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Shady, Now with bathrooms

The sign says it's a park, but the empty lot is just a small clearing in the weeds--no trail access.
The sign says it's a park, but the empty lot is just a small clearing in the weeds--no trail access.
This sign (Onion Creek Dr at Firefly) is nowhere near the trailhead. Go to the main park entrance at Onion Creek Dr at Vine Hill.
User: plectrudis - 3/27/2017

Location: Onion Creek District Park

Rating:
Difficulty:  Solitude:
Miles Hiked: 2.80 Miles  Elapsed Time: N/A

Comments:

Google directed me to park at the intersection of Firefly & Onion Creek Dr.  And, to be fair, there's a sign there that says "Onion Creek Park."  However, there are no trails anywhere near the sign.  The main entrance/parking lot is at Onion Creek Dr and Vine Hill.

The park folks have added a bathroom and playground since the original write-up, but no trial map (this has been a theme lately--the city puts up a map kiosk... and then leaves it empty.  Why???) 

TO ACCESS THE TRAIL: from the parking lot, head down toward the creek.  You'll see a well-worn (but unmarked) trail on your right with a gate across it--that's the greenbelt.  It runs parallel to the creek, though the creek isn't visible from the main trail.  By ~5 in the afteroon, the first ~1/3 of the trail is wonderfully shady, and about another 1/3 is part-shade.  The far end is less maintained, narrower, and more exposed.

THE GOOD:  Shade!  Can't have too much of it in Austin, especially in the summer.  Also, a reasonable amount of foot traffic and dogs.  It's not full of people, but there are enough on a weeknight to feel safe.  The dog density was fine (for me)--a few dogs, but not hordes of them.

THE BAD: Lots of poison ivy--mostly avoidable, since the trail is pretty wide at the beginning.  But it does lean into the trail, and is a little closer than I'd like as the trail narrows. The petering out of the shade is also a downer.  Also, it was crazy humid--not sure if it's always that way due to the creek, or just today's weather.  And I got some bug bites--a combo of chiggers and gnats, I think?  Might be the warm winter + wet spring?  Maybe August is less insectoidal.

Lastly, the empty neighborhood (not part of the trail, but of course you can walk down the streets) is kinda neat--lots of lovely mature trees and green grass, but virtually no shrubs or brush.  It's the most park-like park I've seen in such a large space a while.  Not sure if the city mows periodically to keep the brush and saplings down or what, but it's pleasantly Arcadian.  Next time, I would plan to start by walking the neighborhood and then the greenbelt, to get more steps.



Log Photos:
The sign says it's a park, but the empty lot is just a small clearing in the weeds--no trail access.
The sign says it's a park, but the empty lot is just a small clearing in the weeds--no trail access.
The former neighborhood--tall trees, no brush--very park-like
The former neighborhood--tall trees, no brush--very park-like
THIS is the real park entrance: Onion Creek Drive   Vine Hill
THIS is the real park entrance: Onion Creek Drive Vine Hill
The trail is straight and not ankle-twisty
The trail is straight and not ankle-twisty

Area around Onion Creek District Park

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