Katie recently moved to town and is finding every hiking spot, swimming hole and outdoor adventure imaginable in Austin. (Have some recommendations? Comment them below!) River Place Nature Trail was her most recent stop. Let’s do this.
One time I was looking for this trail and could legitimately not find it. In my eyes at the time, it was a mysterious Eden on the other side of the world. I possibly could blame Maps for telling me it was on the left and not on the right, but let’s be real: I probably should have found the beautiful lake, trails and signs pointing the right way beside me. All in all, after you drive down the big hill, the trail is on your right.
In comparison to my ability to find things, I am more sure of the fact that this is one of the sweetest, quietest parts of our city. I’ve looked up reviews on trails in the past and most everyone goes nuts for this one. It has enough elevation to get your heart pumping and the distance is rare for our city. You could spend a solid few hours on this path and call that your workout of the week.
Right off the bat, the first thing I noticed and loved about this trail is its love of signs and technology. It’s the smartest, most effective use of a QR Code I’ve seen in my entire life. Pull out your smart phone and scan the code on one of the signs throughout the trail and you instantly have a map of the entire trail! Smart, guys. Very smart.
You’ll see a boardwalk, lake and fountain right at the head of the River Place Nature Trail. Don’t worry or keep looking like I did, this is your entrance! Park on either side of the street and head down the boardwalk to the trailhead. If you’re feeling tired right off the bat (today might not be a good day for a hike!), you can rest on one of the rocking chairs on the deck. I adore this place, so I’ll be giving you lots of specific examples of how to enjoy it.
You’ll notice throughout your hike that there are stairs and pathways dispersed throughout your trail. When terrain is rough, there will most likely be stairs or a mini bridge. This trail takes care of its people.
On your hike, you’ll see that there are a few different forks in the road. I personally went straight and didn’t veer right on the first one, but goodness. Follow your heart, my friend. Maybe the Little Fern Trail is exactly the hike you need. Throughout these trails, there are emergency exits, as well. Never can be too careful.
The stream running alongside the path is consistently clear and quiet. The perfect combination. There are gorgeous falls, plus quite a view at the end of this trail, as well. For more information and some end result of hard work and a tough hike photographs (that view!!), you can head to the Friends of River Place Trail website.
As you probably could have noticed with the pictures above, I went to the River Place Nature Trail recently and it was a mild winter day; maybe around 50 degrees. And that is perfect hiking weather! Take a buddy and go explore this glorious spot just north of the city. You’ll be itching to go back once you’re done.
- Address: 8820 Big View Dr, Austin, TX
- Open from dawn to dusk, seven days a week
- Good for long hikes, or short ones if you turn around quickly. *No looped trail!
For more information, check out the Friends of River Trail website.