Galveston Island State Park, Bayou Trails

Galveston, Texas

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Galveston Island is about 5000 years old and has a rich history; explorer Cabeza de Vaca was shipwrecked here in 1528, when he encountered the native Karankawas, who had disappeared as a distinct tribe by 1860. In 1817, pirate Jean Lafitte raided Spanish ships from outposts he built here with the blessing of Mexican revolutionaries, for obvious reasons. A hurricane in 1900 killed 5000 to 10,000 people and motivated construction of the city’s 7-mile-long seawall. Barrier islands like Galveston are transitions between land and ocean and support a variety of distinct ecoregions, including prairie and salt marsh wetlands, which this hike traverses. The park staff have been working to eliminate invasive plants and restore native vegetation such as gulf cordgrass and switchgrass. The area around the marsh supports coyotes, opossums, rabbits, snakes, raccoons, and armadillos; spotted sea trout, red drum, flounder, blue crab, and shrimp live in the marsh, where they attract birds like great blue herons, snowy egrets, roseate spoonbills, and mottled and mallard ducks.

Galveston Island State Park, Bayou Trails Professional Review and Guide

"Galveston Island is about 5000 years old and has a rich history; explorer Cabeza de Vaca was shipwrecked here in 1528, when he encountered the native Karankawas, who had disappeared as a distinct tribe by 1860. In 1817, pirate Jean Lafitte raided Spanish ships from outposts he built here with the blessing of Mexican revolutionaries, for obvious reasons. A hurricane in 1900 killed 5000 to 10,000 people and motivated construction of the city’s 7-mile-long seawall.

Barrier islands like Galveston are transitions between land and ocean and support a variety of distinct ecoregions, including prairie and salt marsh wetlands, which this hike traverses. The park staff have been working to eliminate invasive plants and restore native vegetation such as gulf cordgrass and switchgrass. The area around the marsh supports coyotes, opossums, rabbits, snakes, raccoons, and armadillos; spotted sea trout, red drum, flounder, blue crab, and shrimp live in the marsh, where they attract birds like great blue herons, snowy egrets, roseate spoonbills, and mottled and mallard ducks."

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Galveston
Distance: 4
Elevation Gain: Minimal
Trail Type: Loop/Lollipop
Skill Level: Easy
Duration: 2 hours
Season: Spring-Fall
Trailhead Elevation: 5 feet
Top Elevation: 5 feet
Accessibility: Dog-friendly
Local Contacts: Galveston Island State Park
Local Maps: Texas Parks and Wildlife Galveston Island State Park Map
Driving Directions: Directions to Galveston Island State Park, Bayou Trails

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May 2018