Suspension Bridge At Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge Photographed By Sara Turbyfill.

Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge: A Hidden Gem Found in the Lower Rio Grande Valley

Birdwatching, Photography, Travel

Explore Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge

Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge is one of the best kept secrets in Texas. This wildlife refuge is tucked away in the city of Alamo, near the border of Mexico and the United States. In fact, the Rio Grande runs along the southern border of the sanctuary.

Travelers visit this wildlife sanctuary to hike nature trails, look for migratory birds, and photograph exotic wildlife found in Texas. However, the canopy walk is one of the most sought-after activities.

Stroll through the Forest on the Canopy Walk

The canopy walk is located near the entrance of Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge, at the intersection of Willow Lakes Trail and Pintail Lakes Trail. This popular tourist attraction consists of a one hundred foot rope bridge that is connected to two twenty-five foot tall observation towers. Visitors can climb the stairs on either side to access the canopy walk.

Santa Ana NWR Canopy Photographed By Sara Turbyfill In Texas.

Once at the top, you have the opportunity to observe wildlife from a different point of view or walk among the trees on the suspended canopy. This canopy walk is the only one of its kind found in southern Texas, making it quite unique. If you end up visiting the refuge, you don’t want to miss it!

Canopy Photographed By Sara Turbyfill At Santa Ana NWR.

See for Miles Atop the Tree Tower Overlook

Another point of interest at the wildlife sanctuary is the tree tower overlook. The tree tower overlook is an open-air tower that stands forty feet tall and provides astonishing views of the refuge. It is located directly next to the canopy walk.

Observation Tower Photographed By Sara Turbyfill In Alamo, Texas.

Visitors who climb to the top of the tree tower overlook can see for miles. From here, you have the opportunity to witness migratory birds hanging out in the trees or raptors flying above. In this very spot, hundreds of thousands of raptors can be seen migrating north during the spring.

Observation Tower Photographed By Sara Turbyfill At Santa Ana NWR Near South Padre Island In Texas.

Photograph Exotic Wildlife

In addition to the canopy walk and observation tower, the refuge also offers individuals the chance to photograph exotic wildlife. For instance, a common resident of the refuge is the plain chachalaca. This species of bird is not abundant in the United States and can only be found in the southernmost part of Texas. One of the best places to see these birds is near the trail that bears its name – the Chachalaca Trail.

Chachalaca Photographed By Sara Turbyfill At Santa Ana NWR.

The Texas spotted whiptail is another interesting species that lives here. Although it has brightly colored markings, the Texas spotted whiptail can be difficult to find. This lizard rests near the trails, but is easily camouflaged among the leaves. However, if you do happen to spot one, it makes for an amazing photo.

Texas Spotted Lizard Photographed By Sara Turbyfill At Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge In Alamo, Texas.

Encounter Different Plant Species

An additional reason to visit Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge is for its diversity of plant species. Dozens of native and non-native flora thrive here. For example, the tamarind is one of the most prominent. A tamarind is an invasive species of hardwood tree that is native to Africa.

Tamarind Photographed By Sara Turbyfill At Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge In Texas.

Another prevalent species of plant found in the wildlife sanctuary is Spanish moss, also known by its scientific name tillandsia usneoides. Spanish moss covers trees throughout the refuge, making for great photo opportunities. Unlike its name suggests, however, Spanish moss isn’t moss at all. It belongs to the bromeliad family.

Spanish Moss Photographed By Sara Turbyfill At Santa Ana NWR.

Visit Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge

In conclusion, Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge is an astonishing place worth preserving. The sanctuary provides numerous activities, from photographing wildlife to strolling through the trees on the suspended canopy walk.

Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge is part of the National Wildlife Refuge System, which is operated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The wildlife refuge is open every day from 7 am – 7 pm and the vehicle parking fee is $5 for general visitors. For more information, check out the resources below.

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