Return to San Angelo State Park

South Shore Playground Parking Area to Burkett Park and Back
User: MikeHikes - 11/19/2019  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: halfstar Solitude: 3point5stars
Distance: 6.80 Miles Duration: 3 hours, 10 minutes

Out      -  Playground Parking Area > Tasajilla Flats > Nature Loop > Lanky Lackey > WS to LL Connector > Burkett Park      3.6 miles

Return  -  Burkett Park > Winding Snake > Chaparral > Red Dam Loop > Chaparral > Playground Parking Area      3.2 miles

Temps at start were 39, at end 71.  Sunny with high wispy clouds and little to no wind.

During last week's hike, the temperatures rapidly changed from warm to cold; this week, they went from cold to warm!  An easy hike along dry, groomed, easy to see and traverse trails. With the seasonal change and little to no rain, almost all of the vegetation has died back and dried up so the trails are very easy to see and hike on.  Animal and bird activity was pretty good - I saw white tail deer as well as quite a few birds including some migrating pelicans flying over the reservoir which is at 11% capacity (not a lot of water but some is better than none and it attracts the migrating birds).  A few grasshoppers and other insects were also spotted with a lone butterfly seen as well.

Not much else to report.

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 - 11/11/2019  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: halfstar Solitude: 5stars
Distance: 7.50 Miles Duration: 3 hours

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) > Playground > Bell's Point > Playground > Armadillo > East Potts Creek > Burkett Trail > Burkett Park    3.5 miles

Temps started at 62 and overcast with light wind.  Finished with temp at 43, heavy overcast, and strong north winds.

A quiet stroll through the park's mid-section before the park was closed due to a scheduled hunt, for the remainder of this week.  I saw four 4, 6 and 8 point bucks, three does and four fawns at various times during the hike - good luck to them!  I saw some birds but not many, due to the dropping temperatures and steadily increasing winds, especially when the north winds gustily signaled that an anticipated cold front had arrived.

All trails were easy to see and traverse.  Even with the sudden temperature drop and stong, cold winds, it was 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.

Water and shade available at Bell's Point. 

South Shore Burkett Park Loop
User: MikeHikes - 11/5/2019  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: halfstar Solitude: 5stars
Distance: 6.10 Miles Duration: 3 hours

Route -  Burkett Park > Winding Snake > Chaparral > Red Dam Loop > Chaparral > Talley Valley > Horny Toad > Nature Loop > Lanky Lackey > WS to LL Connector > Burkett Park     6.1 miles

Temps started at 55, ended at 71.  Partly cloud with light, intermittent breezes.

Entire route was groomed, dry, easy to see and traverse.  Animals were out - I saw a family of 5-7 javelinas but could only get a photo of one that decided to sit still and not be seen.(photo attached). I also saw a whitetail doe and her two fawns leisurely eating as I watched.  Numerous birds were out such as a Kestrel, a Loggerhead Shrike, White Crowned Sparrows as well as others.  I also saw, for the first time in quite a while, a cotton rat as it scampered up the trail ahead of me before disappearing in the scrub. 

Not much else happened today!

NOTES

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

 

South Shore Playground Parking Area to Burkett Park and back
User: MikeHikes - 10/22/2019  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: halfstar Solitude: 5stars
Distance: 7.50 Miles Duration: 5 hours

Out      Playground parking area > Chaparral > Red Dam Loop > Chaparral > Winding Snake > Burkett park       3.9 miles

Return  Burkett park > WS to LL Connector > Lanky Lackey > Nature Loop > Horny Toad > Talley Vally > Chaparral > Playground parking area   3.6 miles

Temp started at 45, ended at 73.  Sunny, light wind, low humidity.

Slow, leisurely hike on well defined and groomed trails.  Saw a few deer - no bucks, only does and larger fawns.  Birds were somewhat active at first but then stayed in the brush or much higher up. We saw Turkey Vultures, Black Buzzards, a few raptors as well as an American Kestrel and a Loggerhead Shrike.  Saw a few Orange Crowned Warblers (photo attached).  Not much else to report.

NOTES

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

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

South Shore Playground Parking Area to Burkett Park Loop
User: MikeHikes - 9/25/2019  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 1star Solitude: 5stars
Distance: 6.60 Miles Duration: 3 hours

Out -     Playground parking area > Tasajilla Flats > Nature Loop > Lanky Lackey > WS to LL Connector > Burkett park       3.7 miles

Return - Burkett park > Winding Snake > Chaparral    2.9 miles

Temp started at 75, ended at 85.  Sunny with high wispy clouds, steady SSW wind.

A quiet hike along dry, easy to see and traverse, trails.  Birds were somewhat active as I saw a lot of usual suspects and no unusual ones.  No animals spotted although I saw a few lizards.  The only creatures seen in abundance were grasshoppers of all sizes; they were seen on all the trails.  

A quiet and peaceful hike to be sure!

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 - 9/21/2019  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: halfstar Solitude: 4point5stars
Distance: 7.90 Miles Duration: 3 hours, 45 minutes

Out -     Burkett Park > WS to LL Connector > Roller Coaster > West Potts Creek > Armadill > Turkey Creek > 5 Points Junction       4.3 miles

Return - 5 Points Junction > Flintstone (S) > Playground Trail > Bells Point > Playground Trail > Armadillo > East Potts Creek > Burkett Trail > Burkett Park     3.6 miles

Temp started at 74, ended at 89.  Partly cloudy and steady s wind at 10-15 mph.

Pleasant hike along dry, easy to see trails.  Only a few portions of the hike had vegetation issues and they weren't severe.  There wasn't much wildlife or bird activity except right at the beginning when I spotted three Axis deer with some White tail deer.  Otherwise, the wind kept most of the birds low to the ground. 

There were quite a few grasshoppers still out.  Purple thistle as well as a few wild flowers were being occupied by various insects.

All in all, a nice, quiet, relaxing hike with a cooling wind blowing constantly.

 

NOTES

Water, Shade, Info kiosk and dry toilets available at Burkett Park.

Water, shade, info kiosk available at 5 Points Junction

Water, shade, info kiosk available at Bell's Point.

 

 

South Shore Trail Loop
User: MikeHikes - 9/3/2019  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 1star Solitude: 5stars
Distance: 6.80 Miles Duration: 3 hours, 15 minutes

Leg 1 -  Burkett Park > Winding Snake > Chaparral > Red Dam Loop > Chaparral > Talley Valley                 3.4 miles

Leg 2 -  Talley Valley > Horny Toad > Nature Loop > Lanky Lackey > WS to LL COnnector > Burkett Park    3.4 miles

Temps started at 71, ended at 86.  Sunny with no wind, some humidity.

A pleasant hike this morning along easy to see and traverse trails. The only portion of today's route that needs some attention is located on the Talley Valley trail; the vegetation needs to be groomed but the trail is easy to see and hike on.

Not much animal activity this morning although I saw a couple of Loggerhead Shrikes at different places on the trails (first in some time), a rather large hawk sitting in a tree a distance away (unknown what type) and at the end of our hike, a Red-tailed Hawk sitting in a tree at Burkett Park . 

Also spotted was a good sized Horned Toad, numerous dragonflies and some small birds.  While on Red Dam Loop, there is a patch where large numbers of thistle and sunflower plants are in bloom.  The buzzing of bees was very loud but I didn't see too many flying around.  Caution is advised when going through this area.

Not a lot more to say except the hike was good!

NOTES

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

 

South Shore Playground Parking Area to Burkett Park and Roadrunner Loop
User: MikeHikes - 8/28/2019  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: halfstar Solitude: 4point5stars
Distance: 9.70 Miles Duration: 4 hours

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 > Tasajilla Flats > Playground parking area     3.2 miles

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

Temp started at 71, ended at 90.  Humid, overcast with none-to-light wind.

An unusually cooler day which means time to hike!  All trails except portions of Roadrunner Loop were dry, groomed and easy to traverse.  Portions of Roadrunner Loop are in need of grooming but can still be traverse easily enough. 

Today I saw the smallest snake I'd ever seen!  On Winding Snake Trail, I saw what looked like a piece of a black shoelace laying on the trail about three feet in front of me.  When I moved forward, the "string" moved!  It was a Ringneck Snake - jet black with a yellow ring-like collar (photo attached).  The snake was only 4-5 inches in length and extremely thin - literally as thick as a shoe lace.  He quickly slithered away into the brush.  No animals except for a few white tail deer were spotted and bird activity was surprisingly minimal.  Later, while on Roadrunner Loop, I spotted a much larger coachwhip snake. 

Hiking Edition LPT (Life Pro Tip) - if you have the foresight to bring TP in case "Nature calls", stow it in a Zip-loc bag (or two).  This keeps the paper dry, easily accessible and also gives you an easy and sanitary way to dispose of the used paper.  Do your business, then put the used paper in the Zip-loc, pack it out and safely dispose of the bag.  Although the waste, as well as the paper, is biodegradeable and will eventually disappear, it's rather rude to leave a pile of used paper somewhat near the trail where it can be seen by others.  Be courteous to your fellow park users and pack out what you bring in. Thank you!

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 available at various campsites along Roadrunner Loop.  There is a toilet located near the mid-point of the Loop.

 

 

 

 

 

South Shore Armadillo Ridge to Playground Parking Area Figure 8
User: MikeHikes - 8/25/2019  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 1star Solitude: 4stars
Distance: 10.20 Miles Duration: 4 hours, 20 minutes

Leg 1 -  Burkett park > Burkett Trail > East Potts Creek > Armadillo (WSW) > West Potts Creek > Roller Coaster > WS to LL Connector > Burkett Park    3.8 miles

Leg 2 - Burkett Park > Winding Snake > Chaparral > Playground Parking Area     2.7 miles

Leg 3 - Playground Parking Area > Tasajilla Flats > Nature Loop > Lanky Lackey > WS to LL Connector > Burkett Park     3.7 miles

Temp started at 71, ended at 96.  Sunny with light intermittent breeze.  Humid at first then drying.

A few days ago, San Angelo had "scattered thunderstorms"; well, the trails and area North of Burkett Park were wet and the trails and area South of Burkett Park were dry! The trails were easy to see and traverse.  Due to the recent rain mentioned earlier, the trails on the first leg were damp to wet and the trails on the second and third legs, were all dry. 

I saw activity on the first leg of my hike - a young skunk foraging, birds hopping from tree to tree and bush to bush and a family of seven javalinas wandering the trail.  Once I started the second leg of the hike, the birds disappeared as did the wild life with the exception of a couple of white tail deer, otherwise, it was as if all the wildlife went back to bed.  Normally, I only battle mosquitoes and gnats, today however, the biting flies were aggressive and I killed quite a few since they would not leave me alone.  Grasshoppers are still around but the cicadas were silent.

There were a few mountain bikers and hikers on the trails otherwise it was a quiet, peaceful hike.

NOTES

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

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

Park Mid-Section Burkett Park to Cougar Overlook Figure 8
User: MikeHikes - 8/21/2019  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 1star Solitude: 5stars
Distance: 10.60 Miles Duration: 4 hours, 30 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 (N) > Cougar Overlook > service road (WNW) > River Bend (S) > 5 Points Junction       2.7 miles

Leg 3 -  5 Points Junction > Flintstone (S) > Playground > Bell's Point > Playground > Armadillo > East Potts Creek > Burkett Trail > Burkett Park    3.6 miles

Temps started at 74 and ended at 96.  Sunny with light then a steady breeze .

Since we've had no rain for almost two months and have had almost a month of 100+ temps, the trails are dry, easy to see and traverse BUT the same weather conditions have caused the soil to become so dry and loose, it is easier to lose your footing on the rocky portions of the trails.  Surprisingly, the majority of the park, for the most part, is still green!  There were a few portions of the Playground and Armadillo trails that could use some grooming but overall, the trails were very good!

Perhaps due to the heat or the time of the year, the bird activity is minimal.  What birds that were out were mostly making short flights from bush to bush or down to the ground - there were very few in the tree tops singing or trying to draw attention to themselves. 

I saw a fox (photo attached) which is becoming a normal event. In the past, seeing a fox was rare - for the last few hikes, I've seen at least one each time.  Don't know if the population is increasing or they are hungry and looking for food when I happen to be out. 

I saw and learned something about the longhorns today.  The park is divided in sections by barbed wire fences and cattleguards so they can run the cattle in different locations.  Well, while on Flintstone heading to Cougar Overlook, I saw three young longhorns by a cattle guard and fence.  Two of the calves spooked and ran away from me down the fence line.  The third, a slightly larger calf, ran toward the cattleguard and jumped over the cattleguard while simultaneously ducking under the poles supporting the cattleguard and fence thereby joining the rest of the herd on the other side of the barbed wire fence!

I was told some of the larger longhorns jump over the cattleguard with no problem - I learn something new every day!

NOTES -

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

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

Info kiosk, shade and a bicycle repair station available at Cougar Overlook.

Water and shade available at Bell's Point.

 

North Shore Bell's Trailhead to River Bend Ghost camp and back
User: MikeHikes - 8/17/2019  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 1star Solitude: 4point5stars
Distance: 7.20 Miles Duration: 3 hours, 30 minutes

Out -      Bell's Trailhead > DInosaur Trail > Dinosaur Tracks Viewing Area > Dinosaur Trail > Lower Big Hill > North Scenic Loop > service road (W) 50 meters > Badlands > River Bend > service road         4.7 miles

Return -  Service road (ENE) > Lower Ghost Camp Trail > River Bend Ghost Camp > Lower Ghost Camp > South SLick Rock > Trailhead to Trailhead (N) (service road) > Shady Trail > Bell's Trailhead                2.5 miles

Temps started at 79 and ended at 96, sunny, light and steady wind.

All trails were dry, easy to traverse and had been groomed fairly recently.  The only animals seen today were the longhorns; there were some birds out but they were not abundant.  The one creature we saw the most of, were spiders - specifically, Garden Spiders!  It seemed every minute or two, we saw another spider either in it's web or on a plant close to the trail.  Grasshoppers were also evident; these were "normal" grasshoppers, the larger ones we saw only a time or two.

We had the trails to ourselves with the exception of seeing a few mountain bikers and a pair of equestrians. 

NOTES

Water and info kiosk available at Bell's Trailhead; water is located at various campsites near the trailhead.

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

Water, shade, info kiosks and dry toilets available at the River Bend Ghost Camp area.  IMPORTANT - although water is available, when I tried it, the water had a noticeable "swampy" smell and taste. 

 

South Shore Burkett Park to Roadrunner Loop Figure 8
User: MikeHikes - 8/12/2019  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 1star Solitude: 5stars
Distance: 9.70 Miles Duration: 4 hours

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

Leg 2 -  Playground parking area > Roadrunner Loop > Playground parking area       3.0 miles

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

Temp started at 76, ended at 96.  Sunny with steady light wind.

Trails are all dry and have been groomed.  We're in the 15th straight day of 100+ degree temps with no rain so vegetation has not grown much.  The birds were not active at all; individual flyers were out and I saw a dozen baby quail with an adult pair fly out when I approached, otherwise, not many birds were out and the ones that were, are looking scraggly!

I saw about 10 white tail deer, including one fawn with spots, at various locations.  A grey fox was seen on Lanky Lackey - it had been lounging in the sun when it jumped up and watched me from some bushes (photo attached).

Overall, a good hike on a very warm day!

NOTES

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

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

Water and shade available at various campsites parallel to Roadrunner Loop.  There are toilets available at the midway point of the Loop.

 

South Shore Armadillo Ridge to Playground Parking Area Figure 8
User: MikeHikes - 7/27/2019  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 1star Solitude: 3stars
Distance: 10.40 Miles Duration: 4 hours

Leg 1 -  Burkett park > WS to LL Connector > Roller coaster > West Potts Creek > Armadillo > East Potts Creek > Burkett Trail > Burkett Park      3.7 miles

Leg 2 - Burkett Park > WS to LL Connector > Lanky Lackey > Nature Loop > Tasajilla Flats > Playground parking area        3.8 miles

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

Temp started at 68, ended at 83.  Sunny with light wind.

The trails were crowded - at least they were crowded compared to the normal amount of traffic I see which is one or two people at most.  The trails themselves are dry and easy to traverse.  Almost all have been groomed and those few spots that haven't, are pretty insignificant as far as obstacles or hinderances.

Today I saw a number of deer; the bucks were 6 and 8 pointers with lots of velvet covering their antlers.  Birds were fairly numerous - cuckoos and painted buntings along with the normally seen birds.   I also saw a small, thin, black snake that may have been one foot long at the most.  Not a quarter a mile down the same trail, a Horned Toad about the size of my thumb, was catching some rays in the middle of the trail.  I got a snap (photo attached) then got him off the trail to safety.

NOTES

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

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

Park Mid-Section Burkett Park to Cougar Lookout and back
User: MikeHikes - 7/20/2019  [View Log Page]
Rating: 5stars Difficulty: 1star Solitude: 4point5stars
Distance: 8.80 Miles Duration: 4 hours

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 > River Bend > service road (E) > Cougar Lookout > Flintstone > 5 Points Junction       2.6 miles

Leg 3 -  5 Points Junction > Flintstone (S) > service road (NE) > Trailhead to Trailhead Trail (S) > Burkett Trail > Burkett Park    1.9 miles

Temp started at 72, ended at 92.  Sunny, slightly humid, light breeze.

A very relaxing hike on dry, easy to see and traverse trails. I started early and was rewarded with seeing a fox on two different trails (photo attached), a Tarantula as well as numerous low flying birds.  As I hiked and felt the sun on my back and the wind gently blowing, I happily realized it doesn't get much better than this!

NOTES

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

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
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.


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