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