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10 Best Hiking Trails in Austin, Texas

Best hiking trails in Austin, Texas

Austin Archuleta

November 23, 2021

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Austin is best known for its live music scene, wide array of awesome restaurants, and free flowing spirit. But locals know if you’re looking for things to do in Austin in 2021, you cant beat the Austin hiking scene. Whether you are an avid explorer or only like to stroll, you’ll enjoy time on the trails exploring Austin. Not sure where to start? New to the area? Explore one of these ten trails for the best scenery and wildlife.

1. Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail and Boardwalk at Lady Bird Lake

The Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail is a 10-mile loop located in the heart of Austin on the edge of Lady Bird Lake. Complete with six bridges and a boardwalk; you can plan your route to range from 1.0 miles to 10 miles in the distance round trip. Parking is abundant and available at multiple locations along the trail. The trail is very dog friendly as an optional portion runs through Auditorium Shores Dog Park. Access to the trail is open 24 hours a day as it serves as a main artery for pedestrian and cycling traffic throughout the city. Click here for a map of the Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail

2. Violet Crown Trail

Once complete, the Violet Crown Trail will span from Zilker Park 30 miles South to Hays County. The trail spans 13 miles from Zilker Park to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. The trail is the first regional trail system in central Texas and combines access to scenic natural areas, neighborhoods, shopping centers, libraries, and public parks. The Violet Crown Trail is dog friendly and has many access points throughout its impressive span. Click here for a map of the Violet Crown Trail

3. Barton Creek Greenbelt

The Barton Creek Greenbelt is 12 miles of lush trails that can be accessed via multiple points throughout South Austin. Featuring amazing scenery such as waterfalls, smooth flowing limestone riverbed, and 200-year-old live oak trees, you can easily spend the entire day exploring and relaxing in the greenbelt. When the water is flowing, there are hangout spots to enjoy the cool water on a hot day. When planning your trip, pack snacks, beverages, and a towel or hammock to relax. There are no bathrooms, trashcans, or water fountains on the trail. The Barton Creek Greenbelt is very dog friendly. Click here for a map of the Green Belt

4. Homestead Trail at McKinney Falls State Park

Visiting Austin, Texas wouldn’t be complete without a stop at McKinney Falls. You’ll find the lower falls and historical McKinney family buildings on this 3- mile loop of scenic hillside landscape.

5. Lake Trail at Mayfield Park and Nature Preserve

After visiting tranquil cottage gardens and roaming peacocks, explore unofficial trails in the 22-acre preserve surrounding Mayfield Park. Explorers can cross creeks and climb manmade steps hiking these shady trails this weekend in Austin, Texas.

6. River Place Nature Trails

The River Place neighborhood maintains a local park with 6 miles of hiking trails with varying degrees of difficulty. If you are moving to Austin, Texas, find out which neighborhoods include community parks by contacting the City of Austin.

7. Shoal Creek Trail at Shoal Creek Greenbelt

This shady trail on the outskirts of downtown showcases urban gardens and wildlife. If you work nearby or recently moved to Austin, try hiking, running, and cycling this convenient 3.7-mile trail with long paved stretches.

8. Turkey Creek Trail

Appreciate scenic lakefront views and wooded areas with local foliage and wildlife on this meandering 3-mile trail tucked into the Emma Long Memorial Park. Adventurers can explore the side trails off the official winding paths.

9. Bright Leaf Nature Preserve

This engaging 2.5-hour guided hike through native habitats is beautiful and educational. Remember this trail when looking for things to do in Austin, Texas with your school-aged children.

10. Southern Walnut Creek Trail

When wondering what to do in Austin, Texas for a longer hike, try the 15-mile loop trail in Walnut Creek Metropolitan Park. While mostly paved, it includes sections of varying terrains and off-path hiking. Whether you are moving to Austin, Texas, or a long-time resident looking for new outdoor activities this spring and summer, you’ll want to try a few of these trails.

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