The Barton Creek Greenbelt Trail is an easy to moderate 7.9-mile trail located in the heart of Austin, Texas with six different entry points.
About Barton Creek Greenbelt Trail
The trail follows Barton Creek which is typically a popular watering hole during spring and early summer months when there is no drought or after a heavy rain. During times of drought and mid to late summer the creek is dried up, which is what we found the beginning of August when we set out on our hike.
The trail crosses over the creek multiple times so it is important to keep that in mind if you will be going after a hard rain or during Spring or early Summer. You will want to take water shoes or you stand getting your own shoes and socks wet.
The Barton Creek Greenbelt Trail is a popular trail not only among hikers but also with climbers and mountain bikers. Of course, when the creek is flowing it is also a major hotspot for cooling off and can get rather crowded at the main water holes. So if you are planning on hiking in for a swim, plan to start early before the crowd gets there.
The main trail is well marked and has markers about every 1/4 mile, so if you don’t see one for a while, you may have gotten off the main trail (which is rather easy to do). Also, watch for falling rocks from the cliffs along the trail.
The 2-mile section of the trail we did (beginning at the Barton Hills Elem School entry point and ending shortly after Three Falls) had us crossing the creek several times and traversed over both well walked wooded paths as well as very rocky/rooted paths. There was only a slight elevation change along the trail with the biggest elevation change located on the feeder trail (the trail that connects the trailhead to the main trail).
Barton Creek Greenbelt Trail Amenities
- Mountain Biking
- Rock Climbing
Let me say that I tried really hard to like this trail, really I did. I do plan on hiking the entire trail so I can see what the rest of the trail is like, however, there are two main reasons why I just couldn’t like this section at least:
Irresponsible Dog Owner’s United! – This must be where irresponsible dog owners go hiking because there was dog crap all over the 2-mile section of trail we did. Add into the fact that not one single dog we passed (and we passed several) had a leash on and I am convinced that this is where irresponsible dog owner’s go hiking. The trail smelled like a dog crap minefield and sewer. I will say though it was kind of cool seeing cops hiking out there just waiting to give out tickets for dogs off of leashes. You know it has to be bad when cops have to walk the trails!
Hello Sewer Man Holes! – There were sewer manholes all along the 2 miles of the section we did and man was the stench overpowering! Between the sewer and the dog crap, at times the smell could be almost unbearable. I guess maybe I should have brought a gas mask hiking! LOL.
Know Before You Go
Access Points: There are six different access points to the Barton Creek Greenbelt Trail with the main trailhead located within Zilker Park. These access points are notated by the red hiker icon on the map below (click to enlarge).
MAIN TRAILHEAD / Violet Crown Trail at Zilker: 2212 William Barton Dr, Austin, TX 78746
Loop 360: 3755-B Capital of Texas Hwy, Austin, TX 78704
Gus Fruh: 2642 Barton Hills Dr, Austin, TX 78704
Spyglass: 1599 Spyglass Dr, Austin, TX 78704
Twin Falls: 3900 Mopac Frontage Rd, Austin, TX 78746
Trails End: 1710 Camp Craft Rd, Austin, TX 78746
Homedale Access Point: 2010 Homedale Dr, Austin, TX 78704
This access point is located within a residential subdivision across from an elementary school. The only parking available Monday – Friday is along the street in certain areas. Pay close attention to the no parking signs or risk being towed. On the weekends, the parking lot that is directly across the trailhead is open for none faculty/staff to use.
Park / Trail Rules: I learned quickly Austinians apparently could care less about rules and laws, but breaking the rules can lead to a heavy fine, plus these rules are just common sense and help keep our trails clean and safe for years to come.
No Smoking – ($2,000 fine)
Keep all Pets on Leash – ($500 fine)
No Alcohol – ($500 fine)
Don’t Leave Your Mark – ($500 fine) This means picking up your dog’s poop
No Fires – ($2,000 fine)
No Camping – ($500 fine)
No Glass – ($500 fine)
No Littering – ($2,000 fine)
Have you been to the Barton Creek Greenbelt Train in Austin? If so, what did you think? Did you do the entire trail or just sections? Comment below and let us know what tips you may have for hiking the Barton Creek Greenbelt Trail!