North Shore Bell's Trailhead to Cougar Outlook

This guy was fascinated by his reflection in my camera lens. Once his curiosity was satisfied, he climbed back down and scampered off.
User: MikeHikes - 8/7/2014

Location: San Angelo State Park

Difficulty:  Solitude:
Miles Hiked: 7.80 Miles  Elapsed Time: 3 hours, 45 minutes


Out    Bell's Trailhead > Shady Trail > old service road (South) > Scenic Loop > service road > North Slick Rock Trail > Lower Ghost Camp Trail > service road (East then South) > Cougar Outlook      3.3 miles

Return  Cougar Outlook > service road (West) > River Bend Trail (North) > Badlands Trail > service road to Big Hill > service road to end (North) > fire road (South) to parking lot by Bell's Trailhead     4.5 miles

The route may look complicated but it really isn't!  Take a look at Google Earth or the park map available for $3 at the South Shore check in station and you'll see what I mean.

This route was taken because of the heat and humidity.  The wind was relatively low so I tried to stay in the open as much as possible to catch the breeze and it worked pretty well.  Although gnats and biting flies were present, there weren't many so I won't complain about them.

One highlight of the hike was seeing the juvenile Scissortail Flycatchers without their signature tail feathers.  The parents had their long tail feathers but the juveniles, while able to fly easily, did not yet possess them.

The other highlight was seeing not one, but TWO horned toads!  This may seem trivial to some but there have been many hikes when I've seen no horned toads so seeing two of them in different places, was very nice!  I got some good pictures of one toad (attached to this report) that seemed interested in what I was doing .  He heard the click of the shutter and saw himself reflected in the lens so he climbed stalks of grass and scrub to get closer.  After he decided he saw enough, off he went.

Unfortunately, I still find trash on the trails - most of the trash found on this hike was "newer" trash such as GU packets and water bottles.  Finding two inner tubes stretched across a trail sign was not an accidental dropping. 

If you pack it in, show some courtesy to the other hikers, bikers, equestrians and residents of the park, by packing your trash out.  Thank you!!


Bell's Trailhead is a parking area only - info kiosk is gone.

Water, shade, dry toilets and an info kiosk are available at the Upper Ghost Camp on the outward bound portion of the hike located at the southern end of the North Slick Rock Trail.   

This is the only location on this route that has water so I recommend you hydrate and refill all water carriers here.

Shade and an info kiosk are available at Cougar Outlook.

Log Photos
Climbing to see his reflection
Area around San Angelo State Park
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