I live in Houston and have worked as a nurse. I have a lifelong passion for traveling, nature, and photography (preferably all together!).
A vast forested and wetland area consisting of 754 acres has the name, Cullinan Park. It is located off of Highway 6 just north of the Sugar Land Regional Airport.
My husband and I recently visited there. The first thing noticed after driving into the park and parking is the small but family-friendly picnic area. Currently, there are no restroom facilities except for a porta-potty.
Cullinan Park is open from dawn to dusk. Gates close automatically, and there is a number provided inside of the entrance to call the Sugar Land police department if one is accidentally locked inside the park.
The address of Cullinan Park is 12414 S. Texas 6, Sugar Land, Texas 77498.
In that same picnic area is the entrance to the boardwalk and observation tower overlooking White Lake. I loved this part of the park! From the safety of the raised boardwalk, people can look down and gaze upon all types of aquatic vegetation and wildlife. We did not personally see alligators swimming, but they are present in this park and are often spotted.
There is a closeup photo showing many American Coots in Goforth Park. We have seen these birds with the thick white bills in other parks as well.
Some things you may not know about American Coots:
- Often they are referred to as mudhens.
- Groups of them are called covers or rafts.
- They are monogamous birds most often seen in sizable groupings.
Before visiting the park, I found out that much of it is relatively primitive. I had sketched out a trail map on a piece of paper and carried it with me. Had I not done so, we could easily have gotten lost! Some of the trails are more obvious than others. However, as of the timing of our visit, none of them were marked.
Fortunately, I had also read a tip to be sure and use mosquito repellent. Except for the picnic area and boardwalk at White Lake, we would have been eaten alive by mosquitoes had we not taken the precaution of using mosquito repellent before our hiking in the forested areas.
Dragonflies like to eat mosquitoes, and while there were dragonflies in evidence, it would have taken millions of them to dispatch all the mosquitoes buzzing about that day! Crawfish also call this area home.
Cullinan Park Conservancy
The Cullinan Park Conservancy, a non-profit organization, is in charge of promoting and enhancing the amenities in this park for people as well as protecting the wildlife.
The YouTube video below tells much of the story in only 2:45 minutes. I would heartily recommend viewing it.
Hodge’s Bend Cemetery
Some of the early owners of this land are now buried in a small cemetery within this park. I squeezed through the edge of the fencing to take the first photo below. A Texas Historical Commission sign erected in 1975 located there tells the following story.
“Hodge’s Bend Cemetery
A veteran of ‘Swamp Fox’ Francis Marion’s South Carolina brigade during the American Revolution, Alexander Hodge (b. 1760) brought his family to Texas in 1825. Hodge was prominent among the ‘Old Three Hundred’ settlers; his sons fought in the Texas Revolution. His 1828 land grant from Stephen F. Austin, named Hodge’s Bend, included the site for this cemetery. First grave here was that of his wife Ruth, who died in 1831. Hodge was buried here in 1836. The cemetery contains about 75 graves, including those of Hodge’s descendants and other early settlers in the area. The last burial here was in 1942.”
The photos below were all taken from within the park confines.
Hodge’s cemetery could use a little help regarding the upkeep of it. On a bench just outside the gate is a sign with two men’s names and local telephone numbers. It notes the following: “Texas Historical Non-Profit Please donate at www.GoFundMe.com/HodgesBendCemetery"
The ground was very uneven. Some rusted benches and lawn chairs appeared in random places. Quite a few of the grave sites had simple white wooden crosses as markers. Overall it had a sad derelict appearance.
Wildflowers in the Park
Many different types of wildflowers grow in other areas of the park. Numerous wild raspberry bushes are also evident. The photos below are a small sample of what is here in this vast nature park.
Oyster Creek Loop Trail
While hiking on the part of the Oyster Creek Loop Trail, views of Oyster Creek take center stage.
An old abandoned roadway over the creek is evident in one place along the trail. Most of the pathways along this creek are forested.
Spotting Birds in the Park
Bird watching is of great interest to many people. I made a couple of significant discoveries! One of them was spotting the second-largest woodpecker in all of the United States. It was the Pileated woodpecker. It is indeed large, measuring from 16 to 19 inches in length! I could not get a clear shot of it through the woods but found one to show you.
After making it back to the parking lot after exiting the forested areas, I wanted to take another look at White Lake and walk on the boardwalk.
Spotting an American Bittern was most exciting! It was the first such bird that I had ever seen. I almost missed seeing it as it was motionless and hunkered down amidst vegetation. When it knew that it had been spotted, it started to move and extend its head upward.
All at once, it fluffed up all its feathers and stared back at me. That was perhaps an offensive gesture meant to frighten me off? It is a well-camouflaged bird! In reading about them, they are solitary creatures and do most of their feeding at night.
Plans for the Future of the Park
There are plans to add many amenities to this massive park, including restroom facilities, new trails, and even boat launches. My hubby has no interest in returning until at least the trails have been marked.
I would go back anytime to see what other creatures I could see from that boardwalk area on White Lake. The mosquitoes were not bothering us there, as it was more open and breezy.
It will be exciting to see what becomes of Cullinan Park in the future. This park is one of the largest nature parks in our Houston metro area! We spent many hours there and did not see it all.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Peggy Woods
Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 02, 2020:
I am glad that we hiked through the entire park, but my favorite part was the viewing platform over the water. If I would ever go back, that is the portion of the park I would care to see again.
FlourishAnyway from USA on April 01, 2020:
I love that pecan tree and how it is hollowed out at the bottom. I’d be afraid of getting lost but my husband would figure it out probably (probably!). The thought of snakes and alligators and getting locked in there accidentally at night on an unmarked trail is enough to keep me on that viewing platform though. Beautiful place.
Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 31, 2020:
That Hodges Bend Cemetery can definitely use some upkeep and care. Thanks for your comment.
Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on March 31, 2020:
Too bad they're not keeping up the Hodges Bend Cemetery. We don't hear too much about that post-Revolution period in this area. Again, thanks for sharing this with us!
Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 31, 2020:
The vast majority of this park is left in its natural state. Better marking of the pathways through the wilderness areas would be a welcome improvement. I love the lake area and walkway over it.
Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on March 31, 2020:
I would go there a lot. Love the natural setting. Hours of relaxation and contemplation await Houstonians. Just lovely!
Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 30, 2020:
Thanks! It has taken me time over several years to accumulate these articles that are now being moved to this site. I appreciate your reading and commenting on them.
Liz Westwood from UK on March 30, 2020:
What a beautiful park and what stunning ohotographs. I am in awe of your ability to produce such consistently high quality articles.