Austin, Texas, is known for its nightlife, live music scene, and plenty of urban attractions.
It is home to world class museums, the University of Texas campus, and trendy neighborhoods.
But another thing people miss out on is its proximity to several spectacular hiking areas in Central Texas.
There are many hikes near Austin, Texas that offer views of sparkling waterfalls and wildflowers.
These Austin hiking trails are perfect to connect with nature and spend time with your loved ones.
Best Hiking Trails in Austin
Hiking is one of our favorite outdoor things to do in Austin, Texas.
From the Colorado River trails to nearby suburbs, you have plenty of options.
Have less time or don’t wish to escape the city limits?
Every Austin neighborhood has many options for escaping the city’s hustle and bustle and spending time in nature.
You can enjoy urban hikes that offer gorgeous views of the state capital and wrap it with a nice meal if you have just a weekend in Austin.
Here are the best hiking trails in Austin, Texas to visit this summer.
Ann and Roy Butler Trail, Lady Bird Lake
Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail is nestled right in the heart of downtown Austin.
The trail goes around Lady Bird Lake and has stunning views of the skyscrapers in downtown.
This trail is classified as an easy or a beginner trail that allows people to leisurely walk along the lake.
Families with kids as well as couples can enjoy views of the surrounding neighborhoods, skyscrapers, and local attractions.
The trail is also dog-friendly and hence quite popular with locals.
While the trail is a 10.5-mile loop, it is highly recommended by visitors and residents as you can genuinely see what Austin has to offer them.
Barton Creek Greenbelt Trail
Another beginner-level trail is Barton Creek Greenbelt.
This trail is also easily accessible to get on to from the city.
There are over 12 miles of trail here that can offer people a wonderful hiking experience or even a chance to take out their mountain bikes.
The highlights of this trail are Twin Falls and Sculpture Falls, two pretty waterfalls.
Those that come during Austin’s rainy season will get an opportunity to take a swim in the creek.
It is advised to wear proper footwear on this trail as it is not paved, and there is a chance of mud during the rainy months.
Blunn Creek Trail
Blunn Creek is more than just a trail here in Central Austin.
While Blunn Creek has several different hiking trails, they also have a nature preserve.
Hikers will see Big Stacy Park, Little Stacy Park with the wading pool, and St Edwards University in this nature preserve.
Blunn Creek is perfect for people looking for incredible scenery and a little bit of Austin’s history.
The typical trail people take only a mile loop that showcases native plants and flowers.
Hamilton Pool Preserve Trail, Dripping Springs – #1 of Top hikes in Austin area!
The Hamilton Pool Preserve Trail is a 3/4-mile hike that takes you to one of the most popular swimming holes in the Austin area.
The trailhead is well-marked, very popular, and relatively easy to follow.
The first part of the trail winds through a shady oak forest, and the second half follows along the shores of Hamilton Creek.
The highlight of the hike is undoubtedly the sparkling waterfall and the pool itself, which is formed by a collapsed cavern.
The clear blue water is refreshing on a hot day, and there are plenty of rocks to sunbathe on or jump into the water from.
While swimming is the most popular activity at Hamilton Pool, it’s also worth taking some time to explore the surrounding area.
Hamilton Pool and Dripping Springs is undoubtedly one of the best day trips from Austin for nature lovers.
Bull Creek Greenbelt Upper Trail, Bull Creek District Park
Those who love to hike with their dogs love Bull Creek District Park.
This park is on 48-acres. This park does have a creek, which is not recommended for human swimming, but dogs seem to enjoy it.
This park is one stop in a more extensive trail system known as Bull Creek Greenbelt.
For those looking for a longer day hike in the North Austin area, this is the perfect spot to get on the Bull Creek Greenbelt.
Just remember, this is not a loop like the previously mentioned trails.
Mount Bonnell Trail, Covert Park
Covert Park is situated in a charming residential neighborhood.
The park is famous for its stunning Austin hiking trail that takes visitors to the top of Mount Bonnell.
The trail is short but steep, and hikers should be prepared for an intense workout.
The trail comprises a well-maintained staircase of 102 stairs and takes people up to the highest point in Austin at 780+ feet.
Once at the top, you can enjoy stunning views looking over downtown Austin, Lake Austin, 360 bridge, and the surrounding hill country.
This hike is perfect for those looking for a breathtaking view and simply amazing at sunset.
Turkey Creek Trail, Emma Long Metropolitan Park
Nestled in the northwest part of the city, along with the beautiful Lake Austin, people will find the Emma Long Metropolitan Park.
This park has a lot to offer visitors and residents.
Those looking to get out on a hiking trail will want to head out on Turkey Creek Trail.
This trail can be found 3-miles before people enter the park at the main gate.
This trail is perfect for those who want to bring their dogs.
It is paved, shaded, and flat and a hit with families.
Mary Moore Searight Park Trail
Just behind Southpark Meadows, people will find Mary Moore Searight Park.
This park consists of 344-acres filled with space for horseback riders, hikers, bikers, and more.
The park does have a 3-mile hiking trail.
People often get a little lost since this park does not have a lot of signage inside the park.
Mayfield Park Lake Trail, Mayfield Nature Preserve
The Mayfield Nature Preserve will transport you from the city to a beautiful place where people can be greeted with lilypad-covered turtle ponds and magnificent peacocks.
Mayfield Preserve is located near Mount Bonnell.
This preserve sits on 24-acres and encompasses Mayfield-Gutsch Estate, a popular wedding venue.
The preserve’s main trail will take people on a path down to a dock that overlooks Lake Austin.
While this trail is not long (30 minutes), it gives people some of the best views from within the city.
Onion Creek and Homestead Trail, McKinney Falls State Park
The McKinney Falls State Park with its nearly 9-miles of trails is a paradise for hikers near Austin.
It is also one of our favorite state parks near Austin area.
Most popular is the Onion Creek and Homestead Trail which takes visitors to the park’s swimming hole and waterfall.
This hiking trail in Austin allows people to jump in the water near the falls, which just happens to be a short distance away from the parking lot.
Unlike the previously mentioned free trails and parks, McKinney Falls State Park requires an admission fee of $6 for people over 6.
It is also best to make a reservation online to guarantee entry to the state park, especially during summer.
River Place Nature Trail
River Place Nature Trail fits the bill for those who want something that’ll get their hearts pumping!
The River Place Nature Trail is nestled just west of downtown Austin.
On this trail, people should be ready to experience a lot of elevation gain and loss.
This trail is not for beginners.
It is advised to bring plenty of snacks and water on this 5-mile-long trail.
There is an admission fee of $10 per person on the weekends.
Secret Beach & Roy Guerrero Trail
Not many hikers know that there is a beach only 15-minutes from the center of Austin.
This trail is mainly shaded and on flat land.
There is a ton of wildlife to view along this route.
However, the real gem is the side trail to the Secret Beach.
The beach is nestled along the Colorado River where people let their dogs wade in the water and run around free.
This trail is perfect for those hikers looking for a hidden gem within the city limits.
Green and Red Loop Trail, St. Edwards Park
In northwest Austin, people will stumble upon St. Edwards Park.
This park has a 3-mile trail where hikers can see cacti and wildflowers.
Those hikers looking for a longer adventure will love the trails that lead to Bull Creek, which offers several swimming places during the summer.
Just like Bull Creek District Park, St. Edwards Park is also a part of the more extensive trail system, Bull Creek Greenbelt.
Violet Crown Trail
Like Bull Creek and St. Edwards Park, the Violet Crown Trail is also off the Bull Creek Greenbelt.
For those that love a bit of history, the Violet Crown Trail was named for Austin, the City of Violet Crown.
This trail is 13 miles long.
Walnut Creek Trail, Walnut Creek Metro Park
Looking for a gentle walk through the central Austin woodlands?
Northern Walnut Creek Trail in Walnut Creek Metro Park is a perfect choice.
This park is good for hikers, mountain bikers, and families.
The trail here is shaded, paved, and 3.5-miles long.
It is ideal for a leisurely walk in nature and is gorgeous during spring.
Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve Trails
The trail at Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve is relatively short at 2.5-miles.
However, just because it is a short trail doesn’t mean this trail doesn’t have a lot to offer.
People can expect to see many overlooks, creeks, waterfalls, and hill country terrain on this trail.
Also Read: Best Road Trips from Austin, Texas
Austin is home to several hiking trails that offer breathtaking views of the city and surrounding countryside.
The trailheads are easily accessible from most parts of the city, and the trails themselves range from easy to challenging, making them perfect for hikers of all levels of experience.
What is your favorite hiking trail in Austin? Let us know below!