Austin's Top Running Trails

Each Saturday our Austin running group meets to go trail running. We go all around Austin and even the surrounding areas to run our favorite routes. After over 5 years of practice we narrowed down our favorite trails. We asked our members to vote on most challenging, scenery, and available mileage and we rated our top 5 trails.

1) Barton Creek Greenbelt

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This was voted in the top 3 in each category and offers the most miles out of all of our local trails. This is surprising because the “Greenbelt” is the most central as well. Runners can access the trail right in downtown Austin. What our runners also liked about this trail is its accessibility and diverse terrain. You can run the main trail which is fairly flat for 7 miles, and then run the west or back side of the Greenbelt trails to get in more climbing and add an additional 20 miles! With over 8 well known access points and trailheads you can stage water or focus your running on specific trail portions with no problem. The one downside of these trails (and just about all of Austin’s trails) is that there aren’t any maps or markings on the trail to help you find your way on the trails. This is one great reason to come out with our group to help navigate and learn these trails! Our goal is always to get you comfortable on the trail so you can hop on any Austin trail and feel comfortable.

2) Lakeway / Canyonlands

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This West Austin trail was voted highly once again because of the diverse terrain and amount of trails offered, and it offers a terrain similar to many of our hill country trail races. While its a decent 30 min + drive from downtown Austin, it is definitely worth it. Also this trail has some great scenic overlooks and lots of hill climbing. While new neighborhood construction is unfortunately slowing eating away at the current trail system, there are still 15-20 miles of trails (when connecting Lakeway, Canyonlands, and Bee Cave Preserve trails.

* While not at the trailhead, there are about 2 restroom stalls about 1/2 mile onto the trail.

3) Forest Ridge Preserve

This trail is an Austin favorite because of its central location, ability to connect to multiple trail systems such as St Edwards trail and Bull Creek Trails to link up over 15 miles of trail. Bull Creek also flows most of the year offering a nice place to dip in, cool off, and take a break from trail running. With plenty of elevation climbing on these trails, you will get your heart rate up in no time.

Here’s our list of the best Austin trails!

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Honorable Mentions

Most Challenging - River Place Nature Trail offers the most climbing available.

Scenery - Steiner Ranch Neighborhood trails are some of the prettiest trails (although you need to live in Steiner or run with someone who does to access the trails.

Best for Beginners - Slaughter Creek Preserve - With only one turn-off on the trail you won’t get lost. Choose fairly flat options of 5k or 5 mi.

To see a list of other local Austin trails check out our routes page, or we’d love to have you join us!

erik stanley