Things To Do In Austin

14 Best Hiking Trails In Austin TX

January 15, 2023

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Best Hiking Trails In Austin

Austin ranks among the fittest cities in America and we’re so lucky to have so many hiking trails to get outside and exercise! I’ve put together this guide on the best Austin hiking trails with hours, costs, tips, and any new COVID-19 restrictions.

SEE ALSO: 45 Top Things To Do In Austin, Texas, Updated 2021

Here’s everything you need to know about these best hiking trails in Austin with admission fees, hours of operations, park amenities, and if they’re dog-friendly. It’s also warming up here in Texas so here are the 10 Best Swimming Holes in Austin!


Hiking Around Lady Bird Lake

Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail / Boardwalk 

Let’s start this best Austin hiking trails list with the most popular spot in the city, Lady Bird Lake loop, officially known as the Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail. 

Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail is a 10-mile loop around Lady Bird Lake (Town lake) is a popular hiking trail because you can see downtown Austin from all angles, people kayaking and paddleboarding on the water, and dogs playing on the grass. 

If you like people watching and eavesdropping on conversations, this is the spot. There are several different entry points so check out this website. 

Hours: 5am – midnight each day, with a curfew between midnight and 5am.

Cost: free

Dog-friendly? Yes but must be on a leash.


McKinney Falls State Park

McKinney Falls State Park

McKinney Falls State Park is one of the most popular Austin hiking trails because of its easy-to-walk-on smooth rock path and the waterfalls. This is a popular swimming hole in Austin as well! 

This photo was shot at Upper Falls where you can jump off the cliff into the water below but be careful of the hidden submerged rocks. Another popular path is Homestead Trail at Lower Falls.

McKinney Falls is a state park by Onion Creek and Williamson Creek that is administered by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department so there is an entry fee and reservations are currently required during COVID-19.

COVID-19 update: Reserve a day pass online or by calling 512-389-8900 before your visit.

Hours: 8am – 10pm

Cost: $6 for adults and free for children 12 years and under.

Tip: food, snacks, alcohol, glass, coolers, ice chests, or speakers are not allowed.

Popular for: 

  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Swimming
  • Fishing
  • Camping
  • Rock climbing

Dog-friendly? Yes but must be on a leash and not allowed in the water. 

5808 McKinney Falls Pkwy

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Mount Bonnell in Austin Texas

Covert Park at Mount Bonnell

You’ll have to climb 106 stone stairs up Covert Park at Mount Bonnell but the view is so worth it. This landmark has been a popular outlook to watch the sunset in Austin since the 1830s. Mount Bonnell is located in a residential neighborhood so please be cautious of where you park.

Bring a blanket to sit on and watch the sunset over the water!

Hours: 5 am – 10 pm

Cost: free

Popular for: 

  • Hiking
  • Watching the sunrise/sunset

Dog-friendly? Yes but must be on a leash.

3800 Mount Bonnell Rd

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360 Bridge Overlook in Austin

360 Bridge

The 360 Bridge, also known as the Percy V. Pennybacker Jr. Bridge, connects the northern and southern sections of the Loop 360 highway (Capital of Texas Highway). Put on your tennis shoes because this is a rocky and slippery climb up 167 feet to the top. The hike across the path is a relatively short hike so people usually come up here just for the view.


Cost: free

Popular for: 

  • Short hike
  • Watching the sunrise/sunset

Dog-friendly? Yes but must be on a leash.

360 Bridge

SEE ALSO: 7 Best Picnic Spots In Austin


Walnut Creek Trail in Austin TX

Walnut Creek Trail

Walnut Creek Trail in Walnut Creek Metropolitan Park has several multi-use hiking trails to choose from that are all nature-filled. The Walnut Creek Trail System is currently being developed and once it’s complete, it’ll be 19-miles long connecting Govalle Neighborhood Park in East Austin to the Balcones District Park in North Austin.

The concrete paths at Walnut Creek Trail make it stroller-friendly! 

Hours: 5am – 10pm

Cost: free

Popular for: 

  • Hiking
  • Walking
  • Stroller-friendly

Dog-friendly? Yes but must be on a leash.

5200 Bolm Rd


Barton Creek Greenbelt in Austin Texas

Barton Creek Greenbelt

The Greenbelt (Barton Creek Greenbelt) in south Austin is Austin’s most popular hiking destination for its miles of hiking trails and watering holes to take a dip in. Mountain bikers also love biking on The Greenbelt so be careful if you’re walking your dogs on the path as they can zip by and startle your pup.

It spans 809 acres and has several different access points – the most popular http://www.rustburgpharmacy.com access point after the 360 exit at 3918 S Mopac Expressway and leads to Twin Falls and Sculpture Falls. You can also access The Greenbelt trailhead from Barton Springs next to Zilker Park.


Cost: free

Popular for: 

  • Hiking
  • Mountain biking
  • Swimming
  • Fishing

Dog-friendly? Yes but must be on a leash.

3755 South Capital of Texas Hwy


Pease Park in Austin Texas

Pease Park

Pease District Park is conveniently located near downtown Austin with 42 acres of natural beauty. Kingsbury Commons in Pease Park is currently closed for renovations throughout 2020. 

Eeyore’s Birthday Party has always been hosted in Pease Park on last weekend of April since 1963.

Hours: 5 am – 10 pm

Cost: free

Dog-friendly? Yes but must be on a leash.

1100 Kingsbury St


Turkey Creek Trail | Austin hiking trails

Turkey Creek Trail

Located in Emma Long Metropolitan Park, near Lake Austin, and along the Colorado River, Turkey Creek Trail is a 2.8-mile round-trip loop with a more rugged path of creek bed than the manicured paths in downtown Austin. Hikers will enjoy Turkey Creek Trail because of its rocky terrain, zig-zag path, rocks, and wildflowers. 

Emma Long Park does charge an admission fee of $5 on Monday to Thursday, and $10 on the weekends and holidays.

Hours: daily from 7am – 10pm

Cost: free

Popular for: 

  • Hiking
  • Running
  • Dogs allowed to be off-leash
  • Fishing
  • Mountain biking

Dog-friendly? Dogs are allowed to be off-leash!

2000 City Park Rd


Hamilton Pool in Dripping Springs, Texas

Hamilton Pool Preserve

Hamilton Pool in Central Texas is the hottest option during the summer months so make sure you make a reservation in advance and reservations are required to get in. I actually never gone hiking on any of the trails at Hamilton Pool and have always headed straight into the water. 

COVID-19 update: currently closed during COVID-19

Hours: March – October from 9am – 12:30pm and 2pm – 5:30pm

Cost: $12 per vehicle and then $8 per adult, $3 per senior, and free for children under 12 years of age.

Popular for: 

  • Hiking
  • Swimming

Dog-friendly? Pets are prohibited. 

24300 Hamilton Road, Dripping Springs, TX


Peacocks at Mayfield Park in Austin Texas

Mayfield Nature Preserve

The Mayfield–Gutsch Estate, now known as the Mayfield Park, is a historic cottage, gardens, and nature preserve in West Austin on a bluff overlooking Lake Austin. Opened in 1922, Mayfield Park is listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1971.

This 21-acre nature preserve is filled with colorful cottage gardens with towering palm trees, dozens of peacocks, waterlilies, and walking trails. Try to visit Laguna Gloria while you’re there!

I was blown away by how beautiful the gardens are and how beautiful the peacocks are and how vocal!

Hours: open daily from 5am – 10pm

Cost: free

Popular for: 

  • Walking
  • HIking

Dog-friendly? Pets are not allowed.

3505 W 35th St


Red Bud Isle Park in Austin Texas

Red Bud Isle

This is only of the only parks in Austin that allows dogs off-leash! Red Bud Isle has 13 acres of recreational space for hiking, canoeing, kayaking, and for your dog to run and play. There are a ton of trees so it’s nicely shaded but don’t forget to bring water for you and your pup! 

If you have a little dog like me, I wouldn’t recommend Red Bud Isle as there are a lot of big dogs that run free. The signs did say no swimming but there were a ton of dogs and people swimming in the water. 

Tip: Get an iced coffee at Mozart’s before heading to Red Bude Isle or go to Hula Hut afterward if you’re hungry.


Cost: free

Popular for

  • Off-Leash Dog Park
  • Walking
  • Kayaking
  • Canoeing

Dog-friendly? Yes and can run off-leash!

3401 Redbud Trail


Mueller Lake Park in Austin Texas

Mueller Lake Park

Of all the Austin parks, Mueller Lake Park is a hidden gem in East Austin near downtown with a 6.5-acre loop around the lake to walk or run. There are plenty of places to picnic or lounge in the sun.

Texas Farmers’ Market is every Sunday from 10am to 2pm in Mueller too!

Tip: Walk over to Halcyon for an iced coffee or Lick for ice cream before or after!


Cost: free

Popular for: 

  • 30 acres centrally located at Mueller near the Mueller Central information center and the future town center
  • Completed 6.5-acre lake adjacent to Mueller Central
  • Open-air amphitheater and stage
  • Interactive playscape
  • Picnic peninsula
  • Loop trail
  • Jogger stretching area
  • Public art

Dog-friendly? Yes on-leash.

4550 Mueller Blvd

SEE ALSO: 17 Best Patios In Austin To Wine & Dine


Enchanted Rock In Fredericksburg, Texas,

Enchanted Rock

While Enchanted Rock isn’t technically within Austin city limits, it’s a popular day trip for hiking. Enchanted Rock is located 96 miles northwest of Austin and approximately 17 miles north of Fredericksburg, Texas.

This pink granite mountain has 11 miles of hiking trails and unique granite rock formations to explore and hike with a view of Texas Hill Country. 

COVID-19 update: You must reserve passes online, or by calling the customer service center before you visit.

Hours: Open daily from 6:30 am to 10 pm.

Cost: $8 for adults and free for children 12 years and under.

Popular for: 

  • Hiking
  • Rock climbing

Dog-friendly? No.

16710 Ranch Rd. 965, Fredericksburg, TX


Jester King Brewery in Austin Texas | Hiking Trails In Austin TX

Beer-Friendly Park at Jester King Brewery

Jester King’s 2-mile trail is open for reservations in July – reserve here.

Located on 165 acres of land in the Texas Hill Country, Jester King Brewery has reopened as a beer-friendly park offering picnic grounds and hiking trails for guests to enjoy! Outdoor areas are available for reservation, spread across 250 yards: The Vineyard, The Beer Garden, The Pasture, The Hop Yard, The Canopy, and The Goat Pen.

I just visited Jester King last week and got to meet all of their adorable goats! Eating pizza with a cold pour while watching the sun set over Texas Hill Country was the escape from the city that I didn’t know I needed.

Cost: free

Popular for: 

  • 0.5-mile trail will be open for walking
  • 2-mile nature trail
  • picnic areas
  • Six guest limit per table

Dog-friendly? Yes.

13187 Fitzhugh Rd

SEE ALSO: 20 Best Breweries In Austin For Craft Beer


Other popular hiking trails in Austin:

  • Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve
  • River Place Nature Trail (Panther Hollow Trail and Little Fern Trail) – lots of elevation gain
  • St. Edwards Park
  • Bull Creek Greenbelt
  • Pedernales Falls State Park – Texas Hill Country landscape of limestone cliffs and stone river beds along the Pedernales River


If you get hungry after all this hiking, check out my guide to the 37 Best Austin Food Trucks In 2021 (Sorted By Cuisine) and 9 Spots For The Best BBQ In Austin


Jane Ko is the Austin blogger behind A Taste of Koko, Austin's top food and travel blog featuring the hottest restaurants and weekend getaways. Jane has been a speaker at South by Southwest (SXSW), Texas Conference for Women, BlogHer, and more on entrepreneurship and social media. She lives in Austin Texas with her dog and cat.


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