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Spend a day at the Fort Worth Nature Center and Refuge

Alternative title: City Editor Kate gets a face full of spider webs.


Take a load off along the marsh bank of Lake Worth.

Photo by FTWtoday

Table of Contents

City Editor Kate, here. I recently took some time away from my desk for a little retreat at the Fort Worth Nature Center and Refuge + this hidden gem is the perfect way to spend a fall afternoon.

About the center

The Fort Worth Nature Center and Refuge opened in 1964 along the West Fork of the Trinity River at 9601 Fossil Ridge Rd. Spanning 3,600+ acres, it is one of the largest city-owned nature preserves in the US + was designated a National Natural Landmark in 1980.

The center manages and protects the North Central Texas Prairie and the Cross Timbers woodlands and educates the community about our native ecosystems.

The center is still expanding. The city recently purchased four lots in the Lakeland Addition and plans to acquire more.


Hike the 120 million-year-old limestone outcrop for a view as far as the eye can see.

Photo by FTWtoday

What to explore

Hike 12 trails totaling over 20 miles or bring your kayak and float the seven-mile paddling trail in the shallows of Lake Worth.

Don’t forget to check out the exhibits at the Hardwick Interpretive Center or learn from one of the on-site naturalists.

What to see

In addition to being home to the only bison herd of its kind in North Texas — visible from a two-platform viewing deck — the nature center has:

  • 200+ species of birds
  • 300+ different flowering plants

Paddle out to Greer Island and keep an eye out for the Lake Worth Goatman.

Photo by FTWtoday

Things to remember

A great outing for families — admission is $6 or less.

For the protection of the plants and animals — bicycles, jogging, vehicles, and horses are not allowed on the trails. Dogs are permitted on leashes.

The center has seasonal hours — opening at 8 a.m. September-April + 7 a.m. May-August with the last entry at 4 p.m. Visitors still on the grounds after 5 p.m. will be locked in. Camping is not allowed.

Events to enjoy

The center has a large calendar of low-cost classes, guided hikes, and outdoor activities. Peruse the fall program calendar + check out membership packages for discounts.

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