The Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail is one of the most popular attractions in Austin, Texas.
It is also known as the Town Lake Trail or Lady Bird Lake trail.
The trail is named after former Austin mayor Roy Butler and his wife Ann.
Stretching 10.2 miles along Lady Bird Lake on the Colorado River, the trail is a favorite of locals and tourists alike.
Also Read: Best Day Trips from Austin, Texas
This easy paved loop trail is good for beginners as well as families.
The trail is free to use and well-maintained – which explains its vast popularity.
It is a great place to get some exercise, enjoy the outdoors, and take in the breathtaking views of the city.
The trail also connects some of Austin’s most popular attractions including Barton Springs, Zilker Metropolitan Park, Congress Avenue Bridge, Festival Beach, and Auditorium Shores.
In many ways, it reminds us of New York City’s The High Line!
Here’s everything you need to know about this scenic boardwalk trail at Lady Bird Lake in Austin.
Also Read: Best hiking trails in Austin, Texas
How Long is the Lady Bird Hike and Bike Trail?
The Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail is 10.2 miles long.
It stretches from the Longhorn Dam to the MoPac bridge.
The most recently completed Boardwalk portion of the trail takes you over the water and offers fantastic skyline views.
The boardwalk trail is roughly 1.3 miles long.
There are various access points along Austin’s beloved trail, so you can start your hike or bike ride at any point that is convenient for you.
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How much time is needed to complete the trail?
The time needed to complete the trail depends on your fitness level and how fast you walk or bike.
However, most people can complete the trail in 3 to 3.5 hours at a moderate pace.
Biking the entire trail takes about 1 hr to 1.5 hrs without stopping at attractions.
What are the best times to hike the Lady Bird Hike and Bike Trail?
The best time to hike the trail is early morning or evening to avoid the heat of the day.
However, the urban trail is open from 5 am to midnight, so you can hike or bike it at your convenience.
Additionally, remember that parts of the trail may be crowded on weekends and holidays.
If you’re looking for a more solitary experience, we recommend visiting closer to dawn on weekdays.
What should I bring with me when I hike the Lady Bird Hike and Bike Trail?
Some essential items to bring with you on the trail include sunscreen, water, snacks, and a hat.
You should also bring a map of the trail so you can stay on track and avoid getting lost.
Where is the Trailhead?
The trailhead for the Boardwalk section is near the Austin American Statesman building.
The boardwalk can also be accessed from International Shores Park or from the Riverside Drive sidewalk at Blunn Creek.
There are also several other trailheads along the hike that provide easy access to outdoor recreation on the trail.
Where to Park for the Trail?
If you’re driving to start your hike or bike ride on the Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail, then our favorite place to park is the Austin American Statesman parking lot.
Park in the paid lot and walk to the northeast corner to access the trailhead.
From here, you will get immediate access to the popular skyline view section of the urban path of the boardwalk.
There is also street parking available on South Lakeshore Blvd between Pleasant Valley Road and Riverside Drive.
You can also find parking areas at the Zilker Park end near Mopac Bridge.
Are there any facilities on the trail?
Restrooms can be found at most of the access points along Lady Bird Lake and the boardwalk section.
There are also several water fountains located along the trail where you can refill your water bottle.
Also, several LED lights in the boardwalk area light up the trail at night.
You will also find mile markers along the trail.
Things To Do On The Ann and Roy Butler Hike & Bike Trail
In addition to hiking and biking, there are many other things to do along the Ann and Roy Butler Hike & Bike Trail.
Here are our favorite things to do along the trail:
Enjoy a morning walk or sunset stroll
Bring along your sneakers and enjoy a leisurely stroll along the trail.
Time your walk for sunrise or sunset for some stunning views of the city skyline.
Enjoy nature and splendid scenery to get away from the daily stresses.
Bike around Lady Bird Lake
The Ann and Roy Butler Hike & Bike Trail is the perfect place to go for a bike ride.
There are many rental companies where you can rent a bike for the day including the Barton Springs bike rental.
Or simply rent a bike from the B station and remember to check it in every 30 minutes.
If you’re feeling ambitious, try biking around Lady Bird Lake – it’s a 10-mile loop!
Go for a run at twilight
Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned runner, the Lady Bird Hike & Bike Trail is the perfect place to get in a good workout.
There are some gentle inclines and declines, making it a great place to get in some cardio.
The trail is also well-lit at night, so you can go for a run even after the sun goes down.
Also Read: 14 Amazing Things to do in Austin at night
Enjoy the views of the Austin skyline
One of the best things about the Ann and Roy Butler Hike & Bike Trail is the stunning views of the Austin skyline.
Some of the highlights of the trail include the beautiful views of downtown Austin, the iconic skyscrapers, and the Congress Avenue Bridge.
There are many viewing areas along the boardwalk trail to soak in the panorama.
Make sure to bring your camera so you can snap some pictures of the incredible views.
People watch along the boardwalk
On any given day, you’ll see people of all ages out and about, enjoying the fresh air and beautiful views.
If you’re looking for a place to people-watch, this is the spot!
You’ll see joggers, bikers, walkers, and skaters of all ages and abilities.
You can also see kayakers, canoeists, and stand-up paddle boarders making their way around Lady Bird Lake.
See the iconic bats of Austin
If you’re visiting Austin in the summer, you might be lucky enough to see the city’s iconic bats right from the trail.
Every summer, around 1.5 million Mexican free-tailed bats take up residence beneath the Congress Avenue Bridge.
You can best see the Congress Bridge Bats at dusk when they come out to feed on insects from the south shore of the lake.
Spot the many turtles in Lady Bird Lake
Nature lovers will have fun spotting the many turtles dotting the water along the shores.
You might even see some turtles sunning themselves on logs or rocks.
If you’re lucky, you might also see ducks, squirrels, and bobcats.
See the ‘Belting It Out’ art installations
Keep your eyes peeled for the many art installations located along the trail.
One of our favorites is the ‘Belting It Out’ installation, which features several large, colorful cowboy-western style belts.
These bronze sculptures by artist Ken Little are inscribed with lyrics of songs by Texas singers and songwriters.
Some of the popular ones include songs by Willie Nelson, Buddy Holy, George Strait, and Selena.
The belts were installed in 2014 and are a fun addition to the trail.
You will find these belts installed on the handrails.
Go birding along the trail
The Ann and Roy Butler Hike & Bike Trail is a great place for birding.
Many different species of birds can be seen along the trail, including pelicans, cormorants, herons, egrets, woodpeckers, and warblers.
If you’re lucky, you might even see a bald eagle!
Find a full list of birds seen here.
Have fun rollerblading on the trail
Rollerblading is a popular activity on the Ann and Roy Butler Hike & Bike Trail.
The smooth concrete surface is perfect for gliding, and there are plenty of places to stop and rest along the way.
Just be sure to stay to the right so you don’t block the path for others.
Equally popular are skateboards and segways.
Enjoy a picnic in front of the skyline
Not a fan of biking or hiking?
If you’re just looking to soak up some sun and take in the sights, pack a picnic lunch and find a spot to relax.
There are many picnic tables located along the trail.
There are also several grassy areas where you can spread a blanket and enjoy a meal outdoors.
Rent a kayak or canoe on the trail
One of the best ways to see Lady Bird Lake is from the water.
Renting a kayak or canoe is a great way to explore the lake and get some exercise at the same time.
There are many places to rent kayaks and canoes along the trail including Live Love Paddle near Amli Apartments.
You can also go stand-up paddle boarding, which is a popular activity in Austin.
Fish in Lady Bird Lake
If you’re an avid fisherman, you’ll be happy to know that fishing is allowed in Lady Bird Lake.
There are many different types of fish that can be found in the lake, including largemouth bass, sunfish, and catfish.
Take your furry friend for a walk
The Ann and Roy Butler Hike & Bike Trail is one of the most dog-friendly trails in Austin.
Dogs are allowed on the trail as long as they are on a leash no longer than 6 feet.
Be sure to bring some water for your furry friend and pick up after them.
Please be considerate of other trail users when bringing your pets along.
Let the kids run free on the boardwalk
The Austin boardwalk is a great place for kids to explore and run around.
There are also several playgrounds located along the trail.
Discover the story behind the boardwalk benches
If you take a closer look at the benches along the trail, you’ll notice that they were made from bald cypress trees that were uprooted during the flash floods in Wimberley.
Wimberley is a charming small town located in the Texas Hill Country near Austin.
The benches were designed to blend into the surroundings while still giving a purpose to the destroyed trees.
Take some time to sit on the benches and contemplate their history.
Plan a photoshoot on the Lady Bird Lake trail
The Ann and Roy Butler Hike & Bike Trail is one of the most romantic places in Austin for photoshoots.
Whether you’re a professional photographer or just looking to take some snaps for your Instagram, the trail provides plenty of photo ops.
Some of the most popular spots include the bridges, rooftops, and of course, the skyline.
The boardwalk is also popular for proposals, senior pictures, graduation photos, and wedding photography.
Admire the views from Pfluger Pedestrian Bridge
The Pfluger Pedestrian Bridge is one of the most popular places on the Ann and Roy Butler Hike & Bike Trail.
This suspension bridge spans Lady Bird Lake and provides stunning views of Austin’s skyline.
Take a break at one of the many restaurants
If you’re looking for a place to grab a bite to eat or a refreshing drink, there are many restaurants located along the trail.
Some of our favorites include Alta’s Cafe, Trio inside Four Seasons, and Veracruz Tacos.
Several food trucks can also be found along the trail.
See the Stevie Ray Vaughn statue
If you’re a music fan, be sure to check out the Stevie Ray Vaughn statue.
This life-size bronze statue of the musician with his guitar is located on the trail near Auditorium Shores.
It was erected to honor the late musician who was born and raised in Austin.
Take in the views at Lou Neff Point
One of the best places to take in the views of Lady Bird Lake and downtown Austin is Lou Neff Point.
This popular spot with a gazebo is located at the south end of the trail near Zilker Park.
It’s a great place to watch the sunset or just relax and enjoy the scenery.
Enjoy a dip in Barton Springs Pool
Barton Springs Pool is a man-made swimming hole that is fed by natural springs.
It’s located just off the trail in Zilker Park, one of the most popular Austin parks, and is a popular spot in the summer months.
Stop by the Umlauf Sculpture Garden & Museum
If you’re a fan of art, make sure to stop by the Umlauf Sculpture Garden & Museum, located just off the trail.
The museum features a variety of sculptures by Charles Umlauf.
The garden is a great place to take a break and enjoy the peaceful surroundings.
Stay safe while enjoying the trail
While the Ann & Roy Butler Hike & Bike Trail is generally a safe place to enjoy some time outdoors, visitors must take some basic safety precautions while visiting.
Here are a few safety tips to keep in mind:
Stay hydrated and wear sunscreen – the sun can be brutal in Texas.
If you’re biking, wear a helmet!
Be sure to keep an eye on your belongings at all times and avoid carrying large amounts of cash with you.
Be aware of your surroundings at all times and report any suspicious activity to authorities immediately.
If you’re hiking or cycling alone, it’s best to let someone know your route before setting out.
Stick to well-lit areas of the trail if you’re exploring at night.
Bring a charged cell phone with you in case of an emergency.
Lastly, have fun!
Austin, TX is well-known for being a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, and the Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail is simply the best of the lot!
With plenty of things to do along the way and stunning views of Lady Bird Lake, it’s easy to see why this trail is one of Austin’s most popular destinations.
We hope you liked our guide to our favorite Austin hike and bike trail – Ann and Roy Butler trail at Lady Bird Lake!