Best Hikes in Austin, our 3 top picks

My quest for the best hiking trails

Hiking is one of my favorite activities in Austin, and the city is home to one of the most extensive urban trail systems in the country. There are plenty of trails outside of the Austin city limits, but over the past year, I’ve been searching for the best hikes in Austin.

Qualifying for the list of the best hikes in Austin

In order to be included on the list, the hike must have one or many of the following attributes:

  • It’s ridiculously scenic.
  • It’s a fun and interesting hike.
  • There are learning opportunities related to history or ecosystems.
  • Diverse activities are allowed on the trail.
  • There are unique features or things to see on the trail.
  • The trail must be within Austin city limits.

The 3 best hikes in Austin

#1 Slaughter Creek Trail

Number 1 on the list of best hikes in Austin is Slaughter Creek Trail. This trail really has it all! There are learning opportunities along the way (with posted educational signs), it’s fantastically scenic (although there are houses viewable from the trail), it’s an equestrian, hiking, and biking friendly trail, and it’s just a fun (and simple) hike with a couple really interesting features along the way (no, I’m not going to tell you what they are, go discover them for yourself!).

#2 Turkey Creek Trail

Coming in at a close #2 on the list of best hikes in Austin is Turkey Creek Trail. An off-leash, dog-friendly trail, this spot is a lot of fun. There’s ecosystem diversity, plenty of technical variation along the trail, and a beautiful fern wall to check out en route. The trail winds through trees, and across Turkey Creek, easily making this one of the best trails in the city.

#3 Pennybacker Bridge and Overlook

Finally, at #3, it’s the Pennybacker Bridge and 360 bridge overlook. For many, this particular hike is simple (around five minutes for the short trail, and 15 for the longer trail). As simple as it may be, the view from the overlook is arguably better than any other in the city (in my opinion, even Mt. Bonnell).

So, what’s your list of best hikes in Austin? Leave it in the comments section!

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