Downtown Austin Tour
ElevationAscent: 106' 32 m
Descent: -106' -32 m
High: 472' 144 m
Low: 439' 134 m
GradeAvg Grade: 1% (0°)
Max Grade: 4% (2°)
Popular hikes nearby
Lady Bird Lake
10.5 mi 16.8 km • Loop • 200 ft Ascent 61.1 m Ascent
Upper Barton Creek Greenbelt
5.0 mi 8.1 km • Out and Back • 299 ft Ascent 91.01 m Ascent
River Place Nature Trail
5.6 mi 8.9 km • Out and Back • 620 ft Ascent 189.12 m Ascent
Lakeway Canyonlands & Mt. Lakeway Scenic View
5.8 mi 9.4 km • Out and Back • 751 ft Ascent 228.8 m Ascent
Hamilton Pool Loop
0.6 mi 1.0 km • Loop • 137 ft Ascent 41.69 m Ascent
Lime Kiln Loop
1.3 mi 2.1 km • Loop • 172 ft Ascent 52.42 m Ascent
“An easy day hike for anyone who wants to experience some of the best scenery and outdoor spaces in the downtown area!”— Donovan Acker
Features Fall Colors · Lake · River/Creek · Spring · Swimming · Views · Waterfall · Wildlife
Family Friendly My middle school and high school age kids love this route. Everyone can go at their own pace. Lot's of places to rest, hydrate, and eat along the way.
This hike has tons of 'postcard-worthy' photo ops. It's a perfect way to give visiting family and friends an up close way to see many of the popular outdoor spaces Austin is known for.
Need to Know
Once you get to the Colorado River section of the hike, you'll be following the Lady Bird Lake Trail toward the Mopac highway bridge (Mopac = Missouri Pacific). The bridge takes you across the river under the shade of the highway above. The bridge itself is a bit of a tourist attraction as you'll have gorgeous views up and down the river as you pass over.
Once on the other side of the river, you continue on the Lady Bird Lake Trail with the river to your left and Zilker Park to your right. The trail will take you around to the Baton Springs inlet where you can stop and spend some time at the springs if you want. In the summer, this is THE spot to go swimming and hang out. If you go inside the paid area of the springs (3 dollars) you'll have some nice grass hills to hang out on. If you stay on the river side of the springs (free) there are plenty of places to plop down your stuff and jump in the water. This is a VERY dog friendly area...and known for being very 420 friendly. People are very respectful and polite, and it is no issue for families (we go all the time with our kids and it is always a blast!).
On the return leg of the hike, you'll pass back over the Colorado River on the Lamar street walking bridge. This is another great photo op. Then you'll be heading back on the Shoal Creek Trail again towards your starting point at Deep Roots Garden.
Local Club: Shoal Creek Conservancy
May 18, 2020: Snag a new T-shirt and support SCC!
Mar 17, 2020: A Quick Note to the Shoal Creek Community
Land Manager: City of Austin - Parks and Recreation