Located about an hour north of the sprawling Far North Dallas area, you find the Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge. Located west of Sherman, its main attraction is the flocks of migrating birds drawn to these wetlands on the south shore of Lake Texoma.
Timing is important for visiting Hagerman. Migrating birds are typically at the refuge in the fall and winter. When I visited in March the only bird life was a flock of white pelicans, which are pretty much permanent residents. During peak migration season more than 338 species of birds have been spotted there.
Fishing is popular at Hagerman. The shallow waters are part of the Big Mineral Arm of Texoma, and attract over 60 types of fish. There are two boat launches in the refuge, but no boating is permitted from October to mid March, the peak bird migration season.
There are five hiking trails, ranging from a short half mile to a five mile roundtrip. You can pick up a trail map at the Visitor’s Center when you enter. The Harris Creek Trail is handicap accessible. On weekends it’s common to find Boy Scout troops on the trails, picking up liter and enjoying a group hike.
Pets are permitted on a leash. Hunting is allowed per state regulations, and you must first obtain a permit at the Visitor’s Center. Bicycling is popular. Mountain bikes or hybrids are the best options, as many of the roads and trails are unpaved.
The NWR is open sunrise to sundown. The Visitor’s Center opens at 7:30 Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. on Saturday, and 1 p.m. on Sunday.
Bring your camera and binoculars for bird watching. There is at least one bald eagle that has taken up residence at the far end of Raasch Trail road, near the Big Mineral Day Use area. The best time to spot it is early morning or near sunset.
Hagerman is an escape to nature within a reasonable drive from the population centers of North Texas. Take the family for a hike in the woods, or bring the fishing poles to try your luck.