Day Trips: Katy Prairie, Hockley

Wildlife viewing platform give a bird's eye view of Warren Lake

Day Trips: Katy Prairie, Hockley

The Matt Cook Wildlife Viewing Platform above the prairie west of Houston gives a bird's eye view of the birds. From the second-story viewing deck, the entire Warren Lake comes into view.

Day Trips: Katy Prairie, Hockley

It's a peaceful spot high above the flat plain with the wind tugging at your cap. From this vantage point, the glassy surface of the lake and the thick brush surrounding it is a busy place.

The wildlife viewing area is one of four of the Katy Prairie Conservancy's preserves open to the public. The nonprofit land trust controls 14 greenspaces covering more than 13,000 acres, most of it the V created by I-10 and U.S. 290.

Day Trips: Katy Prairie, Hockley
Photos by Gerald E. McLeod

Generations ago, the land west of Houston was covered in coastal grassland. Less than 1% of the once expansive prairie remains in scattered remnants. What survives is critical habitat for resident and migratory wildlife.

Named for a young outdoorsman whose family has deep roots in the area, the platform opened in 2010. A picturesque location, Warren Lake is one of the premiere wildlife and birding locations on the coast. Not only can you see shore birds, but eagles, osprey, and other large birds soar over the lake.

Matt Cook Wildlife Viewing Platform is only about 3.5 miles south of U.S. 290 at the Hegar Road exit in Hockley, but can also be accessed from I-10 from the Mason Road exit near Katy.

For directions, go to The platform is open daily from 7am 'til dusk.

1,237th a series. Collect them all. Day Trips, Vol. 2 a book of "Day Trips," is available for $8.95, plus $3.05 for shipping, handling, and tax. Mail to: Day Trips, PO Box 33284, South Austin, TX 78704.

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More Day Trips
Day Trips: FM 457 Bridge, Sargent
Day Trips: FM 457 Bridge, Sargent
I can see for miles

Gerald E. McLeod, May 14, 2021

Day Trips: South Padre Island Parks
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Gerald E. McLeod, May 7, 2021


Matt Cook Wildlife Viewing Platform, Hockley, Katy Prairie Conservancy

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