Not known to many, Austin is actually home to several hiking trails that are worth exploring. These trails offer rough yet fun challenges that will bring out the fighter in you and breathtaking views that make you want to keep coming back.
With the many trails nestled in the heart of the city, there is surely one that is perfect for every hiker of all levels. Here are three of the best hiking trails in Austin that you should definitely try:
1. Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve
Location: 805 N Capital of Texas Hwy, Austin, TX
Main Trail Length: 2.5 miles
This trail is among the favorites of locals as it is located in an area that they can conveniently reach. With a terrain that even little kids can conquer, it’s great place to spend your weekends with the entire family. You will be trudging through dirt, loose gravel, large rocks, and tree roots, but the elevation of the path remains on the same level. The trail has several marks that point you in the right direction and the location of some unique flora and fauna.
2. McKinney Falls State Park
Location: 5808 McKinney Falls Parkway, Austin, TX
Main Trail Length: 2.8 miles
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
This state park is a peaceful natural sanctuary that local families go to whenever they want to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city life. It is home to the Onion Creek where visitors can go fishing, camping, and climbing boulders.
The main trail, known as the Onion Creek Hike and Bike Trail, is very easy to tread. It has a flat and hard surface that is great for bikes and strollers. As you go through the trail you can see historical sites like the popular Thomas F. McKinney homestead.
There are several trails present in the park that are more challenging and have a terrain of dirt, rocks, and water crossings. Just be careful when you go on these paths as the trail is not marked very well and you might get lost in the area.
3. Violet Crown Trail
Location: Barton Creek Greenbelt Trail, Austin, TX
Main Trail Length: 30 miles
Difficulty: Easy to Vigorous
This is a fairly new trail that connects Central Austin to Hays County. The entire trail is not yet entirely open to the public as permits and other legalities are still in the works. In 2015, the first section finally opened and is ready to welcome hikers, bikers, and dogs alike. It also has a great gun range for anyone interested.
The first section of the Violet Crown Trail is 6 miles long and does not go in a loop. The trail starts with a smooth and shady path surrounded by different species of trees and bushes. Then it becomes a more difficult as the terrain becomes rocky and you start going uphill and downhill alternately. You will also come across creek beds which can be filled with water during the rainy season.
When going on a hike, remember to be prepared. Bring your own water and wear the right shoes no matter how easy you think your trek will be. Be responsible in the trail and do not leave any waste. This is something you can do to help preserve the beauty of the outdoor gems.
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