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EveryPark Blog


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Highland Neighborhood Park

08.25.16 Posted in NE by

Highland Neighborhood Park (401 West St. Johns Avenue) is mostly sports fields that look a bit neglected. The neighborhood is working with the City to redevelop this park and it will probably be a great community asset in the future. Currently there is a park road that goes in sort of a U-shape around the outer edge and yields about 0.5 miles with each out and back. Despite the road being pretty rough and full of potholes, it’s not a bad place for a short run. It’s flat and surprisingly quiet for this dense neighborhood. The park is not incredibly scenic but I did see a blue jay, a cardinal, and a curious Golden Retriever this overcast morning. It doesn’t seem to get much use at this point and there is amply room to park.

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I also recently attempted to visit Tannehill Creek Greenbelt (2403 East 51st Street) but it is undeveloped wooded land.


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More Northwesterns

08.10.16 Posted in NW by

Gilbert-Davis Tract (5512 Shoal Creek Blvd) is part of the Shoal Creek Greenbelt. The Parks Directory still lists it as undeveloped but it does now have a rock-lined dirt trail which is mostly flat and runs parallel to the creek. It’s about 0.4 miles each direction and is pretty shaded. It’s next to a relatively busy road, so it’s not exactly a serene woodland experience, but it’s still an enjoyable little spot. One can park in the street at the far end and drop down towards the creek from the sidewalk. In the short span I came upon just one other man walking an adorable poodle. There are no other facilities here.

Gilbert-Davis Tract

Gilbert-Davis Tract

Lucy Read School Park (7509 Silvercrest Drive) is just a school playground and an open field and is not runnable. Maggie Boatright Area of the Bull Creek Greenbelt has an address of 6958 Spicewood Springs Road. I looked and looked and could find no trailhead at this address, though there are many other points of entry to the Greenbelt.

Pillow School Park (8500 Rockwood Lane) has a flat gravel track that measures about a quarter mile per lap. There is no shade on the track. There are three playgrounds and a covered basketball court nearby and several children were playing there yesterday despite the extreme heat. Street parking is ample here. There are some well-done and interesting murals on the walls of the portable classrooms alongside the track, so despite the sparse landscape there is some visual interest on one end.

Pillow School Park

Pillow School Park

 

 


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Doss School Park

08.05.16 Posted in NW by

Doss School Park (7013 Northledge Drive) features a short (about 0.10 miles per lap) gravel trail. It is an irregular loop that is fun to run despite its short distance. It’s on a bit of a slope and is shaded and quiet. This park, closed during school hours, also has a playground, a Little Library, basketball courts, and a garden. It would be a nice spot to bring the kids to play and get a few laps in where you can keep an eye on them. Parking on the street next to school has some special restrictions so note the signs. The very nice track at Murchison Middle is right next door, but doesn’t seem to be City maintained so I’m not covering that here.

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Round Up

08.02.16 Posted in NE, NW by

I had some time off today and visited (or attempted to visit!) several different sites.

Andrews School Park (2400 Lehigh Drive) is just a small path to a school playground, not a runnable site. Barrington School Park (9306 Glenn Lane) has a gravel track but all the gates were locked today. It may not be open to the public or maybe just not today. Bolm Road District Park (6700 Bolm Road) is undeveloped; looks like there are some unsightly manufacturing facilities at this address, not parkland. Decker Tallgrass Prairie Preserve (8001 Decker Lane) and the nearby Indiangrass Wildlife Sanctuary (10203 Lindell Lane) are also undeveloped (seemingly purposely), as is Janet Long Fish Park (13840 Dessau Road), Oertli Neighborhood Park (12613 Blaine Road), and Georgian Acres Neighborhood Park (500 E Powell Lane), currently fenced off.

Buttermilk Branch Greenbelt (7501 Bethune Avenue) has a flat paved trail that, though not streetside, seems to be more of a thruway for the neighborhood and not a desirable place to run in my opinion. Street parking in the cul de sac at this address is available. The trail connects to Buttermilk Neighborhood Park and is about a half mile out and back.

Buttermilk Branch Greenbelt

Buttermilk Branch Greenbelt

Easy Boggy Creek Greenbelt has about a mile of nice paved trail, relatively recently finished, that connects to Govalle Neighborhood Park. I am always happy to visit the enormous, beautiful trees in Govalle. Despite being right in a neighborhood, the trail was surprisingly quiet. It is well-marked with mile markers and helpful directional signs and runs alongside the creek, which today was flowing in some parts and dry in others. I came upon several cyclists but no other runners. The trail is mostly exposed with some shady patches.

East Boggy Creek Greenbelt

East Boggy Creek Greenbelt

Cook School Park (1505 Cripple Creek Drive) has a 0.2 mile flat gravel track. Other than the track, the surrounding view is a blank, featureless field, not even a tree or bush surrounds it or is in the inner part. It is not one of the most exciting tracks to run on. One can street park here too.

Cook School Park

Cook School Park

Copperfield Neighborhood Park (1425 East Yager Lane) on the other hand is a really interesting site. I ran about 1.7 miles of the extensive unpaved trails here today. There was more to explore that I will revisit on a less sweltering day! There’s a small parking lot and a small, nice playground with picnic shelter and water fountain nearby. This is a lesser known (to me) trail system that is recently constructed I believe; I attempted to visit it when I started my Every Park project a few years ago and it was under construction. It’s very quiet and I didn’t encounter anyone else on the trail – except for a beautiful woodpecker I was excited to see, and lots of big dragonflies. Winding through the cedar woods, the trail offers just enough elevation change to be fun but not too extreme. I look forward to going back here (with long pants on as some of the trail has some foliage that you can’t help but brush against and poison ivy is not your friend!).

Copperfield Trails

Copperfield Trails

View more photos of this and other parks here.

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Williamson Creek Central Greenbelt

07.29.16 Posted in South by

Williamson Creek Central Greenbelt (5120 S 1st Street) is an 82 acre park. It appears that only a small section of it developed at this time. Admirably, the neighbors have adopted it in recent years and set up a butterfly garden and picnic area. Right now unfortunately most of the park is overgrown and has lots of litter. The section that’s developed has about 300 feet of flat mulched pathway, so it’s not a good location for running.

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Walnut Creek Greenbelt

07.27.16 Posted in NW by

Walnut Creek Greenbelt (2611 Park Bend Drive) is a large (975 acres!) tract of land that connects Walnut Creek Metro Park and Balcones District Park. There is now a nice paved trail through this greenbelt that is a really good place to run or cycle. One can park at the St. David’s Hospital Lot G and cross over towards the tree line to find the path at this address; there aren’t any signs at this end. Several other runners and cyclists were utilizing the trail yesterday morning when I visited. The area is heavily wooded surrounding the trail; visually it feels secluded even though you can hear a bit of traffic noise from MoPac still. Several bridges cross over the creek and provide some nice scenery. Other than the trail, there are no other facilities so you’ll want to bring in water and other needs. This place is worth the trip for sure.

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See more of my photos of this and other parks here.

 


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Yett Creek Neighborhood Park, Wooten Neighborhood Park, Ortega School Park Track

07.22.16 Posted in NE, NW by

Yett Creek Neighborhood Park is listed in the Parks Directory as being located at 12538 Riata Vista Circle, but there is no discernible entrance or trailhead at this address that I could find. Entering the name into my navigation led me to a location about ten minutes away from that address with what looked like the beginnings of trail that ran behind some homes. It didn’t seem to continue very far and passed behind some homes that weren’t fenced, so I considered it not developed enough to safely attempt to run on. I did see a group of deer in the morning light, so that was lovely.

Wooten Neighborhood Park (1500 Dale Drive) is near a school. Users can run in a U-shape on the sidewalk that borders this large field next to the school; mileage totals about 0.70 miles out and back. A little group of house finches hopped along in front of me there – love the little splash of red on the males. This path is exposed and flat. The park has some nice landscaping and is kind of pretty. There are also some unique homes to view along the way in this quiet neighborhood. There’s a staff lot available when school’s not in session, or street parking. Several dog walkers shared the area this morning. A playground and a shaded basketball court round out the features here.

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Ortega School Park Track features a loose gravel track that’s about 0.25 miles per lap. It too is flat; one side is shaded and the rest is exposed. This park also is adjacent to a school. Street parking is available here. I only came upon one other gentleman walking the track. There is a playground and a shaded basketball court here too. Lots of barking dogs could be heard while I visited. This park is very near to Givens District Park.

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Wells Creek Greenbelt/Westenfield Neighborhood Park

07.18.16 Posted in NW by

Wells Creek Greenbelt (13120 Metric Boulevard) is not yet developed or runnable at this point.

Westenfield Neighborhood Park (2008 Enfield Road) is located off of MoPac and is suited more to swimming and children playing than running. Because of its location, the loud traffic and construction noise permeates the facility. There isn’t much of a place to run; a lap out and back around the perimeter is about 0.6 flat miles, but there’s only sidewalk on one side and you’re mostly running in the grass along the frintage road. Not the most pleasant conditions. The pool here is nice and there is a basketball court and playground, as well as restrooms and water fountains. Parking is available in the neighborhood behind the park or along the frontage road; exit your vehicle at your own risk.

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Umlauf Sculpture Garden/Seton Northwest Labryinth

07.07.16 Posted in Uncategorized by

I covered two more unique sites during my run yesterday. Umlauf Sculpture Garden (605 Robert E Lee Road) is not a traditional park or running site, but it’s on the Parks Directory so I ran it! Featuring the work of Charles Umlauf, the sculpture garden is a beautiful site to visit. It’s free through August 31st but there’s typically a $5 charge. It’s closed on Mondays, open 10am-4pm Tuesday-Thursday, and 12pm-4pm on weekends.

28124773536_37ac49e1fd_zThe sculptures are laid out along a gravel trail that measures a total of about 0.4 miles roundtrip. It’s shaded and mostly flat, except for one portion that takes you up a staircase and gives a pretty bird eye view of the grounds, pictured below.

28055120002_4ab490e45d_zA small parking lot is on-site. Yoga classes are also held here. It’s tough to get a lot of running distance here (there’s only so many laps around a small sculpture garden one can run before looking or feeling like a weirdo), but if you’re in the area it’s a lovely place to visit, especially while it’s free. It’s usually quite busy, even in this extreme heat. See more photos of this and other parks here.

The second spot where I got a short portion of my run in yesterday was the Labryinth at Seton Northwest Hospital (11113 Research Boulevard). This is by no means a park or a City facility, but it is open to the public. Walking a labryinth is a spiritual exercise for some people, and can contribute to healing for those at a medical center. This one has great shade and is about 0.2 miles in and out.

It’s an extremely meditative place to walk or run, and possibly a good place to do some sprints if you’re training for a race with lots of turns! There was no one else there when I visited. Ample free parking is available. It’s unpaved, flat, and there’s a hole to look out for where some drainage repairs are happening as you can see in the photo below. Large signs direct you to where on the campus the labryinth is.

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Upper Bull Creek Greenbelt

07.06.16 Posted in NW, Uncategorized by

Upper Bull Creek Greenbelt (6958 Spicewood Springs Road) offers about 6 miles of unpaved trail that’s very scenic. With the rains we’ve gotten lately, the creek is really flowing and it’s such an enjoyable sound. The foliage along the trail is rather overgrown right now so you’ll want to exercise some extra caution. It’s pretty secluded out there on the steamy weekday I visited; just a few other visitors were enjoying the waterway. It’s very near Lower Bull Creek Greenbelt, Bull Creek Preserve, Bull Creek District Park, and St. Edward’s Greenbelt ; there’s so much in this area to explore in what some folks collectively refer to as The Greenbelt. I saw a peacock along the roadway and a fat Texas Spiny Lizard on the trial.

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This blog chronicles my journey to run in every park in Austin. As an outdoor enthusiast, admirer of wildlife, and ultramarathoner who’s completed more than 35 distance races around the country, I explore our great green spaces while combining that with my fitness pursuits.
Progress: Run Every Park in Austin
187/218 Parks