Austin Kids Hike!

Welcome to GrowingUpAustin’s Austin Kids Hike! home page. Click on a link below to see a detailed map with parent-friendly information about kid-friendly hikes.

My Favorite Creeks
Bull Creek (purple)
Shoal Creek (blue)
Barton Creek (green)

hello
My Favorite Trail Heads
Bull Creek #9
Shoal Creek #5
Barton Creek #2

One of my favorite things about Austin is that you can be right in the middle of town and you can park on the side of the road and walk into another world. Just a few steps onto a trail can take you out of city life, down below the traffic and buildings, among the trees and the birds, a million miles away. When I go on a hike with my girls, they look in awe at the simplest things, they play games and make art with sticks and dirt and rocks and we all get to be disconnected from the grid for at least part of the day.

Of coarse, hiking means something different when you have little kids. For one thing, we don’t really HIKE. The word HIKE implies that you have traveled a distance and sometimes we just make it down to the creek and sometimes we spend 30 minutes on the same 100 feet of trail. And, when your kids are really little, and still in a stroller and not technically walking, it still counts as a HIKE. This is because Mom and baby are outdoors, which can be very rejuvenating, and these might be the most important hikes of all.

I wish I had more information when I started hiking, like the exact address the trail heads and which trails are flat enough for a stroller. So I created maps for my three favorite creeks, with a Google Map push pin for each trail head and this information:

  • A pretty picture
  • A Google-map-friendly street address
  • The stroller situation – ‘Stroller friendly’ means that, if you have a good stroller, preferably a jogging stroller, that can handle a few bumps in the road, then a good part of this trail will work for you. This type of trail is also better for young toddlers.
  • The park situation – ‘With Park’ means the trail head is at a park, so there is generally better parking, restrooms and more activities for the kids.
  • Links to posts – If I have a post about a hike from this trail head, there will be a link.

If you are thinking, ‘Little Kids Hike! Are you Crazy?, then follow that link, it has a few tips to make it easier.

If you get into hiking, the City of Austin Greenbelt page has maps for about thirty Austin greenbelts. AustinExplorer.com has maps for about a thirty million places to hike. This site is great for longer hikes, with descriptions, pictures and info about hiking the trails from end-to-end. REI has local trail information and tips for hiking with kids here.

Thanks for checking out Austin Kids Hike! I hope you have many great hikes with your kids!

 

 


27 Responses

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  1. […] Up Austin Life's best job in the world's best city HomeLittle Kids Hike!About […]

  2. Clare

    Brilliant!!! And just in time for the beautiful spring weather!

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  3. Becky

    Thank you for this! It’s one less task to organize before a kid adventure! You rock, Carol

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  4. Torie

    I can’t wait to try these out. LOCAL Hikes!!! yeah!

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  5. Victoria

    Thanks for the great info! Have you checked out mayfield park? It’s one of our favorites. Great trails and lots of peacocks roaming the grounds!

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    Carol Reply:

    Thanks for the comments!
    I haven’t been to Mayfield Park in a long time. Thanks for reminding me of it!

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  6. Carol! Thanks! This is great. Love it.

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  7. I am surprised to see how shady these look. That’s a good sign.

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  8. Holly

    How lovely, thank you!

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  9. Jessica

    What a great resource! Thanks for putting this together for us.

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  10. Leicia

    This is exactly why I miss Austin so much. We do not have as many options here in houston. This is great! We look foward to visiting some of these places in the near future.

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  11. Jenny

    Thanks! This is great!

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  12. Jacob Hodges

    This is sounds perfect for us! I’ve been wanting to try out some of the trails ever since we moved to the area, but for one reason or another we’ve never made it out. Now that we’ve got some reliable recommendations I think we’ll try to make it out to Bull Creek sometime this week : )

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  13. Sydney

    I had better hurry, exploration awaits!

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  14. Lillian Teixeira

    What an awesome idea and activity! What a blessed time to share with children.
    One of my fondest memories as a child was going on a picnic with family friends near a creek with a tall, tall cliff on the other side – just running, jumping, playing out in nature.
    Also, taking our children many, many years later out to the “property”,
    spending time in the woods and down by the creek. The feeling of life outdoors, nature – awe inspiring!

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  15. Sister

    Pretty cool. Great info!

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  16. Jay Shields

    I need to do these with my boys. Such a great reference and I am so glad to know that you have already done these with your little ones. Makes it seem more manageable.

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  17. Katelyn

    This is just what I have been looking for! Thank you for compiling this information. There are lots of Meet Up hiking groups but a family friendly group would be really fantastic. Anyone know if there is anything like that around Austin?

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  18. Katelyn,

    Yeah! Thanks!

    I don’t know of any Meet Up Hiking groups for families. That is a great idea! I would try this, but the blog is slowing down for a while. I have a hard time keeping up with it on my own. If you find a Meet Up like this, let me know!

    Carol

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  19. Katelyn

    I am checking interest in the Austin Sierra Club Meet Up group who seem to have the best hiking outings. I have already gotten some interest. I might suggest joining that one in the meantime. If we get enough interest we could start a separate group. Will continue searching. Thanks again for your resources!

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  20. Nicholas

    I would be extremely interested in a family hiking group. My wife and I are making a dedicated decision to live a healthier lifestyle, and in doing so have discovered our son loves to go hiking! I always loved hiking as a child, and it’s great to go on walks with him on our trail that goes around our apartment. He does the whole 2.5 miles like its nothing, and will want to go again within an hour of being home. It would be so awesome for him to do other kids that are also going hiking, I think it’s a good way to confirm to himthat hiking is good!

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  21. Nicholas

    My wife and I have made a commitment to living a healthier more active life, it has been so rewarding because our son is learning to love his vegetables, and he loves going on the 2.5 mile trail that goes around our apartment. He is a great little hiker at only 2 years old. I think that a family hiking group would be great because it gives our kids a chance to see other kids enjoying hiking with their families, which in my opinion will help confirm with children that hiking is good! Please keep us updated about any family hiking groups that develope, that would be amazing! If I can do anything like express interest to the same groups you are to show that other families are interested, I will definitely do that.

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    Carol Reply:

    Nicolas,

    Thank you for your comment! I have had several people ask about family hiking events. I’ll be busy on the music side of things, with SXSW for a bit, but I’ll look into this later in March. I’ll let you know what I figure out!

    Carol

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  22. We moved to Austin from California in March and thanks to this post, we now have some great places to take our family for a hike! Nice spots for photos too!

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    Carol Reply:

    Welcome to Austin, Mike! It’s a bit hot outside now, but it will get better! – Carol

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  23. Thanks for all the info, I took my four year old to the Mary Moore Searight park today. It’s not a lot of difficult terrain, great for hiking with kids. Much of it could be done with a stroller that is semi-all-terrain like a Bob. There is a few creeks, and we got to see deer, a road runner, baby frogs, and some tadpoles. Our dog loved being in the creek and my daughter thought it was great. There are also frequent benches and intermittent shade. Garbage cans everywhere is a major plus. The good thing I liked the most was that it was a loop so you can step off the main trail and criss-cross all the mini trails back to hte main loop and spend hours playing and never be far from your car for when the kids say “I’m done.” Brings lots of water though!

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  24. Thanks for your info, Mark! I’m going to check this place out!

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