Austin is consistently ranked one of the fittest cities in America, and for good reason. We’ve got a plethora of great gyms, fitness studios and personal trainers in every corner of the city, in addition to amazing parks and hiking trails around town.
As we move into the sunny summer months, it’s a great time to capitalize on the free fitness parks around the city that allow for some fun and challenging workouts solo or with your friends. In all four corners of Austin and everywhere in between, you’ll find trails, parks, swimming areas and outdoor fitness equipment that’s fun and free.
Here are a few to choose from.
The Town Lake Fitness Course is a great setup alongside the Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail on Lady Bird Lake. There are actually two outdoor fitness parks located along the trail, south of the river at Butler Shores and Auditorium Shores. Both are scenic spots to sweat it out on some fun equipment and are near shower facilities and water stations so you can stay hydrated. The trail itself is a 10-mile loop around Lady Bird Lake, so you can head to the fitness stations for a bodyweight strength workout and then get some cardio in on the trail. This is definitely a popular spot, so expect to see a lot of other Austinites on the trail!
If you like to get creative with your outdoor workouts and might want to grab a cup of coffee or a breakfast taco from Veracruz All Natural post-sweat-sesh, Mueller Lake Park is a great place for a quick workout. There’s a 5-mile hike-and-bike loop that runs throughout the neighborhood, and Mueller Lake Park is 30 acres full of beautiful landscaping, water features and sculptures along the way. The large stone stairs surrounding the lake are a landscaping feature that doubles as a challenging spot for workouts — you can get a full-body strength and HIIT workout by using the steps as your playground. Speaking of playgrounds, they’ve got a great one for the family so everyone can have a day of fun in the park.
If you’re an Eastside dweller looking for a way to get your workout in without going far from home, there’s a new calisthenics park located behind the Residences at Saltillo on East 5th Street. A great little park with pullup bars, an ab station and more, this spot is right off the Red Line Trail, an in-process linear park the city has been updating to provide more hike, bike and workout stations, with plans to extend it from Downtown Austin to Leander. It’s a small space but conveniently located near the slew of new residential buildings on the Eastside.
One of the most well-equipped outdoor workout areas in Austin that’s free to the public, the Caven Lacrosse and Sports Center at Clark Field is loaded with different options to get your sweat on outside. There’s a well-equipped calisthenics park featuring a variety of equipment for bodyweight strength workouts, as well as a track and basketball courts. Additionally, a perk of being a campus facility means lockers and water bottle stations are available for use while you get your sweat on. You’re also able to make group reservations for the courts to make sure you and your friends can get in a pickup basketball game that fits with your schedule.
If you’re looking for a scenic spot in North Austin, St. Edward’s Park has multiple trails for running, hiking and biking (with or without your pup!). Bull Creek runs through the park, and there’s a beautiful swimming spot so you can take a quick dip to cool off. Full of small ponds, waterfalls, and natural Texas greenery and flowers, it’s a great place to enjoy nature as you get those steps in. There’s a free parking lot right off the trail, so you can pack a picnic and have easy access to the loop and water.
Great Hills Park is another hiking spot in North Austin that offers not only a trail but also a playground and outdoor fitness equipment. The park has a small but well-kept area for bodyweight strength workouts in the park, a playground with climbing equipment and easy access to 1.7-miles of trails. It’s another scenic park with beautiful views on the nature trails for a fun, quick hike. Great Hills Park has picnic pavilions for use, but be warned — there are no restrooms, so plan accordingly!
These are just a few of the many outdoor workout spots that are free around the city, so lace up those shoes and get outside this summer! You might just find your new favorite outdoor adventure in Austin.
About the Author
Sarah Leahy is a Minneapolis transplant in East Austin, certified personal trainer, award-winning interior designer and former gym owner. She offers in-person and online training with an emphasis on strength training and building confidence in and out of the gym. Leahy’s passion for strength extends to your business, with a full offering of gym design and business consulting services.