Trying to narrow down the best trails in Austin to a top 10 is a difficult task because we truly are blessed with some incredible green space.  Major props go out to our city’s planning board and those that fought to keep the beautiful landscape in tact for active lifestyles.

  1. Ladybird Lake* (Central) (aka Town Lake to those that have lived here awhile) – This trail is 10 miles around and covers a good stretch of both the North and South side of Lake Austin.  It is great for biking, running and walking—there is even an off-leash area for your pooch.
  2. Southern Walnut Creek Trail* (East) – This magical little gem of a trail is underutilized in my opinion.  If you park at the YMCA East, you can venture down to the main trail and head either North or South for quite some time.  If you’re a walker/runner, just be cautious as there are some pretty speedy bikers and blind twists.
  3. Barton Creek Greenbelt (Central)– Always a local favorite.  Watering holes, off-leash sections, challenging climbs, this trail has it all. And although I tried to run this once with a stroller, I would not recommend it.  I was asked several times if I was lost.
  4. Mayfield Park (North)  Simple and sweet, this park plays home to several peacocks.  I suggest packing a lunch, bringing your hiking shoes and enjoying the beauty that is NW Austin.  While you’re in the area, you might as well head over to Mt Bonnell too!
  5. Circle C Metro (South)– Nice, wide and flat trail perfect for spotting wildlife. Added bonus: super shady playscape great for varying ages.
  6. Williamson County Park* (North) – Not only does this park have this great trail (that is currently being added onto), but it also has a stellar splashpad and a train (with quite funny commentary for the adults).
  7. Dick Nichols* (South) – Just under a mile in length, there is a lot of shade on this trail.  In addition, you can play at the playscape, pool or courts before/after your adventures.
  8. Emma Long *(Central/West) – Not only does this trailhead host a ton of campsites, it also has a glorious beach!  It costs to get into the park, but the ~2 mile trail and the waterfront use is well worth all the pennies.  Might be fun to make a full weekend of it just be sure to book early as the fill up fast.
  9. Pease Park Trail*(North Central)– Not only just this trailhead have one of the most amazing playscapes, there are some really great eateries nearby for after you’re done on the trail.  Start here and head South to the library for an educational workout.
  10. Walnut Creek North* (North) – There is a paved option as well as an off-road one.  Super dog friendly and some gnarly bike trails as well.  Out and back on the pavement is 5 miles.
  11. Red Bud Isle (Central) – Because I can’t stop at just 10, this magnificent isle is a dog’s little slice of heaven.  It also an amazing spot for family photos!
  12. Wells Branch (North)* – A pond, a playground and some amazing views, oh my!  Don’t forget your frozen corn and peas for the ducks and/or your frisbees for the golf course.  This is a goodie for sure!
Hope to see you out there enjoying our impeccable trails.  I’ll be the one taking the trail less traveled only to find another marvelous adventure!


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