This has been one of our favorite places for years. Located on Lake Worth in northwest Tarrant County, the refuge contains over 3600 acres of cross-timbers woodland, prairie, bottomland forest, and wetlands. Over 20 miles of primitive trails lead visitors through these habitats, and so there are opportunities to “lose yourself” in this place without frequently bumping into other visitors. Their website is http://www.fwnaturecenter.org/.
Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge
Managed by the Forest Service (http://www.fs.usda.gov/texas/), the LBJ Grasslands consists of over 20,000 acres in a patchwork of cross timbers forest and savanna located mostly in Wise County. There are hiking trails and horse trails that can be walked. Creeks and small ponds are found throughout the area, supporting a remarkable frog diversity. Texas ratsnakes and Broad-banded copperheads are among the common snake species. A number of lizard species occur there, including the Southern prairie skink, which is seen less often than some of our other skinks.
LBJ National Grasslands
Southwest Nature Preserve
A great little preserve in southwest Arlington (see http://naturallyfun.org/southwest-nature-preserve), with 58 acres of crosstimbers woodland and a couple of small ponds. Trails weave through the woods and beside the ponds, and there is a boardwalk to the larger pond and some fishing is allowed.
Park Hill Prairie
A remnant of real tallgrass prairie in the blackland prairie ecosystem, in northeastern Collin County. The 436-acre preserve is located off County Road 668, east of Blue Ridge (see http://www.co.collin.tx.us/parks/Pages/parkhill_prairie.aspx). A couple of trails allow visitors to walk through the prairie.