 10% damp.  Saw more people on the trails so I assume it was due to Spring Break.  Singing birds were heard and seen but I saw no wild life or reptiles, i.e. rattlesnakes.  Earlier this week, strong winds blew through the area and because of this, I found numerous, already dead, mesquite branches laying all over the trails.  There is quite a bit of water in the Concho River and it's slowly flowing into the O.C.Fisher Reservoir.  As usual, a bag of trash was collected while I hiked.  Not much else to report.

NOTES

Water available at campsites near Bell's Trailhead.

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

    IMPORTANT - NO WATER available today.  I reported it and the camp host said he'd check the faucet.  Strongly advise anyone to take their own water.

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

    CAUTION - watch for snakes and insects (wasps) before using the dry toilets.  TP may not be available.

Park Mid-Section Burkett Park to 5 Points Junction Loop
User: MikeHikes - 3/7/2019  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: halfstar Solitude: 4point5stars
Distance: 8.30 Miles Duration: 3 hours, 45 minutes

Out      Burkett park > WS to LL Connector > Roller Coaster > West Potts Creek > Armadillo > Turkey Creek > 5 Points Junction      4.4 miles

Return  5 Points Junction > Flintstone (S) > Playground > Bell's Point > Playground > Armadillo > East Potts Creek > Burkett Trail > Burkett Park    3.9 miles

Temps started at 60, ended at 72.  Overcast, steady SW wind at 10-15 mph.

An easy, leisurely hike today along dry and easy to see trails. Recently, the park was closed for controlled burns and then a cold snap hit the area so no hikes for me in two weeks!  Last time I was out, the agaritas were just beginning to bloom and scent the air; today, I was glad to see numerous agarita bushes in various stages of blooming.  Although the scent they released was not overwhelming, nonetheless, it was still present at various places along the trails.

Lots of birds but most were not singing.  I saw a couple of raptors high in the sky as well as an American Kestrel perched in a tree so that may be the reason.  No animals or reptiles were seen.

No evidence of the controlled burn along my route and the park is beginning to "green out" but not overly so. 

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.

IMPORTANT - The info kiosk maps are still out of date - trust the new, park trails map given (free) at the South Shore gate.

South Shore Playground Parking Area to Burkett Park Loop
User: MikeHikes - 2/15/2019  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 1star Solitude: 5stars
Distance: 7.60 Miles Duration: 3 hours, 30 minutes

Out      Playground parking area > Chaparral > Talley Valley > Horny Toad > Nature Loop > Lanky Lackey > WS to LL Connector > Burkett Park      3.9 miles

Return  Burkett Park > Winding Snake > Chaparral > Red Dam Loop > Chaparral > Playground parking area      3.7 miles

Temps started at 70, ended at 83, windy then strong winds, sunny.

Gorgeous day for a hike !  The strong winds kept most birds either out of the air entirely or those that flew, did so in short, low flights.  No animals were spotted.  More agarita bushes are scenting the air with their small, yellow flowers!

Trails were groomed, dry and easy to traverse with the notable exception of Red Dam Loop.  About a quarter mile in, the trail became damp then wet with standing water.  There are ways around the water but your shoes will still get wet.  Once you get on the dam itself, the trail is dry again and stays so until you go further then you are, once again, in muddy terrain.  The mud ends after a short time and you're back on dry trails.  The trail is easy to do but you can count on getting your shoes somewhat wet and muddy.

NOTES

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

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

SPECIAL NOTICE -  For some reason the water spigot at Burkett park was having issues as if there was air in the pipes.  Water pressure was VERY inconsistent and when water came out, it was very "chalky" looking and my hiking partner suggested "they" might be cleaning the pipes.  In any event, I didn't drink the water but washed my hands and suffered no ill effects.

South Shore Playground Parking Area to Armadillo Ridge Figure 8
User: MikeHikes - 2/5/2019  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 1star Solitude: 4point5stars
Distance: 10.00 Miles Duration: 4 hours, 20 minutes

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

Leg 2 -  Burkett Park > Burkett Trail > Potts Creek > Armadillo (WSW) > West Potts Creek > Roller Coaster > Lanky Lackey (10 meters) > WS to LL Connector > Burkett Park

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

Temp started at 60, cloudy with light fog.  As the hike progressed, the sky cleared, the wind picked up and the temp warmed to 76.

A false Spring today as the temperature will stay warm for a few days before another cold front arrives with another freeze.  Trails were dry, for the most part, with a few wet spots on Roller Coaster and Chaparral.  Most of the trails have been groomed so they are easy to see.  Numerous types of birds were out in force; lots of them singing for mates!  A few raptors were on the hunt as well.

I saw my "first for this year" Agarita bush in bloom  with numerous small, yellow flowers perfuming the air - the scent reminds me of hot dust, mesquite wood smoke and honey.  (photo attached)

Picked up a couple of bags of trash from the trails but otherwise, all went well.

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 Loop
User: MikeHikes - 1/29/2019  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 1star Solitude: 5stars
Distance: 8.20 Miles Duration: 3 hours, 30 minutes

Out      Burkett Park > Burkett Trail > Potts Creek > Armadillo (NE) > Playground > Bell's Point > Playground > Flintstone > 5 Points Junction     3.7 miles

Return  5 Points Junction > Turkey Creek > Armadillo (SW) > West Potts Creek > Roller COaster > Lanky Lackey (10 meters) > WS to LL Connector > Burkett Park     4.5 miles

Started with overcast skies and temp at 27; ended with partly cloudy skies and temp at 45.  Light wind.

A gloomy and cold start for today's hike; ice coated the water trough at Burkett Park. Trails were dry, easy to see and traverse. Although I saw a few of the park's longhorns grazing, there were no birds or other wildlife observed for the first half of the hike and only a few birds were seen while on the return leg.    Nothing really happened on the hike - it was colder than normal but the hike was very doable!

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. 

North Shore Bell's Trailhead to Cougar Lookout and Back
User: MikeHikes - 1/22/2019  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 1star Solitude: 4point5stars
Distance: 11.10 Miles Duration: 5 hours

Out     Bell's Trailhead > Dinosaur Trail > Dinosaur Tracks Viewing Area > Dinosaur Trail > Upper Big Hill > Badlands > River Bend > service road (N) > Cougar Lookout      6.6 miles

Return  Cougar Lookout > Javalina > River Bend (about .25 mile) > service road (N) > Lower Ghost Camp > River Bend Ghost Camp > South Slick Rock > service road (NW) > Shady Trail > Bell's Trailhead     4.5 miles

Temps started at 55 and ended at 67.  Overcast and gloomy at first then partly cloudy.  Steady 10-15 mph SW wind.

Most of the trails in the middle and north sections of the park, have a hiker/horse trail running somewhat parallel to the hiker/bike trail.  Today was "hiker/horse trail" day and I stayed on them as much as possible.  These trails, for the most part, were dry or slightly damp and rougher than the hiker/bike trails due to the horse's hooves impacting the trail; especially when the trail was wet and muddy.  Nonetheless, it was good to hike slightly different trails while I observed the birds and conducted minor trail maintenance/trash pick-up. 

NOTES

Water available at the campsites by Bell's Trailhead.

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

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

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

South Shore Playground parking area to Burkett Park and then Roadrunner Loop
User: MikeHikes - 1/16/2019  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 1star Solitude: 5stars
Distance: 10.20 Miles Duration: 4 hours, 20 minutes

Leg 1 -  Playground parking area > Chaparral > Winding Snake > Burkett Park    3.0 miles

Leg 2 -  Burkett Park > WS to LL Connector > Lanky Lackey > Nature Loop > Tasajilla Flats > Playground parking area    4.1 miles

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

Temp started at 44, ended at 59.  Overcast then sunny.  Steady 10-15 mph SW wind.

First hike of 2019 and first hike in new Columbia hiking boots.  Beginning mileage = 2324.5 miles with 295 logged entries.

An overcast, windy, cold day on wet and muddy trails.  The weather conditions kept the wildlife hidden with the exception of a few birds.  Most stayed low to the ground but there were two American Kestrels and two Loggerhead Shrikes hunting.  All the other birds stayed in place or made short flights, low to the ground. 

Trails are easy to see and traverse and the park personnel have groomed the Roadrunner Loop again.  It has been leveled and widened making it an easy hike for anyone.  A bag of trash was picked up but nothing else to report. 

NOTES

Water, shade, info kiosk, toilets and a bicycle repair station available at Playground parking area.

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

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

Water and shade available at various campsites along the edges of Roadrunner Loop.

IMPORTANT - trail maps have been updated BUT the maps in the info kiosks have not.  Trust the paper trail map you get at the park entrance.

South Shore Playground Parking Area to Burkett Park and Back
User: MikeHikes - 12/31/2018  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: halfstar Solitude: 5stars
Distance: 7.10 Miles Duration: 3 hours

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

Return   Burkett park > WS to LL Connector > Lanky Lackey > Nature Loop > Tasajilla Flats > Playground parking area     4.0 miles

Temps started at 41, ended at 45.  Sunny with a few wispy clouds, steady 20+ mph WNW wind.

Last hike of 2018 on wet and muddy trails.  Nobody else on the trails and no other cars in the parking lots when I arrived or departed.  The wind kept the birds low to the ground except for a group of Crested Caracaras flying high and away from me (photo attached).  This is the second time I've seen these birds at the park; although the photo is not the best, it is proof they were there!

Stats for the year - 

Mileage on 01/07/2018     1946.5 miles with 250 log entries

Mileage on 12/31/2018     2324.5 miles with 295 log entries

Miles Hiked in 2018           378 miles with 45 log entries

NOTES

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

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

South Shore Roadrunner Loop Christmas Hike
User: MikeHikes - 12/25/2018  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: halfstar Solitude: 5stars
Distance: 3.10 Miles Duration: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Route   Playground parking area > Roadrunner Loop > Playground parking area

Temp in the mid-50's, overcast then partly cloudy, light wind.

A short hike around the Loop.  The trail had been leveled/graded fairly recently so the ground was relatively soft but rocks of various sizes were laying on the trail - very easy to twist an ankle if you aren't careful!

Some birds were out but nothing unusual.  Just a short hike with friends on Christmas!

NOTES

Water, shade, info kiosk, toilets and a bicycle repair station at Playground parking area.

Water, shade and toilets at a few spots alongside the trail.


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