Despite its proximity to the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, traffic and concrete jungles give way to lakes, ponds, and wind-rustling trees at the Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge. This 3.2-mile lollipop loop through the heart of the refuge skirts Dead Woman Pond and climbs a small hill before detouring south to the shores of Lake Texoma. You'll finish the 1-mile loop by tracing a fence line at the edge of the refuge before backtracking 0.8 mile to the trailhead.
Dead Woman Pond offers some of the area's most reliable wildlife viewing, and you'll likely see spotted herons, turtles, deer, coyotes, or wild pigs near its marshy edges. The area is a major stop for migratory birds so consider packing binoculars and a field guide to make the most of seasonal influxes. Look for Canada geese, which peak in the fall, winter, and spring with populations approaching 7,500; the smaller Ross' geese; mallard, pintail, ringneck, and scaup in the fall; and pelicans in April and September.
Note: Though the pond name remains the same, in April 2009 the trail name was changed from Dead Women's Loop to Haller's Haven Nature Trail in an effort to shake the morbid moniker spawned from a local legend.
-Mapped by Casey Lyons
- Distance: 5.2
Location: 33.7524325, -96.7629728
Just before the picnic area
loop, a sign for the Goode Foot Access Area and gate mark the trailhead. Follow the wide, gravel path northeast toward the pond.
Location: 33.7555025, -96.7615579
You'll descend a small hill toward the western edge of Dead Woman Pond. This is one of the few places in the refuge you're almost guaranteed to see wildlife, so it is also a convenient turn-around point for folks who want a quick-fix of bird and animal viewing.
Location: 33.7622199, -96.7650354
A 40-foot climb from the pond leads to this route's highpoint at mile 0.8 and the beginning of the loop. Though you could go either direction, this route turns left at the Y-junction, heading west.
Location: 33.7634151, -96.7691016
Turn left at this T-junction for a southbound detour offering a view of Lake Texoma's Big Mineral Arm. After the 0.5-mile out-and-back, continue north from this junction to continue on this route's 1-mile loop.
Location: 33.7598936, -96.7693412
Admire the view of Lake Texoma from the trail's dead-end detour. The 89,000-acre lake draws boaters, hunters, and both resident and migratory birds.
Location: 33.7659424, -96.7689809
Bear right onto the mowed trail and jog northeast to follow the fence line at the refuge's border. Add mileage: Turn left to add another 0.5-mile out-and-back to the lake.
Location: 33.7644225, -96.7636154
At this corner of the fence, bear right and look for upland birds as you head southwest to close the loop and backtrack toward Dead Woman's Pond.
Location: 33.7598741, -96.7693967
The sandy shores of Lake Texoma.
Location: 33.7524348, -96.7629406
This sign and a gate mark the trailhead.
Location: 33.7537371, -96.7615378
Walking on the wide, open path is a breeze but stay alert for snakes on the trail in the summer months.
Location: 33.7554543, -96.7615324
Dead Woman Pond gets its name from a local legend about an unhappy couple. Though nobody knows for sure why the moniker is so morbid.