Years ago, when we first wrote our Day Trips from Austin guidebook, we sat down with the publisher’s publicist to create a list of “talking points” about the book. The first one–and one I brought up in every book interview–was the fact that day trips gave you “the chance to be a traveler in your own hometown.”
This week we took our own advice and decided to visit a park very close to us–that we drive to EVERY time we head to the post office but we have never, ever visited. You know how it is: you’re in a rush on your daily route and sometimes you just don’t even see the things right under your nose.
Discovery Well Cave Preserve is the perfect example of that. This 108-acre preserve made a great day trip with the dogs; on-leash dogs are welcome in the preserve which was created to protect the endangered Tooth Cave Ground Beetle. The beetle is found in the caves the dot the preserve.
Don’t think Carlsbad Caverns when it comes to these caves…many are too small for human exploration:
The larger caves — there are about 10 in all — are grated to protect both visitors and the caves themselves:
Irie and Tiki seemed curious about the grates but fortunately didn’t try to get too close to the cave entrances.
In all, we walked about three miles on the improved trails, which were also great for birding.
We didn’t see anyone else on the trails during our hike but we did see a Texas Cave Conservacy vehicle. We wondered if the driver might be down in one of the caves!
If you’re in the Austin area and looking for a free, quiet hike, we’d recommend Discovery Well Cave Preserve! For a map to the preserve, see the Cedar Park parks map.