The Best Hiking Trails Around Austin

Written by Stephen Tiliki

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Photo by Luca Bravo on Unsplash

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Up for a hike? Craving a real adventure instead of a walk down the street? Feeling cooped up after countless lockdowns and stay-at-home advisories? No matter your reason for going for a hike, there's a trail waiting for you in Austin.

Austin is a fantastic place to be if you're looking for some time in the great outdoors, whether you're a hiker, biker, or even a mountain climber.

Are you ready to stretch your legs and get some fresh air? If so, where do you start?

VIVA has you covered with four of the best hiking trails around Austin.

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River Place Nature Trail

Want to spice up your workout? Go on a challenging hike at River Place. It includes three trails, each of which offers something unique. Visit the Fern Trail to glimpse nature, which runs by several waterfalls. Canyon Trail consists of a series of complex steps that will lead you past several interesting rock formations and a few benches where you can rest. The longest stretch is Panther Hollow, offering the most elevation changes in the upper part and the least in the lower section—which means it offers a much better cool-down than any gym.

Mount Bonnell

The view from Mount Bonnell allows visitors an unparalleled look at the surrounding area. Mount Bonnell is only a simple hike from Covert Park, but its 102 limestone tracks still feel like exercise. The vista from Mount Bonnell is among the highest in the city at 775 feet. Atop the hill, you'll find a breathtaking view of the Texas Hill Country as well as the Austin skyline and Lake Travis on the Colorado River.

The views from Mount Bonnell are amazing, and the mountains offer stunning sunsets. Evenings are a popular time of day to visit because of these breathtaking moments. The top of the cliff provides plenty of space—but visitors should approach the cliff edge with utmost caution.

McKinney Falls State Park

If you like relaxing in a waterfall oasis after a hike, then head to McKinney Falls State Park's lower falls. Paying a small park fee and crossing the creek on foot is necessary to reach the trailhead, but the 6.8 miles of hiking are well worth it.

For adventurers who climb, boulder, or mountain bike, there are also excellent spots for adrenaline-pumping thrills in the park. For overnight guests, the park offers more than 80 modern, electric, and water-connected campsites, as well as six recently renovated cabins.

Turkey Creek Trail

A hike along Turkey Creek Trail is the perfect option for hikers seeking something a little different from the groomed trails downtown. Due to the park's proximity to downtown Austin, hikers may expect a more rugged and remote experience on the 2.8-mile roundtrip loop.

Taking off from the southeast corner of the parking area, you will travel briefly south along Turkey Creek before you turn north. You can usually expect to find rocks and roots along the trail, along with specific sections where you'll want to watch your step. If you intend to bring your dog, be sure they can navigate more technical terrain as well.

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