Aransas National Wildlife Refuge

Tivoli, Texas 77990

Aransas National Wildlife Refuge

Aransas National Wildlife Refuge Professional Review and Guide

"Most of the 115,000-acre refuge is situated on the Blackjack Peninsula, between San Antonio and Mesquite bays on the east and St. Charles Bay on the west; a portion of the refuge is located on nearby Matagorda Island.

The refuge is the principal wintering ground for the endangered Whooping Crane (properly pronounced “hooping”), which arrives in mid-October, after a 2,500-mile flight from its northern nesting grounds in Canada’s Wood Buffalo National Park. Winter flocks currently number about 150 birds.

This guide provides detailed information on birding strategies for this specific location, the specialty birds and other key birds you might see, directions to each birding spot, a detailed map, and helpful general information."

More Aransas National Wildlife Refuge Professional Reviews and Guides

"This 70,504-acre wildlife refuge is on the Blackjack Peninsula in the Gulf of Mexico. The landscape includes grasslands, oak mottes, redbay thickets, tidal marshes, freshwater ponds, and shores.

Aransas is home to many creatures, including alligators, deer, bobcats, and more than 392 species of birds, including endangered whooping cranes, which winter here. The refuge offers a 16-mile auto tour loop, a 40-foot observation tower (good for viewing the cranes), picnic areas, and several trails."

"This guide includes four short easy hikes at Aransas National Wildlife Refuge. Because Aransas National Wildlife Refuge is the primary winter home to the endangered whooping crane, it is probably one of the most famous wildlife refuges in the United States. Because of its location along migratory bird routes and its extensive, rich tidal marshes, Aransas attracts tremendous numbers of birds. Over 350 species have been reported at Aransas, one of the highest counts in the country. Sooner or later, all serious birders show up at Aransas.

The refuge is also home to abundant other wildlife. In the few hours that it took me to hike these trails on a quiet October afternoon, I saw multitudes of alligators and birds, two raccoons, two armadillos, one water moccasin, nine deer, and one nonpoisonous snake devouring an anole."

"For birders not just in the United States but around the world,Aransas has long been synonymous with the Whooping Crane, one of the most famous endangered species on earth.

After nesting in northern Canada, the sole traditionally wild flock of these birds flies 2,500 miles south each fall to spend the winter on one small stretch of the central Texas coast — and each winter hundreds of nature lovers (or just curious travelers) take time to see them."

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Trail Information

Nearby City
Several options
Trail Type
Skill Level
Best November-April for Whooping Crane & wintering water birds; April to early May for spring migrants & nesting activities; August-October for shorebirds
Best Times
Aransas National Wildlife Refuge
Local Contacts
Texas Atlas & Gazetteer, DeLorme
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Oct 2018