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A great day hike to explore the swimming holes, falls, and sculptured rock areas of upper Barton Creek Greenbelt.

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Out and Back

851' 259 m


568' 173 m


299' 91 m


299' 91 m



Avg Grade (1°)


Max Grade (15°)

Dogs Leashed

Features River/Creek · Spring · Swimming · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Family Friendly Great for the energetic kids and families who don't mind a strenuous uphill/downhill at the beginning and end of the loop.


This is great day hike loop to explore the upper Barton Creek greenbelt area... and get a solid glute and leg burn going!

This hike starts off at the "Hill of Life" just off the crossing of Scottish Woods Trail road and Camp Craft road. If you have already done the downtown day hike around Lady Bird Lake Trail and the lower loop hike of the Barton Creek Greenbelt, then this challenging hike will round off the hat trick !

For families and casual hikers, Barton Creek Greenbelt’s Hill of Life Trail section of this hike is one of Austin’s great gifts for invigoration and time in nature. It’s tucked within junipers and oaks, and connects with a variety of paths leading to tranquil creekside spots.

The overall hike is well worth the effort as you'll be completely immersed in the best greenery and hiking the Austin area has to offer.

Need to Know

Take your time on the Hill of Life if you have not done it before. The big limestone steps can get the best of you if you don't take your time. Bring hydration. Trekking poles are a huge plus on this hike if you have them.


Once you park off of Scottish Woods Trail Road and Camp Craft Road, you'll see the trailhead right at the top of Camp Craft Road.

You'll immediately begin descending "The Hill of Life" section of the hike which covers three-hundred vertical feet in just over a third of a mile, and includes numerous obstacles, including loose rocks, limestone ledges and concrete erosion-block steps (up to a foot in height), plus plenty of roots and ruts.

Once you have descended to the creek area, the hike is pretty straightforward as it winds around toward Barton Creek Falls and the sculptured rocks area for a nice rest/swim if you wish.

This hike is definitely not for people who want a "lazy day" of hiking. Come ready for a workout and to enjoy working hard for your hiking experience.


Shared By:

Donovan Acker

Trail Ratings

  4.4 from 18 votes


  4.4 from 18 votes
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in Texas


28 Views Last Month
4,924 Since Sep 6, 2017
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Barton Creek is lots of fun. Keep a good eye on your dogs and kids when playing the little waterfalls :)
Aug 28, 2017 near Rolling…, TX
View from Sculpture Falls (wintertime). Barton creek is known for its beautiful blue-green water.
Jan 3, 2018 near Rolling…, TX
So much fun exploring Barton Creek!
Aug 28, 2017 near Rolling…, TX
Can't beat Barton Creek for splashing around on a warm day ! It is always better on the weekdays.
Aug 28, 2017 near Rolling…, TX
This is cool sculptured rocks area where the water flows over just before going down the waterfalls in the background.
Aug 28, 2017 near Rolling…, TX
1....2....3.... JUMP ! It's only about 10 feet deep (at this water level) and just a few stokes to get back to shallows.
Aug 28, 2017 near Rolling…, TX



Current Trail Conditions

Add Your Check-In


Mar 27, 2024
Allie Booher
Dec 5, 2022
Alberto De La Garza
Feb 21, 2021
Mike Sanders
May 17, 2020
Caitlyn Mccormick
Hill of life to swimming hole
Apr 19, 2020
Caitlyn Mccormick
Oct 12, 2019
Jared Terry
Sep 1, 2019
Pat Polley
Busy, great trail shaded. Due to the lack of rainfall, there was no water — 1h 34m
Jul 20, 2019
Shelley Shelor
Tried out Suki's new life vest — 12h 00m

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