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plectrudis's Logbook


Total Log Entries: 24 [List Them] [Map Them]

Average Rating: (3.54)

Earliest Log Entry: 9/21/2015
Latest Log Entry: 3/28/2017

Average ratings are based on the published values and not the values entered in your own log entries.


Panorama from the boardwalk

View of downtown from the boardwalk [Ann and Roy Butler Hike & Bike Trail]

Log Entries

A convenient downtown stroll
Edward Rendon Sr. Park [Hiking] - 3/28/2017  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 3.58 Miles Duration: N/A

This park makes a nice alternative to the more traveled stretch of the Ann & Roy Butler hike-n-bike on the opposite (S) side of Lady Bird Lake, which gets pretty crowded.  Ed Rendon is still popular, but not as dense.  There is partial shade, lovely lake views, at least a couple of bathrooms, and water fountains.  In addition, the west end of the trail runs into some developed areas, meaning you can interrupt your walk to stop at Royal Blue Grocery or similar.  The east end of trail peters out around a bunch of little league fields, and the greenbelt in between provides a spacious park for picnicking or throwing a frisbee.

I like to park at the baseball fields (Camacho Activity Center), walk into town, and then walk back, which puts me conveniently near the restaurant district on 7th for grabbing dinner on the way home. Admittedly, from some perspectives, this might be considered counterproductive...

Shady, Now with bathrooms
Onion Creek District Park [Hiking] - 3/27/2017  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 2.80 Miles Duration: N/A

Google directed me to park at the intersection of Firefly & Onion Creek Dr.  And, to be fair, there's a sign there that says "Onion Creek Park."  However, there are no trails anywhere near the sign.  The main entrance/parking lot is at Onion Creek Dr and Vine Hill.

The park folks have added a bathroom and playground since the original write-up, but no trial map (this has been a theme lately--the city puts up a map kiosk... and then leaves it empty.  Why???) 

TO ACCESS THE TRAIL: from the parking lot, head down toward the creek.  You'll see a well-worn (but unmarked) trail on your right with a gate across it--that's the greenbelt.  It runs parallel to the creek, though the creek isn't visible from the main trail.  By ~5 in the afteroon, the first ~1/3 of the trail is wonderfully shady, and about another 1/3 is part-shade.  The far end is less maintained, narrower, and more exposed.

THE GOOD:  Shade!  Can't have too much of it in Austin, especially in the summer.  Also, a reasonable amount of foot traffic and dogs.  It's not full of people, but there are enough on a weeknight to feel safe.  The dog density was fine (for me)--a few dogs, but not hordes of them.

THE BAD: Lots of poison ivy--mostly avoidable, since the trail is pretty wide at the beginning.  But it does lean into the trail, and is a little closer than I'd like as the trail narrows. The petering out of the shade is also a downer.  Also, it was crazy humid--not sure if it's always that way due to the creek, or just today's weather.  And I got some bug bites--a combo of chiggers and gnats, I think?  Might be the warm winter + wet spring?  Maybe August is less insectoidal.

Lastly, the empty neighborhood (not part of the trail, but of course you can walk down the streets) is kinda neat--lots of lovely mature trees and green grass, but virtually no shrubs or brush.  It's the most park-like park I've seen in such a large space a while.  Not sure if the city mows periodically to keep the brush and saplings down or what, but it's pleasantly Arcadian.  Next time, I would plan to start by walking the neighborhood and then the greenbelt, to get more steps.

Low-key hike/walk with some nice woodsy bits
Mary Moore Searight Park [Hiking] - 3/25/2017  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 5.14 Miles Duration: N/A

I had no idea this park was here, but it's certainly popular with the surrounding neighborhoods and apartment complexes, for whom it must be a very handy amenity.  

It feels a little decayed--some years ago, the park put in an extensive asphalt trail with periodic exercise stations, but now the surface is rutted and full of potholes, and for some reason all the trail maps have been removed.

It's certainly not neglected, though, as the trails are fairly busy with a mix of walkers, joggers, and dog-owners, and cyclists, plus there is a model airplane park that seems to get heavy traffic on the weekends.  Not a great choice for solitude, but it is a good choice for safety-conscious singletons, at least on a fine Saturday afternoon in spring.

Like most parks in Texas, it could use more trees, but it does have some nice wooded areas (maybe 1/3 of the trail is shaded?).  In addition to the asphalt trail, there are also unpaved trails that wander off into the woods, which are a little less walk-y and more hike-y, but on the whole, this is a pretty strollable, non-strenuous trail.

Lovely views of the creek on a popular trail
Barton Creek - Lower [Hiking] - 2/27/2017  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 2.64 Miles Duration: N/A

A good location for an after-work hike for those who work downtown. Some of the creek views are espcially lovely, as are some of the fern-covered seeping bluffs.

Pretty prairie & hills landscape, especially nice creek
Balcones Canyonlands NWR - Doeskin Ranch [Hiking] - 2/18/2017  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 4.26 Miles Duration: N/A

Doeskin Ranch has lots of nice grasslands, as well as some very pretty sections along the creek.  I always drive in along Cow Creek Rd to really soak in the creek views.  The park is roughly on two levels--you park and begin on the lower level, then hike up to a plateau, then some more hills, back to the plateau, and then back down to your car.

The stretch up to the hill is a bit of a gasper (for me), but otherwise, it's a fairly moderate trail, with lots of good hill country landscape flavor.