San Bernard NWR Public Use
San Bernard NWR is open every day, sunrise to sunset for wildlife observation, photography and hiking at select locations. Fishing opportunities are available throughout the year on the refuges open lakes within the tide lands and Cedar Lake Creek. Seasonal hunting opportunities for waterfowl are available within a public hunting area and a permit hunt area. Information, restrooms and water are available at the office building located on County Road 306.
Touring San Bernard
The Cocklebur Slough tour road and Moccasin Pond auto tour loop provide six miles of gravel roads. The Cocklebur Slough Road provides opportunities to see wading birds, raptors and passerines as well as resident wildlife in a light forest and grassland habitat. Moccasin Pond auto tour loop is at the edge where the salty prairie meets the high marsh. From the loop road a variety of fresh water, marsh and grassland habitats support an array of migratory and resident wildlife
Bobcat Woods Trail provides a handicapped-accessible boardwalk and trail through a forest along Cocklebur Slough. The boardwalk leads to an access to overlook the reservoir and moist-soil units of the Wolfweed Wetland Project. Less than a mile in length, Scissor-tail Trail provides an opportunity to stroll though a brush habitat that attracts numerous passerines. Cowtrap Trail, located off the Moccasin Pond auto tour loop provides an opportunity to hike from the high marsh through intermediate and to low marsh habitat along a 1.5 mile long man-made levee.
Bicyclists are welcome on all refuge roads that are open to public vehicles.
A boat ramp located on Cedar Lake Creek, at the end of Cocklebur Slough Tour Road provides boat access to the Cedar Lakes area. Canoes, kayaks, and small motorboats are able to launch from the ramp.
Wildlife viewing from your vehicle along the tour road provides opportunities to watch a bobcat trotting across the road, alligators sunning on the banks of Moccasin Pond, songbirds flitting in willows, and a host of waterbirds in the marshes and sloughs. Clapper and king rails are regularly spotted along the 3 mile Moccasin Pond auto tour loop and although rarely seen, black rails may be heard.
For a closer view of wildlife, take a stroll along one of the three hiking trails. An accessible boardwalk winding through a shady woods along Cocklebur Slough gives visitors a taste of bottomland forest magic. A hot spot for spring migrant birds, the trees also shelter year-round residents like barred owls. Linger on inviting benches to see the layers of life, from woodland flowers and banana spiders weaving blanket-sized webs to bobcats sneaking across the trail or lazily perched high in a tree. Listen for bird songs and the rustle of creatures watching you. Check out the old cattle pens for hummingbirds and butterflies sipping on wildflower nectar.
Cow Trap Trail heads across a huge marsh and prairie dotted with small potholes. Flocks of ibis and other wading birds, waterfowl or an illusive rail can all be found in the marsh that appears to stretch for miles. In February the air is filled with the plaintive honking of thousands of snow geese; an impressive sight.
The San Bernard Christmas Bird Count takes place the first Friday during the count period.
Spring - Regional Migration Celebration - sponsored by Friends of Brazoria Refuges
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