Our stay at Lake Texoma Thousand Trails was planned to be three weeks. But with one of the slides on our motorhome on the fritz and waiting on parts we were forced to spend seven weeks total. Lake Texoma Thousand Trails is sort of secluded, about 20 minute’s drive to Whitesboro and 30 minutes to Sherman we were looking for things nearby to do. One of our favorite activities was visiting Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge fairly close by. So glad we checked it out. We had a great time hiking the trails, watching the birds, and seeing snow geese by the thousands!
Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge is home to an incredible variety of wildlife species that depend on the diversity of habitat conserved and protected on the refuge. Established in 1946 as an overlay of a portion of the Big Mineral arm of Lake Texoma in north-central Texas. Consisting of about 12,000 acres, the refuge provides a variety of habitats for birds and wildlife.
Photos by: Lisa
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Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge was established on lands originally purchased by the U.S. Department of Army Corps of Engineers (COE) for the Denison Dam Project known today as Lake Texoma.
Just 75 miles north of Dallas where the Red River etches the boundary between Oklahoma and Texas. Being located in the Central Flyway, one of four migratory bird “superhighways”, was an important factor in deciding to create a refuge here.
The town of Hagerman was established and granted a post office in 1880 and was originally named in honor of S. D. Steedman, a Grayson County judge. In 1904, James Patillo (J.P.) Smith platted streets in Hagerman in a 10-acre wheat field. It remained as Steedman until the Missouri, Kansas, and Texas Railroad (KATY) arrived in 1909 and renamed the town for railroad attorney James P. Hagerman. A year later, the town consisted of 250 residences, a cotton gin, a school, a church, a post office, a railroad depot, and several businesses. Hagerman prospered and grew to contain three churches and a three-teacher school. However, in the 1920s residents and businesses began to abandon the area when it became known that the soon-to-come creation of Lake Texoma would completely inundate the town. As the lake was filled in 1943, over 89,000 acres of land, including the small town of Hagerman, became submerged. Today, signs of the town are still obvious during periods of low water, and pipes from a few flowing wells are still visible. One is even still flowing!
The Refuge provides excellent habitat for many species of native wildlife. A total of 338 species of birds, 36 species of mammals, 60 species of reptiles and amphibians, and 61 species of fish have been documented so far.
Bottomland hardwoods along the creeks attract a variety of wildlife including white-tailed deer, bobcats, coyotes, river otters, turtles, and fox squirrels. During our visit, we only saw squirrels.
Migratory birds by the thousands take up winter quarters or refuel for long journeys. Some species spend the entire winter ‘loafing’ on the refuge, including, Ross’s, Greater White-fronted, and Canada Geese. At times, as many as 10,000 geese can be seen in one field. During our time in the refuge there were thousands of Snow and Ross Geese in the fields. It was cool hearing them and watching their actions.
Ducks such as mallards, northern shovelers, green-winged teal, and northern pintail are commonly seen on refuge waters during fall and winter months. Canadian, Snow, White-Fronted, and Ross’ Geese along with pintail, mallard, gadwall, and other ducks use refuge impoundments and fields as a stop-over and wintering grounds.
Hagerman NWR features five inviting and well-maintained hiking trails.
- Meadow Pond Trail – 5.7 Miles, Down and Back, Mostly Gravel, Easy. Beginning with beautiful Deaver Pond and ending with Meadow Pond–two miles in– this is one of the refuge’s favorite trails. We hiked this super easy trail. There were plenty of ducks to be seen on the ponds, sparrows, woodpeckers, and cardinals along the way also.
- Haller’s Haven Trail – 2.7 Miles, Partial Loop, Easy. This trail offers a great view of the refuge at the top of an easy hill. Along the way you’ll first pass Picnic Pond, then Dead Woman’s pond which is often teaming with wildlife.
- Raasch Trail – 3 Miles, Down and Back, Easy. Walk through a range of several habitats and search for Eastern Bluebirds and other songbirds.
- Harris Creek Trail – 0.25 ADA Trail, plus 1.25 and 2.25 Mile Loops, Easy. This is the most popular trail, with several ponds and a photo blind.
- Crow Hill Trail – 0.75 Mile Loop, Moderate. Shady, short and steep.
We had a great stay in the Texoma area of Texas. Visiting Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge was one of our favorite activities while we were in the area. There are so many birds in the Refuge and we tried to see as many as we could. It was a great place to work on our photography and get out and do some hiking. If you’re in the Texoma area be sure to check out Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge. We were in the area from the end of November till just after Christmas.
Colorful wildflowers and prairie grasses provide seasonal food and shelter for wildlife. Butterflies, meadowlarks, and dragonflies flutter through the summer landscape. We would love to see this place in the summer.
What interesting places have you been to and can recommend? We’re always looking for neat out-of-the-way places to put on our list of must-sees. Thank you for reading our article. If you have any comments or questions we’d love to hear from you below.