by Brad Pauly
on Tuesday, June 16th, 2015 at 8:29am.
Austin is perhaps one of the best cities to live in if you love wide open spaces as much as you love urban life. We have some of the best hiking trails around. As summer approaches, make sure to pencil these parks and trails into your outdoors time!
McKinney Falls State Park
As you stand surrounded by trees and waterfalls, you’d never realize you’re down the road from an airport or just outside a big city. McKinney Falls is a beautiful oasis on the southeast end of Austin. In addition to great hiking, visitors can enjoy camping, biking, fishing, and Onion Creek swimming. There are more secluded trails for those seeking solitude, but you’ll also find common areas perfect for bringing your family or pets. Children 12 and under can get in for free, but it’s $6 for adults, so you might as well make a day of it and spend a few hours exploring!
Bull Creek Greenbelt
Bull Creek isn’t just a creek – it’s a 48-acre retreat brimming with trails, springs, waterfalls, and tranquil terrain. For dog lovers, this is another great place to run around or swim with your four-legged friend. Pack a picnic, go for a run, wade in the creek, take scenic photos, and simply enjoy some time away from the commotion of the city…for free!
Barton Creek Greenbelt
Although there are a few hiking locations with “greenbelt” in the name, when you hear Austinites refer to “The Greenbelt,” they’re most likely talking about the Barton Creek Greenbelt. Ranked #7 for the best hiking in Texas, the Greenbelt has over 7 miles of trails for biking, hiking, running, and dog walking. Hikers can choose from simple trails to more challenging landscapes, and will probably find they can hike the Greenbelt dozens of times without ending up at the same viewpoints. If you’re into rock climbing, this is an excellent place to do so! You’ll likely see classes as well as individual climbers scaling the cliffs. Other points of interest include Airman’s Cave, Sculpture Falls, Twin Falls, and Gus Fruh pool.
If you’re looking for a fantastic photo op, look no further! The summit at Mount Bonnell is a popular destination for tourists, hikers, and even locals who want a stunning lookout point over Lake Austin. You’ll be tasked with climbing a set of stairs, but the view is worth it, especially if you visit at sunset. Mount Bonnell is a great place to enjoy some solitude or bring a friend or date for a mountaintop picnic. At one of the highest points in Austin (775 ft), you can see the skyline, the 360 bridge, the Hill Country, and tons of gorgeous houses lining the lake.
Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike
Love scenic views but want a less rugged hiking experience? The Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail (also known as the Town Lake Hike and Bike) will suit you well. These 10 miles of trails are situated next to Downtown Austin, giving you excellent views of the skyline, bridges, and water. In true Austin fashion, you’ll see tons of joggers and dog walkers along the trail. You’re right next to both the city and the water, so you can veer off the path to grab a drink or rent a kayak. The Boardwalk section of the trail was completed in summer 2014, so be sure to check that out too!
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