Barton Creek is located in an area just southwest of downtown Austin and is a great place to get out and enjoy nature. Just under a three hour drive from The Woodlands, the Barton Creek Greenbelt is considered one of the top hiking trails in Texas.
The Greenbelt contains over 12 miles of hiking and biking trails, winding through the beautiful terrain of the Texas Hill Country. Visitors can take in the scenic views from atop the many hills overlooking Barton Creek, then wind their way down the path to a swimming hole if the creek is high enough. Experienced rock climbers can challenge themselves on some of the limestone bluffs while the less adventurous can stroll the leisurely trails and take in the beautiful foliage and lush vegetation.
There are several access points to the Greenbelt, which makes sort of a U-shape down Loop 360 and Mopac Boulevard. Starting from the northwest in Barton Creek Wilderness Park, several nice waterfalls and dense trees characterize this section. Typically fewer people in this area as well, if you’re looking for a quiet, peaceful hike. Heading south there are several entry points along the lower west side, including the beautiful Twin Falls which are spectacular when the creek is high.
Along the south side, rocky cliffs are everywhere, offering up secluded spots for a picnic and unique rock formations to ponder. Use caution at one point where the cliffs are steep and a chain handrail is provided for your safety.
Bull Creek entrance is a great spot for families, as the terrain is easier and there are more amenities such as volleyball nets and picnic tables. Smaller waterfalls and rapids can be seen along the trail here as well.
Over to the east side, hikers will encounter Three Falls near Gus Fruh Park. Further northeast there are two access points at Spyglass and Zilker Parks. Both have convenient parking and are usually staffed with food trucks so you can grab a bite before or after your hike. Campbell’s Pool is one of the most popular swimming holes, and Lost Creek comes in a close second.
Pack lightly for your trip around the Greenbelt (unless you’re rock climbing). Inflatable toys are great for the swimming and wading points and water shoes or flip flops come in handy here, but pack them in your backpack and wear sturdy hiking shoes for most of the time. If you’re biking, bring your repair kit as the rocks are sharp and you may get a flat tire.
Enjoy the scenery and take a dip in Barton Creek on your next trip to the Austin area!