Easy hike, didn't see many people
Williamson County Regional Park
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Distance: 5.18 Miles
Duration: 1 hour, 50 minutes
I hiked the Jim Rogers and Granite Trails today, both very easy trails. I enjoyed the Jim Rogers trail the most; it was more nature-y (but still backs up to a neighborhood at some points, so you never get the feeling that you're totally out in the wild). I saw wildlife, including a cute fawn, and hardly any other hikers/bikers. I did notice many smaller, less-developed trails branching from the main Jim Rogers trail, so I do plan to come back when I am better dressed for them (sturdier shoes and long pants) and explore more.
Great hidden gem!
Spicewood Valley Trail
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Distance: 3.26 Miles
Duration: 2 hours, 30 minutes
This is an interesting and diverse trail. You are often reminded you are in the middle of a neighborhood when you hear cars or see homes on either side of the canyon, but it is still an enjoyable, peaceful hike. There are several waterfalls which are nice and the rock ledge of the canyon is interesting. In wetter weather you can spot springs. If you follow a small side trail leading into a field you can see an old rusted and wrecked car.
I'm not sure if it was because it was drizzling most of the day today, but I did not see a single other person on this trail today. But use caution when hiking this in wetter weather: There are several places where the trail passes over large stones, which get slick when wet and covered in a layer of fallen leaves.
I parked by Mountain View Park and used the trailhead that is in between two homes. I first hiked the northern portion of the trail then doubled-back and hiked the southern portion. Reading logs here, I see that there is more to this trail system on the other side of the creek, near the middle school. I didn't cross the creek on this hike (I couldn't find a dry enough area to do so), but just sticking to the side I entered on I still had a great time. I highly recommend this if you are looking for a short hike in town.
Worth returning to
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Distance: 4.32 Miles
Duration: 2 hours, 24 minutes
I was looking for a new place to hike and found this area. I didn't end up doing all of the trails, so I'll have to come back. I encountered several mountain bikers and a few other hikers/trail runners, but for most of the time I was alone. There are nice water features to take in (multiple small waterfalls) and good views.
I began to go up the Mt. Lakeway trail (which connects to the Canyonlands trails), but turned around before I got all of the way up because I didn't know how long it would be and I was running out of water. I'll have to return with more water to do that whole trail and finish the parts of the Canyonland trail that I skipped!
What I didn't like: You could hear (and in some places, see) construction work going on, building new neighborhoods on the sides of nearby hills, and near the start of the trail there is some kind of treatment facility that stinks up the area. But the trails are varied enough and interesting, so I still enjoyed myself.
Great for runs. Get there early!
Ann and Roy Butler Hike & Bike Trail
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Distance: 10.27 Miles
Duration: 1 hour, 52 minutes
My dad, his friend, and I all met up at this trail to run this morning. We parked under Mopac (them along the street, me in the parking lot that is reserved for Austin High during the week) around 6:30 am on a Sunday and while there were many cars already it wasn't full close to full. When we finished nearly two hours later, this had changed: It was packed in the area we had parked. Needless to say, this isn't a place to go for solitude, but I like it because it's fun to see everyone out enjoying the area differently (walking, running/jogging, biking, boating).
Our mileage varies from the one shown on here because with the addition of the Boardwalk we were able to run all the way to Pleasant Valley and cross on the dam. After crossing the dam is the area with a couple of murals (mentioned above), so it's worth it to do these extra miles, both for the fitness and the sights.
The trail is easy, mostly granite gravel with a few paved parts. It's really nice to run on. There are a lot of neat sights, such as good vantage points of the downtown skyline, sculptures, the Stevie statue, and and some cool graffiti murals.
Got a bit lost but I had a lot of fun!
Commons Ford - Waterfall Trail
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Distance: 5.35 Miles
Duration: 2 hours, 51 minutes
Note that the 5.35 miles I hiked includes other trails at Commons Fords Park, not just the Waterfall Trail.
I had never heard of this park but saw it featured on this site so I decided to check it out for a Sunday hike. I began on the other side of the road from the Waterfall Trail and walked down the very easy trail to the park area by the water, looped around, and then went off to find the waterfalls.
I found the first, smaller waterfall(s) easily and crossed the creek. This is where I think I took a wrong turn and got on another trail. I found a washed-out bridge/road segment, which was pretty interesting to observe. I then continued on to another trail which began a steep climb. When I reached the top I found myself at the boundary of the park. I followed the trail along the boundary where it made a very steep (and kind of scary) descent before turning away from the boundary. Not too long after this I arrived the the second, larger fall. This is a nice peaceful area and I rested here before continuing back on the trail and once again getting lost and finding myself back on the trail that follows along the park border.
I saw plenty of people on the side of the park by the Colorado River but I only saw a family of three while on the Waterfall Trail. There is plenty to see at this park and lots of different terrain. I know I didn't cover all of the trails so I'd like to come back and explore some more. My sister also wants to get into hiking so I'll bring her here because the trails on the Colorado River side of the park are all nice and easy.