The Barton Creek Greenbelt is referred to as the "crown jewel of Austin" for a good reason - this trail represents all that is great about Austin. It's wild, accessible and right in the heart of the city. What other city has a trial like this where you can be right in the middle of everything and in only a few minutes be completely lost in nature?

The greenbelt is a fixture for Austin mountain bikers and offers a variety of trail conditions, obstacles and challenges. The trail is based on a main trail that is about seven miles in length. In addition to the main trail there are several "back trails" that have been built over the years.

During the rainy season the trail can get very muddy and will close down. Do NOT attempt to ride if the trail is closed - that's a good way to get bikers banned from the trail. There are already enough "share the trail" conflicts with bikers and joggers/dogs that we don't need anyone else ruining it for everyone. When in doubt, you can call the hotline at 512 974 1250 to see the latest trail conditions.

Location: The greenbelt stretches from the famous Zilker Park (right off Town Lake) all the way into the western part of Travis County and the outskirts of the Austin City limits. The main trail ends near a landmark called the "Hill of Life".

Directions: There are two main places to enter the trail, the first is in Zilker Park. Take MoPac south and exit at RR 2244 (Bee Caves Road). Stay in the left lane and circle under MoPac and head east on Barton Springs Road. The park entrance is about a half mile down Barton Springs Road on your right. The second entrance is on Loop 360. Take MoPac south and follow the exit (left) for Loop 360. Take a left at the first light that you come to and pull into the non-descript office parking lot. Head all the way west to the entrance of the greenbelt. The Loop 360 entrance is less travelled by hikers so it is generally the best place to start. This does cut about 1.5 miles off of the 7 mile main trail.

Google Map of the 360 Entrance

Technical Level: Medium to high depending on whether you stay on the main trail or whether you explore the back trails.

Length: Main trail is about 7 miles from Zilker park to the "Hill of Life". From the Loop 360 trailhead, up through Travis Country, down over the dam and straight back to Loop 360 is about 12-13 miles depending on the actual conditions and exact route. It is easy to do 25-40 miles if you put your mind to it.

Trails: A variety of surfaces from hard packed soil (mud in the rain) to rock studded trails to rock gardens full of babyheads. The greenbelt has it all for you.

Trail Map:  Many of the backtrails are not mapped out so don't ask. Find someone who knows to show you the trails.


Shade:  Very Good. Much of the trail is wooded so it stays cooler. Some of the areas are open and can get pretty hot, so take lots of water, especially because once you get out on your ride, you won't find anywhere to rehydrate if you run out.

Extras:  AWESOME pool at the Zilker Park trailhead (best Pool in Austin!) Several spots to stop and take a dip in the water if you'd like, provided the creek has enough water for swimming; mid summer can be very dry.

Fees:  None. During the summer there is a small fee to park at Zilker Park, one more reason to start at the Loop 360 trailhead.

Post Ride Beer:  Head to Pinthouse Pizza for an Electric Jellyfish IPA or one of their other fine craft beers that are made in-house.



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