CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) NOTICE

During the current public health emergency, whenever possible, outdoor recreation sites at national wildlife refuges and national fish hatcheries will remain open to the public. Visitor Centers and other facilities, however, may be closed. Scheduled events may be cancelled. Please follow public health guidelines and avoid congregating. For more information on Balcones Canyonland National Wildlife Refuge, click on the following: Balcones Canyonlands NWR

The Friends of Balcones Canyonlands group is beginning to schedule some activities again. Please check back often to get the latest information on scheduled activities.

Welcome to the Refuge

Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge manages and protects an area of the Texas Hill Country known for its diverse plants and wildlife, steep limestone ‘balconies,’ and precious endangered species. Experience the beauty of this ecological gem by visiting any of the four public use areas on the refuge. Bring your friends and family and enjoy hiking, learning, or unwinding in nature at Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge. Please note, the trails on the Refuge are open 365 days a week from sunrise to sunset. However, the Refuge headquarters is closed on Saturday and Sunday.

Our Mission

Support wildlife and habitat conservation at the Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge, and in cooperation with the Refuge help broaden public awareness, education, and advocacy.


Who We Are

Established in 2001, the Friends Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge was founded by a few friends who loved nature and wanted to support the new Wildlife Refuge. It has since grown from a handful to an organization of over 300 members. The Refuge still contains some of the best habitat left in the Hill Country and we plan to continue their legacy of habitat restoration, conservation, and education. 

Today, our priorities continue to be focused on protecting the land and the wildlife, on environmental education for all ages such that wildlife will continue to be protected in the future, and on creating programs that enable people to enjoy and fully connect with nature from building trails to leading hikes on the trails. We fully support the Refuge mission in a myriad of ways including managing invasive species, funding infrastructure like the pavilion at Doeskin Ranch and habitat restoration projects. 

Who are we? We suspect that we’re a lot like you – you love nature, you want to be out enjoying nature, and you want to see special places like the Refuge protected for your children and for their children. Come join us and advocate for nature! Hope to see you out on the trails soon.

Seasonal highlights

It’s spring! Lots happening, from wildflowers bursting onto the scene to songbirds feathering their nests. Here’s a just few of our favorites:


monarchs

The monarchs are coming through on their annual migration from Mexico to Canada, following the wildflowers and milkweed. The migrate as far north as the milkweed grows as that is the only plant on which they lay their eggs. We have lots of milkweed at the Refuge. Gently check them out to see if you find any monarch caterpillars having lunch.


lace cactus

Lots of things bloom in the spring including the lovely but petite lace cactus. Their blooms only last for a day but what a show!! The blooms are typically as large if not larger than the actual plant! 

guided hikes

We’ve launched a series of guided hikes on a portion of the Refuge not open to the general public. The trail winds through the hillside past old growth ashe juniper and limestone cliffs, prime golden cheeked warbler habitat. On the inaugural hike, we heard so many birds including the golden cheeked and the black-capped vireo. The grand finale was seeing the warbler perched on the top of a huge oak just as the hike was coming to an end. The hikes are posted on our events page. Sign up early as they fill up quickly. 

How You Can Help

About Us

The Friends of Balcones Canyonlands NWR is a 501(c)(3) organization whose primary purpose is to support the mission of the Refuge in restoring and protecting the habitat. The Friends are committed to building a diverse, vibrant community that appreciates, supports, and connects with nature in a meaningful way.

Become a Member

Join the Friends in protecting the wildlife and habitat, and supporting the mission of the Refuge. Start by taking a hike or  attending an event, by watching the seasons change through what’s blooming, or by just watching a hawk soar, or even just sitting still and listening to the songbirds sing. You can have a positive impact. Come find your refuge at the Refuge and join the fun!

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