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If you’re looking for a wide variety of locations to hike and enjoy the great outdoors, you can’t beat Austin, Texas. Delve into some of the best hiking destinations that this gorgeous, lively city has to offer and see why you should add it to your vacation bucket list.
McKinney Falls State Park
First up in our guide to the top hiking spots in Austin, Texas, is the famous McKinney Falls. Beloved by locals and tourists alike, this state park is known for its vibrant views and idyllic watering hole. So if you’re looking to enjoy a cool dip while you soak in some of the most gorgeous landscapes that the state of Texas has to offer, McKinney Falls is the place to be.
But that’s not all this hidden gem offers. Its 3-trail system provides numerous hiking routes that allow visitors to pick their adventures. One option in particular—the Homestead Trail—provides an intimate look into the historic stone house and gristmill of Thomas McKinney.
Of course, if you want something a little family friendlier, you can always hike along the easy-breezy Onion Creek trail, or Rock Shelter is a breathtaking trail shaded by limestone cliffs. In any case, McKinney Falls has a bit of something for everyone.
Barton Creek Greenbelt
Of course, this wouldn’t be a solid guide to the top hiking spots in Austin, Texas, if we didn’t mention the beautiful, illustrious Barton Creek Greenbelt. The Greenbelt is renowned for its intriguing landscape and dreamy views. It also offers many activities, from hiking and biking to floating and picnicking. This long stretch of Texas landscape has 7 access points, each with something different to offer its visitors. For instance, if you’re looking for a challenge, you could try your hand at climbing the half-mile elevation of the Hill of Life. Or if you’re into free-climbing, you can find your way up the limestone walls of the Urban Assault.
Of course, if you’re looking to spend an outdoorsy day relaxing with the fam, that’s cool, too. Many of the easier access points are located near the best urban delights the city has to offer. So once you’re done enjoying the great outdoors, you can take a short drive to one of Austin’s various eateries for dinner and drinks.
Pro Tip: If you plan on chilling by the water, get to the Greenbelt later in the afternoon. It tends to be less congested, quieter, and family friendlier—especially if you’re bringing the kids along.
Mayfield Nature Preserve
If you plan on visiting the gorgeous city of Austin, you have to schedule a time to visit Lake Austin. There, you’ll find numerous outdoorsy activities that are fun for the whole family. But we have to give a specific shout-out to the wildly fantastic Mayfield Nature Preserve, especially for people who enjoy a good hike. A popular venue for weddings and other upscale affairs, Mayfield offers visitors 24 acres of Texas’s most beautiful wilderness to explore. This preserve is also the site of a historic cottage and estate. Thus, any history buffs in your group will find something to love about this destination.
If that isn’t enough to entice you, the entire acreage is teeming with cottage gardens, peaceful paths, and enchanting habitats that are home to a healthy population of peacocks, among other native wildlife. Plus, taking a stroll down one of the various walking paths will lead you to a dock overlooking the idyllic Lake Austin. That’s why if you plan on visiting this unique metropolis, we insist that you make Mayfield Preserve a part of your trip.