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THE MOST BEAUTIFUL WALKS TO TAKE IN AUSTIN

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SIERRA ROGERS

SEP 9, 2020

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IMAGE VIA SHOAL CREEK CONSERVANCY | FACEBOOK

Austin is a magical city for many reasons. But near the top is the abundance of beautiful walking trails and destinations you can find in just about every corner of the city. From rugged, rocky trails to exciting strolls down the famous city streets, you're sure to find just the type of walk you're looking for.

Walking Lady Bird Lake is one of the best parts of living here — and every mile has something new to offer. Overlook beautiful downtown views at the Pedestrian Crossing Bridge, snap a selfie at the Stevie Ray Vaughan memorial at Auditorium Shores, opt for a paddle board rental along the boardwalk, and be sure to run the dam on the East Side. Whichever path you choose, you’ll no doubt see a friendly face and tons of wagging tails along the way.

McKinney Falls is filled with quality walks. The Onion Creek Hike and Bike Trail is a 2.8-mile loop with a hard surface wide enough for strollers, bikes, and casual walkers to share. Plus, after a rain, you'll witness mini waterfalls over limestone ledges on Onion Creek. If you’re feeling more adventurous, walk the rocky and secluded Flint Rock Loop Trail. It heads deeper into the woods and brings you to the Williamson Creek Overlook Trail. An FYI: You'll need to cross the creek at the lower falls before you can string these two together.

For a more iconic Austin walk, head west to Mount Bonnell. At 785 feet tall, Mount Bonnell is the highest point in Austin. It’s the place to go when you’re looking for a less strenuous, more scenic route. Climb 106 steps to the hilltop park that overlooks Lake Austin (and all the beautiful homes that are perched alongside it). It’s the most beautiful at sunset, you linger for golden hour.

There are two Walnut Creek trails. The Southern Walnut Creek Trail starts at Govalle Park in East Austin. With beautifully paved 10-foot wide concrete paths, this trail is perfect for all types of recreational activities. It's also great for the nature enthusiast — you’ll find lots of trailheads and creek crossings, so be sure to pack a swimsuit for a quick dip. The Northern Walnut Creek Trail is a more recent addition to the Austin walking scene, and when it's finally completed will link up two great green spaces: Walnut Creek Metropolitan Park and Balcones Park.

We can’t talk walks in Austin without mentioning the Greenbelt. This eight-mile long trail weaves throughout the city. There are more entrances than we can count, but our picks are Twin and Sculpture Falls, Gus Fruh, and Barton Springs Pool. That'll set you up with swimming holes, rock climbing, hiking, and tons of cute pups to pet along the way.

While it's the oldest trail in the city, old doesn’t mean it should be overlooked. The trail itself extends from 38th Street to Town Lake, switching from a wide, paved path to crushed granite. And it’s pretty much perfectly shaded with old oak trees. Walk a bit, then stop to rest at the various parks along the trail, like Pease Park. Towards the north end of the trail—and your walk—you’ll discover some pretty awesome rocky canyons you wouldn't believe were within city limits.

Austin’s iconic South Congress Avenue is still one of our favorite places to take a stroll and the perfect place to feel like a tourist in your own city. So go ahead — stop and take a picture at the “I love you so much” sign, grab a coffee from Mañana, and explore all the street art and markets. Before you know it, you’ll have hit you step goal… in the most fun way possible.

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