The 27,500 acre Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge is located near Marble Falls, Texas and has roughly 8 miles of hiking trails. However, the hiking trails are located on three different public use areas. While the trails do not meet, if planned correctly you can rack up some miles in each public use area (these are listed below).
What’s Not Allowed On the Refuge: Camping, bringing pets (no you cannot bring your dog), horseback riding, playing bird recordings, bicycling, and jogging (trail running). You must also stay on the trail.
Hours of Operation for trails: Sunrise to Sunset
Doeskin Ranch is located in the northern part of Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge and has the longest trails. It is also the closest to Marble Falls.
There is very little shade throughout the trails, so make sure to bring lots of water. There are bathrooms at the beginning of the trail along with a mediocre map of the trails. The neat thing about all the trails in this portion of the refuge is that they are loops. It would be really easy to make one continues trail and get about 6-7 miles in of hiking.
Doeskin Ranch has 5 trails:
Rimrock Trail – 2.2 miles (rated as difficult)
Pond & Prairie Trail – 0.4 miles (rated as moderate)
Creek Trail – 0.6 miles (rated as moderate)
Shinoak Trail – 0.5 miles (rated as moderate)
Indiangrass Trail – 1.5 miles (rated as moderate)
Getting There: 10645 FM 1174, Bertram, TX 78605; Located about an hour drive from Fort Hood.
Warbler Vista & Sunset Deck
Located in the southern most section of Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge, this section has three trails plus a viewing deck. If planned right, you could make it a 3.5 mile hike.
Cactus Rocks Trail – 1.25 miles (rated as difficult)
Vista Knoll Trail – 0.5 mile (rated as moderate)
Ridgeline Trail – 0.7 mile (rated as moderate)
Sunset Deck – (next to parking)
Getting There: 21646 1/2 FM 1431, Marble Falls, TX 78654; Located about a 1.5 hour drive from Fort Hood.
Located in the southern portion of the refuge, it hosts two trails rated as easy. Great for bird watchers and those that like a very short and easy stroll. It is open Monday-Friday during business hours and has a birding blind in addition to the two trails.
Post Oak Trail – 0.4 mile (rated as easy)
Pollinator Path – 0.16 mile (rated as easy)
Getting There: 24518 FM 1431, Marble Falls, TX 78654; Located about an 1.5 hour drive from Fort Hood.