What Is The Lady Bird Lake Boardwalk? (And Where To Find It!)
Chances are, if it’s a beautiful day in Austin and the sun is shining (aka 300 days of the year…), you want to get outside and soak up the beauty. And, like lots of Austinites, you’re drawn to the incredible body of water in the center of our city, adjacent to the sprawling downtown Austin skyline: Lady Bird Lake. One of the most popular parts of the lake to walk, bike, or jog on is the Lady Bird Lake Boardwalk. Wondering what it is and how to access it?
Quick Facts About the Lady Bird Lake Boardwalk
It was built in 2014. For years and years, there was an annoying 1.3-mile gap in the trail. The boardwalk closed that gap to create a seamless 10-mile loop around the lake.
$28 million to complete. Voting took several years (of course…), but now that the Lady Bird Lake Boardwalk is finished, it’s cherished by Austinites.
There are 7 viewing areas. The boardwalk is one of the best places to get an unobstructed view of the downtown Austin skyline.
30,000 LED lights. Even if you’re walking at dusk, you’ll be able to safely walk on the trail thanks to the well-lit construction.
It’s made of 2,200 concrete deck planks. These are what give it the distinctive “boardwalk” look! They’re sturdy and easy to walk, run, or bike on.
How To Access The Lady Bird Lake Boardwalk
The boardwalk is literally a portion of the Hike and Bike Trail, so if you’re walking around the lake and you keep going, you’ll hit it eventually!
However, if you’re not in the mood for a 10-mile loop and you just want to access the boardwalk directly, here’s how to get there.
Here’s how to access the Lady Bird Lake Boardwalk:
- If you need to park, park on Lakeshore Drive. It’s a little east of the boardwalk, so you’ll have to walk a ½ mile or so to get to it. But there’s free parking and it’s by far the easiest way to get there if you’re trying to park first.
- There’s an access point at the corner of I35 and Riverside Dr. If you’re walking from Rainey Street or East Downtown, just head across the I35 bridge and you’ll find the access point on the east side of the bridge. (It’s a long ramp that brings you down to the boardwalk.)
- There’s an access ramp on E Riverside Drive, right next to Cidercade. If you’re walking from the Travis Heights neighborhood, you can just walk to this entrance. There’s not a great place to park by it, though. (Cidercade doesn’t allow parking in their lot unless you’re a customer.)
- Start at the Statesman Bat Observation Center (Congress Bridge) and walk east. Again, you’ll have to walk a bit to get to the boardwalk, but it’s fairly close and this is one of the most convenient places…especially if you’re looking for (paid) parking.
- Start literally anywhere on the trail and keep walking. Again, it’s part of the Roy and Ann Butler Hike and Bike Trail, on the south side of the lake. So even if you’re starting at the Mopac Pedestrian Bridge or the Pfluger Pedestrian Bridge, just walk east and you’ll eventually get to the Lady Bird Lake Boardwalk.
What’s With The Belts On The Austin Boardwalk?
There are 36 cast iron belts permanently attached to the handrail of the Lady Bird Lake Boardwalk. It’s an art display called “Belting It Out” by Ken Little. He selected lyrics from songs by famous Texas songwriters like Townes Van Zandt, Willie Nelson, and Robert Earl Keene.
If you’re walking on the boardwalk, be sure to stop and take a look at this unique piece of Austin art.
Can I Bike on the Lady Bird Lake Boardwalk?
Yep! It’s part of the 10-mile Roy and Ann Butler Hike and Bike Trail, so it’s actually made for both walkers and bikers. Keep in mind that, while the boardwalk is fairly smooth (it’s made from concrete planks), it’s only 1.3 miles of the 10-mile trail. There are other portions of the trail that are gravel and dirt, and you might hit a rock or a tree root here and there. This is definitely not the same thing as street cycling!
Hours Of The Lady Bird Lake Boardwalk
It’s open from 5 am-midnight every day of the year. And since it has those 30,000 LED lights, it stays illuminated even in the dark hours of the day.
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