Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge

Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge preserves the breeding habitats of the endangered golden-cheeked warbler and black-capped vireo.

The refuge is located about 30 miles northwest of Austin. Visitors can reach the refuge from RR 1431, RR 1174 and RR 1869.

The refuge protects 20,000 acres of oak and juniper woods and savannah of Texas hill country for the continued survival of these two bird species.

Wildlife viewing areas are available to visitors at the following locations:

The Warbler Vista Area is one mile west of Lago Vista and 0.7 mile off RR 1431.

The Cactus Rocks Trail leads visitors through golden-cheeked warbler habitat and offers scenic views of the surrounding Texas hill country and Lake Travis. This trailhead is accessible only by steep, unpaved road and is not recommended to recreational vehicles. The Sunset Dect, located at the end of Warble Vestral Road, provide specatacular views of Lake Travis.

The Doeskin Ranch Area is adjacent to RR 1174, 4.5 miles north of the junction with RR 1431. Five trails of varying lengths introduce visitors to three distinct eco-systems.

The Pond and Prairie Trail is an easy and wheelchair-accessible, 0.4-mile loop trail through native grassland with scenic overlooks of Doeskin Creek and Balcones hillsides. Benches are found along trail.

The Doeskin Creek Trail is an easy .6-mile loop trail along Doeskin Creek and past historic sites. There are benches along the trail.

Rimrock Trail is a difficult two-mile loop trail that ascends to the top of plateau through golden-cheeked warbler habitat with views of Doeskin Ranch and Texas Hill Country. A half-mile loop trail on top provides additional panoramic views of the countryside. The 1.5-mile Indiangrass Trail allows visitors to explore the backcountry.

The Shin Oak Observation Deck, adjacent to RR 1869 1.3 miles east of the junction with RR 1174, provides views of the black-capped vireo’s shin oak habitat. In season visitors can hear this species. There are exhibits at the parking area and in the deck shelter. This deck is closed for one month during early spring.

The refuge and the Friends of Balcones host the Annual Songbird Festival at the end of April. Guided tours to view the endangered black-capped vireo and golden-cheeked warbler and other programs are offered.

There is dove hunting in September, a permit is required.

Deer, hog and turkey hunts are available in November and December. Contact the refuge in July for deer, hog, and turkey hunting permit applications.
  • 24518 FM 1431, Box 1
  • Marble Falls , TX 78654
  • Texas
  • Open Year-Round
  • No Entry Fee Charged.
  • (800) 496-9077
  • (512) 339-9432

Touring & Services
  • Scenic Drives
  • Lodging Nearby
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Visitor Center
  • Children's Activities
  • Guided Tours
  • Picnicking
  • Off Road Vehicles
Winter Sports
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Downhill Skiing
  • Snowboarding
  • Snowshoeing
  • Snowmobiling
  • Ice Skating
  • Winter Camping
Cycling
  • Mountain Biking
  • Bike Touring
Fishing
  • Saltwater Fishing
  • Freshwater Fishing
Hunting
  • Big Game
  • Upland
  • Waterfowl
Nature & History
  • Bird-Watching
  • Nature Viewing
  • Historic Sites
Camping & Hiking
  • Hiking
  • Wheelchair Trails
  • Camping
  • Backpacking
  • Rock Climbing
  • Horse Trails
Paddling & Watersports
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Rafting
  • Beaches
  • Boat Launch