Austin might be known for its live music and tacos, but its ample selection of outdoor activities makes it one of the best cities for a day spent out on the trails (at least, we think so). Here’s four of our favorite trails to stretch your legs this fall.
McKinney Falls State Park
McKinney Falls State Park: Located just 13 miles from the Texas State Capitol Building, McKinney Falls is still far from your typical day in Austin. The state park offers both paved and dirt trails that span nearly nine miles long, a number of waterfalls, and Onion Creek, a welcoming swimming hole for visitors. Go for the day or choose to extend your stay, camping in one of the state park's 81 campsites. Whichever activity you choose, though, be sure to check out “Old Baldy,” a 500-year-old cypress tree measuring more than 100 feet tall. 5808 McKinney Falls Pkwy.
Barton Creek Greenbelt Trail: Almost eight miles of dirt trails made Barton Creek Greenbelt—often referred to as simply “The Greenbelt” by locals—a no-brainer for our list of trails. And the numerous swimming pools make any trail the perfect destination after a hike, climb, or bike ride. The Greenbelt has a number of access points and individual trails, too, like the Hill of Life, so it’s best to have a game plan before you hit the road. Popular entrances include the Loop 360 access, Zilker Park, and the Spyglass access. 3753 S. Capital of Texas Hwy.
Bull Creek District Park: If you’re looking for an easy day hike in North Austin, look no further than Bull Creek District Park. The unique terrain includes limestone seeps, springs, waterways, cliffs, and waterfalls—all aspects that make for a scenic hike. This trail also connects to the Bull Creek Greenbelt Trail, which offers visitors looking for an extra challenge the opportunity to do so. 6701 Lakewood Dr.
River Place Nature Trail: Located in the River Place Neighborhood, the 5.5 mile trail spans across three smaller trails: Fern Trail (3916 River Place Blvd.), The Canyons Trail (4740 River Place Blvd.), and Panther Hollow Trail (8820 Big View Drive), each boasting distinct characteristics. Head to Fern Trail if you’re hoping to see waterfalls and ferns, The Canyons Trail for swimming holes and pools, or Panther Hallow Trail for a more challenging hike. The latter has the highest elevation change in the Austin area.