Hike Wild Basin

Entry is free and reservations are not required on weekdays. The gate will close whenever the parking area is full.

Book a Reservation for Weekends and Holidays

Reservations are required on weekends and holidays. The reservation system is open now for booking dates between November 6, 2021 and January 22, 2022.

Visit our online booking page or call 512-327-7622 to learn more or book your weekend or holiday hiking pass.

Wild Basin is a nature preserve. Place stay on the trail and follow the Leave No Trace Seven Principles during your visit. Pets, bikes, smoking/fire, weapons, picnics, and collecting are prohibited. Everything is protected on the preserve.

Please note: the Visitor Center is currently closed and no water is available on site. A portable restroom is located in the parking lot. 


Less than 10 miles from the well-groomed campus green at St. Edward’s sits an urban wild space, Wild Basin.

St. Edward’s Wild Basin Creative Research Center serves as an extension of main campus and hosts university classes, researchers, and student interns as a field research station. Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve, co-owned and co-managed by Travis County and St. Edward's, protects 227 acres of Texas Hill Country habitat within the larger Balcones Canyonlands Preserve system. The preserve is open to the public for hiking and hosts programs and events throughout the year.

Although undergraduate research historically evokes the sciences, Wild Basin Creative Research Center encourages research in all disciplines, as well as interdisciplinary and cross-curriculum projects. Students from all programs utilize the Creative Research Center to study art, science, policy and local government, education, business, and other disciplines. Email Wild Basin Creative Research Center staff to inquire about creative research opportunities.

In addition to education and outreach, St. Edward’s University promotes environmental stewardship and conservation as part of the Balcones Canyonlands Preserve together with community partners such as Travis County Parks, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the City of Austin, The Nature Conservancy, and Travis Audubon Society.

Visitor Center

PLEASE NOTE: The Visitor Center is currently closed.

Thanks to support from 3M, Applied Materials Foundation, Silicon Labs and the Austin Community Foundation, Wild Basin hosts an interactive Visitor Center. Just up the stairs from the main trailhead visitors can consult a trail map, refill water bottles, or explore the engaging exhibits. Solar panels and composting no-water restrooms make the Wild Basin Visitor Center a model for sustainability.

Visitors can contribute to community science at the Observation Station, explore adaptations at Why Are There So Many Types of Bird Beaks?, or spin the Golden-cheeked Warbler Life Cycle wheel. Try out binoculars and identify bird calls at Look Up!, think small at the Zoom Into Wild Basin microscope stations, or slow down at the toddler-friendly coloring station. Artist in Residence and annual Photography Contest exhibitions rotate seasonally in the open multipurpose classroom. Outdoors the small waterfall and demonstration pond showcase a variety of aquatic life and riparian plants, similar to those along the Bee Creek watershed. The Visitor Center is open Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Guided Hikes for School and Youth Groups

PLEASE NOTE: No guided hikes or in-person programs are offered at this time.

Read about Wild Basin's guided programs for schools and groups. Please email Wild Basin Education or fill out the online form here to request a tour.

Self-Guided Hiking

Wild Basin is a nature preserve. Please stay on the trail and follow the Leave No Trace Seven Principles during your visit. Pets, bikes, smoking/fire, weapons, picnics, and collecting are prohibited. Everything is protected on the preserve.

Almost three miles of hiking trials are open sunrise to sunset every day. Be prepared for rugged Hill Country terrain and varying weather conditions. Carry a digital Wild Basin Trail Map (below). Bring water to carry with you on the trail. Portable restrooms are located in the parking area; no picnic facilities are available.

Save a Digital Trail Map:

"Out of the Wood" by Jamie McCormick

Artist in Residence Program

Wild Basin's Artist in Residence (AIR) program offers Austin-area professional artists an inspirational environment in which to pursue various mediums to further their creative development in a natural setting.

Learn about the AIR program and the application process.

Trail Guide Training Program

PLEASE NOTE: No in-person trainings or programs are offered at this time.

Updates from Wild Basin

Explore Wild Basin's Blog

Get the latest news and stay up to date on stories from Wild Basin. Search for updates by category such as Hook Scholars, Student Research, Spotlights, Events and Classroom Research.

How do wildlife live in urban areas?

Wild Basin researchers monitor wildlife using motion-triggered cameras in green spaces across the city. This project goes far beyond Austin: Wild Basin is part of a national network of cities participating in the Urban Wildlife Information Network, spearheaded by the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago. Learn about the project from the Lincoln Park Zoo and The NY Times.