Hiking In Austin: The 15 Best Trails (With Maps!)

When you're ready to lace up your hiking shoes and get out to enjoy nature, use this guide to get a bit of inspiration for some fun hiking trail in Austin! Austin is a very outdoorsy city with lots of great hiking trails. Ask anyone who lives here and they'll tell you that the terrain of Austin, with the limestone cliffs and numerous creek beds, lends itself to lots of great, easy hiking. So if you're looking for a fun weekend adventure, here are 15 of the most beautiful hiking trails in Austin, both inside and outside city limits

Violet Crown Trail

Is Austin Texas Good for Hiking?

Yes! Although, if you're wondering, "does Austin TX have mountains?" the answer is a resounding NO. Ha...no mountains in Austin, folks. (And no, Mount Bonnell isn't technically a "mountain." We'll get to that in a minute.)

But yes, since Austin is in central Texas and is near the Texas Hill Country, there are some really good hikes with hills, views for days, and even waterfalls

What's the Longest Hiking Trail in Austin?

There are so many beautiful hiking trails in Austin like Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve, Mayfield Park, Covert Park, and so many others. But among that list, Barton Creek Greenbelt is the longest hiking trail in Austin. It's about 13.8 miles if you go out and back. Plus, it's just a short distance from downtown (the trailhead is right by Zilker Park) so it's very easy to access.

What's the Best Time of the Year to Go Hiking in Austin?

The best times are in the fall when the weather has cooled down, or in the early spring months (March/April) before the rainy season of May/June happens.

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15 Beautiful Hiking Trails in Austin

1. Mount Bonnell

Mount Bonnell

Distance: 0.5 miles

Is Mount Bonnell Dog Friendly? Yes, on-leash

Trailhead Address: 3800 Mount Bonnell Rd; Austin, Texas 78731

Although Mount Bonnell is a very, very short hike you can complete in just a few minutes, it's also one of the most beautiful views. (Definitely, one of the most amazing spots to watch the sunset in Austin.)

How long does it take to climb up Mount Bonnell? As long as it takes you to climb 102 steps! That's right...Mount Bonnell is only 102 steps, so it's not technically a mountain at all. However, if you're in a hurry and you want to squeeze in a very, very short hike in Austin, it's a good opportunity to spend some time out in nature and take in the views of the Colorado River. (And those amazing mansions that line the hills! Wow.)  

Although this Austin "hike" looks simple because it's a simple stairway of 102 stone steps, you still have to prepare yourself for the trek. You'll probably want to wear some comfy shoes and bring water to sip on once you reach the top. 

3800 Mount Bonnell Rd; Austin, Texas 78731

2. Lady Bird Lake

Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail
Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail

Distance: 10 miles

Is Lady Bird Lake Dog Friendly? Yes

Trailhead Address: 2384 Stratford Dr, Austin, TX 78746

Located just south of downtown Austin, Lady Bird Lake, also known as the Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail, (and known as "Town Lake" to old-time Austinites) is one of the best-known running, biking, and hiking trails in Austin. Lady Bird Lake is not just a beautiful dirt and gravel trail, it's also a good place to gaze on Austin's beautiful skyline and enjoy a trail in an urban setting. 

The Lady Bird Lake trail has a 10-mile full loop but if you want to shorten it, you can by crossing any of the numerous bridges spanning the Colorado River.

2384 Stratford Dr, Austin, TX 78746

3. Barton Creek Greenbelt

Barton Creek Greenbelt

Distance: 13.8 miles

Is Barton Creek Greenbelt Dog Friendly? Yes

Trailhead Address: 1601 Spyglass Dr, Austin, TX 78746

Barton Creek Greenbelt, one of Austin's most popular hiking destinations, is also a local’s favorite when it comes to hiking. If you hike down this trail, you'll eventually run into Twin Falls and Sculpture Falls, two little swimming holes that are a fun place to take a dip in the early summer months. (In the later summer months they might be dried out from drought..) 

It's best to hike here during the warmer seasons of the year so you can splash through the beautiful swimming holes and enjoy the vibrant waterfalls, but winter is also a wonderful time to get your heart rate up and enjoy some nature.  

Although the main trailhead is near downtown (next to Zilker Park), there are multiple access points, including one on Spyglass, and one on the access road to S Mopac and Capital of Texas Highway. 

1601 Spyglass Dr, Austin, TX 78746

4. River Place Nature Trail

River Place Nature Trail

Distance: 5.5 miles

Is River Place Nature Trail Dog Friendly? Yes, on-leash only

Trailhead Address: 8820 Big View Dr, Austin, TX 78730

This is one of the hardest hiking trails in Austin. It's a quick, 30-minute scenic drive from Downtown Austin, but River Place Nature Trail is going to impress you with the difficult terrains, including several steep inclines and descents, as well as some challenging staircases. River Place Nature Trail is perfect for slightly more experienced hikers who want a really good workout. It's definitely one of the best options for hill trail  hiking in Austin, so it tends to get fairly crowded on the weekends. 

8820 Big View Dr, Austin, TX 78730

5. Walnut Creek Trail

Walnut Creek Trail

Distance: 1.3 miles

Is Walnut Creek Trail Dog Friendly? Yes

Trailhead address: 5200 Bolm Rd, Austin, TX 78721

It is just over a mile long and has a slight elevation rise, so if you prefer short and sweet hikes, then Walnut Creek Trail is perfect for you! It's ideal for walkers and bikers. Since it’s only 15 minutes from the middle of Austin and it has a playground, it’s a popular destination for families. 

Austin is currently expanding the Walnut Creek trail system, so this trail will connect to other trails soon to make a longer walk/hike situation in Austin.  

WEBSITE | 5200 Bolm Rd, Austin, TX 78721

6. Pedernales Falls State Park

Pedernales Falls State Park

Distance: 6 miles

Are Dogs Allowed At Pedernales Falls State Park? Yes

Trailhead address: 2585 Park Rd 6026, Johnson City, TX 78636

If you're willing to drive an hour outside of Austin, Pedernales Falls State Park offers 5200 acres of hiking, fishing, swimming, camping, and more. 

They offer all sorts of trails that range from easy to challenging, including the 1/2 mile Twin Falls Nature Trail which features a scenic overlook over the falls, or the stunning six-mile Wolf Mountain Trail. There are 10 trails in all, so you can find one that fits perfectly into your day. {Photo: Elyssa M, Yelp}

WEBSITE | 2585 Park Rd 6026, Johnson City, TX 78636

7. Violet Crown Trail

Violet Crown Trail
Violet Crown Trail

Distance: 13 miles

Is Violet Crown Trail Dog Friendly? Yes

Trailhead address: William Barton Dr, Austin, TX 78746

Similar to some of the other trails on this list, think of this more as a trail running spot in Austin rather than a hiking trail...however, you could definitely call it a hike if you want! The Violet Crown Trail is going to be a 30-mile urban development project that runs through Central Texas. Although the only available portion for hiking is in Phase I, the work is already being done on the other portions. This hike is on its way to becoming the area's first regional trail system, and the longest trail of its kind in Central Texas.  

William Barton Dr, Austin, TX 78746

8. Hamilton Pool Preserve Trail

Hamilton Pool Preserve

Distance: 1.8 miles

Is Hamilton Pool Preserve Dog Friendly? No. No pets allowed, not even in your car. 

Trailhead Address: 24300 Hamilton Pool Rd, Dripping Springs, TX 78620

Hamilton Pool Preserve Trail is one of the trails that is a little further away from the Downtown—about a 45-minute trip toward Dripping Springs. But it's definitely worth the drive! It’s one of Texas' most stunning hiking spots because of its breathtaking location, blue lakes, limestone bluffs, and lots of trees. Lots of people head to Hamilton Pool in the summer, but you should definitely go just for a hike, too. 

24300 Hamilton Pool Rd, Dripping Springs, TX 78620

9. Mary Moore Searight Park Trail

Mary Moore Searight Park

Distance: 6 miles

Is Mary Moore Searight Park Dog Friendly? Yes, and there’s even an off-leash section

Trailhead address: 907 W Slaughter Ln, Austin, TX 78748

Mary Moore Searight Park Trail is a gentle 2.1-mile loop located near the center of a lovely park that is tucked away in a greeny residential region of South Austin. You'll hear cars from nearby roads as a reminder that you're close to civilazation, but the trail is relaxing and has views of Slaughter Creek, open fields, and shaded woodland areas. 

The outer trails are connected to the inner trails so you can easily jump around and create your own custom trail. {Photo: Elvira A, Yelp}

907 W Slaughter Ln, Austin, TX 78748

10. Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve (Waterfall trail!)

Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve

Distance: 1.8 miles

Is Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve Dog Friendly? No. No pets allowed. 

Trailhead address: 805 N Capital of Texas Hwy, Austin, TX 78746

Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve is a protected wilderness area in Austin that's great for some short (yet hilly!) hiking, great views, and waterfalls!

It's ideal for all levels of hikers because, while the terrain is a little bit hilly, there are multiple paths you can take...some as short as .25 miles. There's a waterfall trail, and if you visit just after the rainy season (May/June) you can sit and enjoy the sound of running water and watch the beautiful waterfall! Note that it will probably be dried up in August. 

WEBSITE | 805 N Capital of Texas Hwy, Austin, TX 78746

11. Turkey Creek Trail

Turkey Creek Trail

Distance: 2.8 miles

Is Turkey Creek Trail Dog Friendly? Yes

Trailhead address: 711 City Park Rd, Austin, TX 78730

Turkey Creek Trail is a moderately challenging out-and-back hiking trail in Austin that's located inside Emma Long Metropolitan Park. It's popular among mountain bikers and hikers. Most of its trail routes are shaded, and there are a few river crossings where you can rest and cool off. If you can, visit Turkey Creek Trail during the weekdays; weekends tend to get pretty packed here. {Photo: Emily P, Yelp}

711 City Park Rd, Austin, TX 78730

12. Mayfield Nature Preserve

Mayfield Park
Peacock at Mayfield Park

Distance: 0.3-mile

Is Mayfield Nature Preserve Dog Friendly? No dogs allowed, due to the wild peacocks roaming the park

Trailhead address: 3505 W 35th St, Austin, TX 78703

Tiny yet beautiful, Mayfield Nature Preserve is one of the most gorgeous hiking trails in Austin. Because of its lilypad-covered turtle ponds and peacocks roaming the park, you're going to feel like you stepped into a different world. 

The main hiking route is quick and simple and only takes about 30 minutes to walk, including a path that descends to a stunning dock with a view of Lake Austin. It's a great family-friendly option if you're in Austin with young kids.

3505 W 35th St, Austin, TX 78703

13. McKinney Falls State Park

McKinney Falls State Park

Distance: 3.1 miles

Is McKinney Falls State Parks Dog Friendly? Yes, on-leash only

Trailhead address: 5808 McKinney Falls Pkwy, Austin, TX 78744

McKinney Falls State Park is the best choice if you're searching for a place to go hiking close to Austin that makes you feel like you're far outside of the city. It's an amazing place to visit for its cascading creeks, old rock formations, and ages-old history. 

McKinney Falls State Park has a trail network that links Upper Falls and Lower Falls as well as a swimming hole. It's a fun place to bring the family for the day, or just a good place to get away for a quick walk through nature. 

5808 McKinney Falls Pkwy, Austin, TX 78744

14. Blunn Creek Preserve

Blunn Creek Preserve
Blunn Creek Preserve

Distance: 1 mile

Is Blunn Creek Preserve Dog Friendly? No. No pets allowed. 

Trailhead address: 1100 St Edwards Dr, Austin, TX 78704

Blunn. Creek Preserve is located right in the middle of the city (next to St Edward's University), but most people don't realize it's there! It's tucked away and you have to know what you're looking for to find it, but it offers a nice, quick little hike where you can get a bit of elevation, get your heart rate up, and enjoy a few moments in nature. 

1100 St Edwards Dr, Austin, TX 78704

15. St. Edwards Park

St Edward's Park

Distance: 2.7 miles

Is St Edward’s Park Dog Friendly? Yes

Trailhead address: 7301 Spicewood Springs Rd, Austin, TX 78759

Locals love St. Edwards Park's green and red trails because they're pretty good for beginner hikers and offer a fun family-friendly (and free!) activity.  It's a well-marked trail with plenty of creekside views and shade. 

One quick note: this parking lot is known for car break-ins. 🙁 The trail itself is safe, but maaaany many people have shared photos and stories of their cars being broken into while they're on a 30 min hike. If you live nearby and you can walk to this trail, it's a fun one. But if you're planning to leave your car here, just be warned. Sad, yet true. Hopefully, the Austin Police Department pays attention to this so this beautiful public trail can be enjoyed by Austinites again. 

7301 Spicewood Springs Rd, Austin, TX 78759

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