Wildlife Watching & Nature Trails

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Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge offers excellent opportunities to enjoy and explore the outdoors!


Big Slough Boardwalk & Trail (Length: 0.6 miles)
The boardwalk over the slough provides a close encounter with a marsh crowned with cattail and bulrush and offers renowned wildlife viewing and photography opportunities. Benches offer a great place to rest and quietly observe wildlife. Visitors can take the full loop that passes by an observation platform over Big Slough or one of the three shorter loops through the shady thickets.

Big Slough Trail Map 

Big Slough Auto Tour (Length: 7.5 miles)
For the best birding and nature observation, follow the 7.5-mile auto tour on the well-maintained, gravel road. A self-guided auto tour CD and brochure is available at the Information Pavilion and Discovery Center. Cars make good observation blinds so drive slowly. Visit one of the salt marsh observation decks at Cross Trails to investigate the salt marsh, its birds and tiny aquatic creatures. Teal and Rogers Pond observation platforms offer panoramic views of waterfowl congregations, especially flocks of snow geese in December and January.

*The auto tour is also a great place to enjoy wildlife while biking.

Big Slough Auto Tour Map

Middle Bayou Trail (Length: 2 miles)
Northeast of the refuge entrance road on CR 227, you can hike or bike along a two-mile trail following the abandoned Missouri Pacific Railway line. The elevated trail starts at the Bastrop Bayou Public Fishing Area and offers views across the rare bluestem coastal prairie. Look for the white-tailed kites, caracaras and white-tailed hawks hunting for mice in the prairies.

Cox Lake Trail (Length: 0.6 miles)
This short trail provides visitors with opportunities to view wildlife in a fresh water slough, salt grass prairie and salt water lake. It starts at Big Slough and meanders through the salt cedars to the Maddox Monument and Cox Lake and back to the parking lot. This was once the site of the Maddox Family homestead. The Fact Sheet and interpretive panel provides a glimpse for what life was like to settle this harsh environment more than 100 years ago.

Directions:  The physical address of the Big Slough Recreation Area is 2022 County Road 227, Freeport, Texas  77541.  The GPS coordinates are 29.065548,-95.318683