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The Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail, named for a former Austin mayor and his wife, is a natural gem in the heart of the Texas capital. The scenic trail forms a loop around Lady Bird Lake, a reservoir on the Colorado River, and is sometimes referred to as the Lady Bird Lake Trail or the Town Lake Trail.
The trail is bookended by two major recreational areas: Zilker Park on its western end and Guerrero Park on its eastern tip. The lush, tree-lined pathway also provides access to Lamar and Waller Beaches. Fishing is allowed on the rest areas but not along the main route. A unique highlight of the trail is its passage under the Congress Avenue Bridge, home to thousands of bats that canvas the sky at sundown during the summer months.
In June 2014, a lakefront boardwalk, including a series of bridges directly over the water, was completed, closing a short gap on the trail's south side and uniting its east and west halves. The 7,250-foot boardwalk is composed of concrete deck planks, is well-lit, and includes an art installation by Ken Little, 7 viewing areas, an ADA accessible pier, and a trailhead restroom. Water and restrooms are available at numerous locations along the trail. Refer to the TrailLink map for the exact locations of these amenities.
Austin's regional public transportation system (CapMetro) provides access to the trail. Visit the CapMetro website to plan your trip.
For those driving, parking is available at numerous locations along the trail. Visit the TrailLink map for all options and detailed directions. Locations include Zilker Metropolitan Park (2100 Barton Springs Rd), Shoal Beach Park (707 W Cesar Chavez St), Auditorium Shores Park (900 W Riverside Dr), and Longhorn Shores Park (60 S Pleasant Valley Rd).
Beautiful scenery with a wonderful variety of twist and turns, bridges and pathways alongside the lake. All on a well maintained gravel trail. Plenty of places to stop and picnic or just enjoy the views of the kayakers and paddle boards. This is a super busy and popular path with LOTS of joggers and pedestrians. We went on a Tuesday and the traffic was just about the right amount. I’m sure weekends would be a challenge.
Riverwalk and bike trail was amazing. The views and the trail were impeccable. What a gorgeous place
My husband and I took this as our first longer trail with our new ebikes. Great trail with great scenery. We rode pedal assist 1 most of the way but we were not in a hurry…just taking it all in.
Wow! What a pleasure it was to experience this awesome trail on a bike!
We did a clockwise loop of the lake, about 10.5 miles, on an overcast, horribly humid, early Sunday morning in October, but the weather certainly did not discourage us or keep other active Austinites off the trail! I have never seen so many people on a trail before, and we were easily outnumbered by walkers and joggers by a ratio of at least 50:1. There had to be thousands on that busy, crowded hike and bike trail, but everyone was so Austin cool, chill, and polite that nary a negative word was expressed (except by the irate homeless guy who yelled something unintelligible at me when he felt I invaded his space). Be that as it may, for these two Southern Californians the trail and its users gave off a beach city sort of vibe such as in San Diego. Everyone was so fit, healthy-looking, and laid back.
Speaking of homeless: When we first pulled up to park and set up our bikes at Rendon Park I was concerned about all of the homeless who had pitched tents and staked out their own bit of real estate, but my concerns were allayed when I saw the hundreds of parked cars and joggers utilizing the trail. With so many using the trail it was obviously safe for a couple of senior citizen California tourists! (Later in the day my nephew, an Austin resident, told me the homeless had pretty much taken over Lady Bird Park, and it was just a few weeks prior that the citizens and the city got fed up and finally had them relocated; at least, most of them.)
The trail truly is totally magnificent! The views of the lake, trees, and modern downtown skyline from the awesome boardwalk are absolutely spectacular and are so photo-op worthy. The path, which is mostly hard packed dirt, is not an issue for bicyclists and most likely appreciated by the runners. Whether you live in the Austin area or just visiting, this is a can't miss trail!
This trail is a great showcase of what this app is all about. The scenery is beautiful and the path is very easy to follow. There are multiple spots along the way to take a quick jump into the water. Absolutely beautiful path. Lives in Houston, and I would absolutely make the drive once a week to come out here.
My son and I (14 yr old) went to ride this trail. One of the things I love most about it, is that its a huge loop. So you park and start to ride and 14.5 miles later your back where you started. There are ways to shorten the ride if you don’t want to go the distance but I personally feel the distance is perfect. The scenery is amazing as the entire ride circles lady bird lake. There is some fun down hill portions to gain some speed and some good climbs to feel the burn in your legs but overall it’s a pretty straight forward trail that isn’t technical at all. I did have to check the map a few time to make sure I was staying on the right path but it wasn’t hard at all to navigate. Highly recommend!
I live in Houston and I've heard a lot of great reviews about this trail. Finally me & my wife drove almost 6 hours round trip and rode this trail on 10/21/2017 and here is my thought about this trail.
1. The length of the trail is great and same as the scenery.
2. The best part of the trail is the boardwalk and the Pfluger Pedestrian Bridge.
3. My wife complains about the why the trail is not paved, it was too dusty.
4. SIGNS! The trail need a lot of signs especially the east end of the lake (Longhorn Dam & Holly St.). We went over to the east side of the S Pleasant Valley Rd. because there was no sigh to give us the right direction and the trail became almost invisible at the baseball field at Riverview St.
5. MAPS! Lacking of the "You Are Here" Maps, we could not get a good idea of which part of the trail we were at.
This could be a 5-star trail if there are enough signs & maps, please improve...
This well maintained, heavily used trail is a jewel in the crown of Austin bike/hike trails. From MoPac bridge to the Montopolis sports compex is a fairly level ride over crushed red granite most of the way. The new paved section over the water on the south side completes a fabulous trail. I've been riding this trail for nearly 20 years now. I wish the rest of the city had more like it so bikers can get to various places safely.
Parking under the I-35 bridge and heading west gives you plenty of options to shorten your ride if so desired. Staying on the trail can be tricky with so much construction going on. Generally the trail is reasonably maintained some spot worn by traffic and affected by the excessive rains care should be taken in low areas one would expect to be drainage. Surface is a combo of concrete, crushed granite and compacted dirt, there are a few sections of very loose crushed granite and care should be taken there. Depending on the day and time of day, traffic both foot and bike can be extremely heavy particularly weekends after 8 - 9am and throughout the day and after 4:30 pm (due to people getting off work and increased use) during the week. Best time to ride is before 7 on weekends and before 3 during the week. Tree coverage is moderate, access to the road (in case of mechanical breakdown or injury)is adequate. The path over Longhorn Dam is very narrow allowing only one bike at a time to pass (unless both get off and both "scrunch" to pass one another. It's a very nice path overall.... it's the overuse that distracts from it.
first off this trail, and the trail system it is a part of, is beautiful! But you can get easily turned around and take a wrong turn if you are trying to stay on this loop around the lake. I did not see 1 sign that distinguished this loop from the rest of the trail system. so my 10 mile run ended up being about 14 miles and I still did not do a complete loop. so bring a map!
It was a little cold and rainy when we road, but it was a nice ride in a great city. The path could have been a little better marked and the stretch over the dam was too tight for a bike and runner. The new boardwalk was nicely done. They made it nice and wide with a great stamped concrete surface. Great view of the river and Austin.
I discovered this trail (via TrailLink) during a recent visit to Austin. I parked at Zilker park, enjoyed the scenic Barton Springs area, then set off for a run along the Colorado River. The trail was absolutely beautiful and there were many people out enjoying it - walking, running and biking - even though it was mid-morning on a Tuesday. Despite the large number of people on the trail, there was plenty of room to navigate around others and I was able to run the pace I wanted unimpeded. There were multiple places to stop along the river and view the turtles, birds and fish in the river, or to watch people canoeing and kayaking. I look forward to returning to Austin to visit this trail again!
The trail offers many options for loops, and there will be one more when the new boardwalk crossing opens. We began at the end of W Riverside where there's a map. They have the length of the loops so you can customize your outing based on time or ability. The western end is feet picturesque. The eastern end is hilly and more urban. It's a very enjoyable trail for everyone!
We wife and I , along with my son,his wife and 2 kids, 7 and 9 rode this trail. Great view with lots of places for photo oops. Can't wait to ride again!
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