If you’ve never paid Austin, Texas a visit before, one of the first things you’ll notice is how active the city is.
Whether it be hiking, playing sports, biking, or running, Austin is arguably the best place in Texas for many things.
Running is definitely one of those things. It doesn’t matter if you’re starting a new running regime, preparing for a challenging race, putting a pair of running shoes on for the first time, or if you find yourself searching for something new, Austin’s running scene has something for you.
Austin has a huge range of EPIC running trails that suit every level of runner. There are relaxed downtown trails, scenic viewpoint trails, and rugged trails with canyons, creeks, and cliffs.
This article will show you the running trails in Austin you don’t want to miss. We’ll look at what they have to offer and where you can find them. Let’s get started!
15 Best Running Trails In Austin
The first Austin running trail we have for you is the Ann and Roy Butler trail.
This trail is a hiking and biking trail that’s become a big hit with runners. Perfect for those of you that don’t want to venture out of the city, this 10-mile circular trail runs around Lady Bird Lake.
The trail is well-maintained, flat, and firm underfoot. You’ll find yourself running on a clean, flat, and paved path.
This is a relatively easy running trail that anyone can run along. Simply run as much or as little as you like.
Another excellent running trail in the heart of Austin is the Barton Creek Greenbelt running trail.
The Barton Creek Greenbelt covers almost 2,000 acres of Austin green space. It’s a popular area for local swimmers, bird watchers, hiking, mountain biking, and of course, running.
The main trail here is 7.25 miles long. It starts at Zilker Park and ends near Scottish Woods. This is a challenging trail that will see you run through dense forests, past a waterfall and alongside limestone cliffs.
As a result, some running experience is beneficial. If you don’t want to run the full 7.25 miles, we recommend turning around at the 4-mile mark near Rt. 360.
Ideal for nature lovers, Southern Walnut Creek is Austin’s newest recreation area for hikers, cyclists, and runners. Found in East Austin, this trail consists of a 7.3-mile concrete path that connects Walnut Creek Sports Park to Govalle Park.
The path weaves through a twisting maze of foliage and trees, giving runners the chance to escape the hustle and bustle of the city.
You can access the trailhead for this trail from 5200 Bolm Rd. In terms of difficulty, runners of any skill level can run here.
The Brushy Creek Regional Trail is actually found just north of Austin. However, it makes our list because it’s so popular with Austinites.
You can find this popular running trail at Avery Ranch. It will take you about 30 minutes to get there by car.
On offer here is just over 10 miles of running trail that suits both intermediate and expert runners. If you prefer to run on paved paths, you’ll find 7.5 miles of paved and crushed stone running paths you can run on.
The best thing about running here is how beautiful the area is. You’ll find vast landscapes, stunning waterfalls, and dense forests you can explore whilst you run.
The Mueller Lake Park trail is a popular place for running in Austin. This running trail can be found 4 miles away from downtown Austin in a newer community. The park features 30 acres of land and a 6.5-acre lake.
The running trail here is a short looped-trail that takes you around the lake. Whilst the loop trail is only about a mile long, you can make the trail longer by connecting with other trails and even by running through the residential streets.
This is a great place for beginners to come and run.
Bull Creek Greenbelt is 14 miles away from central Austin. It’s definitely the place to go if you’re looking for one of the city’s hidden gems.
Despite running adjacent to the busy Mopac expressway, this part of the city is lush, quiet, beautiful, and quite magical.
In terms of running, you’ll find a 4-mile long out-and-back trail here that takes you across water crossings, through the forest, and up some challenging hills.
Whilst anyone can run this trail, we do recommend that you have trail running shoes as the surface can be rugged and rocky.
The next running trail on our list is the Maryfield Park Lake Trail. Maryfield Park is one of Austin’s most beloved parks.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it features a tranquil natural landscape, charming cottages, and local wildlife.
As for the running trail here, the most popular trail is the lake trail. Perfect for beginners or short distance runners, the lake trail is just 0.3 miles long.
Therefore, you’ll have to do the circular trail a number of times to run a significant distance. This is also a great place to run if you seek solitude whilst running.
Another running route in Austin that suits beginners is the Mount Bonnell Trail. At just 0.5 miles long, you will easily be able to complete the trail, whilst taking in the most breathtaking of views the city has to offer.
The trail starts and ends at Mt Bonnell Road. The path is well-maintained but you will have to fight your way up a number of steep staircases to reach the top.
Shoal Creek Greenbelt is a convenient place to visit if you want to quickly find somewhere to run in the Austin area. Suitable for all skill levels, we recommend starting your run near 15th Street found near Pease Park.
From there, you can follow the flat paved path that loops around the park. Conveniently, this trail is well signposted so you’ll have no trouble finding it. The trail here is 5.5 miles long so you can expect a decent challenge.
The River Place Nature Trail is the perfect place to visit if you’re looking for a running challenge in the Austin area.
Here, runners are pushed to their limits on trails that change in elevation and require you to climb staircases.
River Place actually has three different trails. Combined, they create one 5.5 miles running trail. Whilst most of the paths are fine, you will encounter rugged terrain too.
Mary Moore Searight Park has several different running trails to choose from. However, the best is arguably the 1.8-mile long circular Metro trail. Found in southwest Austin, this trail is an easy route that doesn’t take long to complete.
This makes it a great wake up call. The trail features a paved path and plenty of space so you won’t have any trouble along the way. You can also hike, mountain bike, and road bike here.
A great way to explore Austin is to run the Austin State Capitol Walking trail. Despite being designed with walking in mind, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with running this route too. In fact, thousands of people do already.
This is a 3.4-mile trail that loops through downtown Austin. Fairly straightforward, firm underfoot, and well-paved, this route gives you the chance to keep fit whilst also seeing some of the city’s iconic landmarks.
As the name would suggest, you’ll get to see the Capitol building along the way.
Another walking trail in Austin you can easily run along is the University of Texas trail. This is a 3.1-mile circular trail that starts at Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum.
Suited to any level of runner, this route takes you around the University campus, showing the iconic buildings and landmarks.
For a longer run, you could actually run around the Capitol of Texas too. This is all paved and flat too so you can expect an easy run.
If you’re a long distance runner looking for the ultimate Austin running experience, you have to visit the Violet Crown Trail. This is by far the most impressive running trail in Austin, offering more than 30 miles of running trail.
Parts of the trail are still undergoing maintenance work but by the time they’re done, you’ll be able to run 30 miles here non-stop. The trail stretches from Zilker Park all the way to Lady Bird Wildflower Center.
Most of the trail is flat, paved, and smooth so it offers a fairly easy marathon experience.
The final Austin running trail on this list is the Turkey Creek Trail. This trail consists of a 2.5-mile out-and-back trail that can be found near Emma Long Park.
It’s a moderately tough trail that does feature exposed roots, rocky terrain, and small hills, but you’ll have no problem completing it if you enjoy trail running.
After your run, make sure you check out the beach area at Emma Long Park. The water is a great place to cool off.
There you have it, 15 of the best running trails in Austin that you can visit today. As you can see from this list of options, Austin has an excellent range of running trails.
Compared to other large cities around America, Austin is also blessed with a good variety of nature running trails that let you escape the city.
No matter what level of running trial you’re looking for, you’ll find a trail you can enjoy on our list.
All you have to do now is narrow down the options and decide which trail you want to hit first.