Just a short drive from Cedar Park on FM 1431 is one of the most beautiful drives in the Texas Hill Country. Admire the views as you enjoy the scenic 24 mile journey to The Balcones Canyonlands Wildlife Refuge, a true Texas treasure. Under the umbrella of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, The National Wildlife Refuge System manages a national network of lands and waters set aside to conserve America’s fish, wildlife, and plants.
In the Balcones Refuge there are two bird species whose habitat is being observed and managed; the Golden Cheeked Warbler and the Black-Capped Vireo. The Golden Cheeked Warbler only nests in Central Texas and their habitats are being threatened. This is one of very few places that their fascinating nesting and mating rituals can be observed and you can learn more about their threats to survival. During the Spring you can attend the highly anticipated Songbird Festival where you can learn more about these and other bird species found at the Refuge.
The Refuge offers some of the best opportunities to take in amazing views and Texas Hill Country wildlife. Venture out on a scenic drive from Cedar Park by heading West on FM 1431 towards Lago Vista. Just after you pass Singleton Bend Rd on your Left, slow down and look for Cow Creek Road (328) on your Right. You need to slow down or you might miss it, as it is not clearly marked until you are upon it. Turn Right on Cow Creek Road and you will enter the Refuge. Relax and enjoy the drive as you meander past creeks and streams, beautiful vistas and maybe even a few cows. When you reach the end of Cow Creek Road, you can turn Left on FM 1174 which will take you back to FM 1431.
If you are looking for volunteer opportunities and you enjoy the outdoors, there are many different ways you can Volunteer at the Refuge including guiding hikes and nature tours or even conducting wildlife surveys. You can also support the Friends of the Balcones Canyonlands to help preserve this magical piece of the Hill Country for years to come.
For this fun Day Trip from Cedar Park, you can pack a picnic and take a hike at Balcones Canyonlands Wildlife Refuge. Or if you want to just drive though the Refuge and have lunch somewhere, you can head over to Flat Creek Estate Vineyards off FM 1431 and Singleton Bend Rd. Enjoy wine tasting in their beautiful Tasting Room or have a nice glass of wine outdoors on their charming patio. You can also visit the Bistro for lunch or dinner for excellent wood fired pizza, a beautifully presented cheese board or delicious chef prepared entrees. Reservations are Required.