Hi guys! My name is Lora and I blog over at Crazy Running Girl. I am so excited to pop on over to the Brooks Running blog today to share my favorite place to run in Austin.
There are so many things that I love about living in Austin, but running definitely tops my list. Austin does a great job making the city friendly for people who love fitness, so it makes it easy to find places to get your sweat on.
My absolute favorite place to run is the Lady Bird Lake Hike & Bike Trail, which you may hear locals refer to as Town Lake or the trail. It offers a balance of city and nature, but the best part comes from not having to deal with car traffic at all.
If you run the entire loop, it’s 10 miles and there are options to go shorter or even longer. Check out the full map below, along with some of my favorite points of interest!
1) Bring your camera!
I love running on the east side of the trail because it’s quieter and you get some great views of downtown Austin. In this place in particular, you can grab a great picture of downtown framed by nature.
2) Watch out – it gets a little confusing here
At this point in the trail, you’ll run past a basketball court and the trail will narrow, before dumping you onto a side road. After passing the little guard house, the trail continues immediately to the left.
3) Interested in a shorter run?
If you aren’t up for the full loop, this bridge on the I-35 feeder road serves as a great place to cut off some mileage. You are well protected from traffic, so no worries running next to the interstate (which, if you know Austin traffic, never moves very fast anyways!).
4) Say hello to Austin’s mascot
The world’s largest urban bat colony lives underneath the Congress Avenue Bridge, which you will run under at this point on the trail. As you run underneath the bridge, you’ll be immersed in the loud chirping of the community. (I admit, I was really nervous to run under millions of bats at first – but they are harmless!)
5) A pedestrian bridge for runners and cyclists
Here, you can take the stairs or the winding ramp up to the pedestrian bridge to cross the river. This serves as my other favorite option for cutting the run short. If you start on the east side (near point 1) and cut across here, it turns into a 7 mile run.
6) My favorite view of downtown
The southern side of the trail offers a number of different points to take great pictures of downtown, but this my absolute favorite point. There’s an area where you can detour from the trail, catch your breath and take some pictures. It’s even more beautiful if you catch it during sunrise.
7) Looking for a challenge? Head to the Greenbelt
If you want to hit more than 10 miles, or if you are looking for more challenging terrain, head down the Barton Creek Greenbelt Trail and immerse yourself in nature, making it feel like you are miles away from any major city.
8) The new boardwalk
Completed just last year, the new boardwalk serves as a favorite part of the trail for many. It is suspended completely over Lady Bird Lake. With a wide, lit pathway, it serves as the most predictable part of the trail if you are running in the dark. There are several stopping points that provide beautiful views of all sides of the city.
Lora Mays is an avid runner and certified running coach who has been running for more than 15 years. She fell in love with the marathon in 2007, and since then, has run 18 races around the country, including the Boston Marathon three times. Lora is a Run Happy Ambassador that loves to help others find their passion for running – whether it’s the marathon, a 5k or just to run casually. When she isn’t running, she is blogging about it at Crazy Running Girl.