Hike Among the Gators in Brazos Bend

Texas 40-Acre Lake Trailhead, Brazos Bend SP

Added by Dan Casioppo

Enjoy plenty of additional wildlife viewing and get up close with American Alligators. This family-friendly adventure is closely located to Houston.

Looking for the chance to get up close and personal with some American Alligators? Brazos Bend will do just that and more. Located within a stone's throw from the thriving metropolis of Houston, the park is home to more than 300 different species of wildlife.

With about 25 miles of trails in the park that permit hiking, biking and equestrian, it is unlikely you will run out of things to do. In order to cover most of the trails, I would suggest bringing along a bicycle to take advantage of all the park has to offer.

Elm Lake and the 40-Acre Lake trails give the best opportunities to encounter alligators. You may spot their spiny ridged backs floating unsuspectingly in the murky waters, or you just may catch them cutting through on the trail right front of you!

Due to this, it is very important to familiarize yourself with the "Alligator Etiquette" before visiting the park. This includes keeping at least 30 feet away from the alligators at all times. It is a common misconception that alligators are not fast, or if pursued by one to run in a zig-zag fashion. In reality, alligators are extremely quick and can outrun even the fastest human in short distances, so best to play it safe!

A complete list of how to stay safe around alligators can be found on the park website here. Some seasons are better than others to see the gators. When visiting the park in the winter, you may only see 2-3 vs. during the warmer months when we were able to count 40 in just one visit.

Don't forget to stop into the Nature Center while on your visit. Here they have snakes, turtles and adorable baby alligators on display- sometimes even in the hands of park rangers. Want more to do? Brazos Bend also houses an observatory, and offers a variety of camping, fishing, and day-use facilities to cover all of your outdoor needs for your next trip out there. See ya later alligator!

Trail map for Brazos Bend State Park

Pack List

  • Plenty of water
  • Camera
  • Bikes to see the most of the park's 25 miles of trails
  • Trail Map
  • Texas State Parks Pass
  • Sunscreen
  • Bug Spray
Read More

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

Share

Activities:

Hiking, Photography

Skill Level:

Beginner

Season:

Year Round

Rating:

Features:

Bathrooms
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Lake
Picnic Area
River
Wildlife

Are we missing something?

Suggest an edit

How to Get There

2 months ago

Chill Spot

Nice little plot of land. Never to crowded. Also the observatory is pretty awesome.

2 months ago

about 1 year ago

Great for Trail Runs Too!

This park is also great for trail running! Lot's of ways to get in long runs. And nothing gets your heart beating and your legs pumping faster than a gator right on your tail!

about 1 year ago

over 1 year ago

One of the coolest places

This may be one of the best hidden gems in Texas, as most locals in Houston have never even heard of the park. There are some amazing trails off the beaten path. The largest gator that I have ever seen in my life was sunning itself across one of the trails.

over 1 year ago

over 1 year ago

Best State Park in Texas

This place really is one of my absolute favorites in Texas! Whether you are in to birds, reptiles, or just strolling along Spanish moss laden trails, this park is a true gem. I personally love the gators :)

over 1 year ago

Added by Dan Casioppo

More Adventures Nearby

Hike the Upper Sunset Trail at Franklin Mountains SP

Texas / Upper Sunset Trailhead

The trick to this view is that the park gate closes at 5 pm. Therefore you have two options:  Park at the entrance of the park (outside of the gate) and hike into the park.

Bryan Young
2 Saves

Hike to North Franklin Peak

Texas / Franklin Mountain Peak Trailhead

El Paso is a sprawling city that is remarkably split by the Franklin Mountains.

Bryan Young
2 Saves

Hike to Turkey Peak

Texas / Summit Trail Trailhead

There isn't an official trail to Turkey Peak, but it is one of the best views in the park. This is no easy climb, so be prepared to be sweating!From the parking lot head towards the Gazebo.

Adam Hite
3 Saves