The 4th of July is a great excuse to get outside and enjoy this beautiful country of ours. For those of you in the Austin area, here are my favorite places to get outside for the day:
- Balcones Canyonlands Preserve – Ready my post on it here. Rolling Texas Hill Country as far as the eye can see and plenty of creeks to dip your feet in. Perfection! If you want scenic views, this is your place. Click here for trail info: Friends of Balcones – Hiking. Note: Unfortunately, they don’t allow dogs. (Boo.)
- McKinney Falls State Park – This beautiful park is only 10 minutes from downtown Austin. Two miles of riverfront make the scenery incredible here, and it’s relatively flat so the hiking isn’t strenuous. Pack up a picnic and make a day of it. That’s what I did!
- The Barton Creek Greenbelt Trail – Another great place to dip your feet in the water. (Notice a trend?) This starts in far west Austin and follows Barton Creek all the way to Zilker Park. There are several entry points but I would recommend the lot on the west side of Mopac just south of the Mall. As you’re heading south, the parking area will be on the right.
- Pedernales Falls State Park – Read my review here. This park is only 1.5 hours from Austin and I promise you, it is worth the drive. The main feature of the park is a vast rock waterfall that covers 8 square miles. Pack a picnic and eat it by the falls or at the main picnic area (designated on maps at headquarters). If one waterfall isn’t enough, hike the trail up to Twin Falls and prepare to be wowed. The restrooms by the camping area are the nicest I’ve ever seen at a state park.
- Pace Bend Park – Great biking and hiking trails and panoramic lake views. Whit’s Wilderness tested and approved.
PS. One more for good measure! Shoal Creek Trail – My favorite part is the stretch between 34th street and 24th street, where you’ll pass some interesting historic markers. We go nearly once a week. See you there!
Happy 4th, everyone! God bless America.
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