5131 FM 967 Buda, TX 78610
Welcome to the newest nature preserve in Hays County, opened May 2019
THE GAY RUBY DAHLSTROM NATURE PRESERVE is a 384-acre tract of land in Buda operated by the Hays County Parks Department. This land is only a sub-section of the privately owned 2,254-acre Dahlstrom Ranch on Onion Creek. The Preserve is set up as a limited lease between Hays County and the Dahlstrom Family, which allows public access for up to 20 years. This unique public access agreement is all thanks to Gay Ruby Dahlstrom herself.
Gay Ruby Dahlstrom first arrived at her family’s historic ranch at the age of 6 and, until she died at 84, she walked the property regularly. Gay loved the connection the land gave her to her heritage and to the environment, and she always wanted to share that connection with others.
Now – thanks to Gay’s vision – the public will have the opportunity to experience 384-acres of one of the state’s rare, pristine natural areas.
The Preserve includes just over 3 miles of unimproved hiking trails, and a three-quarter-mile asphalt ADA-accessible trail.
A PLACE TO RECHARGE: A recharge zone is a land surface area where precipitation and surface water can enter the aquifer. These areas are incredibly important for groundwater conservation and are sensitive to surface pollution. Gay Ruby Dahlstrom Nature Preserve lies entirely within the recharge zone of Barton Springs. Dye-tracing has shown us that water entering the caves, faults, and fractures in this zone flows out of Barton Springs within a few days. Thus, the creation of this nature preserve allows for the protection and management of a valuable recharge zone.
All visitors must make a reservation, whether for a Day Pass or a Tour. Find out more below.