Bull Creek Preserve

6.50 Miles
3stars (3.27)15
2point5stars (2.83)
3point5stars (3.73)
More Info
Lots of uphill sections
The photos make it look easier than it is. Lots of relatively steep portions, some slick with moisture. Fun hike though. (Photo by gmtjoy)
more falls on the creek
more falls on the creek (Photo by jimmy peace)
pretty clouds
nice shot (Photo by jimmy peace)
down at the creek
down at the creek (Photo by jimmy peace)
mtn laurel early bloom
always love the mtn laurels (Photo by jimmy peace)
eastern phoebe
this was the only bird i was able to photo (Photo by jimmy peace)
trail across preserve
going up (Photo by ayh123)
trail across preserve
going up (Photo by ayh123)
Log Entries
Nice hike to hilltop
By gmtjoy on 12/14/2021
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 3stars Solitude: 4point5stars
Distance: 4.00 Miles Duration: N/A

A fun hike that's a big uphill, then some easy gravel road walking to the end/start of the St. Edward's park trail at the top. Then a quick hike back down. Saw one other person the entire time. Lots of side-trails I haven't done yet.

much less traveled
By jimmy peace on 3/3/2017
Rating: 2point5stars Difficulty: 3point5stars Solitude: 4stars
Distance: 5.00 Miles Duration: N/A

not many hit this part of the trail

i made it as far as the blue water tower
By jimmy peace on 10/4/2015
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 4stars Solitude: 4stars
Distance: 4.00 Miles Duration: N/A

next time i will go all the way to jester and over to st edwards

Fun hike
By texaskdog on 2/8/2014
Rating: 3stars Difficulty: 3stars Solitude: 4stars
Distance: 3.19 Miles Duration: 1 hour, 6 minutes

Not as steep as we previously thought thanks to runkeeper (actually once you go up near the beginning you go back down quite a bit too).  Trail closes for the year again soon.

By AustinWhitewater on 4/22/2013
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 3point5stars Solitude: 4stars
Distance: 9.00 Miles Duration: N/A
Hiked this yesterday and did about 9 miles with all of the side trails we did. We were on the trails for about 5 hours.
But my friend's car was broken into while we were hiking. They broke the glass to get in. Great hike but bad experience!
BTW, contrary to what ayh123 said on 1/13/13, you DO NEED A PERMIT to hike in the fenced preserve during the period of March 1 thru July 31 of each year. Being in the preserve without a permit during this timeframe is a finable offense and rangers do patrol it.
You do not need a permit the rest of the year, and you never need a permit to hike the Bull Creek Park and greenbelt, which is not fenced.
The place needs some picking up.
By cwlatapie on 3/7/2013
Rating: 3stars Difficulty: 2stars Solitude: 2point5stars
Distance: 2.00 Miles Duration: 2 hours
The place needs some picking up from the last flood. There a lot of downed trees on and around the trails.Not very many people on a Thursday afternoon. Very nice I will go back
Some tips
By ayh123 on 1/13/2013
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 2stars Solitude: 4stars
Distance: 5.00 Miles Duration: 2 hours

Between Mar 1-Jul 31, you don't need a permit here. But rules are technically 3 per group max, no dogs, no bikes.

I started from just off of 360 South, first right after Spicewood Springs. The map provided was so undetailed, I had to backtrack several times. The most recognizable trail actually leads you around to the Bull Creek Greenbelt. If you want to go on the trails heading North towards St. Edward's, go behind the signage to the right, along the chain link fence. The path is sort of hidden.

The thing that helped me the most was my smartphone GPS. I hadn't even planned on using it, but that was how I knew I was completely off the trail. (Well, that, and I ran into the Bull Creek waterfall.) Also, I bookmarked a topographical Google Map, which helped me find the path with the most elevation gain.

Even looking for the most elevation gain, I only got from 600 ft to 800 ft, only a 200 ft climb to the water treatment facility! It was really nice, a peaceful, beautiful day, with the most elevation I have climbed so far in Austin anyway. I am fairly new, so if anyone knows any hikes nearby that climb to the top of a really high hill... let me know :)

360 trail head thru Bull Creek Preserve to St. Edwards Park and return
By AustinWhitewater on 10/6/2012
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 3point5stars Solitude: 3stars
Distance: 7.50 Miles Duration: 2 hours, 45 minutes
Saturday, to celebrate the cool morning, I decided to do one of my favorite hikes in and around Austin - Bull Creek Preserve to St. Edwards Park and return.
The Bull Creek Greenbelt entrance to the preserve is located at the northern parking area on the west side of 360. Please read and follow the restrictions for trail use posted at the entrance and just inside the pass-thru in the fence. Note that is it a no smoking area, and that no horses, dogs, even on leashes, or bicycles are allowed.
The are several shorter trails and loops close to the parking lot, and there is also good hiking in the more accessible greenbelt. The longer trails to St Edwards Park start inside the pass-thru to the right of the signs and all the way to the fence.
Following this trail up the hill you will come to three junctions fairly quickly. All three lead off to the right to the shorter loops. To stay on the longer option take the left forks at all. You will be heading mostly west and a little bit to the north as you can see on the trail map. All of the trail junctions inside the preserve are very well marked except for one, and I will get to that shortly.
At the next junction (the fourth) you will have the option of either left or right. The left options heads west up Jester Hill. The right option gets to the same place but a different, and I think better, way. The right option heads west also but this trail is steeper and more challenging, IMO.
Both the right and left options end up on a limited-access power line road. Whichever option you previously took, turn left on the power line road and continue up Jester Hill.
At the top of Jester Hill up will come a City street and on both sides of the street there is a pass-thru in the fence. Continue across the street and up the hill but now start paying attention for the junction to the right that leads north to St. Edwards park. The marker is nearly hidden buy the overgrown brush and the marker is a few feet to the right of the trail you will be on. If you come to a second City street you have passed it so turn around, go back and look for the trail off to your now left.
Once on this northern trail just follow the trail markers, which are plentiful and easy to see. You will have to negotiate several more pass-thrus and cross under a large overhead power lines, but will soon start the downhill section to St. Edwards. I like to stay to the left following the fence line, but there are numerous side trails off to the right I have not tried any of these but they are the trails in the hash-mark section of the linked map. They all look like they will take you down to the park where you will need to cross Bull Creek in you want to get all of the way into St. Edwards Park. The creek and all of its feeders are represented by the blue dotted lines on the linked map.

This out and back (Point A to B, then back to A) takes me  about 2.5 to 3 hours depending on how much time I spend at St. Edwards, but I  walk at a steady fast pace.

I have never taken my GPS on this hike (I should) so I can't give  you the mileage. Another poster describes the hike from the other
direction and says the round trip is 8.5 miles, but yet another poster says it is 6.58. I split the difference and said 7.5.

It actually could be all 3 depending on which and how many of the side trails you do or don't take. You can also do this one way, but that necessitates a car parked at each end.

There are people on the trails on weekends, but not many. I frequently do it on weekdays and have seen no one. Give it a try and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Great hike, not much water to be found
By jtkatie on 9/10/2011
Rating: 3stars Difficulty: 2point5stars Solitude: 4stars
Distance: 5.50 Miles Duration: 1 hour, 51 minutes

Hiked through the St. Edwards Hill trail, through the preserve, to the preserve trailhead (as marked on here), through to the other side and along Whisper Ridge Drive (?) for about 1.2 miles. Then we turned around and retraced our steps. We only saw one other group (of 3) along the whole way - probably because Texas football was playing at the time!

Evening hike
By jtkatie on 11/26/2010
Rating: 3stars Difficulty: 2point5stars Solitude: 3point5stars
Distance: 3.00 Miles Duration: 1 hour, 10 minutes

We climbed from the St. Edwards Hill Trail trailhead to the preserve entrance, through the preserve to the parking area marked on this Jester Mountain map and back. Wish we had more time to hike, but the sun was setting fast

Climb of about 300 feet in elevation from the St. Edwards trailhead to the parking lot. A nice climb. :-)

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