Top 5 Hidden Hiking Trails in Austin!

For those who've practically memorized the trail and hiked The Greenbelt more times than you can count, we've rustled up a list of Austin's hidden gems that are like the city's best-kept secrets. Let's unveil these local treasures!

🍁 River Place Nature Trail

This trail is surrounded by greenery and tall trees, providing shade and a cooler environment, which is great for hot summer days. You'll climb some stairs, get your heart rate up, and reach high elevations not commonly found in Austin. The trail is easy to follow, so you won't get lost. Don't forget to take a break at the creeks and waterfall to cool down. If you enjoy challenging hikes, this one is perfect for you!

Pro tip: If you’re a moderately-experienced runner, run the trail. It’s worth it!

Distance: 5.5-6 miles (round trip; no loop)
Dog friendly: Yes
Terrain: Mostly dirt, stairs, some water crossings
Fees/Reservations: $10 on Saturdays and Sundays; no reservations 

🍁 Walnut Creek Trail

People love hiking and biking in this area. Walnut Creek Park is huge, spanning 15 miles, and it's a dream for adventurers. You might go off the main trails because there are many unmarked ones, but that's all part of the fun, right? There are plenty of curvy paths with few things to get in your way, which makes it a good choice for beginners. You'll find some nice views along the way, so take a break and enjoy the scenery.hike provides several scenic viewpoints, so be sure to pause and enjoy the surroundings.

Pro tip: Wear good shoes. The rocks can be pesky!

Distance: 15 mile loop
Terrain: dirt, loose gravel, small and large rocks, tree roots
Dog friendly: Yes; there are on and off leash sections
Fees/Reservations: Free; no reservations  

🍁 Turkey Creek Trail

Near Emma Metropolitan Park, you might spot wildlife on the way! Turkey Creek Trail is a neat, peaceful spot with a creek alongside it. While mostly flat, some parts have small hills and stream crossings. It's perfect for nature lovers, but remember your bug spray!

Pro tip: No, really, lather yourself in bug spray. Horse flies are not your friend.

Distance: 2.8 mile loop
Terrain: Loose rocks, dirt, tree roots
Dog Friendly: Yes, off leash
Fees/Reservations: Free; no reservations

🍁 Saint Edwards Park

St. Edwards Park, often called the "country in the city," strikes a perfect balance between tranquility and excitement. With forested surroundings, hidden trails, elevation changes, breathtaking views, a waterfall, and a creek, it's a complete package for a serene escape that offers the best of both worlds.

Pro tip: If you’re looking for a more challenging trail with elevation, take the hill trail. Keep your eyes peeled on the way down and you will find a rope swing and swimming hole for all your adventure needs!

Distance: 2-4 mile loop (depending on the trail – hill or creek)
Terrain: mostly dirt, rocks, gravel, and some tree roots
Dog Friendly: Yes; dogs must be on a leash
Fees/Reservations: Free; no reservations

🍁 Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve

Found off Loop 360, this preserve is family-friendly and convenient for Austin visitors. It's a short trail with diverse terrain, including dirt, rocks, gravel, and tree roots. Expect some hills and fantastic views of Austin from various overlooks. With its easy access, it's a great choice for a weekend adventure.

Pro tip: Trails are marked very clearly, but here’s a trail map to help out since there are multiple networks of trails.

Distance: 2.5 mile round trip
Terrain: Dirt, loose gravel, rocks, tree roots
Dog Friendly: No
Fees/Reservations: Free; reservations on Saturdays and Sundays

Watch this video for hiking tips & tricks. 

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