They say everything is bigger in Texas! Combined with the gorgeous skies, rolling hills, and cowboy boots; you can add outdoor adventures to that list too! Because these adventures are no doubt, as big and fun as they come! One of my trips to the lone star state in recent years was overflowing with adventurous amazing things to do in Austin, Texas! These fun escapades include exploring a new trail (one we’ve never hiked before) at Colorado Bend State Park, hiking and kayaking at Lady Bird Lake (Lake Austin), and much more! Here are the details of fun things to do in Austin that you might want to add to your next trip to Texas!
Gorman Trail at Colorado Bend State Park
Austin has become extremely busy and populated in recent years. So, we decide to head out to Hill Country and look to explore out in the Bend, Texas area. This imperfect trail is full of nature, flowers, and wildlife that any outdoor lover would appreciate. There are several loose rocks and cactus along this path so you must be careful.
Gorman Trail is a beautiful route that leads you down to amazing cascading waterfalls. These falls rise approximately 65 feet above the river and are a one of a kind geological formation that is alive and always changing. The mineral rich spring water works to deposit layers of calcite which slowly then forms travertine. Meanwhile, it is also a very fragile Ecosystem and can be destroyed by simply walking on the soft rock, which is why these falls are blocked off to keep people from walking and trampling all over it.
This trail is rated as a moderate trail and is a 2.6 mile round trip distance. There is a significant steep drop to get to the falls area; a metal railing is connected to the rock steps as you descend to the lower part of the trail. So please take precaution when approaching this area.
More Hiking Trails Near Austin
You will also find several other trails in the area that either intersect or lead to other enjoining trails. Go out and explore! These include the following:
- Gorman Spring Trail .5 mi
- Tinaja Trail 2.8 mi
- Tie Slide Trail 2.2 mi
- Lively Loop 4.9 mi
- Windmill Trail 1.6 mi
- Cedar Chopper Loop 2.3 mi
- Dogleg Canyon Trail 1.3 mi
- River Trail 3.4 mi
- Lemons Ridge Pass 4.9 mi
- Spicewood Canyon Trail 3 mi
Camping and backpacking are also available in designated areas throughout the park. If you are looking to explore more of Texas parks, visit texasstateparks.org.
Hiking Trails Downtown Austin | Lake Austin (Lady Bird Lake)
It is not surprising that the trail at Lake Austin receives 4.4 million visits a year as hikers stroll through its scenic green lush parks and peaceful shoreline. On the path you will also see an impressive city skyline, neighborhoods, ball fields, and cultural art. This trail has it all. You have the choice to take a 2-mile walk or a 10-mile excursion through urban Austin is all up to you!
Of course, you may encounter a few turtles, squirrels, and bats along the way. Interestingly, Austin is home to a massive bat colony population. It is the largest urban Mexican free tail colony where the bats hide in the cracks and crevices under the Congress Avenue Bridge. They can emerge in massive groves during the spring and summer every night about 30 minutes after sundown. Check out more information at AustinBats.org.
Kayaking Lake Austin
Although I prefer a quiet, peaceful and serene setting with no people; it was a very busy time on the water on this day for kayaking on Lake Austin. The scene is exciting with so many kayaks, paddleboards, boats, and rough waves as we crawled into our kayaks and joined in.
If you are looking for fun and amazing things to do in Austin, this is perfect! We rented our kayaks from the Texas Rowing Center located along the trail and the banks of the lake just south of the MoPac ExpCovert Park.
Hiking Mt. Bonnell
Years ago, Mount Bonnell was a place where kids in high school would go and hang out, make out, and enjoy the views as my local relatives inform me. This historical park is one of Austin’s oldest tourist attractions and it is the highest point within Austin city limits. It played a significant role in the history of the military defense of Austin during 1839.
A staircase of approximately 106 steps to climb an elevation of 775 feet above sea level will take you to a view of the city skyline and Lake Austin. Mount Bonnell I would say is more of a tourist spot versus a hiking trail. It is free to park and no fee to visit here. Mount Bonnell is a great place to watch the sunset too! Location: 3800 Mount Bonnell Road, Austin, Texas 78731
University of Texas Campus
As an alumnus of UT, one of my relatives couldn’t resist returning to the school he graduated from. He gave me a private tour to some of his former classrooms and study areas of which he spent numerous hours of hard work and study time. The library was his favorite place to study here. There are several pieces of street art located throughout the campus of which I found very interesting.
In the Business School is where the historical NYSE (New York Stock Exchange) Post. 5 was purchased and preserved in the lower level of the building. The grounds surrounding parts of the campus are beautiful and inviting. I think visiting UT is a great way to spend the afternoon in Austin.
Dining Delights In Austin
You can’t visit Austin without tempting your taste buds at an enjoyable evening of delicious dining. Venturing in Austin can be full of fun adventure that can make you hungry for something tasty and delectable. Here are a few eatery options of what Austin has to offer.
Matt’s El Rancho
Serving the area since 1952, Matt’s El Rancho usually has a parking lot plum full of people ready to indulge their palates. The Martinez family brings the highest quality of ingredients and top-notch service to the name. Matt Martinez is known as “The King of Mexican” The restaurant has had its share of politicians and celebrity visitors as well, including Dennis Quaid, Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top and many more.
A dining experience like no other, P. Terry’s. offers a more quality rich ingredient menu with impeccable service with a flare for the original burger joints from the 50s and 60s. The décor is amazing and the milk shakes will have you coming back for more!
Opening its doors in 2008, this company was founded by Drew Gressett with a goal to bring a simple menu of fresh, never frozen beef and vegetables for families to enjoy. We make a stop at Hat Creek whenever we visit Austin and I am so happy to know they offer fresh clean options on the menu. The Paleo Burger is especially mouth watering and so delicious! And they also have a gluten free bun so you can enjoy a yummy burger if you choose this option! And after a recent visit, the guest service is top notch as well! I recommend this fresh hot spot eatery if you live in Austin or are visiting!
This is the ultimate place to be to enjoy dinner with a sunset view! The Oasis offers spectacular views overlooking Lake Travis while dining! The menu includes a variety of options from Mexican cuisine to burgers and fries. You can also schedule a special event here since it offers such a fabulous location for views and sunsets!
The state of Texas is such a beautiful place that is rich in history and big in adventure! There are so many options to choose from to fulfill your days with fun! Our trips to Austin are usually quiet as we spend quality time with mom and dad or helping with chores and other various things around the house. Making fond memories is what we desire to do. From hiking into the hills to see cascading waterfalls or fighting the rough waters in a kayak on Lake Austin, this is what life is all about. Find the adventure in you!
I’ve been visiting Texas every year now for more than 20 years. My in laws reside here and with every visit we make more incredible memories. There is still much more to explore in Texas so I hope to continue our visits and see more of this beautiful large state! I have made several trips across the U.S. to explore national parks and do world renowned hiking excursions. I appreciate all your support and I invite you to come along and join us in this adventure in life! Thank you!
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