Lush green trees, bushes, moss, and leaves fill a scene with water and blue sky breaking through

Founded in 1976, Westcave Outdoor Discovery Center, located 30 miles west of downtown Austin in the tiny town of Round Mountain, wasn’t always this lush and green. When the first 25 acres were purchased in 1974, the area was depleted and dotted with trash. After four decades of preservation measures, the now-76-acre nonprofit center has flourished. “It’s a really incredible preserve that is meant to educate and inspire the regrowth of nature,” says photographer Andrew Fisher, who took this shot on his first visit in 2019. Visitors are only allowed via guided tours­—reservations required—which last up to two hours and cost $20 for adults and $10 for children ages 4 to 15. After trekking through grassy woodland and into a limestone crevice, hikers enter a sheltered canyon teeming with verdant plant life. At the head of the canyon stands Westcave, home to a 40-foot waterfall and emerald pool. Neither swimming nor pets are allowed, but cameras are. “The area is dynamic and creates beautiful images,” Fisher says.

From the October 2023 issue

Get the Magazine

Save up to 62% off the cover price


Sign Up for Our Newsletters

Sign up for magazine extras, upcoming events, Mercantile specials, subscription offers, and more.