Wild Basin is unique in that it is open to hiking by reservation only on the weekends. It is five bucks a car with no more than 6 occupants or if you are two days older then dirt like me it is three dollars. It is a very well-maintained preserve run by the City of Austin and St. Edwards University whose students use it as a living lab for environmental studies.
Like the nearby Balcones Wildlife Preserve, Wild Basin protects habitat for the endangered Black Capped Vireo and the Golden Cheeked Warbler, I have never seen either yet.
Both birds live only in Central Texas although they do migrate to northern Mexico for the winter returning in mid-March. The efforts for the Vireo have been somewhat successful and it is no longer endangered. But the Warbler continues to struggle with numbers as the constant pushing of development west into the Hill Country continues to destroy its habitat. in fact, in Wild Basin’s 227 acres they have found only two pairs of Warblers on the property.
Now about Wild Basin. It was established in 1974 by the city of Austin after a group including former Texas Governor Ann Richards pushed for development in the area to be stopped. The city traded land to the development company in return for them leaving Wild Basin unspoiled. The park contains 227 acres and has about 3 miles of very well developed and maintained trails.
I started out on the Arroyo Vista Trail. This trail had an almost constant view of the Hill Country.
Some good views and some not so much……….
This preserve is great for people who like elevation gain because it was up and down all day. I descended towards Bee Creek on the Triknee Trail. Yep, if you have a trick knee this one is not for you. It was a steep decline over several natural rock steps.
I then hit the Creek Trail. As you get to the creek there is a great surprise waiting for you, A waterfall, with actual water!
It was just a large trickle on this day, but it has been very dry around here for the last month or more.
I ascended the canyon on the Warbler and Laurel Trails. then I found the Woodland Trail so had to check that one out as well.
And of course, it had a view….
The people here were very friendly. They invited me back any weekday for free entry and no time limit. Oh, I forgot to mention the reservations are for three hours on weekends then you have to leave before the next flight of hikers arrive. The way natural areas are packed with people and trashed around here on weekends; I find this to be a great way to control the amount of people visiting.