After last week's post about some of Austin's hippest hotels, we thought we'd changed gears a bit and show you some hangout spots that are a bit more rugged. If you want to get in a good hike while in Austin, we've got a lot of great choices. Featuring varied degrees of difficulty, all these trails have one thing in common---gorgeous scenery!
- Barton Springs Greenbelt Often just called "the greenbelt" this one is a particular favorite due to its close proximity to other Austin favorite spots like Barton Springs pool and Zilker Park. Though the terrain isn't too rough, you can get a good hike in and take in some of the wildlife. Depending on the season, bring a swimsuit to take a dip in one of the many watering holes that pop up after a good rain. Free to hike.
- Turkey Creek Trail Located in Emma Long Metropolitan Park (which also offers great camping), the Turkey Creek Trail is a favorite among dog owners. The trail is a relatively short loop (about 2.5 miles) but has a few water features and a rock wall covered in ferns. The top part of the trail offers some beautiful views of the Texas Hill Country as well. Free to hike.
- McKinney Falls State Park This park is a real gem in Austin, and one of the few hiking spots located on the East Side. Though you have to pay a small admission fee, it's well worth it considering this park features lots of swimming holes, multiple hiking trails and even historical building ruins. While you can spot wildlife in many of the hiking spots in Austin, this park holds the distinction of being the place where we've seen the most deer in one spot!
- Bull Creek Greenbelt Not as well-known as some of the other greenbelts in Austin, we love this trail mainly because of the differing terrains one encounters on its long hike. From grassy plains to thick woods to rocky creek shores, you encounter a lot on this hike. Definitely bring a swimsuit to relax in the water features of this trail. Free to hike.
- Enchanted Rock State Natural Area Okay we're cheating on this one! Enchanted Rock isn't actually in Austin, it's in Fredericksburg, Texas (stay tuned for an upcoming post on Fredericksburg!). This place is way too cool not to mention, though. The gem of this natural area is one of the largest "batholiths (underground rock formation uncovered by erosion) in the United States." You can get a great hike on one of the many trails that weave around the main dome and other larger rock formations or you can try your luck climbing the 425 foot pink granite dome. Either way, the views are spectacular.
We know we've probably missed a lot of great hiking spots in Austin, so if we didn't mention your favorite, please share! And feel free to also share any tips or stories involving any of the trails we have mentioned.