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Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Restoration Research Trail

Trail (3.25)4
(1.00) (2.00)
1.25 Miles 25 Feet
N/A Yes
No No
$5.00 More Info
Austin Travis
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Getting there: Take the Slaughter Lane exit from I-35 and head west on Slaughter Lane. Turn left (south) on Loop 1 (a.k.a. MoPac). Turn left at the next traffic light at LaCrosse Avenue. The Center is on the right near the end of LaCrosse Ave, past the Veloway.

The Hike: The Restoration Research Trail consists of two named trails at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. The John Barr Trail forms a smaller loop that shares most of its length with the longer Restoration Research Trail which I have chosen as its name. The trailhead for the hike is just beyond the courtyard garden on the southern side of the main complex of buildings and display gardens.

The Restoration Trail is mostly open fields with clumps of tree and brush here and there.
The Restoration Research Trail consists of mostly open meadow with a few groupings of trees and shrubs. Much of the acreage here is for conducting experiments on land use techniques that can best simulate the natural processes that were in place on the land before the arrival of man. Different sections of land are marked to indicate the method used on them (fire once every two years, winter mowing, fall mowing, etc.).

Birds and butterflies are not the only animals to see at the center. This fellow was cautious, but kept nibbling away at some grass with me only a couple of feet away.
The trails here are the easiest at the Wildflower Center, outside of those in the demonstration gardens near the visitor's center. A smooth crushed gravel surface makes for not only an easy stroll, but provides an opportunity for people of any ability.

Each field is maintained by center staff in a different way. The field is the foreground is mowed more often than the one in the background. Some are also burned periodically to mimic natural fires.
What you won't find much on this hike is shade. The emphasis is on maintaining the landscape much as it was before the first westerners arrived in the 1700's and 1800's. This means more open spaces with lots of grassland and a sprinkling of trees typically called a savanna.

The fields provide an opportunity to observe a number of wildflowers in their natural environment. Our trip in July meant I missed the riot of color in spring, but there still remained some Mexican Hats, Sunflowers and a few other hardy varieties.

I arrived as the center opened and saw only a couple of people on the trail. During the spring, at the height of wildflower season, expect more company.


Photos

Entrance A water cistern sits near the entrance to the Wildflower Center. (Photo by Austin Explorer) Flower Beds The Wildflower Center includes numerous displays of native plants that are ideally suited to the local environment. (Photo by Austin Explorer) Turtles Several water features throughout the center provide habitat for fish and turtles. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
Butterfly With so many wildflowers around it's no wonder that butterflies frequent the area. (Photo by Austin Explorer)

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