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Outdoors: Central Texas parks

Staff Writer
Austin 360

Central Texas is sprinkled with trails for walking, running, hiking and biking. Some parks offer swimming, boating and disc golf.

Because of drought, a burn ban is in effect. An updated map of counties currently under a burn ban and what restrictions may apply can be found online at tfsfrp.tamu.edu/wildfires/DecBan.png .

For information about Austin parks, call the Austin Parks and Recreation Department at 974-6700. For a complete list of Austin's parks, visit www.ci.austin.tx.us/parks/parkdirectory.htm .

For information about Travis County parks, call 854-7275 or visit www.co.travis.tx.us/tnr/parks .

For information about state parks, call 389-8950 or 800-792-1112 or visit www.tpwd.state.tx.us .

Austin metropolitan parks

Butler. Twenty-one acres with walking trails, a pond and a splash pad. 1000 Barton Springs Road.

Circle C Ranch. Park's 572 acres include an 18-basket disc golf course, seven soccer fields, basketball court, two volleyball courts and 6.2 miles of trails. 6301 W. Slaughter Lane.

Commons Ford Ranch. Formerly a working ranch; trails on 211 acres and lake access at the north end (swimming prohibited); 2,500-square-foot ranch house available for events. 614 N. Commons Ford Road. 974-6797.

Emma Long. Sport boat ramps, camping, swimming, volleyball and several miles of trails along 1,109 acres of Lake Austin. 1600 City Park Road. $5-$15. 346-1831.

Mary Moore Searight. Hike-and-bike and horseback trails, basketball, tennis and volleyball courts, disc golf, barbecue pits, playground and fishing. 907 W. Slaughter Lane.

Roy G. Guerrero Colorado River Park. Four baseball fields, 12 softball fields, three volleyball courts, 4 miles of trails, playgrounds, picnic tables on 399 acres. 400 Grove Blvd.

Walnut Creek. Popular with mountain bikers, the 290-acre park offers 15 miles of trails, basketball and volleyball courts, five softball fields and plenty of space for picnicking. 12138 N. Lamar Blvd.

Walter E. Long. Encompasses Lake Walter E. Long, with fishing, boating and volleyball. 6620 Blue Bluff Road. $8 admission. 926-5230.

Zilker.Park on 304 acres is home to Barton Springs Pool connects to Lady Bird Lake trails and the Barton Creek greenbelt; canoeing, concessions, disc golf, train rides and volleyball. 2100 Barton Springs Road. $3 parking. 472-4914.

Austin district parks

Balcones. Woodsy acreage above Walnut Creek, with basketball and volleyball facilities. 12017 Amherst Drive.

Bartholomew. Forty-nine acres just north of 51st Street, including a splash pad, disc golf, ball courts, playground and picnic area. 5201 Berkman Drive.

Beverly S. Sheffield. Thirty-one acres along Shoal Creek with a variety of amenities. 7000 Ardath St.

Bull Creek. Forty-eight acres at the base of the Bull Creek greenbelt. Picnicking and 2 miles of trails available. All animals must be on a leash. 6701 Lakewood Drive.

Davis-White Northeast. Twenty acres include basketball and volleyball courts, picnic shelters, playground and off-leash dog area. 6705 Crystalbrook Drive.

Dick Nichols. Pool, hike-and-bike trails, ball courts and several barbecue pits. 8011 Beckett Road.

Dittmar. Basketball, volleyball, recreation center, walking trails, playground, picnic tables, barbecue pits, pool on 33 acres. Closed on weekends. 1009 W. Dittmar Road.

Dove Springs. Ball fields, basketball, volleyball, tennis, hike-and-bike trails, playground, picnic tables, barbecue pits, pool on 72 acres. 5801 Ainez Drive.

Garrison. Shaded park with a jogging trail, baseball fields, basketball courts, picnic tables, barbecue pits and a seasonal swimming pool. 6001 Manchaca Road.

Givens. Forty-one acres just east of Airport Boulevard. Lighted basketball courts and softball fields allow play past twilight. 3811 E. 12th St.

Mabel Davis. Skate park, Olympic-size pool, basketball court and trails. 3427 Parker Lane.

Pease. Popular site for festivals includes 28 picnic tables, playground equipment, a splash pad, ball courts. 1100 Kingsbury St.

Waterloo. Ten acres include busts of historical figures and picnic areas. 500 E. 12th St.

Austin greenbelts

Barton Creek. Urban oasis includes 13.4 miles of hike-and-bike trails, dense foliage and cliffs, extending from Zilker Park to the Lost Creek subdivision. 3753 S. Capital of Texas Highway (Loop 360). See www.texasoutside.com/bartongreenbelt.htm for list of access points.

Blunn Creek. Thirteen acres serving Travis Heights neighborhood. 1901 East Side Drive.

Boggy Creek. Forty-eight open acres in East Austin. 1114 Nile St.

Upper and Lower Bull Creek. Scenic trails and swimming holes along 105 acres of watershed. 7806 N. Capital of Texas Highway (Loop 360), 183 acres at 6958 Spicewood Springs Road.

Gaines Creek.Park includes 118 acres south of Barton Creek between MoPac Boulevard (Loop 1) and U.S. 290. Stearn's Lane. 4800 S. MoPac (Loop 1).

Johnson Creek. Sixteen acres and .58 miles of hike-and-bike trail. 2100 Enfield Road.

Latta Branch. Trails extend for 1.75 miles just west of Dick Nichols Park. 7910 Beckett Road.

Shoal Creek. Eighty acres with 3.19 miles of trails. 2600 N. Lamar Blvd.

South Boggy Creek.Picnic tables and parkland on four acres. 7701 Circle S Road.

St. Edward's. Eighty acres with trails tucked away in Northwest Austin. 7301 Spicewood Springs Road.

Steck Valley.Thirty-eight acres along Bull Creek. 8403 Adirondack Trail.

North Star Greenbelt. Area includes 17.6 acres and 1.5 miles of concrete trail. 11701 Tallow Field Way.

Onion Creek Greenbelt. Features 211 acres with 2.23 miles of trails, a playground and an off-leash dog area. 7004 Onion Creek Drive.

Waller Creek. Includes 4.6 acres and 1.5 miles of trails extending from Waterloo Park to Lady Bird Lake. 703 E. Sixth St.

Walnut Creek. Balcones District Park connected to Walnut Creek Metropolitan Park with 916 acres. 2611 Park Bend Road.

West Bouldin Creek. Eighteen acres parallel to South Lamar Boulevard. 1200 S. Sixth St.

Williamson Creek.Greenbelt is 252 acres snaking through South Austin — 80 acres at 5120 S. First Street, 95 acres at 4618 E. William Cannon Drive and 76 acres at 6310 Brush Country.

Travis County parks

Allen. A 10-acre park used mainly for low-density recreational activities such as picnicking and hiking. 6413 Westside Drive.

Ben E. Fisher.Manor park with a small playground, two basketball courts, a volleyball court, a short walking path and a covered shelter. 600 W. Carrie Manor St.

Dink Pearson.A 3.6-acre park on the north shore of Lake Travis that consists of a limestone outcropping with shallow layers of loam, unimproved boat ramp. 3011 Lohmans Ford Road. Lago Vista.

East Metropolitan Park. Community pavilion, picnic areas, trails, fruit orchard, rock-climbing wall, a swimming pool, basketball court, disc golf, playground, concession stands, hiking trails, one senior and three youth baseball fields, four multiuse fields, one practice field, a pond stocked regularly (catch and keep) and two ponds suitable for catch-and-release fishing on 273 acres. 1801 Blake Manor Road.

Fritz Hughes. Small neighborhood park below Mansfield Dam on Lake Austin with a wooded and grassy plateau used primarily for picnicking, fishing and basketball. 3100 Fritz Hughes Park Road.

Hamilton Pool. Historic swimming hole west of Austin with a 50-foot waterfall and hiking trails. 24300 Hamilton Pool Road. $3-$8.

Little Webberville. Approximately 20 miles east of Austin, park on the banks of the Colorado River is a popular spot for boaters, anglers and picnickers. 100 Water Street, Webberville.

Mary Quinlan. Nearly six acres of rolling hills with 200 feet of shoreline access to Lake Austin, including the only public boat ramp for several miles. Free. 1601 Quinlan Park Road South

Milton Reimers Ranch Park.Almost three miles of continuous frontage along the Pedernales River and more than 18 miles of trails; features rock climbing, mountain biking and fishing. 23610 Hamilton Pool Road. $10 per vehicle.

Northeast Metropolitan.Picnicking, hiking, biking, concession stand facilities and sports fields on 349 acres. 2703 Pecan St. Pflugerville. 854-9489.

Richard Moya. Historic, century-old bridge that once spanned the Colorado River in downtown Austin now crosses Onion Creek, providing a scenic backdrop. Contains two miles of hike-and-bike trails through pecan groves, covered group shelters and multi-use fields south of Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. Free. 1001 Burleson Road.

Sandy Creek. A 25-acre park with swimming, nature walks, a boat ramp, birding, camping and fishing. 9500 Lime Creek Road, Leander. $3-$15.

Selma Hughes.Neighborhood park on north shores of Lake Austin offers several shady picnic areas with waterside views. Primarily used by area residents. Free. 11921 Selma Hughes Park Road.

Southeast Metropolitan.Has a 2-mile, multi-use concrete trail and a 3-mile foot traffic-only primitive hiking trail skirting two ponds, sports fields, playground, basketball courts and a covered pavilion. 4511 E. Texas 71, Del Valle.

Tom Hughes. Primitive trails and swimming in the basin area of Lake Travis near Mansfield Dam. Limited parking and rugged terrain. 12714 Hughes Park Road. $3-$8.

Webberville. Fishing, picnicking, covered shelters, two miles of hike and bike trails, horseback riding and access to the Colorado River. 2305 Park Lane.

Windmill Run. Oak Hill neighborhood park with playground. 7306 Kirkham Cove.

Other area parks

Bluff Creek Ranch.Camping, swimming, fishing and 71/2 miles of shaded trails for bicyclists of all levels. Warda. 979-242-5894, www.bcrwarda.com .

Bright Leaf Preserve. Natural area within Austin city limits encompasses 216 acres. Guided hikes only; no bikes, dogs, fishing or camping. Visit website for hike dates or call to arrange a hike. Part of the Austin Community Foundation. 512-459-7269, www.brightleaf.org .

Georgetown. Thirty parks include trails for running and biking, dog park, skate park, swimming and sports fields. 512-930-3595, www.parks.georgetown.org .

Kerrville-Schreiner Park. Recreation area on the Guadalupe River includes camping facilities, hike-and-bike trails, swimming and fishing on 517 acres. 830-257-7300. www.kerrville.org .

Kyle. Five city parks, including one around Lake Kyle, that offer disc golf, sand volleyball, sports facilities/fields, swimming and playgrounds. 512-262-3939. See detailed list at www.cityofkyle.com/recreation/city-parks .

Pflugerville.More than 15 parks, with 26 miles of trails over 530 acres. Amenities include pavilions, gazebos, playgrounds, pools and picnic areas. 512-990-6350 or 512-990-0932, www.cityofpflugerville.com .

Round Rock. Thirty-four developed parks spanning 1,700 acres and trail corridors including the 570-acre Old Settlers Park, which is used for local events and festivals. 512-218-5540, www.roundrocktexas.gov/parksandrec .

San Marcos.Twenty-five park facilities, including nature center, activity center and several sports complexes. 512-393-8400, www.sanmarcostx.gov/departments/parks/index.htm .

Taylor. Seven parks on 312 acres that include 10 tennis courts, lighted baseball diamonds, hike-and-bike trails, fishing lakes, playgrounds and picnic areas. 512-352-5818, www.ci.taylor.tx.us .

State parks

Bastrop State Park. Campsites with a variety of accommodations, picnic areas, 18-hole golf course, backpacking, fishing, swimming pool, hiking and biking trails. Summer passes available. Portions of park closed for construction; call for specifics. 512-321-2101. 3005 Texas 21 East, Bastrop.

Blanco State Park. Camping, screened shelters, swimming, fishing, picnicking, boating along the Blanco River. Blanco. 830-833-4333.

Buescher State Park. Camping, hiking, biking, a lake (fishing and nonmotorized boating), picnic tables, group picnic pavilion. 100 Park Road 1E, Smithville. 512-237-2241.

Colorado Bend State Park.Park along Colorado River has ranger-led crawling cave tours, as well as Gorman Falls tours. Fishing, swimming, hiking and primitive camping available. Between Lampasas and San Saba, in Bend. 325-628-3240.

Enchanted Rock State Natural Area.History-rich 1,644-acre park includes hiking, tent pads, restrooms, showers, picnic area, rock climbing, primitive camp sites. 16710 RM 965, Fredericksburg. 830-685-3636.

Government Canyon State Natural Area.Scenic overlooks, birdwatching, hiking, historic landmarks and a visitor's center on 8,624 acres. 12861 Galm Road, San Antonio. 210-688-9055.

Guadalupe River State Park.Fishing, canoeing, camping, tubing, picnicking, hiking, an equestrian trail, birdwatching. Two-mile guided tour of the Honey Creek State Natural Area available. 3350 Park Road 31, Spring Branch. 830-438-2656.

Hill Country State Natural Area. Undeveloped natural area with 40 miles of trails for hiking, horseback riding and mountain biking. Also includes tent sites, equestrian campgrounds, group lodge with equestrian facilities. 10600 Bandera Creek Road, Bandera. 830-796-4413.

Honey Creek State Natural Area. 2,293 acres in Comal County; branch of Guadalupe River State Park. Access by tour only. 3350 Park Road 31, Spring Branch. 830-438-2656.

Inks Lake State Park. Hiking trails, golf, primitive backpack area, cabins and campsites with water and picnic tables. Paddle boats and canoes may be rented. 3630 Park Road 4 West, Burnet. 512-793-2223.

Kickapoo Cavern State Park. Twenty campsites, picnic areas, and development of mountain biking, hiking and birding trails. Primitive tours of Kickapoo Cavern every Saturday; reservations required. Brackettville. 830-563-2342.

Lake Somerville State Park & Trailway. Consists of Birch Creek, Nails Creek and Lake Somerville Trailway, with camping, picnicking, boating, fishing, hiking, biking and equestrian use. Nails Creek, FM 180, Ledbetter. 979-289-2392. Birch Creek, 14222 Park Road 57, Somerville. 979-535-7763.

LBJ National Historic Park. Near LBJ Ranch, which is in the LBJ National Historic Park. Nature trails, wildlife enclosures, historic exhibits, guided tours, two lighted tennis courts, swimming pool, visitor center, picnic sites. Stonewall (between Fredericksburg and Johnson City). Free; donations accepted. 830-644-2252.

Lockhart State Park. Hiking trails, nine-hole golf course, fishing, nature study, swimming pool, fully equipped campsites, picnic areas and recreation hall. 4179 State Park Road, Lockhart. 512-398-3479.

Longhorn Cavern State Park. Parkland with historic and nature study, camping, fishing, hunting and guided cavern tours (call for current times) on 645 acres. Park Road 4, Burnet. 830-598-2283.

Lost Maples State Natural Area.Several hiking trails, diverse flora and fauna, picnic sites, campsites with electricity and primitive camping on 2,174 acres. 37221 RM 187, Vanderpool. 830-966-3413.

McKinney Falls State Park. Four miles of multi-use trails, 3.5 miles of paved trails, campsites with water and electricity, fishing. Group facilities include screened shelters, dining hall, recreation center and amphitheater. Onion Creek is open to swimmers unless bacteria count is high. 5808 McKinney Falls Parkway, Austin. 243-1643.

Meridian State Park.Hidden, 72-acre haven for nature lovers and fishing enthusiasts lies nestled among the wooded hills northwest of Waco. Camping, fishing, picnicking, hiking, lake swimming, boating, birdwatching, fishing and bicycling on park roads. 173 Park Road 7, Meridian. 254-435-2536.

Monument Hill and Kreische Brewery State Historic Sites. Ruins of one of the first commercial breweries in Texas and the home of stonemason Heinrich L. Kreische sit atop the bluff of Monument Hill. Visitor center, self-guided tour, nature trails, picnic sites, playground, regularly scheduled events. 414 State Loop 92, La Grange. 979-968-5658.

Mother Neff State Park. The first official state park in Texas. Hiking, picnicking, fishing from the Leon River bank and wildlife observation. Overnight camping available, though full service restrooms and showers out of order due to flood damage. 1680 Texas 236, Moody. 254-853-2389.

Palmetto State Park. Named for the tropical dwarf palmetto plant, the park abuts the San Marcos River and has a 4-acre oxbow lake. Camping, picnicking, hiking, fishing, birding, nature study, pedal boat and canoe rentals, swimming, tubing and canoeing. 78 Park Road 11 South, Gonzales. 830-672-3266.

Pedernales Falls State Park. Park includes 19.8 miles of hiking and mountain biking trails; 10 miles of equestrian day trails; 14 miles of backpacking trails; fishing; campsites with electricity, water and grills. Swimming permitted in a portion of the river. 2585 Park Road 6026, Johnson City. 830-868-7304.

LCRA parks

The Lower Colorado River Authority is a Texas conservation and reclamation district operating with no taxing authority. It owns 18 public parks on the Colorado River in and around Austin. Seven of the parks are operated by Travis County. For more information, call 473-3200 or visit www.lcra.org/parks.

Arkansas Bend. Park on 198 acres on north shore of Lake Travis offers hiking, fishing, camping, picnicking and lake access. $10-20.

Bob Wentz. Park, on 23 acres, is a favorite on Lake Travis for water sports; an adjacent 150-acre tract that is maintained as a natural area. Comanche Trail. $10.

Camp Creek Recreation Area.Forty-two acres of trails, picnic areas, boat ramp, primitive camping. Popular spot for anglers. County Road 343, eight miles from Marble Falls. Free.

Cypress Creek.Forty-nine acres for boating, picnicking and fishing on Lake Travis. RM 2222 and RM 2769. $3-$15.

Gloster Bend Recreation Area.Park on 541 acres has boat ramp, picnic areas. Singleton Bend Road, Marble Falls. $5 per vehicle.

Granite Beach Recreation Area. Park on 36 acres has boat ramp, swimming area and marina on the south shore of Lake LBJ. LCRA leases the property to private operators.

Grelle Recreation Area.Park on 327 acres has swimming, overnight camping on an isolated cove and 2-mile hiking trail. Popular spot for horseback riding. County Road 412, Spicewood. $5 per vehicle.

Hippie Hollow.Park on 109 acres features steep, rocky shoreline and is the only clothing-optional public park in Texas. Comanche Trail. $5-$10.

Lake Bastrop-North Shore Park. Twenty acres with ample campsites with electric and water hookups, showers and restrooms, picnic areas, group area and boat ramp. Adjacent to 900-acre bass fishing lake. $4-$45.

Lake Bastrop-South Shore Park.Park on 44 acres has campsites with electric and water hookups, showers and restrooms; mini-cabins; boat ramp; and hall suitable for events of 80-120 people. Adjacent to 900-acre bass fishing lake. $4-45.

Mansfield Dam.Primary access point for boaters on Lake Travis. Recreation area also offers picnic sites, playground, horseshoe pits, chess tables and a panoramic view of the Lake Travis basin. Mansfield Dam Road. $3-$12.

McKinney Roughs Nature Park. Open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Hiking and equestrian trails, wildlife viewing, day camps, various classes and activities all year. 1884 Texas 71 West, Cedar Creek. $4, $10 for horseback riding. 512-303-5073.

Muleshoe Bend Recreation Area.Park on 920 acres on the south side of Lake Travis has trails, primitive camping, mountain biking, picnic areas. County Road 414, Spicewood. $5 per vehicle.

Narrows Recreation Area. Twenty-one acres on the south side of Lake Travis has boat ramp, bank fishing. County Road 411, Spicewood. Free entry; no camping allowed.

Pace Bend.Park on 115 acres has more than nine miles of shoreline and extensive trails along Lake Travis with range of recreational opportunities. Pace Bend Park Road, Spicewood. $3-$20. 264-1482.

Sandy Creek.A quiet cove off Lake Travis, this 25-acre park offers swimming, boat ramp, primitive camping and fishing. 9500 Lime Creek Road. $3-10.

Shaffer Bend Recreation Area. Park on 521 acres has camping, picnic areas, hiking trails. County Road 343A, east of Marble Falls. $5 per vehicle.

Turkey Bend Recreation Area. Park on 1,138 acres on north shore of Lake Travis has primitive camping, picnic areas, fishing. Shaw Drive off FM 1431. $5 per vehicle.