Now that we're past the intense Summer heat, it's the perfect time to visit Austin's parks and trails, while staying safe! Whether you want to hike for a few miles or find a nice spot for lunch - the park people at Austin Parks Foundation made this list of park escapes to help you recharge and unwind.
1. Commons Ford Ranch Metro Park
Sprinkle some relaxation into your week with a beautiful lakefront park like Commons Ford! Did you know that nature sounds, like water, alter the connections in our brains, reducing the body’s natural fight-or-flight instinct? Step away from stress and into calm.
In 2017, Commons Ford underwent a major prairie restoration, where the Commons Ford Prairie Restoration Organization, now a part of Travis Audubon, received a grant of $17,000 from APF. And as a result of combined efforts and hard work, the restored prairie is now a great spot to go bird watching again!
2. St. Edwards Park
St. Edwards Park in Northwest Austin is a scenic, 80-acre Texas Hill Country escape. There are trails that both humans and pups will love, so bring your furry friends along with you! Whether you want a casual walk or a semi-challenging climb, you'll find both.
The waterfalls don't disappoint, and if the weather is warm enough you can hop in for a swim. Quick, easy and an Austinite favorite. Be sure to keep an eye out for wild life!
3. Onion Creek Park + Greenbelt
Live near Southeast Austin? Head over to Onion Creek Park + Greenbelt for 555-acres of family-friendly fun! Your pups will love the off-leash dog policy or a walk along the trails. Something unique about Onion Creek is the equestrian trails, so bring your horse and saddle up if that's your thing!
A year after the Halloween Floods of 2013, Onion Creek Metro Park was in some serious need of general repairs and improvements. With a $50,000 ACL Community Grant, the Onion Creek Park and Greenbelt has become safer and healthier for neighbors, trees and wildlife alike!
4. EastLink Trail
EastLink is a five-mile, urban trail from Bartholomew Park to Lady Bird Lake in East Austin! This trail safely connects residents to parks and pools, schools and recreation centers, grocery stores and community gardens, cultural and historic sites, local merchant districts, and so much more. The trail takes you through lush green belts and past important rest points. It has a little bit of everything!
In 2019, the Pillars Project brought local artists to paint the pillars in Rosewood Park! The art on the pillars recognizes important people and places that have had an impact on East Austin. You should check out this urban trail system for yourself no matter how you get around!
5. Walnut Creek Park + Greenbelt
Want to pretend you’re in a big forest and not in the middle of a big city? Walnut Creek Metro Park + Greenbelt is the spot for you! The Walnut Creek Trail System is composed of 19-miles of trails from East Austin all the way to Northwest Austin - so take your littles for as long as you want to walk, hike or bike.
Since 2006, APF has been contributing to Walnut Creek Metro Park, Pool and Greenbelt. We helped provide new entryways and signage for trails, added bicycle repair stations, water fountains, picnic tables, gardens, shade structures and even rerouted some trails - all amounting to almost $90,000!
6. Bull Creek Park + Greenbelt
The Bull Creek Park + Greenbelt is a tranquil journey along the water with lots of dog-friendly hiking trails and picnic areas! APF has contributed almost $16,000 to add park benches, protect trees and add some bordering fences to make the park more people friendly. Famous for being a place you can both workout and relax, Bull Creek is one of our all-around favorites.
With many sightings of turtles, fish and waterfalls - make sure to pick up some grub and bring it on over to Bull Creek for a picnic and take in the beautiful sights and sounds. Don’t forget to keep our parks clean and leave no trace!
Tell Us Your Favorite Park Escape!
What's your favorite park to explore in Austin? Connect with us on social media. We love to see your adventures, so tag us in your park photos and use #peopleplusparks