Less popular but equally beautiful (in my opinion) is the Bull Creek Greenbelt a little further north in West Austin. The main staple of the green belt is Bull Creek District Park, where the creek is at its widest. The trails are well maintained and connect from the northern parking lot (on the northwest side of 360 – Winding Ridge Blvd) to the southern parking lot (on the southeast side of 360 – Lakewood Dr). If you’re in it for the hiking and not just the swimming, I would recommend parking at the Lakewood entrance and cross over to the heart of the park.
The trail is dense in most places not directly off the parking lots – its less trafficked at these points. But the hiking is good, with subtle hills that you’ll only really notice in the burn of your calves. And the shade is abundant away from the creek. In fact, there are plenty of small, babbling streams to make you forget you’re still close to the city. I recommend some waterproof shoes – the trail is a little slick at a separate points along the way. We walked about two miles in a loop in about an hour (with stops for exploring).
- There be poison ivy here. Seriously. In abundance. Leaves of three, leave it be.
- Smaller cars should park off Lakewood. The lot on Winding Ridge Blvd is not for the faint of heart.
- Break east, always. There are several forks along the path, but if you stay east, you’ll find higher ground that’s not as immune to flooding. It’ll help you stay clear of particularly bad dips.