Austin, Texas is one of those townships where once you know, you know everything! It has a well-established status as a live music hub and foodie heaven. What glides a little bit under the radar is Austin’s, adventure-loving heart. From swimming in natural pools to mountain climbing – Mount Bonnell, you’ll discover that the nights in Austin may fit into the music, but the days fit adventure. Here are some of our preferred places to discover in and around Austin.
1. Swim at Sculpture Falls:
Sculpture Falls is an unseen gem that is part of the 7.9-mile elongated Barton Stream Greenbelt in Austin. It’s considered an urban oasis and is a share of the Edwards Aquifer making the water temperatures in the summer about 70 degrees, and is a seamless way to cool off in the Texas heat! To find the trailhead turn onto Scottish Woods Trail off 360. Get-up-and-go up to Scottish Woods Trail up until it comes to dead ends into Camp Craft Rd. It will most likely be easier to park on Scottish Woods as opposite to Camp Craft. You will possibly see cars parked here already except if you are reaching around 7:00 am or earlier! Keep in mind the trailhead is in an area and there are no bathrooms.
Once you park you will step towards the trailhead that starts on Camp Craft Road. You will see a Barton Creek Greenbelt sign and entrance. Be sure to take a quick view at the map here so you can see how distant Sculpture Falls is, as it will not have any signage for it on the track. There are numerous other minor waterfalls along the way that might confuse you. It is approximately a 1.5-mile trek to the falls one way. It starts with the “Hill of Life” which is typically exposed to the sun, though when you get to the bottom the rest of the track is tree enclosed and in the shade. There are distance markers along the track so you can keep track of how far you’ve gone. As stated before there are numerous smaller waterfalls and splashing pools along the way that can be your own secluded paradise if you get there early enough!
Finally, you will come upon the actual Sculpture Falls. You might want to take some water shoes or sandals to navigate across the creek as the rock is regularly very slippery. There is an adequate amount of space to lay out towels/blankets on the sets of the creek and along a small bluff that gives a chance for some cliff jumping, but most individuals like to find a pleasant place to hang out in the water both above and below the falls. This place is also very famous for dogs, so if you have a dog bring them along! You can have alcohol as well, so don’t forget to carry some beers in a little cooler to maximize your summer/spring day!
2. Rock Climb at Gus Fruh
Don’t settle down for climbing holds made by human beings because when you think about it since the starting of time everything in the world has led up to these climbing holds formation! it’s a must visit place and a fast bike ride from downtown Austin.
You can come in Gus Fruh from a couple of points opening from various neighbourhoods. You take a quick walk down into the greenbelt. As you walk you start to sense energized. You need to move to the West side of the river and it’s just slight North of the most famous swimming hole that has a rope swing. You can spot the wall without difficulty from the track. There are some overhanging cliffs that form shallow caves and frequently you will see other climbers.
This is the area that requires a qualified climber to lead climb. They set up the top rope and then the less skilled climbers can test their skill on that route.
3. Hike Up Mount Bonnell
View the landscape from summit Mount Bonnell (775 ft), one of the highest points in Austin. The track up is a blend of manmade and natural stairways that take you up to the top. At the top, you will find stunning views of the area, and a pavilion where you can have lunch. To head back down by a different route, continue the north track, which will take you through more picturesque views, then down to the north end of the parking lot.
4. Visit the Cathedral of Junk
The slogan of Austin is “Keep Austin Weird” and the Cathedral of Junk is one part of Art that holds true to its city! The Cathedral of Junk is a secret gem within the Austin City Limits, situated in the Artists backyard. Creation was started back in 1988 by Vince Hahnemann and he continues to enhance to it to this day! Hike to the top of the tower to rock out on the drum set or perhaps even catch a concert or perform your own on the stage!
5. Relax at McKinney Falls
McKinney Falls is situated 15 miles from city centre Austin and is home to two waterfalls, plenty spots for relaxation, and swimming in the summer season.
It is divided into the Upper and Lower Falls along Onion Creek just 15 miles outside of Austin. From there it is a very quick walk past the Smith Visitor Center to the falls. The upper falls give some shady zones beneath beautiful cypress trees and a part to swim near the falls. It’s not rare to see groups of local Austinites chilling out, swimming, drinking beers, reading, singing and normally escaping the sound of the city for a day.
To get to the Lower Falls you must get back in your car and drive to it. Though it’s only about a mile down the street you’ll have to follow the symbols from the Upper Falls parking lot to find it. After the Lower Falls car parks lot, it’s an additional short walk to the falls. If you want to just chill out at one spot for the day, our guidance would be to visit both spots and choose where the best option is to relish your day there. Sometimes one of the falls can be fuller than the other. Whichever way you choose this is the seamless spot to get away for the day or weekend.
6. Bike through Iconic Graffiti Landmarks in Austin
Austin is full of talented, gifted and renowned graffiti artists so rent a bike and discover the city! You don’t have to rent a cycle/bike but it’s the “Austin” thing to do. With plenty of pick up and drop off sites all over the city you can start the trip and end it whenever you feel like it! It’s suggested to start the trip on South Congress at the bike rental situated near Doc’s Motor works since a lot of the key parts of art are situated in the S. Congress part.
7. Swim in Barton Springs Pool
Barton Springs Pool is a three-acre hot weather nirvana situated within Zilker Park. With typical water temperatures of 68-70 degrees, this spring-fed lake will give you that much-required break from the Texas heat. It is a historical staple in the city of Austin. Situated within Zilker Park, the site is simple to discover and even has easy nearby parking. Now with, it is suggested to arrive slightly early in the daytime if you don’t want to be resorted to fishing for a car park area or waiting in extensive lines to go in the pool.
Once inside, take your time adoring a nice calming day swimming in the chilly spring-fed waters obtained from the Edwards Aquifer. A green hill flanks the pool on both sides and has an adequate number of shady spots, cheers to the trees, to lay out bath towel and other possessions. Depths in the water vary from 0ft to 18ft in some parts. There is also a diving board situated nearby the middle of the pool which kids and the kids at heart will love.
The pool is also home to the vanishing Barton Springs Salamander and is a protected territory for this reason. Also available is an enlightening exhibit where tourists can study about the history and ecology of Barton Springs.
8. Hike through the Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve
The Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve offers 2.5 miles of tracks as well as The Creative Research Center functioned by St. Edwards University. Bikes, pets, smoking, and picnics are all forbidden at Wild Basin. It is managed as part of the Balcones Canyonlands Preserve and encompasses of 227 acres of lovely Hill Country woodlands possessed mutually by Travis County and St. Edwards University. It is open to visitors who can trek the 2.5 miles of tracks and can visit the Wild Basin Creative Research Center. The Creative Research Center, which is preserved and operated by St. Edwards University, functions as the information and relaxed hub of Wild Basin.
9. Paddle on Lady Bird Lake in Austin
Situated right outside of Downtown Austin, Lady Bird Lake is a remarkable escape into nature! This unit of the Colorado River is naturally spring fed and is great for canoeing, kayaking, and solo paddle boarding!
10. Swim at Hamilton Pool Preserve
Adore a clear, natural pool in a stunning, overhanging rock cave. This is an amazing place to swim with family or friends and the 50-foot waterfall makes for wonderful pictures.
Hamilton Pool Preserve, an approximately 45-minute drive from Austin, TX, is one of the most stunning places to spend in, Texas afternoon. A short trek from the car parking lot through a wooded forest unlocks into a picturesque, natural pool. The small beach to one side is typically dotted with sunbathers and families doing a picnic, enjoying a soothing day out of the city.
The park has a restricted capacity, and often fills up on warm weekends and even weekdays. Make sure to reach early to avoid lines.