If you’re looking to plan a fun, outdoor date in Austin, look no further! Even though Valentine’s Day falls on a Sunday this year, going out or a downtown date night may not be in your future this year with COVID-19. Luckily, with Austin’s great weather and beautiful scenery, it’s easy to get outside and hit the trails. If you and your date love the outdoors, take a hike and bring along a picnic for a fun day together. Here are five of our favorite Austin hikes that make for a great date:
Sculpture Falls is a great hike for all skill levels. It’s considered easy and features scenic views and a swimming hole, which would make for a fun date (if the weather allows). The trail is a little over 3 miles with little elevation out and back. It features many nice viewpoints with beautiful waterfalls — perfect for some self-timer couples photos. Once you come upon Sculpture Falls, you might see some areas to lay out blankets to take a break or eat a picnic. There’s also a small bluff that allows cliff jumping, if you’re feeling brave. If not, it’s completely acceptable to relax along the banks of the creek and take in the views. Sculpture Falls also allows dogs if you want to bring your furry friend along for your date.
Turkey Creek Trail
Located out toward Westlake in Emma Long Park, Turkey Creek Trail is a 2.5-mile loop that crosses over the creek several times throughout your hike. The hike features a lot of shade through the tree-lined trails and it also welcomes off-leash dogs. There are some points in the trail that are steep and rocky, so this trail might be better suited for those that have a moderate hiking skill level. It’s important to note that the trail is free, but Emma Long Park does have entry fees: $5 Monday through Thursday and $10 Friday through Sunday. The good thing is, if the date is going well, there are plenty of other trails and activities to do with your date if one hike wasn’t long enough.
Blunn Creek Preserve
Blunn Creek Preserve is a quick, in and out, 1.5-mile loop that will give you views of the city and St. Edward’s University. Even though you’re so close to the city, it’s easy to feel as if you’re miles away from Austin. The trail is well-maintained, but it can get a bit steep and rocky at times. At some points during the hike, you’ll be surrounded by dense trees, while at other times you’ll reach overlooks that provide beautiful views of the surrounding area. After working up an appetite, try one of the delicious local Austin restaurants located near the trail in South Austin.
Mount Bonnell (pictured above)
If you’re looking for some incredible views of Austin, then you can’t miss Mount Bonnell, located in Covert Park. With an altitude of 775 feet, Mount Bonnell is considered the highest point in Austin. If you’re feeling adventurous, this hike features a 102-stair climb to a deck and pavilion perfect for a scenic picnic with your date. Don’t let that scare you, though — the view is worth it.
Mary Moore Searight Park Trail
Mary Moore Searight Park Trail provides a great adventure for couples wanting to leave the city life for the day. The loop is just over 2 miles with very little elevation gain. It features some beautiful water scenery and you might even see some wildlife. The main loop is paved, but if you want to discover more of the park, there are unmarked trails that connect throughout. These areas are definitely less crowded than the main path. Mary Moore Searight Metro Park even has trails specifically for horseback riding if you and your date are interested in a second, excursion date.
Whatever trail you choose, make sure you and your date are comfortable with the area and level of difficulty. Always pack water and snacks, and wear comfortable clothing and shoes. Remember to look online to view any trail closures and regulations — every park is different. Whether you and your partner are going on your first date together or your hundredth, Austin has something new to offer everyone and these are just a few of the great hiking spots we’re lucky to have available to us.