West­cave Pre­serve: Na­ture in bal­ance

Guide to Dripping Springs - - Front page -

wa­ter­fall backed by caves, tum­bling over fern-cov­ered traver­tine col­umns into an emer­ald pool.

Un­ques­tion­ably, West­cave Pre­serve is one of the Texas Hill Coun­try’s best-kept se­crets.

The lime­stone-line canyon that leads to a hid­den grotto and wa­ter­fall is worth the trip alone, formed when a lime­stone cave col­lapsed, thou­sands of years ago.

West­cave Pre­serve al­lows ac­cess to the grotto only dur­ing guided tours.

Tours fea­ture a com­bi­na­tion of cul­tural and nat­u­ral his­tory. “It’s in­for­ma­tive, an over­view of this part of Texas,” said Pre­serve Di­rec­tor John Ahrns.

A short, self-guided na­ture trail was re­cently com­pleted as well. It is about a quar­ter-mile in length, and will in­clude a mix of cul­tural and nat­u­ral his­tory in­for­ma­tion.

Pub­lic tours are Satur­day and Sun­day, 10 a.m., and 12, 2 and 4 p.m. School chil­dren and adults can also ac­cess West­cave dur­ing the week, if they call ahead of time. West­cave Pre­serve is ap­prox­i­mately 18 miles from Drip­ping Springs. To get there, drive north on Ranch Rd. 12 for about 7.4 miles, turn left on Hamil­ton Pool Rd. and drive about 7.5 miles. West­cave Pre­serve is on the right.

No pets are al­lowed in the pre­serve. Tours cost $5 for adults, $2 for chil­dren, and $15 per fam­ily, and are lim­ited to the first 30 to ar­rive. For more in­for­ma­tion, call (830) 8253442, e-mail west­cave@mo­ment.net, or visit www.west­cave.org.

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