Blackjack Trail

Trail length: 1.5 miles to the Beaver Pond Paddling Trail parking lot

Difficulty level: easy

pdf version of trail map

Trail Conditions

Hikers can follow the Blackjack Trail through the Cross Timbers forest remnant and through prairie glades and meadows to the Beaver Pond Paddling Trail parking lot (one-way) or take a return spur back to the trail’s beginning. The return spur cuts off part of the main Blackjack Trail, and is marked in yellow on the trail map (at left). While there is no significant elevation change, the trail is naturally surfaced and hikers should watch for roots and other toe snags. A series of low wooden bridges helps hikers avoid the worst muddy patches and ravines, but the trail can be soggy in places after a rain.

Wildlife and Ecology

The coarse, sandy soils of the Eastern Cross Timbers support a dry forest dominated by post oak, cedar elm, blackjack oak, hickory, Osage orange, eastern red cedar, mesquite, little bluestem, and a variety of other brush and grass species.

The abundance of acorns produced by the oak trees makes the Cross Timbers a good place for squirrels and other small mammals, wild turkeys, white-tailed deer, blue jays, and many other wildlife species to find food.  A wide variety of bird species may be found nesting in the sheltered spaces provided by this forest. Hikers may at times see signs of beaver activity in the parts of the trail closest to the small stream which is encountered several times along the Blackjack Trail.