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“Diamond in the Rough Outside Austin”

Westcave Outdoor Discovery Center
Ranked #60 of 317 things to do in Austin
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: Prepare yourself - the majestic beauty of our unique Texas Hill Country nature preserve will leave you breathless! Our expert-guided tours take visitors from an arid savannah through a limestone crevice into a sheltered canyon of lush plant life. At the head of the canyon stands Westcave, with a stunning 40-foot waterfall replenishing the emerald pool below. (Canyon Tours offered every Saturday & Sunday - weather permitting). Self Guided Hikes Tuesday - Friday 9:30 - 1:30pm (no Canyon Access weekdays without prior reservation)
Austin, United States
Level Contributor
53 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
“Diamond in the Rough Outside Austin”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 20 July 2014

My wife and I found Westcave Preserve on TripAdvisor today and decided to give it a try. We were not at all disappointed. A good drive from North Austin (45 mins), the drive is nice, through scenic hill country. Just a mile or so past another fantastic landmark, Hamilton Pool, is Westcave Preserve. When approaching, the grounds appeared well kept, the buildings nice and cool with very well maintained restroom facilities. A lot of reference material for the local topography and plant life. There are two savanna type hikes that can be taken unguided...fairly flat overall one about 1/2 mile and the other about 1 mi. We took a guided tour that costs us $10 ea - money well spent. There were about 12 in our group (max 30) and we had a college intern as a guide - Alvin was fantastic. Very knowledgeable, stopping frequently to show us various plants and rock formations. The hike to the grotto was fantastic. Temp was nearly 20 degrees cooler in the valley from where we started. Beautiful rock/ledge formations with flowing water - almost like a rain forest. The cave was very interesting. This outing was a nice surprise for us on a Sunday afternoon. If you're somewhat physically challenged while walking on a steep, slippery grade, you might want to reconsider. Otherwise, have fun. We sure did!

Visited July 2014
6 Thank Scott M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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66 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
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English first
West Monroe, Louisiana, United States
Level Contributor
36 reviews
18 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 July 2014 via mobile

Worth the walk but beware it is more difficult than advertised. I have bad knees and the walk back was very hard and not really at your own pace.
All in all its beautiful

Visited July 2014
4 Thank PLTJones
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Pearland, Texas
Level Contributor
129 reviews
48 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 73 helpful votes
“Beautiful hidden gem”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 July 2014 via mobile

A bit of a drive from Austin (nice scenic drive) but worth the trip. Hike down the side of cliff area to hidden pool and caves. Very interesting history of area and beautiful walk. Wear hiking shoes and bring water. Takes about 2 hours in all. Nice photo spot.

Visited September 2013
2 Thank Angelia W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Austin, Texas
Level Contributor
8 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Stunning scenery!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 23 June 2014 via mobile

I've lived in Austin for eight years and just read about Westcave Preserve in a book about off-the-beaten-path spots in Texas. After taking the tour, I believe that this place is one of the best-kept secrets of Central Texas.

The tour costs $10 per person, and knowledgeable guides take you through a savanna, wildflower meadows, by the Pedernales River, along a creek, to a 40 ft tall waterfall (more of a trickle, but still gorgeous), up to the grotto behind the waterfall, and then into a cave. The scenery and temperature changes in that half mile stretch are fascinatingly different. After the tour, you're free to wander around on your own to go back and take more pictures or do more exploring.

The hike itself does end with walking up about 100 steps, some of which are uneven and slippery, and parts of which are fairly steep. It's not extremely challenging, but just something to consider. It's well worth the beautiful, unspoiled views of this tranquil environment, though. It's a wonderful, short getaway from the city, and definitely a welcome change of scenery.

Visited June 2014
2 Thank txcatx
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
San Antonio, Texas
Level Contributor
31 reviews
19 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
“A great day trip.”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 June 2014

A great little hide away. $10 each or $25 for a family. A guided hike that takes about 1.5 hours round trip. You start at a savannah and make your way down to a rainforest like grotto and cave. It's like stepping into another world. Our guide Casey was very knowledgeable and her passion for plants, wildlife and The Preserve was obvious. Our 10 year old daughter loved it. Our 13 year old son also enjoyed it but he's too cool to show it. It's like a trip back in time through different eco-systems. It's really enjoyable and makes for a great day out with the family. I recommend hiking shoes but not a must. Only water is allowed on the hike. No food. It was wonderful to go on a hike and not come across various bits of trash along the way. This place is really in a pristine state. Tours are at 10,12, 2 and 4. The Welcome Center has fossils and various educational displays of the area. The staff was very welcoming and friendly. There was a 2 year old with another family on the tour with us. She made it all the way but mom and dad had to do a lot of carrying and there was crying and interrupting the guide while she was trying to educate us on the Preserve. So I wouldn't recommend for toddlers and young children. The trail can be narrow and a lot of slippery rocks at the bottom. But if you want to carry 40-50 pounds for 1.5 hours, that's up to you. We also saw 2 large spiders on their webs and a water moccasin. And of course lots of bugs so something to think about. Highly recommend.

Visited June 2014
4 Thank Seahawk39
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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