Hiking and biking in the coastal bend

The Aransas Country Grand Tour Route is 40 miles long but has several shorter sections to explore. Courtesy photo

Aransas Pass, Fulton, and Rockport trails combine nature and exercise

Here are some of the highlights of the Coastal Bend hiking and biking trails in Aransas Pass, Fulton, and Rockport. The shorter distances are usually reserved for hikers, while the longer trails can be walked or hiked.

Memorial park trails

Col d’Aransas

Walk or bike one or more times on a beautiful 1.6 mile trail under live oak trees surrounding a 2.6 acre lake. The trail is lighted for early morning or evening walks. Benches and bins for animals are available. The establishment also offers baseball and football fields, a picnic pavilion and exercise stations. A few “overhang” areas can be found along the 8 foot wide trail.

Lantana Buckle

Rockport

Part of Goose Island State Park, Lantana Loop is just over 2 miles away in a beautiful forest setting. A constant number of visitors enjoy bird watching and nature exploration. It’s an experience not too crowded but not too deserted. Well behaved and leashed dogs are welcome.

Aransas National Wildlife Refuge

Austwell

The Aransas Wildlife Refuge National Park has seven trails, all of which are moderately easy to navigate on foot or by bike and range from 0.7 miles to 11½ miles. A 40-foot observation tower rises above the trees to provide panoramic views of Lake Mustang and San Antonio Bay. On the tower, you may have the opportunity to see a magnificent whooping crane. From mid-October to March, two or three cranes can be seen as a family, foraging in the swamp below. Wildlife will surround you as you look up to see geese, butterflies, and warblers above and around you, as well as freshwater ponds and ground-level marshy habitats.

Several shorter hiking routes are listed below, but the two main longer routes include:

from Visitor Center to Observation Tower and back 8.3 miles from Visitor Center, around the tour loop and back 15.5 miles

Heron Plains Trail

Aransas National Wildlife Refuge

Herons Flats Trail offers 1½ miles of bird watching, wildflowers and possible alligator sightings. Enjoy the natural beauty of an ancient ridge of oyster shells that lines the salt marsh to the shores of San Antonio Bay. Round trip trail, this is one of the favorites of the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge. Dogs are allowed when kept on a leash.

Jones Lake Trail

Aransas National Wildlife Refuge

Jones Lake Trail offers a vantage point for viewing wildlife in the wetlands. The easy 0.1 mile walk gives you access to a diversity of wildlife that changes with the seasons. The trail supports nature tours and bird watching and is accessible year-round.

Great Trees Trail

Aransas National Wildlife Refuge

A favorite trail for visitors is this 0.7 mile trail featuring some of the refuge’s largest living oak trees, which form a canopy of leaves above the walker or cyclist. Bird watchers will be delighted to observe birds of all kinds, including warblers, thrushes and vireos.

Fulton Harbor Road

Fulton

For a good bike workout in the Coastal Bend, take an 11½ mile tour of the east and west coasts on the Fulton Beach breakwater. An easy drive or a long walk, you will pass through Aransas Bay, Copano Bay, Howard Murph Memorial Park and Fulton Harbor.

Aransas County Grand Tour Route

Aransas Pass, Fulton and Rockport

Aransas Country Grand Tour Route is 40 miles long. Within the boundaries of the route there are several shorter sections to explore the features of the Grand Tour. Some of the highlights include scenic Fulton Beach Road and the town of Fulton itself, scenic Water Street in Rockport, and downtown Rockport. The route makes a large circle around Aransas Pass, Fulton and Rockport from Cove Harbor Marina.

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