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
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.