The Barton Creek Greenbelt is one of Austin’s best outdoor activities, especially during the summertime, with over 12 miles of gorgeous trails! Whether you’re hiking, biking, walking, rock-climbing, bouldering, or looking for a shady spot to relax in a hammock or on a picnic blanket, we highly recommend the Greenbelt (as locals like to call it) for a memorable day in the sun!
Read this guide for a handy guide to Barton Creek that outlines the most popular entrances and the best activities to do at each one! The Greenbelt is open every day from 5AM to 10PM.
The trailhead access point starts near Barton Springs Pool at Zilker Park, and spans 1.2 miles with no real incline before crossing another trail! This is the closest access point to downtown, so if you’re exploring the city before you head over, this might be your best bet. As a more leisurely, crowded portion of the trail with little shade, we recommend walking during this section of The Greenbelt.
Another entrance to Barton Creek Greenbelt is the Main Access Point, Loop 360, which is tricky to find but worth it when you’re there. When you pull up, you’ll see the Austin Park and Recreation sign and a designated parking lot. This trail is popular for mountain bikers and climbers, but also offers hikers an easier option with straightforward access to the rest of The Greenbelt, especially Twin Falls and Sculpture Falls.
A third access point to the Barton Creek Greenbelt is the Trail End/Sculpture Falls option. While this one is more difficult, the views at the end are worth it. Climb a half-mile uphill to get to the Sculpture Falls swimming area, then cool off with a dip and some lunch. It’ll be easier if you take your time and spread out the hike throughout the day!
Another option is the famous Hill of Life, which is a steep uphill or downhill section of the trail perfect for mountain bikers and trail runners wanting a challenge.
This new addition to The Greenbelt is still a work in progress, but is a must-visit for our outdoorsy Austinites. When it is finished, it will add 30 miles to Austin’s trail system, offering a perfect option for runners, bikers, and walkers! Those who make it to the end will run into Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center for a post-workout adventure.
Our handy guide to Barton Creek wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the Twin Falls swimming hole, a beautiful spot with gorgeous trees. We recommend this entrance for hikers, trail runners, and mountain bikers because of the diverse terrain and smaller crowds to the last access point!
For an adventure full of swimming holes and climbing walls, use the Gus Fruh access point. Located within a residential neighborhood, you might have to drive around to find a parking spot, but it’s deifinitely worth it! Head south and you’ll find limestone climbing walls such as Urban Assault, a deep swimming hole, and the main access point.
To get to Campbell’s Hole, another popular, yet less trafficked, swimming hole, use the Spyglass entrance! This access point also leads to a serene rocky trail, perfect for mountain bikers, joggers, trail runners, dog walkers, hikers, and rock climbers, making it an extremely versatile entrance.
More Stuff to Do in Austin
This handy guide to Barton Creek will set you up for a fantastic day enjoying the Austin sun. After you’ve experienced the trails, be sure to follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok for restaurants, coffee shops, dessert spots, bars, and some of our favorite spots around the city! Also, tag us in your photos @StuffToDoInAustin so we can see where you went!
For more stuff to do around Austin, check out the Stuff to Do in Austin City Guide page and let us know what you want to see next! Make sure to enter your info above to subscribe for more Austin content.