Next time you need to get off the asphalt in Austin, let this list of our favorite hikes in the city serve as your guide.
Originally Appeared on Condé Nast Traveler
Let’s start big picture. What’s the vibe here?
This three-mile triangle of greenbelt changes with the seasons. The trailhead is engulfed by a large mass of cacti, with spring welcoming a field of wildflowers, and the path leads right along the creek with ample opportunities for swimming and wading in the summer. On the north/east side of the creek, you’ll find easy to moderate hikes, while the rockier south/west side gains elevation quickly.
Any standout features or must-sees?
Blink and you could miss the quirky highlight here: a series of pseudo-treasure hunts. You read that right. There are multiple waterfalls found throughout the park and the first one is marked by the “saw tree”, which is exactly what it sounds like––an old tree with a saw in it. Just north of that spot is a hidden box filled with trinkets for the lucky geocachers who can pinpoint its location. A number of the trails lead to beautiful views above Bull Creek (particularly the one marked “cliff”, go figure).
Was it easy to get around?
While most of the trails are well-manicured, some are overgrown and not clearly marked. Some curve into the woods and feel very solemn, while others pass right along Spicewood Springs Road. There are plenty of loose rocks and roots, so this wouldn’t be ideal for those with mobility issues. However, kids should have no problem navigating these trails.
All said and done, what—and who—is this best for?
Being that this lush bit of nature is centrally located right off Highway 360 and Spicewood Springs Road, it has the air of a well-kept secret, though word is out: it’s usually filled with a decent number of people and dogs. This is an easy hike so it’s possible to cover it all in under two hours, making it ideal for those on a time constraint.