My Top 5 hiking trail picks within Austin City Limits

I often get asked about the best places to hike within the city of Austin. I've rounded up my top 5 favorite spots! 

1. To get your lungs burning- River Place Nature Trail

If your training for an event or generally want to keep in good cardiovascular shape, this one is the winner in Austin. You have three options when hiking the trail. 

Address:   8820 Big View Dr across from Woodland Park at River Place

Parking:     Street parking available
Distance:  5-6 mile out and back or 5 mile loop using Riverplace Blvd
Facilities:  No bathrooms, chairs and charcoal grill at bottom of hill

2. For swimming holes- Twin Falls

This is one of the more popular spots in Austin and for good reason. The swimming holes here are unmatched for any in Texas. You can park your car right off the highway and within 1/4 mile you will be at your first swimming hole. Continue along the trail for a few miles and stop along several other spots where you can jump in the holes. 

  • Address: 3755 Capital of Texas Hwy (Loop 360 access).
  • Parking: Side of the highway, can get crowded in evenings and weekends
  • Distance: Varies depending on trail
  • Facilities: no bathrooms

Great link to show you map of entire Greenbelt system in Austin. 

3. For a family friendly adventure- Mckinney Falls State Park

This park is a gem, especially if you are with a larger group or with kiddos. The wide open spaces make it a perfect spot to perch on the rocks with a picnic while some of your crew might want to jump in the water. There is also a special trail where you can go view historic sites of some of the first settlers in Austin history. 

  • Address: 
  • Parking: Lots of designated parking, you won't run out of spots
  • Distance: 1-3 mile loop hikes available
  • Facilities: public restrooms and campsites

4. For a perfect balance of everything- Bull Creek District Park

I LOVE this park. For those of you that have come on hikes with me, you know how much I love this park. After parking in the parking lot you have the option of a beautiful picnic in the grass at some established tables. Right along the park there is the river where you will see your first swimming hole. If you cross the river you will find the well established trail which will lead you to other amazing views, swimming holes, creek crossings and beautiful shaded areas. 

  • Address: 6701 Lakewood Dr
  • Parking: Designated parking lot in Bull Creek District Park
  • Distance: 2-3 miles out and back from parking lot to huge waterfall and back
  • Facilities: public restrooms, picnic tables in the park but none on trail

* Always make sure you are being directed to the correct area of the greenbelt system. Here is a great map laying out entry points. 

5. For open space where you can hike, bike and trail run- Slaughter Creek Trail

This trail is rarely used and SUCH a great option if you want wide open spaces where you can hike, bike or trail run. It's a loop system with different routes but can end up being an entire 7 mile loop if you want. 

  • Address: 9901 Farm-to-Market 1826
  • Parking: Designated parking lot
  • Distance:5 mile loop but there are several options to make a two mile loop. 
  • Facilities: public restrooms

I hope that this article helped you get inspired to explore this awesome city! 

Stay wild, 


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