Hiking at River Place Nature Trail
It's not uncommon for the trail at Turkey Creek, Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve and the Barton Creek Greenbelt to overshadow the River Place Nature Trail. All of these trails are rather great, but the River Place Nature Trail deserves mention, too.
It's hard for dog owners to resist Turkey Creek because of the off-lease areas and wonderful creek side paths. On the other hand, those seeking peace and serenity have a hard time saying no to the Wild Basin Preserve, which provides beautiful waterfall and scenic views.
Barton Creek Greenbelt is found near Mopac and 360. It's known as one of the most popular locations for hiking in the area.
The River Place Nature Trail blends the features of these three, but often gets overlook. It's found very close to Lake Travis between Steiner Ranch and the Four Points area. It's a part of the River Place neighborhood and offers amazing views of tall rock shelves, canyons, waterfalls and so much more.
Finding the trail is pretty easy. It's located near the intersection of 620 and 2222. From there, just take River Place Boulevard to the south and you'll find three different trail heads:
- 4749 River Place Boulevard - Canyon Trail
- 3916 River Place Boulevard - Little Fern Trail
- 8820 Big View Drive - Panther Hollow Trail
Each one of these trails has something unique to offer those looking to enjoy natural beauty.
The Canyon Trail
The name tells you plenty about this trail. The panoramic views and beautiful canyons you will discover on this trail are quite amazing. Big boulders and limestone ledges are rather normal for this trail and you'll discover traumatic passes with plenty of greenery along the way.
The Canyon Trail also provides plenty of stairs made from limestone throughout the steepest areas of the trail. A total of 2,736 steps are found throughout the River Place Nature Trail and many are within the Canyon Trail section.
The Canyon Trail features a 1,700-foot chance in elevation, which is the highest in the Austin area. It's a great place to train for a hike in the Grand Canyon or another rigorous hiking area.
The Little Fern Trail
The tranquil atmosphere of peaceful pools, babbling brooks and stepping-stone crossing make the Little Fern Trail one of the most peaceful in the area. It's the shortest of the three trailheads and provides all types of green ferns along the way. Many steps are found throughout the trail, but it's not as steep as the Canyon Trail.
The longest of the three, The Panther Hollow Trail provides a beautiful look at the area. It includes the Upper Panther and Lower Panther sub trails with steep passes, stair-steps, dry areas and more. The Upper Panther Trail is rather similar to the Canyon Trail, but has more cacti and wraps around the River Place Country Club golf course. The Lower Panther Trail is something very different with waterfalls, a creek and it's one of the clearest paths. It's known as the easiest of the entire River Place Nature Trail.
If you're looking for a new place to enjoy a hike in the Lake Travis area, the River Place Naturel Trail provides something different. They do allow leached dogs and picnics are also allowed. The total trail runs 5.5 miles and it's free to use from sunrise to sunset.