Buffalo Lake NWR is one of the major waterfowl refuges on the Central Flyway migratory route. It is located southwest of Amarillo in the panhandle area of Texas and encompasses 7,664 acres. It was established in 1959 and is administered by the US Fish & Wildlife Service.
This area is primarily short grass prairie, one of the few remaining open grass prairies in the United States. It also contains riparian, mash, and woodland habitats. Buffalo Lake is flooded annually, but is typically dry. In addition to the hundreds of species of birds that migrate through the area each spring and autumn, it’s also a native habitat for many types of wildlife, from the North American porcupine and black-tailed prairie dogs to bald eagles and burrowing owls.
I visited this site in early April 2017 while passing through the area with RaggedyCrow. We did the 11-mile auto tour, checked out the wildlife observation decks, and were the only people in the entire campground, which is amazing, because it was a weekend. The gates to the refuge are locked each night; the times they are open depend on the time of year.
There is a $2 per car, per day site fee. Federal Golden or Interagency passes are accepted in lieu of the fee, and there is no additional charge for camping. Activities include hiking, the auto tour (which has many helpful interpretive signs along the route), bird-watching, and camping. The campground was incredibly clean and well-maintained.
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