Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge

Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge, Marble Falls: Hours, Address, Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge Reviews: 4.5/5

Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge

Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge
4.5
Nature & Wildlife Areas • Canyons
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8:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Monday
8:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Tuesday
8:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Wednesday
8:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Thursday
8:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Friday
8:00 AM - 4:30 PM
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
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Excellent
25
Very good
26
Average
5
Poor
0
Terrible
0

Kathy L
Urbana, IA476 contributions
We stopped at the visitor's center and spoke with a docent and grabbed a map. She was very helpful in guiding us to walking trails within our abilities and recommending we visit Sunset Deck and drive the Cow Creek Road. We did the short .4 mile trail near the visitors center and then drove up to Sunset Deck. The views are so special. The road up to Sunset is partially paved and then dirt, but it is ADA accessible to the deck. The trails, not so much. We did get great views of Lake Travis and the valley. We plan to drive Cow Creek Road next week and try some of the other easy trails.

Parking is available at all trailheads and is free. There are some restrooms available. Great restrooms and a water fountain in the visitor's center.
Written January 16, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

TravelingGranny3
Wisconsin72 contributions
Beautiful hiking area. Serene with a small creek flowing through the Doeskin Ranch area. We heard coyotes but saw no other wildlife, although it was ideal for deer and such. Wonderful area to relax and unwind.
Written January 11, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

SawyerHicks
Baltimore, MD87 contributions
I parked at Doeskin Ranch off of 1174. Truthfully, I found it kind of difficult to figure out which hikes were where when I was doing my research. Doeskin Ranch has 5 trails but three of them are quite short. I did all of them, which totaled about 5 miles, and found it be a worthwhile trip from Austin (about a 50-minute drive). None of the trails are particularly difficult, but one early section of the Rimrock trail (if you take a right from the parking lot) is somewhat steep and rocky, but small children could manage it. They do controlled burns in the area in an effort to restore the natural prairie grasses, so the first half mile or so has a pleasant (IMO), subtle smoky smell. Presumably, the trail is closed when the fires are burning. Once you get to the Indiangrass trail, the scenery opens up and is quite enjoyable, even if there are no particular "wow" spots. I only saw a few birds, but I went for the hike anyways.
Written March 11, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

tleeEvans
Houston, TX846 contributions
If you go on a weekend make sure you do not travel to the main gate as it is closed on weekends. You will pick up a map at the gate and drive to the different locations of the hikes. My husband and I choose to go to the creek trail and observation platform. the creek trail has several hikes in the area, the day we were there the creek has not water so the small waterfall is dry. Nice partily paved walking paths and then gravel. Would be very nice if water was in the creek.The Observation platform is not worth the time or gas to get there. You can not see anything really
Written August 2, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

journeyhitherandyon
Denver, CO41 contributions
Couples
Enjoyed a winter's afternoon hiking and birding at this national wildlife refuge. Saw several species of birds at the park headquarters, walking along the creek trail. Then drove up the road to Doeskin ranch for a good, solid hike through various Texas Hill Country ecotones. We were there late in the afternoon, too, so we were able to see another round of small-ish birds doing their final foraging for the day. Great day out of the busyness Austin!
Written January 2, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Sarracenia
Norman, OK1,717 contributions
Couples
Visited this NWR for the first time a couple of weeks ago in mid June. The place was a bit out of the way, but only a little. What a surprise to arrive and see so many wildflowers. A native Yucca, one of 4 found in the area, was blooming profusely and the hillsides were white due to the yucca blooms.

The place was pretty empty but we arrived very early before 8 am. Good parking lot and nice bathrooms.

We took a 2.2 mile trail that went up the hill. It was very nice with great views once you got to the top. Lots of flowers and birds including painted buntings and lark sparrows.

A peaceful place great for a nice walk. Best done early during the hot time of the year.

There is a short trail that I believe was handicapped accessible as are the restrooms.

Would return if I have a chance.
Written June 29, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

porter_osborne
Waco, TX759 contributions
Couples
Nice refuge in a state with VERY FEW such land set asides. Nice walking trails along meadows or into the "balcones." Make sure you determine which access point you want to visit. There are at least 4 different entrances, and each one is several miles from any other. .No entrance fees so enjoy whatever the day brings..
Written March 11, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

M J
Austin, TX7,967 contributions
Couples
On an April Sunday, my husband and I hiked four trails in the Balcones Canyonlands Wildlife Refuge. In the Warbler Vista area (off FM 1431), we hiked the Vista Knoll Trail (1.2 miles round trip) and the Ridgeline Trail (1.5 miles round trip). There is a very nice observation deck at the west end of the Ridgeline trail. Both trails were easy, well-marked, had sitting benches, some shade from trees, and had great views of Lake Travis and the hill country. In the Doeskin Ranch area (off FM 1174), we hiked the Pond and Prairie trail (very easy 0.4 mile) and the Creek trail (.6 mile). Half of the Pond and Prairie trail is paved (handicap access). There are other trails in the Warbler Vista and Doeskin Ranch areas as well. There is an observation deck in the Shin Oak area (off FM 1869). Shin Oak area is landscape is fairly flat and has scrub bush. Take drinking water. I did not see any drinking water in the Refuge. There were vault toilets in the Warbler Vista and Doeskin Ranch areas. I suggest that you take Cow Creek Road for your trip between the Warbler Vista and Doeskin Ranch areas because the drive is beautiful.
Written April 22, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

CowboyCamper613
Houston, TX42 contributions
Family
was a good place to relax and take in nature. Not a place to go during the dead of summer . But it was great in a Texas winter, Lots of Animals to be seen.
Written June 27, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Rick B
Round Rock, TX1,217 contributions
Solo
Went out to Balcones Canyonlands looking for some Central Texas hiking that wasn't flat. It did not disappoint. While not a lot of miles the hiking was quite nice. The views were fabulous. I stared at the Doeskin Ranch section where I hiked about 3 miles total. As you start out on the wide road you come to the water crossing and the small but beautiful waterfall. Several large stones have been put solidly across the stream so crossing is easy. You now go up into the hill country to the top of a long ridge that is covered with short trees, prairie grasses and prickly pear cactus. There are occasional views if you pay attention The views are better on your descent. Then I went towards the rimrock trail which takes you up into a small canyon. There is another trail along the creek going the other way through the historic homestead but I declined as it was covered with Prairie Grass bent over by a heavy dew and I didn't want to get wet again as my pants had just dried. Through the prairie near the parking lot is an extensive but rough wheelchair accessible paved path of probably a good mile in length. Restrooms are accessible but are just single stall pit latrines. There was no water so bring your own. But wait there is a bonus here. If you don't mind a little drive between a couple of hikes there is the Warbler Vista unit at Lago Vista Texas. here you can get in another couple of miles on a nice day. The views here were probably just as good as at Doeskin Ranch. Lake Travis can be seen winding into the distanceand to the west a great view back up into the Hill Country.
Written October 1, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge

Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge is open:
  • Mon - Fri 8:00 AM - 4:30 PM