Adventure in Austin: Barton Creek Greenbelt

Barton Creek Greenbelt: one of the best hiking, swimming, swimming holes in Austin. Repetitive? Nonsense. It IS the best swimming swimming hole in Austin.


One thing I love about this city is that it is unassuming. I could talk for days about why that is such a good thing and how it’s conveyed in Austin’s people. However, it was unexpected that even the hiking trails and waterfalls would be unassuming. At one point in my hike I fell in the water and it kind of felt normal. Thanks, Barton Creek! You’re not judgmental at all!


Angelic and indeed unassuming with that light shining, no?

Showing up at the Greenbelt by the Spyglass entrance was wonderful for two reasons: 1. I’d been there before and knew parking would be a breeze. 2. Parking was a breeze. Street parking for days! Once you get a taco and coffee from Tacodeli, ahem, head down the rocky terrain.


Taken FROM the rocky terrain. It’s just so close. Go get that taco.


Rocks and path to the water ^


Walking down all these rocks will lead you to your first fork in the road. Head left for waterfalls and some great swimming spots. If you’re looking for most of the 7.9 mile hike (we’re a bit into the trail at this Spyglass entrance), turn right and start walking. Since 7 miles seems more like a, “Buddy, let’s spend our Saturday morning hiking!” rather than a, “I love this place and I want to relax by myself,” amount of miles, I turned left.




The Greenbelt is incredible. So many rocks, a river running through them and plenty of trails. Like most spots in Austin (I LOVE this fact about our city), this spot is good for hiking and swimming. Bring some food and some friends and you could make a day out of the Barton Creek Greenbelt. I’m already planning a day in my head.

There are spots that are shallow enough to walk to rocks throughout the river, sit and let the water roll over you, float or let the tadpoles attack your feet. There is a spot that looks like it was manmade to be a makeshift hot tub, which maybe it was. It was perfect. The water was glorious and I had a hard time leaving.





After I fell in.


Makeshift “hot tub.”

This next part of the river, just past the falls, is perfect for floating and relaxing all day. A friend of mine brought her pink floaty and I was so jealous I just searched for this on Amazon. Yes, it’s a pretzel. Yes, I thought about getting the unicorn, but I’m trying to be at least 10% practical.



Tadpoles galore.

All in all, Barton Creek Greenbelt is my new favorite spot in the city. I’m excited to adventure to each entrance and try every trail. It’s so close to the city. Go every day. Even parking at Zilker, you could walk to this spot and further up the trail no sweat. Check it out or return, friends. It’ll always be worth it.

Quick Facts:

  • This entrance’s address: 1500 Spyglass Drive, Austin, TX 78746
  • Hours: Park Curfew Hours 10pm – 5am
  • Hiking and swimming
  • Approx. 8 miles of trails


Katie is new here and will be finding every hiking spot, swimming hole and outdoor adventure imaginable in Austin. (Have some recommendations? Comment them below!)