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Hike and bike the Coastal Bend

The Aransas Country Grand Tour Route is 40 miles long but includes several shorter sections to explore. Courtesy photo

Trails in Aransas Pass, Fulton, and Rockport mix nature with exercise

Here are a few of the highlights of Coastal Bend hike-and-bike trails in Aransas Pass, Fulton, and Rockport. The shorter distances are typically for hikers only, while the longer trails can be ridden or walked.

Memorial Park Trails

Aransas Pass

Walk or bike around once or multiple times on a gorgeous 1.6-mile trail underneath live oaks surrounding a 2.6-acre lake. The trail is lighted for early morning or evening walks. Benches and pet waste stations are available. Other amenities include baseball and soccer fields, a picnic pavilion, and exercise stations. A few “overlook” areas can be found along the 8-foot-wide trail.

Lantana Loop

Rockport

As part of Goose Island State Park, Lantana Loop is just over 2 miles in a beautiful forest setting. A steady number of visitors enjoy bird-watching and nature exploration. It's a not-too-crowded-yet-not-too-deserted experience. Well-behaved, leashed dogs are welcome.

Aransas National Wildlife Refuge

Austwell

The Aransas National Wildlife Refuge park boasts seven trails, all moderately easy to walk or bike and stretching from 0.7 miles to 11½ miles. A 40-foot observation tower rises above the trees to offer a panoramic view of Mustang Lake and San Antonio Bay. On the tower, you might have an opportunity to see a magnificent whooping crane. From mid-October through March, two or three cranes can be observed together as a family, feeding in the marsh below. Wildlife will surround you as you look up to see geese, butterflies, and warblers above and around you and freshwater ponds and marshland habitats at ground level.

Several shorter hiking routes are listed below, but the two main longer routes include:

from the visitor center to the observation tower and back at 8.3 miles from the visitor center, around the tour loop and back at 15.5 miles

Herons Flats Trail

Aransas National Wildlife Refuge

Herons Flats Trail provides 1½ miles of bird-watching, wildflower gazing, and possible alligator sightings. Enjoy the natural beauty of an ancient oyster shell ridge that borders the salt marsh down to the shores of San Antonio Bay. An out-and-back trail, it’s one of the favorites in the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge. Dogs are allowed when they are leashed.

Jones Lake Trail

Aransas National Wildlife Refuge

Jones Lake Trail offers an overlook to enjoy watching wildlife in the wetlands. The easy, 0.1-mile walk gives you access to view a diversity of wildlife that changes with the seasons. The trail supports nature observation trips and bird-watching and is accessible year-round.

Big Tree Trail

Aransas National Wildlife Refuge

A favorite trail for visitors is this 0.7-mile trail featuring some of the largest live oak trees on the refuge, which form a canopy of leaves over the walker or biker. Bird watchers will delight in viewing birds of all kinds, including warblers, thrushes, and vireos.

Fulton Harbor Route

Fulton

For a proper bike workout in the Coastal Bend, take an 11½-mile tour of both the east and west coastlines on the Fulton Beach Seawall. An easy ride or a long walk, you’ll pass through Aransas Bay, Copano Bay, Howard Murph Memorial Park, and Fulton Harbor.

Aransas County Grand Tour Route

Aransas Pass, Fulton, and Rockport

Aransas Country Grand Tour Route is 40 miles long. Within the boundaries of the route are several shorter sections to explore the features of the Grand Tour. Some of the highlights include picturesque Fulton Beach Road and the town of Fulton itself, scenic Water Street in Rockport, and the Rockport town center. The route makes a large circle around Aransas Pass, Fulton, and Rockport starting at Cove Harbor Marina.

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