Kick Off Hike Season with a Guided Refuge Tour on the Martin Tract!
All registered participants will get a special kick-off weekend gift - a Friends of Balcones water bottle to use for this hiking season!
Join us for a peek behind the curtains of Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge. Most of the refuge is closed to the public to allow for restoration and habitat management but now you can experience this part of the refuge with the help of our guided hike leaders!
Our guided hiking tours on private tracts provide a special opportunity to see portions of the refuge that are set aside exclusively for our native plants and animals! These private tracts are made available to you to view exclusively through our guided hike program.
These hiking tours move at a moderate place, with stops along the way to discuss the birds, plants, history, geology and habitats of the Refuge. We see many native plants and beautiful views along the way.
Who is this hike for?
If you are interested in learning about the beautiful Refuge right in Austin’s backyard, this guided tour is for you! Spend time getting closer to the land by learning some of the important plants, the history, geological features and how this habitat is maintained.
What kind of hike will this be?
This 2.8 mile hike will be along an old 2-track ranch road that has 377 feet of elevation gains. The loose rocks combined with short steep slopes make this mostly un-shaded trail a moderately difficult 2.5 - 3 hour hike.
We hike at a moderate pace and have several stops along the way to discuss plants, geology, birds, habitats and more!
Enjoy long ranging views, learn about how the refuge has changed over time and the conservation work done today to enhance habitats for native Texas Hill Country plants and wildlife.
BCNWR Headquarters: 24518 Ranch Road 1431, Marble Falls, TX
Since this hike is on the weekend when the visitor center is closed, one of the hike leaders will meet you at the gate to the headquarters of Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge and give you access to the main parking lot. Once all registered participants are checked in, we will go to the trailhead from there.
Please be there 15 minutes before the hike start time so that we can start the hike promptly. Once the hike begins, no one will be monitoring the gate.
Please note that since this is not a public trail, restrooms and drinking water are not available at the trailhead. Lago Vista is ~9 minutes from the trailhead and a convenient place to stop prior to arriving at the headquarters!
As always, wear appropriate shoes, bring plenty of water, bug spray, and sunscreen. Due to slippery rocks on the trail, hiking poles are also highly recommended.
Registration is limited to 15 participants for this hike.
Weather Advisory and Other Cancellations
In the event that we need to cancel due to extreme weather or other unforeseen conditions you will be notified via email and text.
Our hikes are popular and often have wait lists, if you need to cancel, we ask that you try to do so at least 48 hours in advance so that a wait-list participant is notified in adequate time to be able to join us on the trail! You can cancel in two ways: