Take a Hike
Wildlife Water Slide
Beaver Slide Nature Path at Purtis Creek State Park
Distance: 1.3 miles (loop) • Difficulty Level: 1/5 • Approximate Time: 1 hour
Purtis Creek State Park is a prime bass fishing destination — the lake was specifically designed for fishing — but there’s more to this park than big fish. There’s camping, hiking, bird watching and more.
The Beaver Slide Nature Path at Purtis Creek, an hour southeast of Dallas, offers a glimpse of the park beyond the bass, providing lake views and wildlife watching opportunities.
“Beaver Slide is one of our most popular trails,” says park office manager Suzanne Rowan. “It’s a secluded trail and very woodsy. It goes through an oak forest. You can hear a variety of bird calls as you walk.”
After crossing a couple of bridges around an arm of the lake, hikers will encounter a bird blind overlooking the lake arm. In the woodlands, woodpeckers, warblers and vireos are common. Along the water, egrets, kingfishers and herons can be seen. Bald eagles nest in the area, and white pelicans reside at the park in winter.
After the blind, hikers will come across a fork in the trail.
The right fork leads to another bridge across a small lake inlet, providing a place to stop and listen or watch for wildlife. You may hear a hawk cry, or, if you’re lucky, spot one of the park’s beavers or other animals.
“The trail is called Beaver Slide because we have beavers in the park, and you can sometimes see where they slide into the water,” Rowan says. “They leave a distinct mark.”
The trail then makes a loop through the woodlands, passing a handful of primitive campsites and offering views of the lake. On a hot day, hikers can enjoy shade from the abundant stands of oak, elms, walnuts, pecans and eastern red cedars.
Russell Roe Sonja Sommerfeld | TPWD
» Like this story? If you enjoy reading articles like this, subscribe to Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine.