Austin Outdoors


The best way to get to know the Hill Country around Austin is to get out in it on foot. The opportunities for hikers are numerous, including streamside strolls down flat, rocky canyons and climbs through hilly pine forests. The routes that follow are some of our favorites, taking visitors through some of the most scenic parts of the rugged Texas Hill Country.

Barton Creek

This scenic gem runs right through the middle of Austin, just a few minutes south of downtown. The trail winds through a rocky and rugged canyon, down which Barton Creek trickles and rushes (depending on the time of year). Despite its urban location, the route offers the hiker a surprising feeling of wildness and solitude.

Buescher State Park

Located southeast of Austin, this trail takes you through the Lost Pines country, an area where loblolly pines flourish despite being separated from the East Texas Piney Woods by 100 miles.

Hamilton Pool

The natural beauty of the Hamilton Pool preserve draws visitors to this short hiking trail to the Pedernales River. The lush, fern-canopied cliffs along Hamilton creek, the legendary swimming hole, and the rolling hills surrounding them are home to the endangered golden-cheeked warbler and other locally rare plant and animal species, including the porcupine, the beaver, and the chatterbox orchid.

Enchanted Rock

This huge pinkish granite dome, one of the oldest exposed rocks in North America, is incredibly beautiful and irresistible to hikers. The main dome rises more than 100 feet above the surrounding terrain, offering unmatched views of the surrounding countryside.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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