With its rolling hills and multitude of paths, Austin is a great place to be a bike enthusiast. It’s also the home of Lance Armstrong. Whether you’re training for the big ride or simply ready to enjoy the scenery, there’s a place for you.
4900 La Crosse Ave, Austin, TX 78739
Do you love to take nice, long bike rides but hate navigating through busy and noisy streets? The Veloway is a unique and secluded trail that is used exclusively for rollerblading and biking.
This non-motorized, 23-foot-wide path is a great place for all experience levels. Whether you’re training for the popular MS 150 bike ride or simply going for a casual jaunt with the family, give it a shot. Helmets are strongly recommended for kids. Admission is free. And since most of Austin’s cycling loops are tailored to mountain bikers, so when the Veloway, a 3.1-mile paved trail developed specifically for cyclists and roller bladers, opened in the 1990s, the cycling community was excited.
Walkers, runners, hikers and motorized traffic are prohibited on the Veloway. It is intended for bicyclists and rollerbladers only. Riding goes one-way (clockwise) so you don’t collide with other riders. There are several sports clubs you can join that use the Veloway, such as the Hill Country Inline Club.
Barton Creek Greenbelt
3755 S Capital of Texas Hwy B, Austin, TX 78704
The Barton Creek Greenbelt is 809 acres of natural landscape used for outdoor recreation in South Austin. It features over seven miles of land used for biking, hiking and swimming. There are even some areas used for rock climbing. The Greenbelt is free and open to the public, and features wooded trails, shallow swimming areas and limestone cliffs. While it is just minutes from downtown Austin, it offers a secluded retreat for everyone from competitive bikers to families looking for a fun day outdoors.
This popular biking area with lead-ins from the popular Zilker Park includes a 7-mile main trail and other, shorter, back trails intended for a variety of ability levels. You’ll want a mountain bike and a helmet if you’re going to try it out, however, as the terrain can be rocky and challenging. Also be sure to check in advance if the trails have been closed due to weather – a hotline at (512) 472-1267 is frequently updated. Admission is always free.
While there are seven miles of the main Greenbelt trail available for biking, there are additional back trails that have been created over the years. When Austin experiences a lot of rain, the trails get very muddy and sometimes are shut down temporarily. The trails offer a large variety of landscapes and varying levels of difficulty.
The easiest way to access the Greenbelt is to get there from Loop 360. If you are on MoPac headed south, exit Loop 360 south (to the left). Go left at the first light, which is unmarked and will take you into a parking lot for an office park. The trail entrance is on the far left. You can also enter the Greenbelt from Zilker Park, though it can be crowded.
McKinney Falls State Park
5808 McKinney Falls Pkwy, Austin, TX 78744
This park, which spans nearly 750 acres and is just 20 minutes from Downtown, is another favorite. Popular trails include the 2.8-mile Onion Creek Hike and Bike Trail, which has an elevation change of 139 feet, and the 2.75-mile Homestead Trail, which has an elevation change of 117 feet. As you bike, keep an eye out for highlights such as Lower Falls (a small waterfall that leads into a fantastic swimming hole), a homestead built by horse breeder Thomas McKinney and a small beach area. There are also more than 225 species of birds and other wild animals that call the park home. Day-use admission is $5 per person 13 and up.
Emma Long Metropolitan Park
1600 City Park Rd, Austin, TX 78730
With its steep, rocky trails, this park is perfect for those wishing to test out their technical skills. Expect dozens of limestone ledges and steep drops along the 6-mile trail. If you’re a beginner, go with an experienced rider and be ready to get on and off your bike – a lot. Still, it’s a great challenge. When you go, look for the signs marked Motorcycle Trails – that’s where the main trail begins. Admission is $5 per vehicle Monday-Thursday; $8 Friday-Sunday.
Pace Bend Park
2805 Pace Bend Rd N, Spicewood, TX 78669
Getting there requires a little bit of a drive – the park is about 30 minutes from Austin – but it’s worth the effort. With 9 miles of shoreline along Lake Travis, this is a beautiful place to test your skills. There’s a paved, 7-mile loop that circles the park and a variety of multiuse, primitive trails that are available to bikers and pedestrians only. Because the trail is relatively new, expect elevation changes, quick downhills and a variety of terrain. Day-use admission is $10 per vehicle.
Town Lake Hike and Bike Trail
With more than 1.5 million visitors each year, the Town Lake Hike and Bike Trail the most popular biking spot in the city, and the 10-mile loop here is perfect for all speeds. In addition to being a great spot for a workout, it’s also a lovely place to take in Austin’s natural beauty. As you cruise through Zilker Park, keep an eye out for special attractions such as Barton Springs, the miniature train and people canoeing and kayaking on the lake. Access is always free.
Town Lake Metropolitan Park stretches along the lake and contains more than 10 miles of hike and bike trails. The main trail, which winds around the entire lake, is the most popular of its kind in town. It was first built in the 1970s and is the city’s largest trail designed for non-motorized traffic. The main trail is quite wide and extremely popular, especially on the weekdays after work and on the weekends. Many locals bring their dogs out for a jog or walk. There are other trails that branch off the main one. The trails are smooth, primarily flat, and mostly made of crushed granite (with a few areas of concrete).