Bright Leaf Preserve
| Photo by Nancy Woolley
Bright Leaf Preserve, a 216-acre nature preserve in west Austin, welcomes more than 1,500 visitors each year for scheduled hikes led by trained guides.
School children, families, educators, botanists and geologists benefit from this protected wooded refuge and its maze of creeks and spectacular views of Lake Austin and the Hill Country.
Located south of 2222 and Mesa Drive, Bright Leaf Preserve is a unique Central Texas resource known for:
- Hundreds of plant species, including some that are quite rare
- Endangered animal species like the Golden Cheeked Warbler
- A thriving ecosystem that’s home to deer, Great Horned owls, jackrabbits and armadillos
Georgia B. Lucas grew up enjoying the breezy hilltop cabin near Mount Bonnell where her family retreated during Austin’s hot summers. The young artistically-minded Lucas explored the shaded paths and creek, enjoying the bird song and wildflowers. As a savvy businesswoman, Lucas later purchased the land that makes up Bright Leaf through 34 separate real estate transactions. At the end of her life, she wished to preserve the land so others could appreciate it and benefit from its beauty. She envisioned a place for visitors to take guided hikes to learn about the land’s geology, biology and ecology.
In 2006, the ownership and management of the preserve transferred to the Austin Community Foundation which was better-equipped to carry out Lucas’s specific wishes to limit access to guided hikes in order to best preserve the area.
Bright Leaf thrives through the devoted and generous efforts of a community of volunteers who call themselves Friends of Bright Leaf. Schedule a hike
Bright Leaf Preserve is a valued resource for a broad community of people and organizations to educate, collaborate and inspire:
- American YouthWorks
- Austin Community College
- Austin Independent School District
- Austin Youth River Watch
- Boy Scouts
- Dell Valle ISD
- Hill Country Hikers
- Kirby Hall School
- Magellan International School
- Sierra Club
- St. Edward’s University
- St. Stephens School
- Sun City Hikers
- SXSW Eco
- Travis Audubon Society
- University of Texas at Austin