Guide to the Best Hikes & “Hops” around Austin

iGnite_SculptureFalls2

Sha Klatt

by Sha Klatt

My husband and I have always loved hiking. We love to get out in nature and let it work its magic! Many times when I think of going hiking, I think of Colorado, New Mexico, or places even further away. But recently we have been exploring hikes in and around Austin that are quick, easy and fun, and give us our nature fix on a regular basis. Our favorite hikes always end with a refreshing hop into some body of water!

Sculpture Falls on the Barton Creek green belt is a great quick hike. Only minutes away, just past Barton Creek Mall, on south Mopac where all those cars are parked on the side of the frontage road. We like to go early in the morning (8:00ish) to beat the crowd. Start at the trail head and within 10 minutes you’ll be alongside Barton Creek. Go to the right and the first set of low waterfalls you’ll see is Twin Falls. Check them out, then keep hiking along the creek for about 20 minutes and you will come to Sculpture Falls. There you’ll find the water rushing through a series of slots cut into the riverbed. There is an area for swimming and wonderful places to sit and let these low falls flow over you. You might want to check the flow before you go.

Hike along Bull Creek for another beautiful retreat from the city. There is a 2.9 mile loop complete with pretty water falls and places to swim. You might want to wear water shoes to walk in the shallow water. This park is less maintained than others but definitely worth exploring.

We also love some of the nearby hiking and swimming holes just outside Austin. Try Jacob’s Well in Wimberley, a pretty, 45 minute drive away. You can reserve a time slot online or you can also just show up. They control the numbers of people, so as some come out, others are allowed in. Take a 20 minute hike along a nicely groomed path. You will arrive above Jacobs Well, where you’ll have a great view of the Well and the creek below. The Well is over 100 feet deep, filled with chilly, clear water. There are great rocks for jumping. After you have cooled off, head back into Wimberley and eat at the nicely casual Leaning Pear restaurant there.

Another jewel just outside Austin and just over an hour away is Pedernales Falls State Park. Plenty of great short hikes plus an area to take a splash in the river. If you’ve never been, take time to go! It is beautiful!

iGnite_Hike&HopBut my several times a week “go to” hike is right in Zilker Park. I love hiking from Barton Springs Pool and heading south into the green belt. This portion of the path is the newly developed Violet Crown Trail. The VCT leads from Barton Springs to Sunset Valley and will eventually extend 30 miles, all the way into Hayes county, connecting neighborhoods, shopping centers and other trails. I love hiking along the VCT and coming back for a refreshing swim in Barton Springs . . . makes my body happy!

How lucky we are to have these wonderful jewels right in Austin’s backyard. Hope to see you out on the trails!


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One thought on “Guide to the Best Hikes & “Hops” around Austin

  1. Pingback: The Proven Benefits of Outdoor Exercise | the iGnite blog

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