The Barton Creek Greenbelt: Best Access Points

Barton Creek Greenbelt

January may not be the ideal month for a visit to the great outdoors, but since this morning’s weather report is promising some unseasonably warm days ahead, and with spring not too far off, I thought I’d serve up one of Austin’s best outdoor destinations—the Barton Creek Greenbelt.

For those of you who love Lady Bird Lake’s Hike and Bike Trail, but are looking for a more rugged, less urban experience, the Greenbelt will be a welcome change of pace. Comprising an area of 809 acres and a total length of 7.9 miles, this amazing nature reserve, only minutes from Downtown Austin, lets you wander in the isolation of steep limestone cliffs, untamed vegetation, countless hiking and biking trails and dozens of natural swimming holes and waterfalls.

With spring on the way, the creek will soon be at it’s peak flow, though veteran hikers will tell you that the Greenbelt’s waterways can be a bit unpredictable—high-water years are remembered with a touching sentimentality. These, after all, are the same people who risked their lives to hang those rope swings from the branches of the trees along the creeks edge.

Though most people tend to enter the Greenbelt from an access point along the side of Loop 360, veteran visitors are quick to point out the value of knowing it’s lesser known entrances. Each part of the reserve has it’s own special characteristics.

Here’s a rundown of the Greenbelt’s access points:

Loop 360 (3755-B Capitol of Texal):
This is the main access point to the Greenbelt due to its location at the center of the trail. This entrance leads to some of the finest trails near the Seismic wall and will take you either west to Twin Falls or east to the Gus Fruh pool. Parking is available right alongside the highway.

Zilker Park:
Closest to Downtown Austin, the Zilker Park entrance leads to an easy trail ideal for mountain bikes and families who are bringing strollers.

Scottish Woods Trail (1710 Camp Craft Rd.):
This entrance lies on the opposite end of the Greenbelt and offers a more challenging experience. Less crowded, this access point begins with a downhill climb towards the creek. Numerous paths diverge from the main trail, offering a chance for more adventurous hikers to explore. Choose this entrance if you want to earn your visit to Sculpture Falls.

Twin Falls Access (3900 Frontage of Mopac):
On the other end of the spectrum, this entrance offers easy access to Twin Falls and is a short walk from Sculpture Falls. This is the best choice for someone looking to get to the Greenbelt’s best swimming spots. Unfortunately, during dry seasons these areas can only be explored on foot.

Gus Fruh (2642 Barton Hills Dr):
A direct access point to the Gus Fruh pool. This is an ideal place for dogs and kids to play. This is also one of the best areas for rock climbers. Climbing areas are located on the other side of the creek. “Guide Wall” is a good place to start.

Spyglass (1500 Spyglass Dr.):
This is also a good access point for climbers, and is the only way to reach Gus Fruh’s cliffs when the creek is too high. “The New Wall” is only fifteen minutes away.

If you decide to hit the trail, don’t forget to check out this handy map, complete with contours and top destinations, courtesy of the Austin Parks and Recreation Department. They also provide an incredible, exhaustive list of Austin trails.

Homes for sale near the Barton Creek Greenbelt

  1. 2 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 1,335 sq ft
    Lot size: 5,270 sqft
    Year built: 1981
    Parking spots: 1
  2. 2 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 1,204 sq ft
    Lot size: 2,962 sqft
    Year built: 1981
  3. 1 bed, 1 full bath
    Home size: 700 sq ft
    Year built: 2010
    Parking spots: 1
  4. 2 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 1,394 sq ft
    Lot size: 6,359 sqft
    Year built: 1981
    Parking spots: 1
  5. 2 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 935 sq ft
    Lot size: 609 sqft
    Year built: 2008
    Parking spots: 2
  6. 2 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 1,117 sq ft
    Lot size: 740 sqft
    Year built: 2008
    Parking spots: 2
  7. 3 beds, 2 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 1,845 sq ft
    Lot size: 6,011 sqft
    Year built: 1983
    Parking spots: 2
  8. 2 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 1,381 sq ft
    Lot size: 8,236 sqft
    Year built: 2009
  9. 2 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 1,713 sq ft
    Lot size: 10,802 sqft
    Year built: 1956
    Parking spots: 2
  10. 2 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 1,416 sq ft
    Lot size: 9,931 sqft
    Year built: 1960
  11. 2 beds, 2 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 1,668 sq ft
    Lot size: 4,922 sqft
    Year built: 2012
    Parking spots: 1
  12. 2 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 1,292 sq ft
    Lot size: 4,268 sqft
    Year built: 1978
  13. 2 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 1,262 sq ft
    Lot size: 4,268 sqft
    Year built: 1978
  14. 3 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 1,792 sq ft
    Lot size: 12,022 sqft
    Year built: 1959
  15. 2 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 1,138 sq ft
    Lot size: 740 sqft
    Year built: 2008
    Parking spots: 2
  16. 3 beds, 1 full bath
    Home size: 1,642 sq ft
    Lot size: 9,060 sqft
    Year built: 1954
  17. 3 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 1,956 sq ft
    Lot size: 11,107 sqft
    Year built: 1960
    Parking spots: 2
  18. 3 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 1,542 sq ft
    Lot size: 10,977 sqft
    Year built: 1974
    Parking spots: 2
  19. 4 beds, 3 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 3,374 sq ft
    Lot size: 13,939 sqft
    Year built: 1975
    Parking spots: 9
  20. 4 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 2,046 sq ft
    Lot size: 10,628 sqft
    Year built: 1976
    Parking spots: 2

See all Homes For Sale Near Austin's Barton Creek Greenbelt.
(all data current as of 7/25/2016)

Listing information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Read full disclaimer.

Comments

  1. avatar Emil Refus says:

    I’ve never had a problem parking on Scottish Woods Trail, which is why it’s my favorite trailhead for the Greenbelt. SWT is extra-wide (so you’re not interfering with traffic and nobody’s going to take off your door when you get in/out of your vehicle). It’s in a quiet neighborhood with kids, so please be cautious driving/biking and respectful of people’s property (PLEASE BE CAREFUL NOT TO LEAVE TRASH).

  2. avatar dirty Joe says:

    Mountain bikes should not be allowed on the greenbelt. They tear it up and there’s no room to pass. I’ve been hit by several inconsiderate jerks riding their bikes while listening to ipods. Idiots!

    • I love to ride my bicycle but not on the greenbelt. I prefer to walk my dog, when I go. It seems there is no where that I can go that a bicycle rider is not streaking by me. Most of the time, they make sure they slow down, but when they don’t it is unsafe for all of us.

      Slaughter Creek, behind the Alamo Drafthouse is a wooded area with deep shade and a narrow trail, that barely accommodates one person in some areas. A fast, quiet rider almost took out my friend and I when we were walking our dogs there, recently.

      Now, the one area, ten miles from my house that is a safe place for dogs and people to recreate is being being taken away,. Only the smallest scrap, near the busy road is left for our canine companions to enjoy with their friends.

  3. Scottish woods trail is in a small neighorhood. parking is limited and you suggesting that this should be a major entrance point is ridiculous. it is a small neighorhood now being crammed by cars, and poor parking. Emergency vehicles have a difficult time with this entrance. The city needs to close neighorhood access points and open up the tract of land maybe around the barton creek mall area where they have purchased land and can build proper parking and not swamping small neighorhoods with trash and parking issues. i hope in the future your article will not be recommending this entrance as it is also not an entrance that is emergency vehicle accessible.

  4. Good article. The greenbelt is a major attraction and one of the best places to mtn bike in the state (that I know of). Also, print the map and take it to Office Max and have it laminated for ~$2

  5. Thanks! I’ve been looking for a guide like this.

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