Hornsby Bend

2point5stars (2.86)7
1star (1.21)
3point5stars (3.79)
More Info
Another View Of The Trail
The trail is often a dirt path or cut grass clearing. (Photo by Lone_Star)
View Of The Trail
There are unimproved roads along the ponds that you can hike. (Photo by Lone_Star)
Colorado River
Some trail outlets take you down to the river. (Photo by Lone_Star)
Aquatic Greenhouse
These large buildings are aquatic greenhouses. (Photo by Lone_Star)
Wastewater Treatment Facility
Hold your nose as you pass through this area. (Photo by Lone_Star)
Entrance Sign
This is the entrance sign to the park and research facility. (Photo by Lone_Star)
Log Entries
Not for everyone but we enjoyed it!
By bowlesfamily on 12/20/2014
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 1point5stars Solitude: 5stars
Distance: 3.00 Miles Duration: 2 hours

We were looking for hiking options in East Austin when we stumbled across this place.  I wish I had planned better because there are apparently regular bird counts and guided tours listed on the Hornsby Bend Bird Observatory website calendar.  Admittedly, there is some odor, which is not surpising as it is a biosolids treatment plant.  But this is such a nice space for wildlife, and it is very gracious that the city permits the public to enjoy birding here.  The gentleman at the front gate was extremely helpful and provided us with a map which came in handy.  We saw only four people in two hours.  Ironically, we would have stayed longer but for the lack of restrooms--there are some in the administration building, but that is not always open during hiking hours.

Nice Birding Spot (But It Stinks!)
By Lone_Star on 4/22/2014
Rating: 1star Difficulty: halfstar Solitude: 1point5stars
Distance: 7.40 Miles Duration: 2 hours, 36 minutes

Hornsby Bend is an interesting environmental research and wastewater treatment facility.  There are some unimproved roads that you can drive or hike as well as some hiking trails that take you along the Colorado River.  Along the ponds you can see many different types of birds, so you may run into some birdwatchers, too.  The area where the wastewater treatment facility is is very smelly.  Be prepared to gag while you hike.

Be sure to ask for a site map at the entrance to see where the trails run.

Surprise Hike - River Trail Hike
By Collin on 2/7/2010
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 1star Solitude: 5stars
Distance: 6.00 Miles Duration: N/A

I was suprised at the scenery and solitude of this hike.  The River Trail parallels the Colorado River.  I parked just ouside the fence.  I hiked to the left along side the large man made ponds .. lots of nice ducks .. I kept going South on the narrow road to the River Trail trailhead.   This tail is 3 miles each way, 6 total.  The first mile has more dense trees. Then there is an interesting huge greenhouse with algae ponds.  From here going West was when the hike got even better.   To the right of the trail is a large natural pond with lots of birds.  The trail curves some .. after about 1 1/2 miles the jeep road trail has a 'Y'.  The right follows the power lines and left is very scenic.  Lots of river views.  On a sunny Saturday only saw 3 other people.  Note: this park is closed at sunset with gate locked.


By texaskdog on 12/27/2009
Rating: 2stars Difficulty: 1star Solitude: 4stars
Distance: 4.00 Miles Duration: 1 hour

Smells bad to the east, not much for river views.  Great for bird watching.  Worth going once maybe even twice.  Isolation was kind of nice.  Dont be afraid to drive in, looks like little paths but they are roads.  Some paths not well labeled.

Around the ponds
By Whit on 9/21/2008
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 1star Solitude: 5stars
Distance: 3.42 Miles Duration: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Very quiet and still - not many birds this morning, but a few nice black-necked stilts and great egrets.  Scissor-tailed flycatchers. Smell wasn't bad - slight amonia tinge from time to time.

good and bad hike
By Collin on 12/15/2007
Rating: 1star Difficulty: 1star Solitude: 4stars
Distance: 3.00 Miles Duration: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Warning: this park is part of a sewage treatment facility. I started hike north edge of pond.  Signs warned of "digestive gasses - no smoking" There was a strong breeze and I started to get sick from the gasses. If you drive south of pond and park there are trails south of the ponds that don't have the odors. Very few views of river. Trail faily plain.  Nice solitude though.  Noise from planes and highways nearby.

Owls, finally
By Austin Explorer on 4/15/2006
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 2point5stars Solitude: 2stars
Distance: 2.00 Miles Duration: N/A
Went on a guided hike for an evening owl prowl. Started off with 36 people! Most left after a couple hours of fruitless searching, then two barred owls came and checked out the persistent birders. Very cool hiking at night. There are more trails here than I expected, so I'll be back during the daylight hours.