Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge
Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1994 to protect a remnant of the bottomland hardwood forest ecosystem along the Trinity River. The Refuge is currently at almost 25,000 acres and continues to grow. It is one of only 14 priority-one bottomland sites identified for protection in the Texas Bottomland Protection Plan. Additionally, this refuge is located within the Gulf Coast Joint Venture Project Area of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan and, as such, is highly valuable for a diversity of waterfowl species. This type of habitat is used during migration or nesting by nearly 50 percent of the neotropical migratory bird species listed by the Service. Bottomland hardwood forests also support abundant populations of white-tailed deer, squirrels, numerous other furbearers, freshwater turtles, alligators, snakes, river otters, and bald eagle. Although not fully surveyed, the refuge contains more than 650 plant species and 400 vertebrate species.
Wildlife-oriented recreational opportunities available at the Trinity River NWR include fishing, hunting, photography, and general nature observation. Most of these recreational opportunities are permitted on numerous public use areas throughout the Refuge. Many other tracts found on the Refuge are currently closed to the public due to lack of access, roads, and facilities.
The Refuge is open from sunrise to sunset every day of the year. On certain occasions, portions of the Refuge may be temporarily closed due to management activities, flooding or other safety concerns.
Facilities: The Refuge is mostly primitive. At the Champion Lake Public Use Area, only a portable toliet , observation pier, butterfly garden, and trails are available. All other tracts with a parking lot only have primitive trails. Gas, food, and lodging facilities are located throughout Liberty County. There are at least 2 camping and recreational vehicle sites in operation within Liberty County that are open to the public.
Boating is available with registered boats.
Birdwatching opportunities are available on five tracts at the Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge. The Champion Lake Public Use Area offers the most variety. This 800 acre cypress tree studded lake and adjacent 4,600 acres of bottomland hardwood forest offers viewing (depending on time of the year) of at least a dozen species of waterfowl, Bald Eagle, Swallow-tailed Kite, Osprey, Wood Stork, Painted Bunting, Vermillion Flycatcher, Bluebird and numerous warbler species including the Prothonotary Warbler. A short levee trail is available (use dependent on flood levels) or you can bird with a small boat. Other tracts that offer birding opportunities include Butler Tract, Brierwood Tract, Page Tract, and McGuire tract.
Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge currently offers three tracts for fishing opportunities. Champion Lake is the largest and easiest to access. You can drive right up to the 150 foot fishing pier, fish from a boat, or along a 3,000 foot levee. The lake consists of 800 plus acres of flooded cypress trees and buttonbush. The McGuire tract requires a quarter mile walk to a two acre pond and adjacent bayou. The Brierwood tract allows access to Gaylor Lake/Davis Bayou bank line less than 50 yards from the parking area. You will have the opportunity to catch bass, crappie or catfish at each of these areas. Keep your eye out for alligators, opossum, beavers, otters, not to mention a few snakes and always have a current fishing license with you.
Except for a portable toilet at Champion Lake, there are no facilities available at any of the other sites.
Please leave the area cleaner than when you arrived.
Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge has about 15 miles of PRIMITIVE trails scattered over five tracts. Since the Refuge is primarily bottomland hardwood forest, most of it floods or has standing rainwater at various times during the year. Except for mowing, blading, or fallen tree removal, little can be done to improve these dirt trails. Be prepared to get your shoes muddy during the wet times. Some trails are loops while others are straight in and out. Most trails do not have any markers on them at this time.
There are various opportunities for hunting on the Refuge. There is Archery, Big Game (Deer and Hog), Upland Game (Squirrel and Rabbit), Muzzleloader (Deer and Hog) and Waterfowl Hunting on the Refuge.
Wildlife observation opportunities are available on five tracts at the Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge. The Champion Lake Public Use Area offers the most variety. This 800- acre cypress-tree-studded lake and adjacent 4,600 acres of bottomland hardwood forest offers viewing (depending on time of the year) of over 100 species of birds. Nearly two dozen species of reptiles including the venomous cottonmouth water moccasin, various other snakes and turtles, and of course, alligators. Amphibians include many frogs, most of which you can only hear and rarely see. Mammals include white-tailed deer, coyotes, raccoons, and if you are real lucky, a bobcat. A butterfly/hummingbird garden with short trail is located at Champion Lake. Additionally, the Refuge has documented nearly 650 plants. Other tracts that offer wildlife observation opportunities include Butler Tract, Brierwood Tract, Page Tract, and McGuire Tract.
Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge is located in southeast Texas. It is approximately 56 miles northeast of the city of Houston and 42 miles west of Beaumont, Texas.
To get to the Refuge Office from Houston, take I-10 east to TX-146 (Mount Belvieu exit), go north on TX-HWY 146 for 16 miles to US 90, turn right on US 90 and go 6 miles to Liberty. At Main St. (traffic light at McDonald's), turn left and go 0.9 miles. The office is on the left at 1351 N. Main, Liberty, Texas.
To get to the Refuge Office from Beaumont there are two routes you can take:
From I-10 and US 90/College St: head west to Liberty. Make a right at Main Street (McDonalds) and go 0.9 miles. The office is on the left at 1351 N. Main, Liberty, Texas
From I-10, head west to FM 563/Anahuac/Liberty exit, make a right and go 17.4 miles, turn left on US 90 and go 0.8 miles to Main Street (McDonalds). Turn right and go 0.9 miles. The office is on the left at 1351 N. Main, Liberty, Texas.