5 walking trails near Austin
Warm weather has returned, which means we're ready to get our steps in.
What to do: Here are a few walking trails to add to your rotation.
Walk along this trail system that follows Shoal Creek as it flows parallel to North Lamar and meanders through Pease Park toward downtown. The trail drops off at the Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail at Lady Bird Lake.
Of note: Ongoing construction at the north end of the trail will briefly require you to pop out onto the sidewalk at North Lamar.
- Surface: Paved, gravel, tree tunnels.
- Length: 5.5 miles for an out-and-back stroll.
- Parking: Street parking at 31st Street, downtown or Pease and Duncan parks (the trail crosses through both of these).
Hop on this paved, multi-use trail in East Austin for the days when you want a long, leisurely stroll.
- Surface: Paved.
- Length: 7.3 miles.
- Parking: Govalle Park.
This trail is a little more challenging than your average neighborhood walk, but the views are a little more rewarding.
Pro tip: Begin at the Spyglass entrance and follow the trail down toward The Flats or Campbell's Hole, two popular swimming holes.
- Surface: Dirt.
- Length: 13.8 miles.
- Parking: Zilker Park (2100 Barton Springs Road) or Loop 360 (3755-B Capital of Texas Highway, middle of trail).
Also called Lady Bird Lake Trail, this route takes you around Lady Bird Lake, with views of downtown Austin.
Pro tip: There's plenty of free parking along Pleasant Valley. Follow the trail as it runs parallel to East Riverside Drive and turns into a stunning boardwalk with skyline views.
- Surface: Paved and dirt.
- Length: 1o miles.
- Parking: Zilker Metropolitan Park (2100 Barton Springs Road), Shoal Beach Park (707 W. Cesar Chavez St.), Auditorium Shores Park (900 W. Riverside Drive) and Longhorn Shores Park (60 S. Pleasant Valley Road).
McKinney Falls offers nearly 9 miles of trails, where you can enjoy Onion Creek flowing over limestone ledges.
Pro tip: Take a dip at the Upper Falls before continuing across the rocky moonscape of cratered limestone.
The Onion Creek trail runs nearby — a perfect loop trail for hiking, mountain biking and trail running:
- Surface: Paved.
- Length: 3.7 miles.
- Parking: Smith Visitors Center.
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