Austin area residents enjoy a great variety of outdoor activities. With over a dozen parks and swimming holes, Austin’s the perfect place for today’s active lifestyles. For people who like to hike, bike and climb, Austin is a year-round playground! With soaring cliffs, trails with turns and twists, and designated road ways for cyclists, you’re sure to find the terrain for your extreme inner child.
On our web page, you will find information on State Parks, Preserves, Austin Parks, Rock Climbing, Hiking, Biking, Waling, Running, Best Swimming Spots, Dog off- leash parks, and links for more information. Go outdoors and enjoy the nature of Central Texas!!
Bastrop State Park — The park is home to the “Loblolly Lost Pines.” Camping, cabins, picnic areas, 18-hole golf course, fishing, swimming pool, 8.5-mile hiking trail. Bastrop. (512) 389-8900
Blanco State Park — Camping, screened shelters, swimming, fishing, picnicking, boating along the Blanco River. Blanco. (830) 833-4333.
Buescher State Park — Buescher is a favorite spot for fishermen. Camping, screened shelters, recreation hall, hiking, biking, lake (fishing and nonmotorized boating), picnic tables, group picnic pavilion. Smithville. (512) 237-2241.
Colorado Bend State Park — This park offers primitive camping, hiking, fishing, swimming, mountain biking, birding, cave tours, and nature walks to the beautiful 60 ft hight Gorman Falls, particularly popular with bird watchers. Between Lampasas and San Saba. (325) 628-3240.
Enchanted Rock State Natural Area - Climb beautifull Enchanted Rock for a stunning view of the Texas Hill Country. Hiking, tent pads, restrooms, showers, picnic area, rock climbing, primitive camp sites. 16710 RM 965, Fredericksburg. (325) 247-3903.
Guadalupe River State Park — Fishing, canoeing, tubing, picnicking, hiking, equestrian trail, bird-watching. Two-mile guided tour of the Honey Creek State Natural Area at 9 a.m. Saturdays. Park Road 31 west of Spring Branch. (830) 438-2656.
McKinney Falls State Park — Four miles of hiking and biking trails, 3.5 miles of paved trails, campsites with water and electricity, and fishing. Group facilities include screened shelters and dining hall. Onion Creek is open to swimmers unless bacteria count is high. McKinney Falls Parkway, Austin. 243-1643.
Hill Country State Natural Area — Undeveloped natural area with 40 miles of trails for hiking, horseback riding and mountain biking. Tent sites; equestrian campgrounds; group lodge with equestrian facilities. Southwest of Bandera. (830) 796-4413.
Inks Lake State Park — Hiking trails, golf, primitive backpack area, campsites with water and picnic tables. Paddle boats and canoes can be rented. This park is a favorite for boaters and fishermen. There is also a sunset bat watch. Park Road 4, about 10 miles west of Burnet. (512) 793-2223.
LBJ State Park and Historic Site — Near the LBJ Ranch, which is in the LBJ National Historic Park. Tours of the ranch start from the state park. Nature trails, wildlife enclosures, historic exhibits, two lighted tennis courts, swimming pool, picnic sites. Stonewall. (830) 644-2252.
Lockhart State Park — One and one-half miles of hiking trails; nine-hole golf course, swimming pool, campsites with water, electricity and sewage,
picnic areas, recreation hall. Lockhart. (512) 398-3479.
Lost Maples State Natural Area - Showers, picnic sites, campsites with electricity, primitive camping. 37221 FM 187, Vanderpool. (830) 966-3413.
Pedernales Falls State Park — A short hike will take to spectacular waterfalls located in beautiful Texas Hill Country terrain. It has 198 miles of hiking and mountain biking trails, 10 miles of equestrian day trails and 14 miles of backpacking trails, fishing, campsites with electricity, water and grills. Swimming permitted in a portion of the river. Johnson City.
Austin's Parks and Recreation Department has several nature preserves that are sanctuaries for native plants, native animals and natural features. Firearms, hunting, motorized vehicles, bicycles and pets generally are prohibited. Visitors must stay on trails and should not remove or damage plants, animals or other natural features. Many preserves are open to the public; some are available only by reservation for educational groups. Call 327-7723 or visit the web site. Visit here for an interactive map of the nature preserves.
The Balcones Canyonlands Preserves, managed by the water utility, conserve endangered species and their habitat. Public access and activities, such as hiking, mountain biking, dog-walking, swimming and rock climbing, vary among the preserves. Call 263-6437.
Barrow Nature Preserve — 7715 Longpoint Dr. Big Walnut Creek Nature Preserve — 11418 Sprinkle Cut-off Road.
Blowing Sink Research Area — Approved educational/research access, guided educational tours. 3705 Deer Lane.
Blunn Creek Preserve — 1200 St. Edwards Dr. Colorado River Wildlife Sanctuary — Staff-guided tours only. 5827 Levander Loop.
Karst Preserve — 3900 Deer Lane. Mayfield Park and Preserve — 3505 W. 35th St.
Onion Creek Preserve — Staff-guided tours only. North of Texas 71 in Onion Creek.
Stillhouse Hollow Nature Preserve — 7810 Sterling Drive.
Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve — 805 N. Capital of Texas Highway (Loop 360). 327-7622.
Zilker Nature Preserve — 302 Nature Center Drive. 327-7723.
Barton Creek Greenbelt — This is one of the city’s most popular greenbelts. It follows Barton Creek through the canyon in Southwest Austin. 3755 B Loop 360 (Capital of Texas Highway.)
Commons Ford — Trails on 215 acres. 614 Commons Ford Road, 974-6700.
Emma Long — Three miles along Lake Austin, and it offers camping, swimming, boat ramps, volleyball. It is the oldest city park. 1600 City Park Road, 974-6700.
Mary Moore Searight — This is a new park with disc golf, hike-and-bike trail, volleyball, basketball, tennis, fishing. 907 Slaughter Lane, 974-6700.
Lake Lady Bird (formerly Town Lake) — Ten miles of scenic trails along the Colorado River downtown. 974-6700.
Mount Bonnell Park — Tourists have been coming to Mount Bonnell for many years and climbing the 99 steps (785 feet) for a great view of the city of Austin.
Shoal Creek Hike and Bike Trail — A 3 mile greenbelt along Shoal Creek winds through the heart of Central Austin. Lamar Boulevard, from 38th Street to Lake Lady Bird.
Slaughter Creek Metropolitan Park — The park has a 3 mile veloway and is adjacent to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. It also has a nature trail, picnic facilities, playground, soccer fields, volleyball, and basketball courts. 507 West Slaughter Lane.
Walnut Creek — Softball fields, basketball, trails. 12138 N. Lamar Blvd., 974-6700.
The Central & Eastern Preserves
Balcones Canyonlands Preserves
Zilker Canoe Rental
2000 Barton Springs Rd.
478.3852 -Hrly. and daily rental rates available.
Colorado River, northwest of Austin
Austin, TX 78789
Barton Springs Pool
(located in Zilker Park)
2101 Barton Springs RoaD
476.9044 Hotline number 867.3080
Deep Eddy Municipal Pool
401 Deep Eddy Dr.
Hamilton Pool Preserve
24300 Hamilton Pool Rd, off Hwy 71
Dripping Springs, TX 78620
(Call before visiting to swim) 264.2740
For hours of operation and other types of information on any of the area’s pools, call the Austin Parks and Recreation Department’s Aquatics Division at 476.4521
Zilker Botanical Gardens
Zilker Metropolitan Park
2100 Barton Springs Rd.
Volente Beach (waterpark)
16107 FM 2769, Leander TX 78641
Bob Wentz at Windy Point
Windy Point Park, Lake Travis 6506 Bob Wentz Park Rd., off Comanche Tr./RR 620
Bull Creek District Park & Greenbelt
6701 Lakewood Dr.
Emma Long Metropolitan Park
(City Park) 1600 City Park Rd.
Hippie Hollow Park (nudephobes beware!)
7000 Comanche Tr. 78732
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
4801 La Crosse Ave.
Mayfield Park and Preserve
3505 W. 35th St.
474.9692 or 327.7723
Pace Bend Park
2011 Pace Bend Rd. N., Spicewood, TX 78669
FM 2322 off Hwy. 71
Norwood Estates Dog Park
Riverside Dr. and I-35
Parks: Bull Creek, Barton Creek Greenbelt, McKinney Falls State Park, Pace Bend Park
South Austin Rock Gym
4401 Freidrich Ln. Ste. 300
North Austin Rock Gym
300 N. Lamar, Ste. 102B
Gregory Gym Climbing Wall
Speedway and 21st St., U.T. Campus
Central Texas Mountaineers
HIKING, BIKING, WALKING, RUNNING
Parks and Recreation Department
Barton Creek Greenbelt
(Bull Creek is located here)
Barton Springs Rd.
Emma Long Motocross Park (City Park)
1600 City Park Rd.
Slaughter Lane Metropolitan Park Veloway ("The Veloway" at Circle C)
Skaters and cyclists only—no pedestrians or vehicles 4103 Slaughter Ln.
Town Lake Hike and Bike Trail
Mopac to Congress Ave./Congress Ave. to Pleasant Valley Rd.
Austin Bicycle Cabs
Urban Transportation Services Call for a Ride - 203.3369
Austin Bike Routes
Find your way around town. Maps of trails and routes throughout the Austin area.
Bicycle and Pedestrian Program
The purpose of the Bicycle and Pedestrian Program is to integrate bicycles and walking into the transportation system of the City of Austin.
Texas Bicycling Organization
Texas Bicycle Coalition
Involved in advocacy and education on a statewide level. Chapters in major Texas cities.
Established rides in the Austin Area.
BEST SWIMMING SPOTS IN AUSTIN
Austin in the summer can't be beat but sometimes you need to cool off! Below are some of the best spots to beat the heat! Chances are, there is one nearby!
BARTON SPRINGS POOL
2101 Barton Springs Road (In Zilker Park) Map
Many people think Barton Springs is not only the best swimming spot in Austin, but also the best swimming spot on earth. The 1,100 ft. long, 3 acre, spring-fed pool is one of the largest non-chlorinated swimming pools in the country. It averages 68 degrees year round. You can find ducks, bass, crawfish, and double-crested cormorants splashing alongside the swimmers. Barton Springs was created millions of years ago as a result of a landshift that created the Balcones Fault. Native Americans called the springs Sacred Springs and came to the springs to heal their wounds. Over the years, it has become a very popular spot for Austinites and their visitors. There is a shallow end for children, a deep area for floating, a diving board, and room for lap swimmers. It is open year round and closed on Thursdays for cleaning. There is a small charge.
DEEP EDDY POOL
401 Deep Eddy Drive at Lake Austin Boulevard Map
Deep Eddy Pool Schedule
Lap swimmers have their own pool, kids can frolic to their heart's content, and sunbathers can enjoy the cool water and massive cottonwood trees of Deep Eddy Pool. It is the state's oldest swimming pool. It originated as a natural swimming hole on the Colorado River before Lady Bird Lake existed. The concrete pool was constructed in 1915 and was the first outdoor pool in Texas. At that time, there were cabins, camping areas, and even a ferris wheel. A variety of performances including a diving horse were popular attractions. Today, the spring-fed pool is popular for lap swimming and wading. During summer, a large movie screen is set up for pool-side Splash Party Movie Nights. Float in the pool while enjoying family films! There is a small charge.
800 E. Live Oak Map
Stacy Pool is the place to swim during cold weather because it is heated by a natural warm spring. (The water is a mixture of city water and 100 degree well pumped water, resulting in a pool temperature average of 80 degrees.) It is not a large pool but it is popular with swimmers, especially lap swimmers. It is run by the city's aquatics department. Admission is free.
HAMILTON POOL PRESERVE
Hamilton Pool Preserve has a sandy beach, a 75-ft waterfall, and a huge rock formation that can be explored from a path that circles the pool. Cliff Swallows live above the pool in tiny nests and are seen constantly coming and going. The park also has good hiking trails. Hamilton Pool is located approximately 30 miles southwest of Austin.
Take Highway 71 west of Austin and turn left onto FM 3828 (Hamilton
Pool Road). Travel 13 miles to the Preserve entrance, which is on your
right. Call 512.264.2740 for swimming conditions before you come. Admission charge.
SAN MARCOS RIVER
The San Marcos River is about a 30-minute drive from Austin. Fed by San Marcos Springs, there are several spots that are popular along the river. Tube it, snorkel it, or swim it! The falls below Peppers Restaurant have long been a favorite of the locals. Along the river, you can spot rare plants, turtles, and fish.
SCULPTURE FALLS ON BARTON CREEK
This is a beautiful spot when the creek is flowing. Located about 1.3 miles upstream of the MoPac bridge and is accessible by walking or cycling. City curfew on trails is from 10:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. To view a photo, click here.
KRAUSE SPRINGS IN SPICEWOOD
Krause Springs is one of the best yet least-known swimming spots in Central Texas. It is privately owned, and it has a regular cement swimming pool as well as a rustic swimming spot on Little Cypress Creek. Overnight camping is available. Take Highway 71 west to Spicewood. Look for the signs on the right. Call 210.693.4181 for more information. Map
Hippie Hollow is one of the few public swimming spots in Texas where clothing is optional. It is also one of the best places to see the rare black-capped vireo, an endangered bird. The Park features a steep, rocky shoreline and provides spectacular views of Lake Travis. No one under 18 is admitted. From FM 620, go west 1.5 miles on Comanche Trail just past the Oasis Restaurant. Call Travis County Parks at 512.473.9437. Map.
BLUE HOLE IN GEORGETOWN
Located on the San Gabriel River, the Blue Hole is a small but well-worth visiting swimming spot. Nearby there is a grassy area on the riverbank for picnics. From the Williamson County Courthouse in Georgetown, go north on U.S. 81 (also called Austin Avenue), turn left on 2nd Street, then right on Rock Street to the river. Admission is free. (The Blue Hole has been closed temporarily due to damages received from spring '08 flooding.)
BLUE HOLE IN WIMBERLEY
333 Blue Hole Lane
Located on Cypress Creek, one quarter mile east of the town square, is the Blue Hole in Wimberley. Rope swings hang from huge cypress trees that line the spring-fed creek. For a beautiful picture, please visit Friends of Blue Hole
. 512.847.9127 or 512.847.0025 Map.
For more information, please visit: Swimming/Swimming Pools and Other Places to Swim.
DOG OFF-LEASH PARKS
Auditorium Shores Off-Leash Area
- 920 W. Riverside Drive
Bull Creek District Off-Leash Area
- 6701 Lakewood Drive
Emma Long Metro Park Off-Leash Area
- 1600 City Park Rd.
Far West Off-Leash Area
- Far West at Great Northern Blvd
Northeast District Park Off-Leash Area
- 5909 Crystalbrook Drive
Norwood Estate Off-Leash Area
- I-35 and Riverside Drive
Onion Creek District Park Off-Leash Area
- 6900 Onion Creek Drive
Red Bud Isle Off-Leash Area
- 3401 Red Bud Trail Unit Circle
Shoal Creek Greenbelt Off-Leash Area
- 2600-2799 Lamar Blvd.
Walnut Creek District Off-Leash Area
-12138 North Lamar Blvd.
West Austin Park Off-Leash Area
- 1317 W 10th Street
Zilker Off-Leash Area
- 2100 Barton Springs Rd.
Hike and bike trails
Texas National Forests
Texas Recreation Areas
Texas Wildlife Refuges
National Parks, Preserves, Seashores and Wild/Scenic Rivers in Texas
Parks in Leander and Williamson County
Texas State Parks
Dog Parks in Texas
Where to Bird in Texas
of Austin Parks and Recreation Department
of Georgetown Parks and Recreation Department
of Pflugerville Parks and Recreation Department
of Round Rock Parks and Recreation Department
of San Marcos Parks and Recreation Department
Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
Colorado River Authority
Freshwater Fishing Rules & Regulations
For a list of reservable picnic areas, visit City of Austin Reservable Picnic Areas.
View a list of other reservable facilities
View a list of reservation policies and procedures
City of Austin Parks & Recreation Department
City of Austin Trails
Cedar Park Parks
Travis County Parks
Georgetown Parks & Trails
Austin Explorer - Hiking and geo caching information
Hill Country Outdoor Guide - Searchable database of day trips from Austin
Wild Texas Guide to parks near Austin
Austin's Historic Downtown Parks
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5611 Hwy 290 West
Austin, TX 78735
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