Did you know there are multiple greenbelts in Austin, but the Barton Creek Greenbelt is so beloved that locals commonly refer to it as “the Greenbelt”?
The Barton Creek Greenbelt contains about 12 miles of gorgeous trails with various terrains, with the main trail spanning about 7 miles. This particular greenbelt is considered one of the top hiking trails in Texas, but you’ll also find many joggers that prefer the trails over the roads to train. In addition to hiking, the Greenbelt also has mountain biking trails and beautiful limestone bluffs for rock climbing. When there’s enough water in the creek, there are several swimming holes to enjoy.
It’s hard to believe something so beautiful is located minutes from downtown! There are a plethora of activities to enjoy on the Greenbelt. Don’t worry if you can’t squeeze them all in on one day; it gives you an excuse to return!
If you begin from the trailhead at 2201 Barton Springs Rd., you will find this access point is great for beginners and for those looking for a low-impact, relaxing hike. The beginning of the trail is pretty flat and not too demanding. If you’d like more fun and challenging hikes or climbs, head about 1.2 miles south, and you’ll come to the Spyglass Access point at 1601 Spyglass Dr.
Spyglass is a favorite access point for many, including my family, mainly because this is where Taco Deli is located! We often grab tacos from this local favorite and continue exploring. If you head north on the trail, you’ll arrive at Campbell’s Hole, a popular swimming spot. If you head south, you’ll catch the first of many climbing walls on the Barton Creek Greenbelt, including the Enclave and other great bouldering areas. If climbing is your thing, continue south and you’ll hit Seismic Wall.
If you’re wanting to reach Campbell’s Hole from the east side of the creek, you can find an access point at Barton Hills Elementary School at 2010 Homedale Dr. This is where our family accesses Campbell’s Hole and our children often hike here with their classmates, too! A huge benefit of going to a school near the Greenbelt! Again, head north to arrive at Campbell’s Hole. There are additional hiking trails on the east side of the creek, so even if there’s no water, there’s still plenty to explore in this area.
From here, travel about 1.2 miles to the next access point which is the Gus Fruh access point at 2642 Barton Hills Dr. There’s another popular swimming hole here, and this one is a neighborhood favorite when there is water. It can get quite deep, unlike Campbell’s Hole, so please watch your pets and children closely. You’ll also find several great limestone climbing walls, such as Urban Assault, as you head south from this access point. If you’re up for some more hiking, continue south for roughly 1.4 miles, and you’ll arrive at the main access point, Loop 360 Access at 3755-B Capital of Texas Hwy.
This access point is where you start to notice more mountain bikers since from here, the terrain is a lot more “fun.” This is also the main access point for the popular climbing wall, Seismic. Our family doesn’t tend to do a lot of hiking in this area since the area tends to attract more mountain bikers, but it is still fun to explore.
On your way to the next access point at Mopac, about 1.3 miles away, you’ll run into a fork in the trail where the Violet Crown Trail and the Greenbelt trails divide. Continue straight to remain on the Greenbelt trail to the Gaines/Twin Falls Access point at 3918 S. Mopac Expy. This is where you can access the Twin Falls swimming hole. Even when there isn’t water, this area is still one of our family’s favorite spots because of the beautiful trees.
This access point is great for hikers, trail runners and mountain bikers since the terrain is more diverse. Plus, it becomes less crowded from here to the last access point Trails End, which is about 2.8 miles west at 1710 Camp Craft Rd. This is considered the trail’s end. Here you will find the famous Hill of Life and Sculpture Falls, a swimming hold. The Hill of Life is… well, a BIG HILL! It’s about a half-mile hike (either uphill or downhill, depending on your direction).
The Barton Creek Greenbelt has something for every interest and skill level. Take your kids or dog for a walk, explore and don’t forget to bring your water. Now, go have fun!
About the Author
Jessica Tranchina, PT, DPT, is a co-founder of Generator Athlete Lab and has been an athlete her whole life. As the creator of the Generator Method, Tranchina works to help guide others to better performance and recovery and is passionate about bringing the active community of Austin together from all fitness levels and athletic backgrounds. She is the owner of PRIMO Performance and Rehabilitation, which started in Austin in 2010, where her expertise and unique skill set have been established as one of the best in her field. NASM-CPT, ART Certified Provider, CKTP.