I’ve found there are a good number of places to go hiking around Austin. We’ve already been to McKinney Falls State Park, the Hamilton Pool Preserve, and the Westcave Preserve. We were in Austin a couple weeks ago though to spend time with my sister. She had a work thing, so she came in early so we could hang out all weekend. We found a few smaller hikes in Austin. These aren’t secrets and are well known to locals, but we aren’t locals.
The first hike we did was Mt. Bonnell or Covert Park. You have to understand when I say hike, it isn’t always hiking, but more of outdoor walks that may involve some inclines or light climbing. I had read about this one a few places and it was easy to find. Parking is along the road and a sign is on the road by a staircase.
I thought the stairs were going to be higher than they were, but just when I started to get a good thigh burn going, we were there. There is a picnic area at the top. Go left and you’ll get a good view of downtown, head right and there is more paths, with smaller paths branching off and good views of the Colorado River. Address for GPS is 3800 Mt. Bonnell Road.
360 Bridge Overlook
From Mt. Bonnell, we drove a few miles down the road to the 360 bridge. This is the Pennybacker bridge, but it’s on Loop 360, hence the name. You would think the name comes from the view, but it’s not quite a 360 degree view. If you are headed south on Loop 360 (also the Capital of Texas Highway), park right before the bridge. There is ample room to park and there were plenty of cars when we got there. Park right in front of the No Parking sign. I’m guessing this isn’t enforced.
There is a path at the sign and it leads straight up to the overlook. There are rocks to climb up, but it’s nothing hard and it’s a short distance. The top offers views of the bridge, downtown, and the river. Address for GPS is 5300 North Capitol of Texas Highway. These two hikes were just enough to get us outside for the morning and get some exercise in. Little did we know we’d be walking all over downtown later that day though. My steps for the day were around 15,000 and that was by my phone’s calculations, not my fitbit.