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Ultimate Guide to the Barton Creek Greenbelt Hike and Bike Trail

Posted by Ryan Rodenbeck on Monday, October 14th, 2019 at 4:19pm

Barton Creek Greenbelt is one of the top trails in Austin and is the most beloved greenbelt by the locals and is commonly referred to as “The Greenbelt”. It is located in the south-central Austin and has 12.68 miles of trails with its main trail that is about 7 miles. Barton Creek Greenbelt is one of the city’s most prized attractions that has 7 entrance points! Yes, seven. It makes it easier for the visitors to access it and enjoy the different amenities the Greenbelt has.

Families gather in The Greenbelt on the weekends to enjoy the different amenities within the area such as the Barton Creek hike and bike trail, swimming holes, biking, mountain climbing, and bird watching.

You may not believe it, especially for newcomers, but this is a magnificent body of nature is located just a few minutes away from downtown Austin. Now, in this blog, we will guide you through the different entrances or access points in Barton Creek Greenbelt as well as the different spots along the way.

Different Entrance / Access Points in Barton Creek Greenbelt

1. Trail Head

2201 Barton Springs Road

This access point is considered to be the trailhead of the Barton Creek Greenbelt. It begins near the Barton Springs Pool at Zilker Park. There is a lot of parking in the area, although it does get packed during the weekends. This is one of the busiest points of the trail because of its proximity to downtown. The portion of this trail is flat, great for beginners and a lot of cyclists can be seen here.

You will come across the next access point at about 1.2 miles to its south.

 

2. Spyglass Entrance

1601 Spyglass Dr.

The Spyglass entrance is known for carved slides and tubs in the rocks. It also has a close distance to Tacodeli. One of the best Tex-Mex in town that the locals love their breakfast tacos and fresh flour tortillas. It also has convenient access to The Flats, Campbell's hole and two bouldering areas, Greenbelt's Enclave and Seismic Wall. Parking is also available on the grounds.

 

3. Barton Hills Entrance

2010 Homedale Dr.

Another entrance can be accessed at Barton Hills Elementary School. When parking within the area, be cautious and considerate since it is within a residential neighborhood in Barton Hills. You will be able to reach Campbell's hole. This is one of the best spots near the Barton Creek Hike Trail that can be found on the east side of the creek. In about 1.2 miles, you will reach the next access point.

 

4. Gus Fruh Entrance

2642 Barton Hills Dr.

There is a swimming hole within Gus Fruh; after a really good rain though. The pool found in this entrance offers a lake experience with its swings and deep, quiet waters. Don't forget to wear sturdy shoes if you plan to visit the Guidewall and Urban Assault. In the next 1.4 miles, you'll be able to reach another entrance.

 

5. Loop 360 Entrance

3755-B Capital of Texas Highway (Loop 360)

Loop 360 is also known as the main entrance or access point to The Greenbelt. This entrance can be access tucked in an office building parking lot. This can be named as the Barton Creek Bike Trail because of the terrain that is loved by mountain bikers. You will be able to spot the "Austin Parks and Recreation" sign when you pull up. There are parking slots in the are but it also gets full during the weekends.

Seismic Wall is one of the popular spots in this access point when it comes to mountain climbing. If you are looking for peace and relaxation within The Greenbelt, this access point may not be a good one for you. This is because of the noise that can be heard from the highway. You might want to consider entering from other access points that are near residential properties such as Barton Hills or Gus Fruh.

 

6. Gaines Creek | Twin Falls Entrance

3918 S. MoPac Expy.

Gaines/Twin Falls is another popular trailhead because of the short hike to Twin Falls and Sculpture Falls which is 1.2 miles away. The trail to Twin Falls may take some time, but it will definitely be worth the hike once you see the gorgeous and stunning views of nature. Not too far, you'll be able to reach Sculpture Falls. You can also access Twin Falls if you park on the MoPac access road to the south of Loop 360.

 

7. Trail End

1710 Camp Craft Road

This is considered to be the trails end. Also, the trail that will lead you to the gorgeous home of the Hill of Life, a steep uphill and downhill section of the trail that is loved by mountain bikers. It is the steepest section in Barton Creek Greenbelt with  300-foot ascent or descent in half a mile. While Scripture falls can be easily accessed through this trail too. It is definitely a challenge to try and explore these access points if you are in for a lot of adrenaline and adventure!

 

Different Spots Within The Greenbelt

We may have mentioned it above, but let's talk more about the different spots you can find within Barton Creek Greenbelt.

 

1.  Campbell's Hole

One of the famous swimming holes in Austin is just a few minutes away from downtown. You can access it from the Spyglass entrance or the Barton Hills entrance. The pool gets deep after rainfall and also gets packed during the afternoon.

 

2. The Flats

A nice place to relax and unwind under the shady trees. The swimming hole is close to downtown and an easy hike away from the Spyglass entrance. It's very easy to hike that you don't need to bring any gear when you visit. The water is perfect on hot days but low if it doesn't rain for a while.

 

3. Gus Fruh

Most swimming holes in Barton Creek are dependent on rainfall, so if it hasn't rained for a while, there might not be enough for swimming. Gus Fruh is another popular swimming hole within The Greenbelt that locals love. Use the Barton Hills access point and follow the trail down the stream to find this urban treasure.

 

4. Guide's Wall

If you are a beginner starting out climbing in the wild, Guide's Wall is a wall that is right for you. It is a short limestone often used by guides and beginners. 

 

5. Urban Assault 

Urban Assault is the highest wall in The Greenbelt. It is a chossy limestone wall that is approximately 90ft high and located on open ben in the creek. It does get hot during summer and few visitors try and visit the climbing the area.

 

6. Seismic Wall

One of the several climbing locations in Barton Creek Greenbelt and is also known as Maggie's Wall. It is appealing to visitors because of its short and easy approach. There are also lots of moderate routes as you climb! Although it might be impossible to climb barefoot because of how polished the rocks are, so you better be ready with your climbing shoes and gear when you head out here.

 

7. Twin Falls and Sculpture Falls

How long is the hike to Sculpture falls? It's about 1.2 miles or at least 30-45 minutes away by walking the rail to reach the area. Sculpture Falls in a hidden gem within The Greenbelt and considered an urban oasis. It's the perfect spot during summer because of the water temperature reaching 70 degrees! One of the greatest ways to beat the Texas heat. Don't forget to not to go barefooted since the rocks are often slippery.

 

8. Hill of Life

The Hill of Life is another popular spot in The Greenbelt that is best to work on your mountain biking skills and as well as running and hiking. Another Barton Creek Bike Trail that is loved by mountain bikers. The gorgeous area features wildflowers and trees on the sides. Aside from this area, the entire Barton Creek Greenbelt is dog-friendly.

 

 

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