I was recently in Austin, Texas, for a wedding and was able to take a few days to explore the green spaces there, of which there are many. Luckily, there were also hikers there!
AT ’13er / PCT ’15er LostNFound happened to be passing through town when I was arriving and we went out to her friends’ place in Lakeway and sat by the river a while.
The State Capitol building is in Austin (and taller than the US Capitol, everyone is quick to mention) and is surrounded by green lawns and large, old trees, a great place for a picnic.
Zilker Metropolitan Park is huge and provides many trails and opportunities for outdoor activities. I met AT ’13er Snakebite there for a day of hiking and kayaking. We took the Violet Crown Trail up a ways along Barton Creek, stopping to see Barton Springs Pool, a large spring fed pool that is constantly around 68°. We also walked on the Barton Creek Greenbelt Trail and the Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail, totaling about 6 miles for the day.
We then rented kayaks and paddled up Lady Bird Lake on the Colorado River until reaching the Tom Miller Dam, seeing plenty of wildlife on the way: turtles, egrets, swans, ducks. Then we went back around Red Bud Isle and returned downstream, about 3 miles total.
There is plenty of limestone to climb within the park as well, although it was still too wet from recent rains for us to do any climbing that day.
I went back to Zilker Park a second day to explore a few more miles of trail and check out the Zilker Botanical Garden. There is also a sculpture garden and a nature and science center within the park.
These spaces were all right downtown, but there are many more parks and trails throughout the city. If I wanted to live in a city again, this would definitely be a contender since it has so many opportunities to be outside.