Hiking and Biking
The Town Lake Hike and Bike Trail is the most popular place for Austinites to exercise and flirt in an outdoor setting. The 10-mile-long crunchy and well-worn path offers an ideal representation of the city’s physically fit population—healthy hikers, buff bikers, and strolling slackers. Besides being a great place to tone muscles and get in some good cardio exercise, the hike and bike trail is a healthy place to meet people and experience a hot and sweaty date.
Recreationers can also get a light workout and enjoy Lady Bird Lake from its serene surface by putting a paddle to the water and soaking up the surrounding greenery, expanding skyline, and clear blue sky. Rent a canoe or kayak at Zilker Park Boat Rentals (east of Barton Springs Pool, 512/478-3852, www.zilkerboats.com, 10 a.m.–dark, $10 per hour, $40 per day).
It’s hard to believe you’re merely minutes from downtown once you’ve entered a trail and are surrounded by juniper trees, running water, and limestone cliffs. The Barton Creek Greenbelt, an eight-mile stretch of preserved space along Barton Creek, draws scores of nature-loving urbanites to its rugged trails, sheer cliff walls, and swimming holes. Two of the most popular and lively access points are Twin Falls near Loop 360 and MoPac (Loop 1) and Campbell’s Hole at the end of Spyglass Drive. For more information and maps contact 512/974-6700 or visit www.ci.austin.tx.us/parks/greenbelts.htm.
Tucked away in Southwest Austin, The Veloway (4103 Slaughter Ln., 512/974-6700, www.veloway.com) is a three-mile loop dedicated to wheels only—bikers and inline skaters, in particular. A sign at the front gate provides a blunt reminder that joggers and walkers are not welcome here, which is fine, since bipeds have exclusive access to the rest of the city. The rolling Hill Country offers a welcoming backdrop to the surrounding 100-acre park, and the Veloway’s proximity to Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center makes this a pleasantly natural way to get a good workout.
© Andy Rhodes from Moon Texas, 6th Edition