Hike 40-Acre Lake in Brazos Bend

Details

Distance

1.4 miles

Elevation Gain

26 ft

Route Type

Loop

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

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Picnic Area
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Reviews

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40 Acre

If you want to see a gator, start with 40 acre lake! Be sure you know how to navigate with the map, and bring bug spray. With companions it can be a very enjoyable hike

You will see an alligator

We were on edge, having never seen an alligator before. About halfway down the first loop down towards the observatory, we got distracted by watching the birds and seeing the giant spider webs in the trees and boom, we came across a massive gator hanging out in the ditch to the right. It completely ignored us while we tiptoed by. It was awesome.

Chill Spot

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

đŸ„ˆ Contributor

over 5 years 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!

đŸ„ˆ Contributor

over 5 years 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.

301 total saves

4.7/5

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on.

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