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Hiking the Austin Thru Hike (video)

It was about a year ago that I set out to hike a route from North Austin to South Austin through predominantly greenspaces. It took me two full days of hiking and a bit of bushwacking. Here’s a chronicle of the hike. I admit that the video is long and there is some shaky footage and scratchy audio, but it kind of captures what was happening at the moment. While I was hiking I was charting the route so that I could publish it with the hope that others might enjoy the longest hiking route in Austin, Texas.

How To Plan Your Austin Thru Hike

Whether you hope to hike the Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail or just the Austin Thru Hike, it is always helpful to have a plan. I thought that I’d provide some logistical tips based on what I learned on the pioneering hike of the route and on a subsequent second hike of the route.

It is probably best to hike The Austin Thru Hike in sections over multiple days.

Review the route maps posted on this website. I recommend using the AllTrails Map for navigation and the Google Map to find rest stops for water, restaurants, restrooms, etc. A cell phone signal from most major carriers should be available for the entire route so you may use these apps during your hike.

The main route is 33.5 miles. This distance can be broken down over 2 days (15 to 17 miles per day) if you are a fast hiker or 3 days (9 to 11 miles per day) if you are an average hiker.

You can use ride share operators like Lyft or Uber or have someone shuttle you between your start and end points. I prefer to leave my car at my start point and shuttle back to my start point at the end of each day. This allows me to hike as far as I like each day.

Elizabeth “pitter patter” on the Austin Thru Hike

2 DAY ITINERARY:

Day 1 – Start early in the day, plan to begin at 8am.

Eat a hearty breakfast at home or eat a breakfast near the northern terminus at McDonalds (1608 E Parmer Ln, Austin, TX 78753) or Starbucks (606 E Parmer Ln #100, Austin, TX 78753).

Park your car at the northern terminus at Copperfield Park (1425 E Yager Ln, Austin, TX 78753).

Hike all morning to the Domain Shopping Mall (mile 9)

Eat lunch around the Domain Shopping Mall. I suggest Taco Deli (12001 Burnet Rd, Austin, TX 78758) or Whole Foods Market (11920 Domain Dr, Austin, TX 78758)

Hike all afternoon to 38th Street (mile 15.8) near Central Market (4001 N Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78756)

Eat dinner at Kirby Lane Cafe (3704 Kerbey Ln, Austin, TX 78731) or the Central Market Cafe (4001 N Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78756)

Take a Lyft back to your car at Cooperfield Park and sleep in the comfort of a bed in your home or hotel.

Day 2 – Start early in the day – plan to begin at 8am.

Eat a hearty breakfast at home or eat a breakfast at Central Market Cafe. (4001 N Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78756) or Rudy’s BBQ (3914 N Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78756).

Park your car at Central Market (keep your receipt from breakfast for proof that you were a customer). (mile 15.8)

Hike all morning to the Sunset Valley Homestead Retail Center (mile 27)

Eat lunch at IM Thai Cafe (5207 Brodie Ln #200, Austin, TX 78745) or BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse (5207 Brodie Ln #300, Sunset Valley, TX 78745)

Hike all afternoon to the terminus (mile 33.5)

Eat dinner at Burger Fi (5701 W Slaughter Ln Suite B-150, Austin, TX 78749). Enjoy a treat at TCBY (5701 W Slaughter Ln B100, Austin, TX 78749) or grab a drink at the 400 Rabits Bar (5701 W Slaughter Ln, Austin, TX 78739).

Take a Lyft back to your car at Central Market and sleep in the comfort of a bed in your home or hotel.

Congratulations you’ve hiked the Austin Thru Hike! Share your photos and comments on our Facebook Group and tag us on Instragram #austinthruhike

3 DAY ITINERARY:

Day 1 – Start early in the day, plan to begin at 8am.

Eat a hearty breakfast at home or eat a breakfast near the northern terminus at McDonalds (1608 E Parmer Ln, Austin, TX 78753) or Starbucks (606 E Parmer Ln #100, Austin, TX 78753). Pack a picnic lunch or pick up a picnic lunch at the 7-11 (1625 E Parmer Ln, Austin, TX 78753)

Park your car at the northern terminus at Copperfield Park (1425 E Yager Ln, Austin, TX 78753).

Hike all morning to Walnut Creek Park (mile 4.5)

Eat your picnic lunch at Walnut Creek Park. There are restrooms near the swimming pool.

Hike all afternoon to the Domain Shopping Mall (mile 9.5).

Eat dinner at Whole Foods Market (911920 Domain Dr, Austin, TX 787580, Shake Shack (11228 Domain Dr, Austin, TX 78759) or any of the restaurants in the shopping mall.

Take a Lyft back to your car at Cooperfield Park and sleep in the comfort of a bed in your home or hotel.

Day 2 – Start early in the day, plan to begin at 8am.

Eat a hearty breakfast at home or eat a breakfast at Whole Foods Market (911920 Domain Dr, Austin, TX 787580), or Starbucks (11410 MoPac Expy c09, Austin, TX 78759).

Park your car at one of the Domain covered parking garages (keep your receipt from breakfast for proof that you were a customer).

Hike all afternoon to 38th Street (mile 15.8)

Eat lunch at Kirby Lane Cafe (3704 Kerbey Ln, Austin, TX 78731) or the Central Market Cafe (4001 N Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78756)

Hike all afternoon to Town Lake (mile 20)

Eat lunch at Whole Foods Market (525 N Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78703, Polvos (360 Nueces St, Austin, TX 78701) or Schlotzky’s (218 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704)

Take a Lyft back to your car at the Domain Shopping Mall and sleep in the comfort of a bed in your home or hotel.

Day 3 – Start early in the day, plan to begin at 8am.

Eat a hearty breakfast at home or eat a breakfast at Whole Foods Market (525 N Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78703) (mile 19.4)

Park your car at the Whole Foods Market covered parking garage (525 N Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78703 (keep your receipt from breakfast for proof that you were a customer). (mile 19.4)

Hike all afternoon to the Spyglass Trailhead (mile 22.6)

Pick up a picnic lunch from Taco Deli (1500 Spyglass Dr ste b, Austin, TX 78746)

Hike until you’re hungry then enjoy your picnic lunch along the trail. Watching rock climbers at the Gus Fruh Boulder Wall is always fun. (mile 23.6)

Hike all afternoon to the Southern terminus (mile 33.5)

Eat dinner at Burger Fi (5701 W Slaughter Ln Suite B-150, Austin, TX 78749). Enjoy a treat at TCBY (5701 W Slaughter Ln B100, Austin, TX 78749) or grab a drink at 400 Rabits (5701 W Slaughter Ln, Austin, TX 78739).

Take a Lyft back to your car at Whole Foods Market and sleep in the comfort of a bed in your home or hotel.

Congratulations you’ve hiked the Austin Thru Hike! Share your photos and comments on our Facebook Group and tag us on Instragram #austinthruhike

If you are game for hiking the optional routes which will total 46.47 miles, simply breakup the mileage based on your hiking pace and hike your own hike!

Development of the Austin Thru Hike

Now that I have walked the entire route of the Austin Thru Hike, I would like to make the route information and GPS data available to others here on this website. During my hike I made a number of errors, detours and walked in circles more than I’d like to admit.

I tracked my hike using the AllTrails app and a Garmin GPS. I need to clean up the route and remove all my errors and remove roadblocks. Once I feel comfortable that I can offer the route information and GPS data in a state that will not get people lost or injured I will make it available on this website. Please follow developments on this website Austin Thru Hike, Facebook Austin Thru Hike and Instagram @austinthruhike If you would like to follow my other adventures feel free to follow me on Instagram @troyfromtexas

Back Story of the Austin Thru Hike

I’m an avid traveler, hiker and backpacker. I enjoy everything from day hikes to thru hikes.

After completing a few long distance hikes I realized that I was very fortunate to have the time and resources to complete a long thru hike. Also, I realized that there are many people that love to hike, would love to do a thru hike, but might not have the time and resources.

I thought that I’d tried to create a thru hike that would be accessible for just about anyone.

Having lived in Austin and hiked many of the green spaces in the city, I thought that it might be possible to connect a group of the green spaces that pass through the heart of the city. I first plotted a route using Google Maps. I was able to plot a rough route along roads, but I could not plot the route along green spaces in the detail that I desired. Next, I plotted the route using AllTrails.com. This seemed to work better because I was able to plot the route through green spaces. Even after I plotted the route in AllTrails, there were a number of places where the trails still did not connect and there were details missing. However, I felt that I had enough information, so I decided to just go take a hike.

I set out over a long weekend and completed the route in three days.

I must admit that the first day was a bit discouraging because the first three miles took me over four hours to complete. There were some areas where the trail took me off the route. There were areas were I had to bushwhack. And there were a number of areas where I had to traverse water crossings or simply walk through creeks.

The second day was a bit easier, but I came across some roads, urban obstacles and blockages which I had to hike around. I was hoping to avoid walking on asphalt as much as possible and to keep the route traversing through green spaces.

The third day was the easiest day in terms of connecting trails, but it was the hardest day in terms of distance. On this third day I hiked about 22 miles and through some unfamiliar green space. I completed the trail after the sun set and in the dark, but I completed it.

Now it is your turn. Enjoy your hike! πŸšΆπŸ»β€β™‚οΈ