Spring and Fall are the best times of year to get outdoors in Central Texas and enjoy a nice hike. We are very lucky in the Austin metro area to have so many natural preserves and trails nestled in the scenic landscapes. When it gets really hot in the summer, we have the added bonus on ending the hike at a swimming hole.
Here are some of the best local hikes in the Cedar Park and Austin area.
Brushy Creek Lake Park – There are many recreational opportunities all along the 7 mile Brushy Creek bike trail in Cedar Park, such as playing frisbee golf, skateboarding, fishing, kayaking, kite flying, bike riding, dino digging and so much more. You could spend every weekend discovering new areas of the parks and never get bored. Read More Here.
River Place Nature Trail
Picturesque, riverfront park offering a popular forested hiking trail, waterfalls & wildlife views. River Place Nature Trail is comprised of three main trails in the River Place Neighborhood: Little Fern, Canyon, and Panther Hollow. The trails all converge at Panther Junction. Some of the trails are quite steep and better for advanced hikers.
Address: 8820 Big View Dr, Austin, TX 78730
Twin Creeks Historic Park
I almost hate to share this little known spot in Cedar Park, Travis County. This 46 acre Twin Creeks Historic Park was deeded to the City of Cedar Park by the developers of Twin Creeks. Sadly the historic home and accessory buildings on the property are in disrepair and being vandalized. I am looking into what can be done to preserve this little piece of local history. The main parking area is just off 2679, Volente Rd near Abbotsbury Drive. There is a nice paved path that leads to the historic home perched on the hill surrounded by giant oaks. Past the home, the path continues along a trickling creek with lush ferns and cool shade of the trees. It’s a peaceful place for a stroll or meditation.
Turkey Creek Trail – The scenic drive to Turkey Creek Trail is just as much fun as the hike itself. The trail starts just outside the entrance of Emma Long Park. It’s a pet friendly trail too. You can also go into Emma Long Park, with paid admission, and dip your toes in the Colorado river. There is a playground there too.
Address: 1401-1711 City Park Rd, Austin, TX 78730
Bull Creek and St Edwards Greenbelt Trails – Another scenic drive and hike is along Spicewood Springs Rd to reach the Bull Creek District Park and Edwards trails. Both trail systems meander along Bull Creek and offer gorgeous natural surroundings. There even a few spots to swim. From Cedar Park, take Anderson Mill Rd and turn right on Spicewood Pkwy, left on Top Ridge, Right on Scotland Well, Right on Spicewood Springs Rd and then Left to continue on Spicewood Springs Rd. After several scenic low water crossings, you will come to the St Edwards Trail head on the right. Continue on for access to Bull Creek trails. Both trail systems connect in the Jester area.
Address St. Edwards: 7301 Spicewood Springs Rd, Austin, TX 78759
Address Bull Creek: 6701 Lakewood Dr, Austin, TX 78731
Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve
Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve consists of 227 acres of native Texas Hill Country habitat west of Austin, Texas in Westlake Hills. The preserve was founded in 1974. The preserve maintains 2.5 miles of hiking trails.
Address: 805 N Capital of Texas Hwy, Austin, TX 78746
Mayfield Park & Preserve – This is one of our favorite places to hike and take a picnic. Spring is the perfect time to visit Mayfield Park because everything is starting to bloom and the Peacocks are very active looking for their mate. It’s a unique Austin treasure tucked away in the center of Austin. The hiking trails on the 21 acre preserve meander through rocky terrain and under the canopy of large trees. Next door to the preserve is Laguna Gloria, an art museum and school on the lake. The outdoor sculpture garden is a wonderful place to take a stroll. Make an entire day of this outing.
Address: 3505 W 35th St, Austin, TX 78703
Bob Wentz Park – Enjoy the scenic views of Lake Travis from Bob Wentz Park. Pay a small park fee and take a stroll around the park and lake. Bring a picnic and dip your toes in the cool water. The kids may even brave a full body dip.
Mount Bonnell Park and Pennybacker Bridge – These are are two fun hiking spots to take your out of town guests for some unique Austin photo ops. From 2222, enter 360 South. Park on the right, just before the Pennybacker Bridge on 360. There is an entrance for a hiking trail that leads up to the cliffs above where you can get a spectacular view of the river and the bridge. It’s not advised to take little ones, unless you keep a close eye. There are no railings. Another place to get spectacular views of Austin is at the trail at Mount Bonnell Park. You can see for miles along Lake Austin to the Bridge and if you hike to the very end of the trail, you get a panoramic view of downtown Austin.
Arboretum, Austin – For little ones, this is a fun hike. Park on Arboretum Blvd next to the duck pond. The hungry ducks, fish and turtles are fun to watch. Many people feed them bread, although I’ve heard that it’s not good for them. Just behind the pond are the steps that lead up to the Arboretum shopping area. It’s pretty steep and uneven for the less agile, but there are hand rails. At the top there is a great view of 360 and some large cement cow sculptures that the kids like climbing on. Treat everyone to an Amy’s Ice Cream before you make your decent back to the pond.
Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center – No matter which time of year you go to the Wildflower Center in South Austin, there is always something new to see. Whether it’s the changing art exhibits, new merchandise in the store or the ever changing seasonal displays of over 650 Texas native plant species, there is always something new to discover. It’s worth becoming a member just to be able to attend their semi-annual plant sales!
Barton Creek Greenbelt
Popular, riverside hiking & biking area boasting a 12.68-mile trail, scenic waterfalls & wildlife.
Address: 3753 S Capital of Texas Hwy, Austin, TX 78746
The All Trails App is a fun way to find a impromptu hiking spot if you are out and about locally or anywhere for that matter.
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