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Exploring the Greenbelt: Austin's Best Feature

October 18, 2022/2 minutes reading

If you're looking for an enjoyable day outside, the Austin greenbelt should definitely be on your list of places to explore. The area encompasses over 138 square miles, making it one of the largest in Texas. It's the perfect place to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy some nature. From hiking to cycling to jogging, there's something for every outdoor enthusiast here. Not sure where to start? Here are just some of the highlights you can look forward to during your trip to the greenbelt:

A hilltop carved by the greenebelt.

Barton Springs Pool

Start your Greenbelt journey with a dip. Established in 1929, the Barton Springs Pool is one of the largest swimming pools in Austin. Barton Springs is supplied with fresh water from the Parthenia Spring, the fourth largest spring in Texas. At more than 3-acres, the pool is surrounded by towering oak trees and provides visitors with a relaxing place to enjoy a game of basketball or simply soak up the sun. When you're ready to hit the trails you don't have to go far. It’s adjacent to the trailhead for the Violet Crown Trail.

A woman and her shih-tzu on the trail.

Violet Crown Trail

The Violet Crown Trail is a 3.1 mile trail that starts at Zilker Park and ends at Lake Austin Boulevard. It offers beautiful views of the Texas Hill Country, as well as a number of other parks and recreational areas located along the trail. It is a popular spot for climbers, walkers, joggers, and cyclists who want to explore the natural beauty of the Texas landscape. The trail is currently under expansion, these map shows the plans to extend the trail in the coming years.

A violet berry in the sunlight.

The Flats

The Flats is a large expanse of undeveloped land located on the west side of Austin. It provides visitors and locals with a beautiful place to enjoy the natural beauty of the greenbelt’s shallow rock formations and the surrounding areas. Several trails run through this area of the park, providing visitors with the opportunity to enjoy a variety of activities while taking in the beautiful scenery along the way. When the water level is high during spring, you can find this to be lovely spot for sunbathing.

Limestone rock formations from the Flats.

Sculpture Falls

The Sculpture Falls Trail is 1.8 miles long and is home to several sculptures and exhibits along its route. Visitors to the sculpture falls can enjoy the beautiful natural environment around the trail, as well as the many sculptures that are located along the route. The trail is also a great place to walk, jog, or bike, making it a great place to visit for outdoor enthusiasts of all ages. Sculpture Falls is a seasonal waterfall and may be dry during the summer months.

Sculpture falls when the water level is low.

Lost Creek Dam

Lost Creek Dam is located just a short drive from downtown Austin and offers visitors a great place to enjoy the great outdoors while exercising and staying active. There are a few ways to get to this location, but the most famous is taking the "Hill of Life" entry way. Once you've descended the hill, visitors can spend the day enjoying the waterway and its various recreational activities, including kayaking, fishing, and swimming when the greenbelt aquifer is filled.

The waterway at Lost Creek Dam

McKinney Falls

Situated in the southern section of the greenbelt, McKinney Falls State Park offers a wide variety of outdoor activities and attractions to enjoy during your visit. It is home to several waterfalls, including the popular McKinney Falls, which is the highest waterfall in the state of Texas. The park is also home to several hiking trails, allowing you to explore this beautiful park and enjoy the beauty of its waterfalls and wildlife. Camping is also an option, you just need to go to the state park website to register for a campsite.

A turtle swimming at Mckinney State Park.

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