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What You Need to Know About the Barton Creek Greenbelt

Learn About One of Austin's Best Natural Wonders

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Sculpture Falls at the Barton Creek Greenbelt in Austin

Sculpture Falls at the Barton Creek Greenbelt

Kelly Joyner
What is the Greenbelt?
The Barton Creek Greenbelt is 809 acres of natural landscape used for outdoor recreation in South Austin. It features over seven miles of land used for biking, hiking and swimming. There are even some areas used for rock climbing. The Greenbelt is free and open to the public, and features wooded trails, shallow swimming areas and limestone cliffs. While it is just minutes from downtown Austin, it offers a secluded retreat for everyone from competitive bikers to families looking for a fun day outdoors.

Where is it?
The Barton Creek Greenbelt begins at Zilker Park and ends at the Lost Creek Subdivision, at a place nicknamed the "Hill of Life."

The easiest way to access the Greenbelt is to get there from Loop 360. If you are on MoPac headed south, exit Loop 360 south (to the left). Go left at the first light, which is unmarked and will take you into a parking lot for an office park. The trail entrance is on the far left. You can also enter the Greenbelt from Zilker Park, though it can be crowded.

The Greenbelt is divided into three sections (click on the name of the section to view a map): the Barton Creek Wilderness Park , the Upper Greenbelt and the Lower Greenbelt.

What are the rules at the Greenbelt?
- There is a curfew from 10:00 p.m. until 5:00 a.m., so you may not go to the Greenbelt during these hours.
- Motorized vehicles are not allowed at the Greenbelt, though bikes are.
- Dogs are allowed but must be kept on leashes.

Swimming at the Barton Creek Greenbelt
The Greenbelt is extremely popular for swimming due to its natural swimming holes and waterfalls. Unfortunately, during the summer, the creekbed is often dried up and there is nowhere to swim. But when there is water (usually in spring) the natural swimming areas, such as Sculpture Falls, Twin Falls, and Campbell’s Hole are great fun. Be warned that it takes quite a hike to get to the swimming areas, so you can’t just park and walk right in; wear comfy shoes, because you may need to hike up to a mile to get to the swimming areas.

Biking at the Barton Creek Greenbelt
While there are seven miles of the main Greenbelt trail available for biking, there are additional back trails that have been created over the years. When Austin experiences a lot of rain, the trails get very muddy and sometimes are shut down temporarily. The trails offer a large variety of landscapes and varying levels of difficulty.

Other Greenbelt Information:
-There are bathrooms near the Spyglass trailhead.
-There are no water fountains at the Greenbelt, so be sure to bring some with you.
-Bikers and hikers often share the same paths, so if you are hiking, always be on the lookout for bikers.

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