This post is part of the FREE Hike of the Week series, brought to you by GrowingUpAustin.com. There are a thousand places to hike in Austin on any given day, most of which are always free, but here is a handy reminder about one favorite. Visit AustinKidsHike.com for more kid-friendly hikes and for tips on hiking with kids. A summer tip – early morning and after dinner are the best times to beat the heat!
Shoal Creek through downtown is one of my favorite kid hikes because there are so many things to see! High-rise condos live right up against the bank of the creek and old, abandoned railroad bridges still cross overhead. It is fun to hike for a while, then walk up a set of stairs to get a cold drink at a downtown cafe. (Whole Foods Market, at 525 N Lamar Blvd, is a good spot.) At one point on this trail, you need to cross the creek on a concrete block of some kind and your feet are likely to get wet. (The city has plans to fix this spot.) The only parking is street parking, so avoid this trail when there are big downtown events.
Stroller friendly: no
Restrooms: no, unless you head up to street level and patronize a business with restrooms
Water: you could wade here in water shoes in some places; it is too shallow for swimming
West 5th Street & Bowie Street
Free Fun In Austin continues to highlight Austin area locations and activities that may not be available at this time. We encourage you to take all safety measures to keep yourself and your neighbors safe. It is our hope that the stories and features on this site will help inform your plans in the future.