Hiking the Hill Country: Balcones Canyonlands Wildlife Refuge
by Jamie Canter on July 6th, 2015

This summer my kids spent a week at Camp Peniel in Marble Falls.  They love it!  My boys do the day camp and my daughter does the overnight camp and they all get to grow in their relationship with Jesus while experiencing a fun outdoor camp that offers pool and lake time, horseback riding, archery, BB guns, drama, bible study and more!  Learn more at www.camppeniel.org

While the kids were away, my hubby and I decided to hike the Balcones Canyonlands Wildlife Refuge, located off 1431, very close to Camp Peniel.  We turned onto RM 1174 from 1431 and headed north.  The entrance to the Doeskin Ranch trails is on the right.  There is a parking lot and maps of the trails at the trailhead.  There are also vault toilets (no flushing).  We found all the trails to be well-marked and easy to follow.  This is not always the case!  Even the trailhead beginning was easy to identify.  Again, not always the case!!  The US Fish & Wildlife Service has done a great job with these trails.

The first trail we hiked was the Creek Trail, which is .6 miles.  We found a information sheet at the trailhead that we used to read information that corresponded with numbered markers along the path. I could see us coming back with the kids and using it to teach them about the different elements found in the trail.  It also asked thought-provoking questions to engage the reader.  Great job US Fish & Wildlife Service!!

Here are some of the things we saw along the Creek trail:
Loved the benches along the path.
Look how clear the river water is!  The US Fish & Wildlife rocks in their care of this land!!
The next trail we hiked was the Pond & Prairie, which is .4 miles.  It is a simple hike without any elevation with paved paths for part of it.  It also had interesting information signs like this one along the path.
The last trail we hiked was Rimrock, which was 2.2 miles.  It had elevation, although none of it was hard.  There are some rocky spots along the path, but nothing you have to climb. It has some great views of the area including this one.

At the end of the trail, you cross over the waterfall rock pictured above.  We had fun balancing ourselves on the rocks trying not to fall.  We made it without embarrassing ourselves!! Yay!
We had a great time and can't wait to come back with the kids. After the hike, we ate lunch at the Flat Creek Winery, also off 1431, just East of Balcones Canyonlands.  Great food and wine!  Here is the view from the winery.  (cute man not included in your visit - just mine!)

Posted in Travel, Family Fun    Tagged with hiking, balcones canyonlands wildlife refuge, travel, austin, flat creek winery


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