In the past, when I thought about the state of Texas, thoughts of brown grass and tumbleweeds would be conjured up in the mind. While parts of Texas definitely look that way, I was pleasantly surprised by how much greenery and water the Austin area has to offer.
Mike’s high school classmate, S.J., now lives in Austin and reached out to us on Facebook. Earlier in our stay, we met up with him at Austin Beer Garden Brewing Company (ABGB). We ordered some pizza and sat outside under the heaters. As we were chatting over dinner, he told us about his favorite spot in the Austin, the Barton Creek Greenbelt. On Sunday, January 22, we met up with him again in south-central Austin, and he showed us around the greenbelt.
S.J. told us about a back way into the park through a trail that starts right outside a residential neighborhood. We met him there and headed on to the trails. It was great to have him a guide! The first place took us was to lookout overlooking the waterway below. Then, we hiked down to the water and took a trail along side Barton Creek. The limestone bluffs above and water flowing below were so scenic.
In was a bit too cold when we were there, but in the summer, Barton Creek is a favorite swimming spot for many Austinites. Some people even jump from the bluffs when the water is high enough. We didn’t do any cliff diving, but we did climb on to a ledge and take in the views for a bit.
After we had hiked for a while, we started to get hungry, so we walked back to our cars. Then, we got some lunch at Kerby’s Diner which wasn’t too far away from the neighborhood where we parked. After a delicious lunch, we parted ways with S.J. and headed for McKinney Falls State Park for our second adventure of the day.
McKinney Falls State Park is southeast of the city, about a 15 minute drive from the Barton Creek Greenbelt. The entrance fee was $6 each. We parked near the lower falls and then hiked to the upper falls.
The two waterfalls are along Onion Creek. They aren’t very high falls, but pretty none the less. We checked out Lower Falls before following the trails to Upper Falls. It was nice little hike, probably about a mile or so.
Just before we got to Upper Falls, we crossed over the strangest landscape. The terrain was this gray pitted rock. We almost felt like we were on the surface of another planet!
When we reached the falls, we sat and relaxed. We even laid down for a bit, just listening to the sound of the water rushing over the rocks. There were a couple people there, but it wasn’t busy at all. Around 5, we left the park, satisfied with all the adventures we had that day.
We did so much during our time in Austin. There are many more outdoor activities that I thought in the area, especially since it was winter. You can also read about our visit to Hamilton Pool, that we visited on a previous weekend in the Austin area.
On a side note, I also got to do something in Austin that I never expected. I found out that the yoga instructor, Adriene Mishler, who I follow on YouTube is based in Austin. She is out of town a lot, but happened to be teaching a class at her Austin studio while we were in town. It was awesome to have the opportunity to take an in person class with Adriene! Anyway, that was totally off subject, but I wanted to mention that Austin experience as well.
Austin is such a cool place. We definitely want to come back in the summer time!