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Posts Tagged ‘Austin hiking’

Hiking In and Around Austin: Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve

by celeste.nunn | November 9th, 2009

fallsThis week I re-visited a favorite from my summer hiking adventures, the Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve. That I enjoyed this hike even in the height of our recent mid-July drought says a lot about how enjoyable Wild Basin is! However, visiting in the fall, with cooler temperatures and an active creek and waterfall, was the best way to see this little slice of wilderness preserve just off of Capital of Texas Highway. I won’t recap the history of how this property came to be preserved–that’s available to read on the organization’s website–but suffice it to say that I’m so glad its founders believed in the importance of keeping Wild Basin wild; it is truly a treasure and I am always happy to deposit my $3 entrance fee in their collection box.

Getting there? You’ll take either 2222 (if you’re coming from North Austin) to Capital of Texas/360 South, or 2244/Bee Cave Road (if you’re coming from South Austin) to Capital of Texas/360 North. Regardless, once you get on Capital of Texas, the preserve is located to the east of 360, at 805 N. Capital of Texas Highway. (map)

When did we go? On a Saturday morning, around 10 AM. Moderate to cool temps, overcast when we started out and sunny on the return trip.

berriesPros: Recent rains made the falls and creek gorgeous! There are over 3 miles of trail, from the quick and simple trek to the falls (less than a mile) to the more moderate Madrone and Triknee trails (up to 3+ miles and some climbing.) Easy to drive to and pretty easy to find.  More accessible than some other trails. Experienced hikers can get a fairly good workout quickly–we were back at the car in about an hour and twenty minutes, having hiked a little over 3 miles. The trails appear well-maintained.

Cons: Some traffic noise at certain points in the trail, can be buggy during drought season if the water is stagnant. Don’t expect solitude, particularly during cooler weather months. The parking lot was fairly full and we encountered several groups, including a girl scout troop on a nature hike. No pets allowed–which could be a “pro” for some hikers. Watch out for slippery rocks and mud around the creek area, as I learned the hard way!

Summary: Wild Basin is definitely a favorite, and one which I plan to return to many times. A go-to hike for me because of its location and topography–quick to get to, quick to hike but still feels like a workout at some points. A great place to take out of town guests for a surefire enjoyable Austin hike!

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Hiking In and Around Austin: Onion Creek District Park

by celeste.nunn | October 26th, 2009

One of my favorite outdoor activities is hiking. I like it so much I’ve even been known to hike during our hottest summer months! Granted, you have to get up pretty early if you want to enjoy your hike in August or September. One of the best things about autumn and spring in Austin is that our weather is usually dry, crisp, and sunny–perfect for hiking! Therefore, I hope to be able to get some posts up in the near future about hikes I’ve tried here in Austin…and I’ll be taking advantage of the awesome fall weather as much as possible. Please note that I’m not a professional hiker, just a layperson who loves the outdoors!

The first hike I’m documenting, Onion Creek District Park,  is 2.46 miles and a little off the beaten path (or at least it was to me.) It was recommended by a colleague who rides horses here, and who thought it would be an enjoyable hike for us.

Getting there? We took William Cannon east to a right on Pleasant Valley. Then we took the next left (it sneaks up on you!) on Springville and immediately following, a left on Onion Crossing. Right on Vine Hill, then a final right when Vine Hill dead-ends into Onion Creek Parkway. Onion Creek Parkway terminates in a sign that says “no motorized vehicles” and you will see a playscape and restroom facilities to the right and trail-head to the left. Park to the right.

**NOTE: street signs were down on both Onion Crossing and Vine Hill…a GPS would have been handy but was not necessary, so plan to keep your eyes peeled if you don’t have one!

When did we go? On a Sunday afternoon around 1 PM. Moderate temps, dry and sunny.

Pros: Onion Creek was rocky, with clear running water that was ankle to mid-calf deep in some places. Extra points for a hike with water, although there’s no telling how it might look if not for recent rains. Designated an off-leash area by Austin Parks & Rec (which might be a con to some!) and also a horse path (ditto.) Not too strenuous, minor elevation changes. Solitude might be enjoyed even on a weekend day of very nice weather–other than right at the trailhead, we saw one horseback rider and one hiker with dogs the entire 3 hours we were out.

Cons: Path is extremely overgrown in some areas due to recent rains/probable low maintenance. Trails are not well-marked and there are a plethora of off-shoots that terminate abruptly. Mosquitoes were thick–wear plenty of repellent if you plan to undertake this hike after a rain or during humid summer months. Expect some creek-crossing if you plan to hike a longer distance. Horses appear to travel this trail frequently–enough said! If you venture off the beaten path, watch out for hunters and their traps! Although illegal, we were warned by a hiker about poachers on the property and we encountered a metal trap not far from the path.

Summary: Not my favorite hike, but worth doing at least once if you have an interest in Austin hiking. Onion Creek is very pretty and if you have a horse or dog(s), this hike might be for you!

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