The Oake Motte Trail is a 2.1 loop trail that takes you through open prairie and wooded area. There are multiple ways to access the Oak Motte Trail. Visitors can start at the Hardwicke Interpretive Center, walk along the Prairie Trail and merge with the trail at a well located bench. An additional access point is the Bison Range parking lot. Walk along the pasture. This allows you entrance to the west side of the trail. Because of the variety of habitats, visitors are allowed to see a myriad of wildlife and plant life.
Since the Oak Motte Trail is diverse with grasslands and wooded areas, a variety of flora and fauna await visitors. In the prairie areas, many species of grasses are found, including Little Bluestem, Yellow Indiangrass and more. If you are interested in wildflowers, this is a great trail to see Winecups, Two-leaf Senna, Engleman’s Daisy and much more. Proceeding on the trail takes you through wooded areas with spiny trees such as the Hercule’s Club, Honey Mesquite and Honeylocust. Trees adapted to the Cross Timbers habitat, such as Blackjack Oak, Cedar Elm and Western Soapberry can be found as you traverse this trail.
Hiding among the many trees and the grasses are all forms of wildlife. During spring and fall migration, migrants such as warblers, orioles and others take advantage of this trail to refuel with food, rest and relax during their long flights. Keep your eyes open for our native reptiles disguising themselves such, as Western Coachwhips, Texas Spiny Lizard and more.
The Oak Motte Trail takes you to the Prairie Dog Town. Through the fence, you can capture glimpses of our social rodents as they are busy eating, playing and barking. During the winter months, you will find them insulating their tunnels with vegetation to keep them warm. In the spring and summer months, they can be spotted playing under the sun. The prairie dogs are not the only mammal you will find along this trail. During the year, the bison are rotated throughout the Refuge in a series of pastures. The Oak Motte Trail has land set aside for them for grazing and for public viewing.