Hiking the Preserve
Wild Basin Overlook
Scenic View of Wild Basin
Scenic trail at Wild Basin
Frequently Asked Questions
Why does Wild Basin have a reservation and fee system?
To protect the preserve and prevent overuse, Travis County approved a new day-use fee system. Registration and day-use fees are required on weekends and holidays only, when preserve visitation is at its peak. During the 50 years of free and unlimited public access to Wild Basin trails, natural areas have become visibly distressed. Human impacts such as cut-through trails, plant damage, and increased trash and traffic overwhelm the natural creek basin. Managing the number of visitors and collecting a small fee supports preserve operational costs and helps Wild Basin staff in their work to conserve and restore the preserve.
What is the cost of a hiking pass?
Adults (Ages 18+): $5.00
Youth (Ages 6-17): $3.00
Children (Ages 1-5): Free
Group Rate (4 to 6 adults): $15.00
When do I need a reservation to hike?
Online advance registration is required for weekends and federal holidays only. On weekdays, entry is free and reservations are not required, but the gate will close whenever the parking area is full. If your weekday group is over 5 vehicles please call or email firstname.lastname@example.org at least 7 Days in advance to coordinate. The parking lot is small with limited space.
Are there fees for schools and community groups?
Schools and community groups are eligible for free tours and educational programs. For more info, contact email@example.com
How many vehicles and people are allowed in one reservation?
Each reservation is good for one vehicle with up to 6 people. All individuals and vehicles in your group must be included in your reservation(s).
How long is the hike?
The trails at Wild Basin total almost 3 miles and take guests from the top of a hill at the Creative Research Center down to the basin of Bee Creek. The shortest loop, Arroyo Vista at 0.6 miles, includes a stop at the scenic Overlook. Hikers can explore a longer hike with creek crossings along the Creek Loop, at 1.5 miles. Ledge Trail is an intermediate option at 0.8 miles that follows a natural limestone outcrop. Woodland Trail is steep and rocky, and contains some of the largest Ashe juniper specimens along the trails. At almost 2 miles, the Yaupon Loop is the longest trail, crossing Bee Creek to follow the preserve’s southern border.
What should I bring?
Whichever trail you choose, prepare to hike over a period of 2 hours across rugged rocky terrain. All participants should wear closed-toed shoes, dress appropriately for the weather, and bring water to carry on the trails. A sun hat and sunblock are recommended. Carry a printed or digital Wild Basin Trail Map.
Can I stay longer than three hours?
If you have reserved a hiking pass (as required for weekends or holidays), you’ll need to exit the preserve at the end of your hiking session time slot. On weekdays, visitation is allowed from sunrise to sunset.
Are there restrooms, water, facilities?
The Visitor Gallery is open Monday - Friday from 8am-3pm and closed on weekends. No water is available on site when the visitor gallery is closed. A portable restroom is located in the parking lot.
Can I bring my pet?
No. Wild Basin is a nature preserve, not a park. Pets can disturb habitat and disrupt the behavior of native wildlife.
Can we swim or fish in the creek?
No. As part of the nature preserve, Bee Creek's waters and wildlife are all protected and must not be disturbed.
Can I cancel due to rain or inclement weather?
No. Reservations are valid "rain or shine."
How do I request a refund or cancel?
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 512.327.7622 to cancel your reservation. You must cancel 24 hours in advance for a full refund.
Do you offer fee waivers?
For financial assistance on weekends, you can request a fee waiver online. You can also request a fee waiver by emailing email@example.com or calling 512.327.7622. Please allow 48 hours to respond to a request.
What are St. Edward's University's and Travis County's respective roles at Wild Basin?
St. Edward's University manages daily operations at the Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve (through a joint agreement with Travis County) and also manages the Wild Basin Creative Research Center. Travis County oversees the land management of the Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve, ensuring adherence to the terms of the Balcones Canyonlands Conservation Plan. Learn more on the About page.