Top Dog Trails near Austin, TX

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Introduction

Austin consistently ranks as one of the dog-friendliest cities in America. One reason Austin is so pawsome is how many options there are for enjoying the great outdoors with your dog in this laid-back cultural hub. Not only are there dozens of dog-friendly trails in and around the city, several of them are leash-free! On many local trails, dogs can splash in creeks, bound through wildflower fields, and pant their way up tricky slopes without being encumbered by a leash. Even where leashes are required, these top Austin trails are a treat, charting courses through funky urban landscapes and linking one gorgeous waterfall to the next.

#10 River Place Canyon Trail

The Canyon Trail is one of three trails in the River Place Nature Trail system, and is one of the tougher trails in the Austin area. The five-mile round-trip out-and-back trail includes long sections of steep log stairs and over 800 feet of elevation gain. Benches are placed along the way where you can rest and enjoy amazing scenery like rock formations, limestone pools, and waterfalls.

#9 Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail

The urban Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail is one of Austin's most popular trails. The ten-mile trail makes a complete circuit around Lady Bird Lake through varied scenery. Some sections of the trail afford views of the city skyline, while others are completely surrounded by forest. The off-leash Auditorium Shores and Norwood Dog Parks are located just off the trail, as are several dog-friendly restaurants.

#8 Upper Bull Creek Greenbelt

The 2.5-mile Upper Bull Creek Greenbelt is less crowded than the Lower Bull Creek Greenbelt, but just as beautiful. Its mile-long central section traverses St. Edward's Park, one of Austin's hidden gems. It's flatter than other trails in the park, allowing you to focus on the amazing scenery during your on-leash hike: tranquil pools in bowls of sculpted limestone, multiple waterfalls, and vast wildflower fields.
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#7 Onion Creek Trail at McKinney Falls State Park

McKinney Falls State Park is a 641-acre park with over ten miles of hiking trails located just a few miles from central Austin. This pawsome natural resource is a great place to bring your dog for a day of on-leash hiking. The paved three-mile Onion Creek Trail is a park favorite, looping around many gorgeous vistas and past the park's namesake waterfall. Add the connected half-mile Rock Shelter Trail to see the famous rock formation.

#6 Barton Creek Greenbelt

The twelve-mile-long Barton Creek Greenbelt is one of Austin's most pupular trails. The scenery you'll enjoy during your on-leash hike on the greenbelt is incredibly varied. The trail passes through downtown, affording a view of the city skyline, then along wild sections of the creek where the city is completely hidden from view by limestone bluffs. The most scenic section of the trail is the mile-long section that links Twin Falls and Structure Falls.

#5 Shoal Creek Trail

The Shoal Creek Trail is a seven-mile mixed-surface trail through varied urban, forest, and creekside landscapes. It also traverses the manicured lawns of several city parks, ultimately linking up with the Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail. The most puptastic feature of this trail for canine hikers is the mile-long section between 24th and 29th Street where dogs are allowed to travel leash-free!

#4 Four Corners and Shady Trail Loop at Onion Creek District Park

All the trails at Onion Creek District Park are leash-free, amounting to four miles of trails through 170 acres of land. You'll have a happy day following any route through this beautiful park, but if you're able to track down a map, the two-mile Four Corners and Shady Trail Loop covers a significant portion of the park and brings you close to the creek, where your dog can take a dip on hot days.

#3 Main Trail at Walnut Creek Metropolitan Park

The Main Trail in Walnut Creek Metropolitan Park loops through 300 beautiful acres of lush forests and creek crossings. What makes it especially pawsome is that the section north of Walnut Creek is leash-free. This gives you and your pup 200 acres to explore without a leash! Giant boulders and wildflower fields are among the scenery you'll enjoy while treating your dog to a day of leash-free exercise at Walnut Creek Park.

#2 Loop Trail on Red Bud Isle

You'll find Red Bud Isle floating a few feet from the shore on the Colorado River. This 17-acre island has gone to the dogs... literally. The entirety of Red Bud Isle is a leash-free dog park that includes a lovely half-mile loop trail along the water's edge. A curtain of aromatic pines stands between you and the water, making this a gorgeous place for a walk as well as a perfect place for pictures and quiet contemplation.

#1 Turkey Creek Trail in Emma Long Metropolitan Park

Not only does the Turkey Creek Trail consistently rank as one of metro Austin's best hiking trails, the 2.5-mile loop trail is completely leash-free! The landscapes along the trail compete with one another in beauty. You'll pass from the shade of the rich forests surrounding the rocky creek into fern-lined oases and open country with unique drought-tolerant plant life. Wildflowers are abundant and sculpted limestone bluffs add to the visual drama.