Embrace the outdoors with hike and bike trails

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Daiquan Brown rides through the boardwalk section of the Butler Trail, otherwise known as "Town Lake" to native Austinites. The 10-mile loop extends from MoPac at its western edge to Lakeshore in East Austin. 

Photo Credit: Anthony Mireles | Daily Texan Staff

Everyone knows Austin is a little different than most Texas towns, something we are very proud of. One distinguishing feature that separates us from the rest is the plethora of green spaces and trails. No matter where you are in the city, there is most likely a trail right around the corner. Whether you are already an outdoor enthusiast looking for some new trails to trek or just looking for a place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, you will never be short on places to go in Austin. Here a few trails loved by locals to check out. 

Shoal Creek

Closest to campus and one of Austin’s oldest, Shoal Creek Trail is the perfect hike and bike route for a quick post class or morning workout. Stretching from 38th street to Ladybird Lake, the trail functions as a scenic alternative route to the heart of the city. Running along Shoal Creek, the trail passes by Pease Park, 9th Street BMX Park and Heath Eiland and Morgan Moss Skate Park. The closer you get to downtown, the more gorgeous the trail becomes. The thick vegetation that grows along Shoal Creek beautifully contrasts with the concrete jungle above. This trail, combined with the Town Lake Butler Trail, works as a perfect scenic route to Zilker Park. 

Butler Trail

Easily the most crowded trail on the list, Butler Trail, also known as Town Lake or Ladybird Lake Trail, brings in more than two million visitors a year according to The Trail Foundation. Smack dab in the heart of the city, the 10-mile trail starts underneath MoPac and runs along Ladybird Lake, passing I-35 and running through East Austin neighborhoods. If you’re not feeling the whole 10 miles, crossing at I-35 cuts the loop to 7 miles and using the famed pedestrian bridge cuts it down to 3. The mostly gravel trail is excellent for biking, running or walking. With this one trail you can hit Austin Icons such as the Congress bat bridge and Zilker Park. 

Barton Creek Greenbelt

The mother of all trails, Barton Creek Greenbelt, more commonly known as The Greenbelt, offers outdoor enthusiast twelve-and-a-half miles of beautiful trail covered by thick green trees. With seven trailheads scattered across the city, there are always new routes to be found along Austin’s favorite backyard getaway. Take a dip in one of many swimming spots along Barton Creek or break a sweat tacking one of the many rock walls perfect for climbing. Spend an afternoon here and you’ll forget you’re still in Austin.

Bull Creek Greenbelt Trail

If you’re looking for a trail with less foot traffic but just as much greenery as some of the other trails on the list, Bull Creek is the place to go. Running along the North Capital of Texas Highway, Bull Creek is a great destination for a quick daytime excursion, running just under 3 miles. Doubling as a fun swimming spot, the trails Main, Lower and Hidden Falls make for exceptional pit stops to cool off.