16 Great Thanksgiving Hikes
More info: http://www.fws.gov/swlarefugecomplex
No entrance fee. Refuge is 7 miles south of Hackberry, LA. Visit nearby Cameron Prairie National Wildlife Refuge to see more ducks and marsh birds.
Marsh Edge Trail, Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge
Length: 0.4 miles with optional add-on
Wildlife: Woodpeckers, nuthatches, great blue herons, egrets, bald eagles, ducks
More info: http://www.fws.gov/blackwater
The trail leads off of Wildlife Drive. Pay $3 to vehicle to enter Wildlife Drive. For optimum wildlife viewing and a slightly longer hike, walk down the road from the trail to an observation platform over the marsh. Add on the Woods Trail for another half mile. Pick up a map at the refuge kiosk.
John P. Taylor Jr. Memorial Trail, Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge
Length: 1 mile roundtrip
Wildlife: Sandhill cranes, hawks, American kestrels, northern harriers, snow geese
To see more birds, follow your walk with a short drive to the refuge Flight Deck—a viewing platform over a managed wetland. Pick up a refuge map outside the visitor center. $5 entrance fee per vehicle.
North Pond Wildlife Trail, Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge
Length: 0.6 miles
Wildlife: Waterfowl such as pintails widgeon, teal, a variety of ducks, snow geese
More info: http://www.fws.gov/peaisland/
No entrance fee. Trail has three viewing platforms with scopes and a viewing tower. Before you go: Check the North Carolina Department of Transportation website to confirm that Highway 12 has reopened, as scheduled, after Hurricane Sandy. The road goes through the refuge.
Burford Lake Trail, Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge
Length: 0.7 mile
Wildlife: Waterfowl, plus bison, longhorn and elk. Bald and golden eagles may start arriving.
More info: http://www.fws.gov/refuge/wichita_mountains/
No entrance fee. For more birds, try the Quanah Parker Trail near the environmental education center. Pick up a map outside the visitor center.
Main Trail, Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge
Length: 1 mile roundtrip
Wildlife: Pintails, geese, ducks, widgeons, buffleheads, green-winged teal
More info: http://www.fws.gov/tualatinriver
No entrance fee. You can catch a bus from downtown Portland directly to the refuge. Pick up a map at the kiosk outside the refuge visitor center. Thanksgiving weekend generally coincides with peak migration here. Also check out the pair of bald eagles building a nest in front of the center.
Chachalaca Trail, Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge
Length: 0.5 miles
Wildlife: Chachalaca, green jays, Altamira orioles, northern beardless tyrannulets, woodland birds, plus animals including armadillo, javelin, and bobcats
More info: http://www.fws.gov/refuge/santa_ana/
Entrance fee: $3. Trail with viewing areas and scopes is wheelchair-accessible. Pick up a map at visitor center kiosk. See the last remaining thorn scrub forest.
Skillern Track Trail, Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge
Length: 0.1 mile
Wildlife: Waterfowl, mottled ducks, blue-winged teal, gadwall, wading birds including great egret and great blue herons, a variety of hawks such has the northern harrier
More info: http://www.fws.gov/refuge/Anahuac/
No entrance fee. Pick up a map at the refuge kiosk. Trail skirts a managed wetland and a bayou. The refuge is 20 miles from Anahuac, TX.