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
- Plenty of water
- Bikes to see the most of the park's 25 miles of trails
- Trail Map
- Texas State Parks Pass
- Bug Spray
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
Are we missing something?Suggest an edit
ReviewsLeave a Review
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.
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 :)
More Adventures Nearby
Scuba Dive Balmorhea State Park
Texas / Balmorhea Lake and Balmorhea State Park
Texas has a wonderful state park system, and Balmorhea State Park in West Texas is no exception.
Hike the Mud Creek Loop at McAllister Park
Texas / Mud Creek Loop Trailhead
I love McAllister Park. Sure it can get a little stinky after the torrential Texas rains sweep through, but on a clear, dry day you can always find a new and LOVELY trail.