Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Balcones Canyonlands NWR

Teri and I have been enjoying our time at Inks Lake State Park in the Texas Hill Country. Today was cool and drizzly, but we decided to get out and do some exploring at the nearby Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge.

Balcones Canyonlands is made up dozens of different tracts of land set aside as habitat for Golden-cheeked Warblers and Black-capped Vireos. Most of the areas are closed to the public, but the Doeskin Ranch tract has about 6 miles of public trails and we decided to try them out.

The forecast was for rain so we stuck to a couple of the shorter trails. The Creek Trail follows a beautiful clear creek and has several interpretive stops and a trail guide. Doeskin Ranch was a working cattle ranch up until 1992, so there were several old buildings, fences and roads to see as we walked.
With the wet year we've had the creek and springs were flowing well. In dry years the creek apparently dries up, leaving only a couple of water holes for the wildlife.
Small Waterfall
We also hiked the Pond and Prairie Trail, and saw a small group of Ring-necked Ducks that flushed before we got close enough for pictures.

Our visit was shortened today by rain, but we'll return once the weather improves to hike the more extensive Rimrock and Indiangrass trails on more elevated areas of the refuge.
Perhaps we will look into volunteering at this refuge in the future.



  1. I spent two springs at Balcones volunteering. This post brought back many happy memories to me.

  2. Looks like good hiking.... you're one dedicated photographer to carry that camera/lens for 6 miles! I'm such a wimp!

  3. Is Nancy Brown still there? She is a fantastic Volunteer Coordinator.

    1. I recall when she transferred up there to a Regional position. She isn't listed as the volunteer contact for the refuge.