As much as we enjoyed the cool water of Barton Springs Pool, the free price-tag of the Barton Creek Greenbelt has recently been much more alluring! It’s also another one of those outdoor activities that seem to keep Rachel’s mind at ease before work.
The Barton Creek Greenbelt is a 7.9 mile trail beginning in Zilker Park that twists and turns through beautiful vegetation and follows the blue and green of Barton Springs Creek which flows parallel to the Barton Creek Pool. The trail offers access to numerous swimming holes, and limestone cliff walls for rock climbing all within Austin city limits. It is an outdoor destination for visitors and locals alike who enjoy sun bathing, swimming, hiking, cycling, and rope swinging!
The first time we hiked the greenbelt we started with our swimming suits from Zilker Trailhead, just west of Barton Springs Pool. The weather in Austin is still rather toasty at this time and we didn’t even make it a mile before I was drenched in sweat and demanded to jump in one of the many beautiful swimming holes we had passed. The water level is fairly low during this time of year, but that didn’t stop us from soaking in the refreshing water.
After a quick dip, we continued along the trail and walked through an area called the flats, which is a section of exposed limestone rock carved out by the continuous flow of Barton Creek. This area reminded us of Johnson Shut-Ins in Missouri, but on a much smaller scale.
A mile or so past the flats is an area called Gus’ Fruh which is a short walk from the spyglass trail access. This is our favorite spot along the greenbelt that we have been to. Because the water was low this swimming hole was surrounded by rocky beaches that hosted multiple sun bathers. At the west end of the swimming hole the water gets very deep and is the perfect spot to utilize the rope swing that is hung on a neighboring tree. I tried my very best to convince Rach to take a ride on the swing but was surprisingly unsuccessful in this endeavor. I, however, thoroughly enjoyed swinging into the cool water from the rope swing!
We’ve been back to the green belt a few times and though we haven’t traversed the entire 7.9 mile stretch it is peaceful place to feel connected with nature while still being so very close to the Austin downtown area!