Best Hiking Trails in Austin

An aerial drone view captures the bustling cityscape of Austin, Texas, with its impressive modern architecture and vibrant green spaces. The image showcases the city's commitment to preserving nature and creating ample opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts, with hiking trails weaving through the urban landscape.
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Are you looking to explore the great outdoors in Austin, Texas? You’re in luck, as the city and its surrounding areas offer a wide variety of hiking trails for all levels of experience. From the scenic views at Mount Bonnell to the serene paths at the Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve, there’s something for everyone. In this article, we’ll highlight some of the best hiking trails in Austin, along with important details like trail length, difficulty level, and parking information. So grab your hiking boots and get ready to hit the trails!



Mount Bonnell Trail

Trail Length: 0.5 Mile Loop | Difficulty Level: Easy | Elevation Gain: About 200 Feet | Trailhead: Located at the End of Mount Bonnell Road

The Mount Bonnell Trail is a short but challenging hiking trail located in Austin, Texas. With stunning views of the Colorado River and the city skyline, the trail offers a perfect spot to catch the sunset or take in the breathtaking views of the city. With its historical significance, wildlife, and great photo opportunities, the Mount Bonnell Trail is a must-visit for any hiker in the Austin area.

Reasons to Hike Mount Bonnell Trail:

  • Stunning Views: The Mount Bonnell Trail offers breathtaking views of the Colorado River and the city of Austin from the top of the hill. It’s a great spot to watch the sunset or take in the city skyline.
  • Historical Significance: Mount Bonnell is a historic site in Austin, and the trail takes you past several markers and plaques that provide information about the area’s history and significance.
  • Challenging Hike: The trail is a bit steep and rocky in places, which makes for a challenging hike that is perfect for more experienced hikers.
  • Wildlife Watching: Mount Bonnell is home to a variety of wildlife, including birds, squirrels, and occasionally, deer. Keep your eyes peeled for these critters as you hike.
  • Great Photo Opportunities: The trail offers many great photo opportunities along the way, whether it’s a panoramic view of the city or a close-up shot of some interesting plant life. Bring your camera and capture some memories!

Recommended Gear: Hiking Boots, Daypack, Sunscreen, Water Bottle, Snacks, Camera, Hat


Barton Creek Greenbelt

Trail Length: 13.8 Miles Roundtrip| Difficulty Level: Moderate | Elevation Gain: 363 Feet | Trailhead: East End of Trail at Zilker Park

The Barton Creek Greenbelt is one of Austin’s most popular hiking destinations, featuring a beautiful natural landscape with scenic vistas, creeks, and waterfalls. The trail offers a range of difficulty levels, making it a great option for hikers of all skill levels, and is home to several swimming holes for those looking to take a dip and cool off. With convenient access points and a wide range of trail sections to explore, the Barton Creek Greenbelt is a must-visit for any hiking enthusiast in the Austin area.

Reasons to Hike Barton Creek Greenbelt:

  • Natural Beauty: The Barton Creek Greenbelt trail offers stunning views of the natural beauty of the area, including the creek, cliffs, and vegetation.
  • Swimming Holes: The trail is home to several swimming holes, including popular spots like Twin Falls and Sculpture Falls, where hikers can take a refreshing dip in the water.
  • Varied Terrain: The trail offers a variety of terrain, from flat, easy sections to rocky, steep climbs, making it a great option for hikers of all skill levels.
  • Wildlife Viewing: The trail is home to a variety of wildlife, including birds, fish, and small mammals, as well as a variety of plant species.
  • Close Proximity to Austin: The Barton Creek Greenbelt trail is located just a few miles from downtown Austin, making it a convenient option for locals and tourists alike who want to get outside and enjoy nature without going too far from the city.

Recommended Gear: Hiking Boots, Daypack, Water Bottle, Sunscreen, Hat, Snacks, Swimming Attire


River Place Nature Trail

Trail Length: 5 Miles Roundtrip | Difficulty Level: Difficult| Elevation Gain: 979 feet | Trailhead: Located at River Place Boulevard Entrance

The River Place Nature Trail is a popular hiking destination in Austin, Texas, offering hikers a chance to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and immerse themselves in nature. With picturesque waterfalls, abundant wildlife, and challenging terrain, this moderately difficult trail is perfect for hikers looking to push themselves physically and enjoy the beauty of the Texas Hill Country.

Reasons to Hike River Place Nature Trail:

  • Beautiful Scenery: The River Place Nature Trail features stunning scenery, including waterfalls, creeks, and lush vegetation, making it a scenic and picturesque hiking destination.
  • Challenging Terrain: The trail features steep climbs, rocky terrain, and uneven surfaces, providing a challenging workout for hikers looking to push themselves physically.
  • Abundant Wildlife: The trail is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including birds, reptiles, and mammals, offering hikers the opportunity to observe and appreciate Austin’s natural ecosystem.
  • Varied Trail Sections: The trail offers different trail sections with varying difficulty levels, so hikers can choose a section that best suits their skill level and hiking goals.
  • Peaceful Ambience: The River Place Nature Trail is a peaceful and tranquil setting, offering hikers the chance to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and connect with nature.

Recommended Gear: Hiking Boots, Daypack, Water Bottle, Sunscreen, Hat, Trekking Poles, Snacks


St. Edwards Park

Trail Length: 2 Mile Loop | Difficulty Level: Moderate | Elevation Gain: Varis 314-692 Feet | Trailhead: North side of Bull Creek and Spicewood Springs Rd

St. Edwards Park is a beautiful hiking destination located in Austin, Texas. The park offers a moderate hiking experience, with varying trail lengths and elevations. Hikers can enjoy stunning views of the Texas Hill Country while exploring the natural beauty of the park. With its lush vegetation and peaceful atmosphere, St. Edwards Park is a must-visit destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.

Reasons to Hike St. Edwards Park:

  • Beautiful Scenery: St. Edwards Park boasts stunning natural beauty, including towering trees, crystal-clear streams, and dramatic rock formations.
  • Challenging Terrain: The park’s rocky terrain and steep hills provide a challenging hiking experience that’s perfect for experienced hikers.
  • Abundant Wildlife: Hikers at St. Edwards Park have the opportunity to see a variety of wildlife, including birds, deer, and even armadillos.
  • Waterfalls: The park features several picturesque waterfalls that are perfect for a refreshing dip on a hot day.
  • Convenient Location: Located just a short drive from downtown Austin, St. Edwards Park is a convenient hiking destination for both locals and visitors to the city.

Recommended Gear: Hiking Boots, Backpack, Water Bottle, Sunscreen, Hat, Snacks, Trekking Poles


Turkey Creek Trail

Trail Length: 2.5 Mile Loop | Difficulty Level: Moderate | Elevation Gain: 250 Feet | Trailhead: Two Miles from Emma Long Park Entrance Sign

Turkey Creek Trail in Austin, Texas, offers outdoor enthusiasts a delightful escape into nature. This scenic trail meanders through picturesque landscapes, including limestone cliffs and lush greenery. With varying terrain and beautiful creek crossings, Turkey Creek Trail provides a moderate hiking experience suitable for adventurers of all skill levels. Get ready to immerse yourself in the natural beauty and tranquility of this captivating trail.

Reasons to Hike Turkey Creek Trail:

  • Scenic Views: The trail features scenic views of the creek, limestone cliffs, and beautiful trees.
  • Wildlife Sightings: The area is home to several species of wildlife, including birds, deer, and foxes, making it a great spot for nature lovers.
  • Water Activities: Visitors can enjoy swimming, fishing, and wading in the creek during the summer months.
  • Family-Friendly: The trail is suitable for all ages and skill levels, making it an excellent option for a family day out.
  • Dog-Friendly: Turkey Creek Trail is dog-friendly, allowing you to bring your furry friend along for the hike.

Recommended Gear: Hiking Boots, Backpack, Water Bottle, Sunscreen, Hat, Snacks, Trekking Poles


Bull Creek Greenbelt

Trail Length: 12 Miles | Difficulty Level: Easy to Moderate | Elevation Gain: 500 feet | Trailhead: Bull Creek District Park

Bull Creek Greenbelt is a popular urban trail located in the heart of Austin, Texas. This scenic trail is ideal for hiking, biking, swimming, and picnicking. With stunning views of the surrounding hills, lush vegetation, and a refreshing creek, this trail provides an oasis of nature within the bustling city. Whether you are looking for a challenging hike or a leisurely stroll, Bull Creek Greenbelt has something to offer for everyone.

Reasons to Hike Bull Creek Greenbelt:

  • Scenic Beauty: Bull Creek Greenbelt offers picturesque views of limestone cliffs, lush vegetation, and a flowing creek, creating a serene and captivating hiking experience.
  • Water Activities: The trail features several swimming holes and natural pools along Bull Creek, providing opportunities for a refreshing dip or a relaxing break.
  • Biodiversity: Explore the diverse ecosystem of Bull Creek Greenbelt, which is home to a variety of plant and animal species. Keep an eye out for native wildlife such as birds, reptiles, and small mammals.
  • Trail Variety: With multiple trail options, ranging from easy to moderate difficulty, Bull Creek Greenbelt caters to hikers of various skill levels and preferences, making it accessible for families and solo adventurers alike.
  • Urban Wilderness: Escape the hustle and bustle of the city without traveling far. Bull Creek Greenbelt offers a natural oasis within Austin, providing a tranquil retreat where you can connect with nature and enjoy outdoor activities.

Recommended Gear: Hiking Shoes, Sunscreen, Water Bottle, Insect Repellent, Hat, Sunglasses, Snacks


Walnut Creek Trail

Trail Length: 19.7 Miles | Difficulty Level: Easy to Moderate | Elevation Gain: 294 ft | Trailhead: Govalle Neighborhood Park

Walnut Creek Trail is a popular hiking and biking trail located in Austin, Texas. The trail features scenic views of the surrounding trees and creeks and is suitable for hikers of all skill levels. With a mix of shaded and open areas, hikers can enjoy the natural beauty of the trail year-round. The trail is also popular among birdwatchers and offers opportunities for fishing and picnicking.

Reasons to Hike Walnut Creek Trail:

  • Natural Beauty: Walnut Creek Trail offers stunning natural scenery, including lush vegetation, scenic waterways, and beautiful views of the surrounding landscape.
  • Varied Terrain: The trail features a mix of flat stretches, gentle slopes, and some moderate inclines, providing a diverse and engaging hiking experience.
  • Wildlife Viewing: Keep an eye out for various wildlife species along the trail, including birds, turtles, and small mammals, offering opportunities for wildlife enthusiasts and nature photographers.
  • Recreational Activities: Apart from hiking, the trail is also suitable for biking and trail running, making it a versatile option for outdoor enthusiasts with different interests.
  • Accessible Location: Located in Austin, Walnut Creek Trail offers convenient access for both locals and visitors, allowing you to enjoy a refreshing outdoor experience without venturing too far from the city.

Recommended Gear: Hiking Shoes or Boots, Daypack, Water Bottle, Sunscreen, Insect Repellent, Hat, Sunglasses


Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve

Trail Length: Varies, Ranging from 0.6 Miles to 2.5 Miles | Difficulty Level: Easy to Moderate | Elevation Gain: Varies, Ranging from 50 Feet to 300 Feet | Trailhead: Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve Visitor Center

Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve is a nature lover’s paradise in Austin. The trail offers scenic views of the Texas Hill Country, including waterfalls, creeks, and diverse flora and fauna. The park features well-maintained trails that are suitable for hikers of all levels. Whether you’re looking for a quick nature walk or a longer hike, Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve is a perfect destination.

Reasons to Hike Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve:

  • Natural Beauty: Immerse yourself in the stunning natural beauty of Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve, with its lush vegetation, diverse plant life, and scenic vistas that create a peaceful and serene hiking experience.
  • Wildlife Viewing: Encounter a variety of wildlife species, including birds, deer, butterflies, and more, as you explore the trails. Wild Basin is home to a rich biodiversity, offering ample opportunities for wildlife enthusiasts and nature photographers.
  • Tranquil Atmosphere: Enjoy the serenity and tranquility of the preserve, as the well-maintained trails take you through peaceful forests, alongside babbling streams, and to secluded spots where you can connect with nature.
  • Educational Experience: Learn about the local flora and fauna with informative signage along the trails. The preserve also offers educational programs and guided hikes, providing an opportunity to deepen your knowledge of the natural environment.
  • Variety of Trail Options: With a range of trail options catering to different skill levels and preferences, Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve offers something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for a leisurely stroll or a more challenging hike, you’ll find a trail that suits your needs.

Recommended Gear: Hiking Boots, Water Bottle, Sunscreen, Hat, Insect Repellent, Sunglasses, Lightweight Backpack


Balcones Canyonlands Preserve

Trail Length: Varies, Ranging from 0.5 Miles to 4 Miles | Difficulty Level: Easy to Moderate | Elevation Gain: Varies | Trailhead: Multiple Trailheads Throughout the Preserve

Balcones Canyonlands Preserve offers an extensive network of hiking trails through rugged terrain and diverse wildlife habitats. Located just outside of Austin, Texas, the preserve provides a stunning view of the Texas Hill Country and an opportunity to experience the natural beauty of the area. With a range of trails for hikers of all skill levels, Balcones Canyonlands Preserve is a must-visit destination for outdoor enthusiasts.

Reasons to Hike Balcones Canyonlands Preserve:

  • Scenic Beauty: Experience stunning views of the Texas Hill Country, including limestone cliffs, rolling hills, and diverse vegetation.
  • Wildlife Viewing: Encounter a variety of native wildlife, including rare and endangered species such as the golden-cheeked warbler and black-capped vireo.
  • Tranquility: Immerse yourself in the peacefulness of nature, away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
  • Geological Wonders: Explore the unique geological formations of canyons, caves, and rock formations that tell the story of the region’s natural history.
  • Trail Variety: Enjoy a range of trails suited for different skill levels, from easy strolls to challenging hikes, providing options for everyone to enjoy.

Recommended Gear: Hiking Boots, Moisture-Wicking Clothing, Sunscreen, Hat, Insect Repellant, Trail Map or GPS


McKinney Falls State Park Trails

Trail Length: Varies, Ranging from 0.2 Miles to 2.8 Miles | Difficulty Level: Easy to Moderate | Elevation Gain: Varies | Trailhead: McKinney Falls State Park

McKinney Falls State Park Trails offer a serene escape from the bustling city of Austin, Texas. This state park offers over nine miles of hiking trails that range from easy to moderate, allowing hikers of all skill levels to enjoy the natural beauty of the Texas Hill Country. With cascading waterfalls, historic ruins, and a variety of wildlife, McKinney Falls State Park Trails are a must-visit for any nature lover.

Reasons to Hike McKinney Falls State Park Trails:

  • Waterfalls: Experience the beauty of the park’s two stunning waterfalls, Upper Falls and Lower Falls, which offer picturesque views and refreshing swimming spots.
  • Scenic Beauty: Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the park, with lush greenery, limestone bluffs, and scenic overlooks along the trails.
  • Historical Significance: Explore the history of the park, including remnants of the Smith Rock Shelter and the McKinney Homestead, which provide insights into the area’s past.
  • Wildlife Viewing: Observe a variety of native wildlife, including birds, turtles, and occasionally, white-tailed deer, as you hike through the park’s diverse habitats.
  • Tranquility: Enjoy the peaceful ambiance of the park, away from the city noise, and immerse yourself in nature’s serenity.

Recommend Gear: Comfortable Hiking Shoes, Water Bottle, Sunscreen, Hat, Insect Repellent, First Aid Kit, Snacks


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