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'30', 'height' => '31')); ?> The Great Egret's Ridge Trails at Trinity River Refuge are Open and Improved

by Ashley Chattle

Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge would like to announce the opening of a new set of hiking trails located right here in the City Liberty. These trails provide a primitive hiking experience through undisturbed bottomland hardwood forests, with opportunities to view native wildlife and a range of natural habitats. All trails are fully-marked and ready to be hiked without the need of a map for guidance, but only open from sunrise to sunset.

To hike the trails follow the marked yellow posts, as well as colored tree markers, to navigate your way throughout the trail system. At the start of the hike, you will pass through 3 closed gates --don't be intimidated. These just mean that it is walk-in only. There are 5.3 miles of total trails, broken up into three separately marked segments: Possum Passel Pass (1.2m), Great Egret's Ridge Loop (2.0m) and Boggy Boots Loop (1.5m). This allows you to choose from a range of hiking levels, from a more maintained and relaxed walk along Possum Passel Pass, to a longer, more rugged, hike along Great Egret's Ridge Loop, which boasts 3 scenic outlooks and access to Trinity River. Or, to get the full experience of the trails, check out the farthest trail--Boggy Boots Loop--and complete them all.

These trails, however, are not paved and offer a more authentic hiking experience. The trails are primitive and wind through the woods following old logging roads. All trails are fully marked with color-coordinated paint on trees, as well as yellow informational posts at key intersections. These trails span a gradient from walking along a defined path, to hiking through tall, grassy forest with only paint to mark your way. Types of wildlife you might encounter while hiking these trails include lizards, frogs, snakes, egrets, large orb weaver spiders, deer, and much more.

Biking, driving, camping, or hunting is not allowed within the Great Egret's Ridge Trails system. You will also able to access the Trinity River sandbar from the Great Egret's Ridge Trail (the third outlook).

The conditions of the trails can vary, so come prepared. Wear long pants and socks, as well as sturdy hiking boots. If it has rained recently, the trails may be wet or flooded, so you might want to wear rubber boots to keep your feet dry and mud-free. Be sure you also bring plenty of water along with you, as well as bug spray to keep the biting bugs at bay. You might also want to bring along your binoculars and camera so you don't miss out on a wildlife viewing moment.

The entrance is conveniently located right off Hwy 90 and Main St within a small neighborhood. It is located just north of the intersection of Trinity St and Ohio St, near the old City of Liberty Maintenance buildings. To get to the entrance from Hwy 90, if you are heading west towards Dayton, go past Main St. and take a right onto Louisiana St. into the neighborhood. Then take a left onto Trinity St. This will dead end into Ohio St. The entrance is to the right at the end of Ohio St. The entrance to the trail is marked with a wooden kiosk and two yellow post markers. There is grass parking located to the right of the along a wooden fence.

If you would like to obtain a map, or have any questions about this or other trails maintained by the Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge, you are welcome to stop by our office located across from the Sam Houston Regional Library on FM 1011. Or, you can call us at 936-336-9786 or visit our website at www.fws.gov/refuge/trinity_river/. We hope that everyone will take full-advantage of this new trail system, right here in Liberty.