Pedal Power: Austin's Top Bike Trails for Outdoor Enthusiasts


Jun. 6 2023, Published 10:18 a.m. ET

Austin skyline from the Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail.
Source: waterfall_hero/Instagram

Austin skyline from the Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail.

Austin is a hotspot that many people, including Tesla billionaire Elon Musk, choose to call home. Besides the great restaurants, vibrant downtown, and various live music venues, Austin offers outdoor activities like hiking and biking.

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Here are five of the best Austin bike trails to check out if you live in the area or are just visiting.

1. Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail

The 10-mile Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail loops around Lady Bird Lake in the heart of Austin. This easy trail offers great views of the Austin City skyline. The mostly gravel trail runs along the water’s edge, through several parks and over a 1.3-mile boardwalk. Just watch out for runners and walkers that share the path.

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2. Veloway

If you don’t want to share the trail with people walking their dogs or running, the Veloway trail is for you. The 3.1-mile course located at Circle C Ranch Metropolitan Park is only open to cyclists and inline skaters/rollerbladers. The paved two-lane Veloway loop is an easy ride through the woods, with a few inclines. During your ride, you may encounter wildlife such as deer, road runners, and various reptiles.

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3. Walnut Creek Metropolitan Park

Walnut Creek Metropolitan Park has several bike trails located on its 293 acres. The Southern Walnut Creek Trail was Austin’s first urban trail, opened in 2014. It is an 8.7-mile one-way paved trail that extends from Govalle Park to the Walnut Creek Sports Park. The park includes five bridges and travels through multiple neighborhoods.

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The Northern Walnut Creek Trail is also located in Walnut Creek Metro Park. The trail first opened in 2015 and expanded to the west in 2019. A 2023 project is developing the trail to the east. The city plans to eventually connect the Southern Walnut Creek Trail with the Northern Walnut Creek Trail, creating a 20-mile trail system that travels from Balcones District Part in northwest Austin to Govalle Park in southeast Austin.

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4. Barton Creek Greenbelt

The Barton Creek Greenbelt in South Austin has 12 miles of trails you can access at several points. The trail’s head starts at Zilker Park, near the Barton Springs Pool. This is also where you find the North end of the Violet Crown Trail, which will eventually extend 30 miles south to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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The Barton Creek Greenbelt trail can be a moderate to challenging ride, so it’s best for a mountain bike.

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5. Onion Creek Hike and Bike Trail

The Onion Creek Hike and Bike Trail is a 2.8-mile loop in McKinney Falls State Park, 20 minutes south of downtown Austin. There is a $6 fee for adults to access the park. The trail will take you to the park’s Upper Falls and along the Onion Creek. On hot days, you can swim in the falls before or after you set off on your ride.

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