Austin Easy Hikes | Day Trips | Free

Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge

April 14, 2021

We have driven past Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge a bunch of times, but have never stopped here to explore. So, on the first nice day after the big winter storm of 2021, we drove out there for a hike in the sunshine. There are several different hikes you can choose, and even two separate entrances. We definitely want to come back to see it all!

Doeskin Ranch/ Creek Trail

We chose the Creek Trail trail head that leads you to the Doeskin Ranch homestead. If you are fascinated by Texas history, you definitely will want to check out this trail!

We saw the old homestead and had fun imagining what life would be like living inside a house this small!

Homestead at Doeskin Ranch

The landscape was beautiful and it was so nice to be outside again after being cooped up for so long waiting for the snow to melt. The sight of the rolling hills in Texas hill country never get old!

The Creek

Creek Trail does indeed lead you to a creek! It would probably be higher and running faster had we come after a bunch of good rainfall, but there was still some water to enjoy when we went.

The trail was a bit muddy in some spots, which is something to keep in mind if you head out here after some rain. We heard from other hikers that the other Balcones Canyonlands trails were much worse, so it looks like we picked the least muddy trail of them all!

The trail looped us back around to the parking lot. We love a good loop trail so you don’t have to decide when to turn around and head back! For more of our favorite trails, go here!

Austin Active Kids Opinion

There is way more to discover here than we could do in one visit! We are already looking forward to going back to see more. Go here for a complete list of all the possible trails you can hike!

Outing time

We only ended up staying for just under 2 hours. We spent some time just sitting by the creek. If you kept hiking and didn’t stop, you could definitely do several trails in this amount of time. Because the drive is so far for us, we didn’t want to stay that long, but next time we will make a whole day of it to really see it all!


Don’t go after a big rain as it gets really muddy here. There isn’t much shade, so try going on a cooler day and bring plenty of water and sunscreen. Wear a hat! There’s plenty to see here, so you may want to plan on spending more time than we did to really see it all. Bring binoculars if you’re into birdwatching!


24518 Ranch Rd 1431, Marble Falls


Sunrise to sunset every day.