We try to hike every Sunday as a family. Most weeks we end up at our usual, go-to places, but last Sunday I urged us to shake things up and try a new hike. We made our way over to the Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve and it ended up being one of my favorite hikes in Austin.
The Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve is very clear about one thing: it is first and foremost a protected area and should be treated as such. You absolutely must stay on the trail at all times (they even have security cameras to ensure this). You must not collect anything (which disappointed my stick-and-rock-collecting 5 year old). You must not leave anything (like trash) on the trail. This delicate ecosystem is being preserved by St. Edwards University. No picnics, pets, or bikes allowed.
We found the trail map and decided to take a picture on our phones, which helped us a lot along the way. There are a few choices when selecting your hike and which loop you want to take, so make sure you bring a picture of the map with you. We decided to go for a longer loop, which ended up being a little over a mile long. Three of my favorite things about a good hike are beautiful scenery, a good workout, and that it loops. This one has all three!
We got there at 10:00 a.m. and our loop took about an hour. We were very hot and sweaty even at that time of day, so be sure to bring plenty of water! The trail goes up and down and when you’re climbing your way back up at the end you’ll need to stop and take some water breaks (especially if you have kids). Sunscreen and hats are also recommended.
There were plenty of opportunities to stop off at overlooks and enjoy the views.
There were also lots of informational plaques that the boys liked to read.
We saw beautiful views at the overlooks, a trickling creek, and a waterfall. The shady spots and gentle breezes along the trail were a delight, as the humidity was already in full effect that morning.
I highly recommend checking out the free trails at the Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve with your kids! Even though they were a little more challenging because the paths weren’t always smooth, I believe even kids as young as 3 could finish this hike, especially if you didn’t choose a long trail. The trail we chose was definitely not stroller-friendly, but I believe the shortest one might be. My very active 7 and 5 year olds had no trouble with the 1.3 mile loop and were actually excited about the sweat they managed to work up! Our family loves a good sweat!
Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve
805 N Capital of Texas Hwy (Loop 360)
Austin, TX 78746
Admission: FREE! Donations are accepted.