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Do you like to stroll along and soak up the good vibes, or are you looking for something to challenge you a bit?  Are you ready to get up close and personal with nature? Balcones Canyonlands NWR is perfect for the day hiker, the trails are relatively short, easily accessible, and offer a variety of terrain and views. It’s time to lace up those hiking boots, grab your water bottle, and hit the trails. 

doeskin ranch

For a stroll with the kids, check out the creek and pond trails at Doeskin Ranch. You can take lunch in the shade of the pavilion. Just remember to pack out your trash. For the more experienced hiker, head up the Rimrock trail, take a tour of the Indiangrass trail and then head back down and finish it off along the creek to check out the myriad of dragonflies and birds.

warbler vista

If you’re heading to Warbler Vista, the Ridgeline trail is an easy stroll, lots of shade, and midway, you can take a break at the Sunset Deck to take in the view. For a workout, start at Quarry Canyon Trail parking lot, head up the trail and add the Ridgeline loop, finishing up with the Cactus Rocks and Boulder Trails which will take you back to the first leg of the Quarry Canyon Trail. 

No matter which trail you take, take a moment or two to just enjoy being outside, listen for the birds, admire the view, and just be.


The refuge was designed to provide a protected habitat for threatened and endangered species, to restore the land such that it can support the native wildlife and plants, and to protect the watersheds which it encompasses. Public use areas and trails are open 365 days a year, from sunrise to sunset. For your protection and the protection of the habitat, please remain on the trails. Pets are not allowed at the refuge. As in any refuge, park, or preserve, "take only pictures and leave only footprints." Leave it for the next hikers and the wildlife to enjoy, and for you to experience next time you hit the trails.

Trails at refuge headquarters are accessible Monday through Friday, from 8:00am-4:30pm, except for Federal holidays.


Located just west of Lago Vista, TX at 21646 ½ E FM 1431. The entrance is on the north side of the road.


 Distance Degree of DifficultyTrail Surface  Notes


1.2 mi Moderate Loop on a rocky trailA lovely loop trail through woodlands of ashe juniper, oaks, and native plants, it connects to Sunset deck for amazing views.
Cactus Rocks1.25 mi Moderate Loop on a natural trail with some loose rocksThis shady trail is a great place to look for golden-cheeked warblers in the spring and early summer. 
Vista Knoll 0.5 mi ModerateLoop on a natural trail with some loose rocksBeautiful views that look out over Lake Travis and the valley.
 Boulder0.4 mi Difficult Natural path with some loose rocksGood elevation change, interesting ravine with unique ecosystem and plants that you don't normally see. Due to loose rocks, we recommend going down Boulder and up Quarry Canyon.
 Quarry Canyon0.6 mi Difficult Steep rocky trail

Starts at the edge of the new parking lot and skirts the edge of an old quarry. Same elevation change as Boulder but with more switchbacks, interesting grotto with ferns, cedar sage and other interesting plants, and in the wet season, there's even a small waterfall.


Located at 10645 FM 1174, Bertram, TX.  The entrance is on the east side of the road.


 Distance  Degree of Difficulty Trail Surface   Notes

Pond & Prairie

0.5 mi  Easy  Narrow, natural path, partially paved Pond with dragonflies, blackbirds, and lots of native grasses and wildflowers.
Creek 0.6 mi  Easy  Narrow, natural path Meanders in and out of wooded areas along the creek, lots of native grasses and wildflowers. Riparian area along the creek attracts birds, dragonflies, and other wildlife.
Rimrock 1.6 mi         Difficult        Loop on a natural and rocky path Beautiful views that look out over Lake Travis and the valley.
 Shin Oak 0.5 mi  Easy  Natural path with some loose rocks A connector trail between Rimrock and Indiangrass trails. A good spot to see the results of prescribed burns.
Indiangrass 1.5 mi   Moderate  Natural path with some loose rocks

This trail makes you feel like you are the only person on the refuge. With sweeping views, this trail takes you through open grassland to oak-juniper forest with wildflowers galore, including wildflowers seldom seen. Bring your camera! 

shin oak Observation Deck

Located on FM 1869, Bertram, TX, about 8 miles west of Liberty Hill. The entrance will be on the south side of the road.

Observation Deck

From the parking lot, it's a short walk to a covered observation deck, a perfect spot to do a little bird watching. It’s a great place to look for black-capped vireo and other songbirds in the spring and summer. Note: there are no bathroom facilities or trails at this location. 

refuge headquarters

Located at 24518 Ranch Rd 1431, Marble Falls, TX 78654. The entrance is on the north side of the road. Gates are open Mon-Fri 8:00-4:30, except for federal holidays.


 Distance  Degree of Difficulty Trail Surface   Notes

Pollinator Path

0.2 mi  Easy  Loop on a natural path Restored grassland with native plants and grasses, and numerous wildflowers blooming according to the season.
Post Oak 0.4 mi  Easy  Loop on a natural path Loop takes you to the Post Oak creek where you can look for turtles, frogs, and wading birds.

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!

Find Us

Mailing Address:

PO Box 4678

Lago Vista, TX 78645

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