There are many ways to access the City's Balcones Canyonlands Preserve (BCP) - through use of hiking trails, participation in guided educational activities, and assistance with volunteer projects that contribute to preserve management. Access into the BCP is allowable only if endangered species protection is uncompromised.
The type of access most people may think of first is use of hiking trails, specifically for self-guided access. Click herefor a table detailing where these opportunities are on City-managed lands dedicated to the BCP and maps on how to get there. Unique in terms of access is the Bull Creek Preserve located west of the intersection of Loop 360/Capital of Texas Highway and Spicewood Springs Road.
Guided Access & the Wildland Experience
Getting onto the BCP to recreate is one thing, but Austin Water wants to offer our community more - unique wildland experiences where the public can learn about our local environment and how they can help conserve it. Programs in place and under development are designed to provide guided access-a format where information can be conveyed and where citizens can enjoy these lands, some of which are quite rugged, in a safe manner.
General Access Rules
Visitors are asked to respect these properties and help maintain them as habitat by following the specific posted rules for each site as well as the following general rules:
Respect and do not cross boundary fences
Do not remove or damage signs or markers.
Stay on and do not stray from designated trails.
Do not widen trails, create new trails, or cut any vegetation.
Do not collect any flora, fauna, or rocks.
Help clean up trails by picking up trash.
Do not release unwanted pets.
Do not remove signs or markers.
Do not use trails when wet when they can be damaged.
Groups such as garden clubs, scout troops, environmental science classes and neighborhood associations are welcome to request a guided hike by completing and submitting an outreach request form. Staff will work with you to select a date, determine availability of staff or trained volunteers, and arrange a hike that accommodates your group's interests and skill level. Please note that scheduling of these hikes depends on restrictions due to ongoing land management or other circumstances.
Access through Volunteering
Since 2004, Austin Water has been building a robust volunteer program and has benefited from the generous, dedicated, and skilled efforts of many wonderful people. Projects are organized first and foremost to meet the management needs for conserved properties but, by inviting volunteers onto the properties, they also provide those individuals with an opportunity to experience the land and learn from project leaders about land management techniques.