While the capital city of Texas is known for its thriving music and food scene, hiking in Austin is also a nature enthusiast’s paradise, with numerous greenways and pathways to explore. Trails range in intensity from beginner to advanced with scenic views and beautiful terrain. Wear comfortable hiking shoes, pack some water, and consider these ten hiking spots for some of the best outdoor adventures around Austin.
- McKinney Falls State Park
McKinney Falls State Park is within the city limits, and is broken up into two sections: upper and lower falls trails. The Homestead Trail guides hikers to a historic stone home. In addition to hiking, visitors camp and swim at the park too.
- Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve
Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve is just off Loop 360 where wildlife is protected. Overlooks give a beautiful view of Texas Hill Country, with over two miles of clearly marked hiking trails to explore.
- Walnut Creek Trail
Walnut Creek Trail is a 1.3 mile loop with unmarked trails offering a little adventure. Observation areas, a creek and rocky terrain provide hikers with views and plenty of photo ops.
- Riverplace Nature Trail
Begin the Riverplace Nature Trail by climbing stairs that lead to a dirt path. The dirt trails are shaded by canopies of trees, so they can be a great respite in hot Texas summers. The trails are five to six miles in length with creeks and waterfalls interspersed.
- Turkey Creek Trail
This nearly three-mile loop trail at Turkey Creek is flat and ideal for families. The wooded trail, near The Emma Metropolitan Park, is a peaceful retreat with a creek that runs along the side. It’s a great place for a picnic too.
- St. Edwards Park
The trails at St. Edwards Park vary from two to four miles in length. They are secluded with spectacular views of waterfalls and cactus patches where you have one-on-one time with Mother Nature.
- Mount Bonnell
The list of Austin hiking trails would have to include this one for the exceptional view. This is the highest spot in Austin. Reach Mount Bonnell by climbing 106 stairs. Panoramic views of the city make the challenging climb worthwhile.
- Barton Creek Greenbelt
Seven city access points lead to seven miles of trails at Barton Creek Greenbelt. Explore the natural setting and hilly terrain by hiking, mountain biking or rock climbing. Twin Falls is a popular swimming hole and gathering place.
- Violet Crown Trail
Violet Crown Trail is situated in West Austin. The trail passes over Barton Creek Greenbelt and through The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.
- Hamilton Pool Preserve
Located less than an hour drive outside of Austin — but very much worth the trip — you’ll find the Hamilton Pool Preserve. This historic swimming hole has its very own 50 foot waterfall and reservations are required to enter, so be sure to plan ahead!