Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail, Austin
Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail, also known as the Roy and Ann Butler Hike and Bike Trail, runs along Lady Bird Lake, once known as Town Lake (because Austin enjoys changing the name of things, I believe it’s a joke locals play on tourist). We’ve ridden it since my kids were so little that my husband had to ride his bike hands free and hold their little bikes handlebars as we crossed rough places and hills. Like Austin, each time we ride it’s a little more improved, and a little more busy. We love Sunday morning bike rides, and it doesn’t get much better than here.
Know Before You Go
The mixed-use trail is paved at some places and lots of gravel, which is hard on training wheels.
The trail runs takes many turns, so I always stay near the water to keep from getting lost.
Take your phone or GPS, and know where you started so you can find your way back!
While there are plenty of places to start the 10 mile loop trail, we began at the Austin HI Hostel, where we stayed, which is right on the trail. To read more about the HI Austin, click HERE.
From HI Austin, we jumped on the trail, heading West.
The New Austin Boardwalk starts near HI Austin, which was convenient. The new boardwalk completes the trail all the way around the lake, and it’s just a beautiful place to view the lake!
Norwood Dog Park
As soon as you go under I-35, you’ll see the Norwood Dog Park, filled with happy dogs! It doesn’t take long in Austin to learn that they love their pooches!
Before you get to the Congress Ave. Bridge, you’ll pass the Austin-American Statesman Bat Observation Center.
When you pass under Congress Ave., be on the lookout for grounded bats! If you see one, be sure not to touch it!
Auditorium Shores has constant events and concerts. Click HERE to visit their facebook page to know what’s coming up!
There is a great off-leash dog park here, too, and pups can run and go swimming in the lake. It’s awesome to watch, but be alert for dogs crossing the trail, and other trail users enjoying watching the dogs so much that they aren’t watching where they are going. Love this place!
Possibly the busiest place on the trail, we waited in a line about 10 people deep to get this picture of my daughter’s bike with the Stevie Ray Vaughn statue. I had to post it one of my favorite facebook groups, Look at my Bike Leaning! Click HERE to see the group.
The train track traverses Lady Bird Lake right before you get to Lamar. We watched as Amtrak’s Texas Eagle was crossing, on it’s way to the Austin Station from San Antonio, then headed North to Temple, Cleburne, Fort Worth, Dallas and all the way to Texarkana! My dream trip is to ride it all the way to El Paso! Click HERE to visit their website.
You can cross the lake at Lamar, or continue on to Zilker Park, which we did. It’s a nice way to avoid the $5 parking fee, charged from March – September, and almost impossible to find parking during one of the park’s many festivals!
Ride along Barton Creek. We stopped to watch the swimmer at Barton Springs Pool, which at a constant 70 degrees, is warm on a 45 degree day! Click HERE to read more.
Ride the Zilker Zephyr.
Barton Springs recently flooded, and the trail and Zilker Boat Rentals were both damaged. Take the higher bike trail, as the large gravel was rough on the bikes!
Now, you can continue West on the trail to the FREE Austin Nature and Science Center. Click HERE to visit their website.
Or you can return East on the trail and cross the lake at Lamar. There are several parks and beaches along the route back. Cross back over the river at South Pleasant Valley Rd. and head West.
Explore Lady Bird Lake by water!
Congress Ave Rentals Do a guided kayak bat tour. Click HERE.
Austin Water Bikes Pedal, not paddle on the water! Click HERE.
Zilker Park Boat Rentals Paddle on Barton Creek. Click HERE.
Epic SUP Located by HI Austin, click HERE.
Our ride on the Austin Hike and Bike Trail was just part of our what we refer to as our Austin Hostel Weekend. My daughter and I started at the Austin Aquarium, followed by a pork chop lunch at Shady Grove under the huge trees. To work it off, we climbed to the top of Mount Bonnell, with incredible views of the Colorado River below! We left our mark at the Castle Hills Graffiti Park, and waited in the never-ending line at the Magnolia Cafe, where I spiced up my life with a new love affair with Yellowbird Habanero Hot Sauce, made in Austin and incredible! Our after dark window-shopping in the funky stores of South Congress Ave., or SoCo, was the follow-up to dinner at the legendary Threadgills, and dessert at Hey Cupcake! a food truck advertised with a bright pink cupcake on top! It was a hard decision, as we also love Amy’s (naughty) Ice Cream, but that Sweetberry cupcake has never lied to me yet. We also stayed at our first hostel, HI Austin, on the shore of Ladybird Lake, where we met people from around the world! The 10-mile Austin Hike and Bike Trail winds right past the backdoor of Hi Austin, and we brought our bikes for a Sunday ride! We rode the still-new Austin Boardwalk, petted pups in the dog parks, envied swimmers in Barton Springs year-round 70 degrees waters, and posed with Stevie Ray, but our biggest adventure was what we found lying on the trail under Congress Ave.! To read the next post, please click HERE.
Things To Do in Austin
Take a fun trip through Zilker Park on the Zilker Zephyr, a miniature train! Click HERE to read more!
Our love for the pork chop at Shady Grove is borderline obsession, check it out.
Camp under the stars by the rippling Colorado River at Emma Long Metropolitan Park. Click HERE to read more!
The Omni Barton Creek Resort has great pools, miniature golf and much more for kids! Click HERE to read more!
Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail
Click to visit their website.
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