Day Trip: Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge

Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge is a wildlife habitat in Marble Falls, a short drive from Austin. The refuge contains over seven miles of trails and is the home for 245 bird species throughout the year. Its primary purpose is to protect the nesting habitat of two highly endangered migratory birds, the golden-cheeked warbler and black-capped vireo. Visitors to the park can enjoy the beauty of the hill country and catch a glimpse of these lovely, but endangered birds.

Balcones Canyonlands

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Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge Information

Address: 24518 FM 1431, Marble Falls, TX 78654
Admission: Free
Hours: Open daily from sunrise to sunset. The headquarters are open from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm M-F.
Pets: Not allowed
Restrooms: Yes

Balcones Canyonlands

Trails: The refuge features seven miles of trails, overlooks, and photo blinds. The trails are not stroller friendly and at points can be moderately difficult. There are inclines, steps, and loose rocks, so it may be a better hike for older kids.

Balcones Canyonlands

Balcones Canyonlands

Wildlife Watching: There are several areas in the refuge that offer excellent opportunities to view the resident animals and spectacular scenery.

  • Shin Oak Observation Deck: This is the best public viewing area for black-capped vireos.
  • Doeskin Ranch: This 2.2 mile hike leads you to the top of the plateau and offers spectacular panoramic views of the Texas Hill Country.
  • Warbler Vista and Sunset Deck: Located on the south side of the refuge, this spot offers views of Lake Travis and opportunities to hear the golden-cheeked warbler.

Balcones Canyonlands

Recreation: The refuge hosts a number of family-friendly events throughout the year. Check their calendar for upcoming events.

Balcones Canyonlands

Educational Fun: The refuge offers a number of educational activities including free educational programs for children aged 5 to 14. More information on the classroom or home based nature programs can be found here.

Also, before you head out to Balcones Canyonlands, make sure to visit their Just for Kids page for fun ideas of things to do outside for kids.

Balcones Canyonlands

Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge offers families an amazing opportunity to enjoy the scenic Texas hill country, and to experience seeing and hearing endangered birds in their natural habitat. A short drive from Austin offers your family the chance to spend the day surrounded in some of the best natural offerings in central Texas.

For more information, visit the Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge website which offers maps and detailed driving directions.

A big thanks to Hike It Baby for sharing photos of Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge. Hike it Baby is a parent group focused on getting families outside together, enjoying nature in a safe and supported way. Join the free Hike It Baby Austin Facebook Group, and get to exploring the great outdoors!

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