The Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail is a state-designated system of trails, bird sanctuaries, and nature preserves along the entire length of the Texas Gulf Coast in the United States. As the state of Texas hosts more bird species than any other in the U.S. the trail system offers some of the most unusual opportunities for bird-watching in the world. The “trail” is actually 43 separate hiking and driving trails that include 308 birding sites. The sites themselves feature a variety of viewing opportunities with boardwalks, observation decks, and other amenities. The trails boast more than 450 bird species. The trail system is managed by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department as part of the Great Texas Wildlife Trails which also include the Heart of Texas Wildlife Trail, the Panhandle Plains Wildlife Trail, and the Prairies and Pineywoods Wildlife Trail. Apart from bird watching the trail system includes many nature preserves which feature a wide variety of wildlife. In addition the various sites cover many types of natural terrain and flora including forests, marshes, and beaches. This trail network was the first of its kind in the U.S. though many states have since followed. The trail system remains the nation’s largest. One of the most well-known locations along the trail system is the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, which holds the winter home of the only natural flock of whooping cranes in the world.
Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail
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