Austinites love being outdoors, whether it’s dining, listening to live music, or being out on the lake. There’s so much to enjoy outdoors in Central Texas, from hiking to biking, swimming to running. In fact, in the past several years, Austin has been voted as one of the Top 10 fittest cities in America and is one of America’s 10 Best Cities for Runners, per Forbes Travel Guide. Luckily for all fitness enthusiasts, Austin has several great running trails, the best of which are listed below. (Happy Trails image by Drew Beamer on Unsplash.)
Barton Creek Greenbelt Trail
- Best for: Trail Running, nature hiking
- Location: 2201 Barton Springs Road (Trail’s Head at Zilker Park)
- Distance: Up to 7 miles
- Additional details: There are several places to park and jump on or off the trail, but the Zilker entrance has a wide and flat trail entrance, with paid parking options. Visitors can swim in Barton Springs Pool on a hot day after their trail run or hike is complete.
Lady Bird Lake: Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail
- Best for: Runners in the downtown Austin area, distance running, scenery
- Location: Officially, parking is available on S Lakeshore Blvd between Pleasant Valley Road and Riverside
- Distance: Varies, there is a popular 3.2 mile route, but the entire length of the trail can be up to 10 miles.
- Additional details: Most of the trail is a maintained gravel path, great for speed and endurance training. There is a boardwalk that can be accessed at several points, including Riverside Drive. The Boardwalk showcases great views of downtown and Lady Bird Lake.
Walnut Creek Metropolitan Park Trail System
- Best for: North Austin runners, easy to moderate trail running
- Location: 12138 N Lamar Blvd
- Distance: 15 total miles of trails, which can be customized to shorter distances. First timers are encouraged to review a map (search online) before arriving.
- Additional details: This park has ample parking and the trails are smooth. The park is dog friendly, there’s a playground for kids, and there are numerous barbecue pits and restrooms. Because the park is so great, it can get crowded on weekends.
Lake Austin Blvd. to Mount Bonnell
- Best for: Endurance training, scenic views, and experiencing a local Austin jog
- Location: For full distance, start at or near Austin High School at 1715 W Cesar Chavez St. Run along Lake Austin Blvd, connecting eventually to Scenic Drive, (by way of a few connecting streets,) and eventually to Mount Bonnell Road.
- Distance: Depending on where you start the run, up to 10 miles.
- Additional details: This route, including Mount Bonnell, offers a beautiful view of the lake and the natural surroundings. There are lots of hills along the way, so this path is not for beginners.
Austin is such a fitness friendly town that there are two marathons each year, and countless 5k and 10k races throughout the year. Stay at a Hilton property in any part of town, (find the full list of hotels at travel.hilton.com/austin), lace up your running shoes, and go!