Best Places to Go for a Walk in Austin

If you’re a parent, there’s probably a lot of walking in your near future – Halloween is right around the corner, after all!

When you accompany your children as they go trick-or-treating, you certainly have some say regarding where you want to go, but you’ll most likely factor “neighborhoods where my kids will get candy” a little more heavily than you normally would. Ah, the sacrifices we make for our kids.

If you are looking to walk more for exercise—either with or sans the kiddos—you’ll have other considerations for where to go. You can decide if you want to bring the dog or will want to stop and picnic during (or after) your walk, or maybe you’ll want to take some time and hop in the water or do a little rock climbing along the way.

Walking, in and of itself, is simply an underrated form of exercise, and we’re fortunate to have some great options for going for a walk in Austin.

trail hike

River Place Nature Trail

From dawn to dusk daily, you can hike the Fern Trail to see the most waterfalls, the Canyons Trail for views of pools of water, or the Panther Hollow Trail (which is an especially great trail to train for hiking the Grand Canyon). Even better, hike them all for a five and a half mile workout.

St. Edward’s Park

Like take walks with your best furry friend? St. Edward’s is a dog-friendly park featuring wide open spaces and several scenic trails. The park has 80 total acres, natural swimming areas (if you feel like taking a dip), and a 2.9 mile trail for your next hike.

Walnut Creek Metropolitan Park

Featuring over 15 miles of hiking trails, Walnut Creek is an outstanding choice for hiking in Austin. At present, the Southern Walnut Creek Trail is Austin’s first “urban trail.” This 7.3 mile trail begins at Govalle Park and ends in the vicinity of Jonny Morris Road and Deffen Lane. The Northern Walnut Creek Trail (Phase 1) was completed in 2016 and will be continued in Phase 1A (which is targeted for completion sometime in or around June 2018).

greenbelt hike

Barton Creek Greenbelt

Want to mix it up a little on your hike? Barton Creek offers opportunities for swimming and rock climbing. Of course, you can also stick to “just” hiking or running on the 7.2 mile trail.

Mayfield Park and Nature Preserve

In addition to walking trails, this 21-acre park is a wildlife habitat containing free-roaming peacocks!

Zilker Metropolitan Park

Having been distinguished the title of “Austin’s most-loved park,” Zilker is a 351-acre metropolitan home for many recreational opportunities, including disc golf, volleyball, standup paddleboard rentals (cash only), and kayaking (to name just a few!). Of course, it’s also a great place to go walking.

mueller state park

Mueller Lake Park

One of the great features about this particular park is that it features a “jogger stretching area.” Remember, if you are participating in physical activity at a pace greater than a brisk walk, it’s best to warm up and stretch beforehand – doing so decreases your risk for injury! Beyond the area for stretching, this Mueller neighborhood gem has a loop trail and picnic peninsula (which is perfect for after working up an appetite while on the trails).

Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve

This preserve was founded in 1974, consists of 227 acres, and is dedicated to promoting environmental education with its public trails. If you decide to head to Wild Basin and take advantage of its two and a half miles of hiking trails, you will see animals protected by the natural area.

Whereas walking is wonderful exercise, there are other physical activities you can use to keep your feet—and your whole body!—healthy.

Running is certainly a popular activity in Austin. The Austin Runners Club has healthy membership numbers and a website chockfull of great resources. They even have a list of other running groups in Austin!

Now, running is a nice choice for improving and maintaining physical health, but it is a high-impact activity. This means your best practice is to run a couple of days during the week and then supplement with low-impact exercises on non-running days.

In addition to all of the walking options, another one of the true advantages of living in Austin is the wide range of opportunities we all have for staying active and working out. This means being able to do low-impact activities like cycling, swimming, yoga, and weight lifting.

A well-rounded approach to exercising is ideal. If you would like professional advice, or become hurt while performing physical activity, Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists is here for you.

Call us today for more information about the expert podiatric services we provide—or to request an appointment—by calling (512) 328-8900.
Dr. Craig H. Thomajan, DPM, FACFAS, FAENS
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Founder and Managing Partner of Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists
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