It might be a part of the Colorado River—a man-made reservoir carved out of the river in 1960—but everyone calls the body of water bisecting Austin Lady Bird Lake. On hot summer days, scores of walkers and joggers move along the lakeside paths through nearby Zilker Park, but you can also take to the water by canoe, kayak, water bike, or stand-up paddleboard. You can’t swim here, but the left fork (heading west) in the river will take you to Barton Springs Pool, a popular Austin hangout, where you can splash in the water to your heart’s—and body temperature’s—delight.
Find Your Zen: Running in Town Lake
Austin’s most recognized and popular recreational areas, Town Lake at Lady Bird Lake, is a runner’s dream come true. This 10-mile hike-and-bike trail; a lush, urban path that meanders along the water’s edge and passes by skyscrapers, neighborhoods, ball fields and cultural attractions. Start your run in the early morning and watch the sun rise as a pack of runners (training for an upcoming race) zooms by you while completing their workouts. If a lunchtime run is what’s in store, share the trail with runners that prefer fresh air and nature as their nourishment during their lunch break. If an after-work run suits your schedule best, watch as Austin‘s dynamic and young professionals leave their desks and tie on a pair of “runners” to take on the trails (and for a little eye candy) to de-stress and stay in shape. Austin isn’t called one of the healthiest cities in the US for nothing. Whatever the time that you explore this beautiful trail, you will thank yourself for doing it! Use the map below to find completed, current and future TTF projects, Trail routes, spoke Trails and user amenities like drinking water fountains and restrooms as well as parking lots.
SUP Austin Style
When you’re in Austin, you’ll want to make sure that you get out on and in the water at the beautiful Lady Bird Lake in the heart of town. Head down to the Comancho Center and soak up the best view of Austin, from aboard your very own stand up paddle board. The absolute best way to do this is with the phenomenal crew at The Expedition School, founded by Austin native and global outdoor facilitator Kimery Duda. They were the first to bring SUP to the state of Texas and the rental/lesson fee goes to support local community initiatives and volunteer programs. Giddy (S)UP. There’s no better way to soak up your Austin experience than with this team on Lady Bird Lake.
Austin’s Water Scene
If you want to get a sense of Austin‘s vibrant outdoor life, there may be no better place than Lady Bird Lake. Renamed in 2007 for the former first lady, the former Town Lake is a recreational reservoir along the lower Colorado River, near downtown Austin and within view of the city’s striking and evolving skyline. The Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail comprises 10 miles of parkland with walking, jogging, and cycling paths that border the lake’s shores, and are popular with the urban set of all ages. The lake is also a favorite spot for canoeing, kayaking, rowing, as well stand-up paddle boarding, though no motorized vessels or swimming is allowed. In nearby Ziker Park, the refreshing Barton Springs, a three-acre, manmade, spring-fed pool with a year-round average temperature of 68 degrees is an essential summertime escape as well as a great place for relaxed, people watching.
Bevy of Bats
You can call your vessel a Bat Mobile, if you row beneath the Congress Avenue Bridge at dusk on a summer night: that’s when nearly two million Mexican free-tailed bats emerge from their urban colony to feed on the insects of Austin. In your craft, you’ll be awed by the spectacle in the sky from April to October when the bats visit town. All year long, you can enjoy nearby Lake Lady Bird (seen here), an 11-mile reservoir in the middle of downtown.