Roy G. Guerrero Colorado River Metro Park (400 Grove Boulevard) is a large park (over 265 acres) with many facilities, having been developed only in the last few years. The playground is very unique (and shaded!) and there is a nice picnic pavilion. Ample parking is available in several lots here. It was very quiet on this warm weekday morning; I only came upon a few other visitors (with one speedy dachshund).
There is a paved trail that leads from the parking lot near the playground through a pretty wooded area, out to the highway frontage road. Out-and-back it’s about 0.7 miles. There are also several miles of gravel trail on the side of the park near the sports fields, but because the pedestrian bridge is currently out (damaged by the recent major floods), most of the trail is inaccessible at this time. The parks website does not indicate when the bridge may re-open.
I saw many cardinals and one large deer here today! I look forward to visiting again to explore more of the trails when the bridge is repaired.
I loved these unique benches on either side of a baby nature trail in one corner of the playground.
Poinciana Neighborhood Park (5201 Friedrich Lane) is a triangle-shaped park in South Austin. Sidewalk goes around about half of it and amounts to about 0.3 miles; one would need to step out into the street to go all the way around, which I wouldn’t recommend as these are pretty busy streets. Despite its smaller size there were several users out walking at the park this warm weekday morning. The rest of the park is open space with some pretty foliage. Street parking is available.
I have been striking out lately on being able to run in the parks I’m visiting – but I guess part of discovering great places to run is eliminating the places where you can’t!
Old San Antonio Greenbelt (11705 Old San Antonio Rd), Old San Antonio Park (12110 Old San Antonio Rd), and Onion Creek Metro Park (8652 Nuckols Crossing Rd) are undeveloped tracts right now with no trails or paths for running. Hopefully in the future they will be, because this is a pretty area.
Piney Bend Neighborhood Park (8601 Piney Creek Bend) just has a very small developed area with a playscape; the rest of its four acres are undeveloped and it is therefore also unrunnable.
Silk Oak Neighborhood Park (3204 Silk Oak Drive) is a good spot for play or a picnic but not ideal for running. Though it’s almost 18 acres, it’s a largely open area without a path or trail to run on; one would be hard-pressed to get in a quarter mile here. This park is a nice place to visit but not recommended for running purposes.
View more photos of this and other Austin parks here.
Reed Neighborhood Park is located at 2614 Pecos Street. There is a short nature trail accessible via the trailhead near the back of the parking area. With six out-and-backs on this trail and on the paved section of the park, I got in 1.55 miles of my run here on this overcast day. There were a few others users in the main part of the park but I had the trail to myself. It empties out into a neighborhood at the other end.
The trail has a few little fun inclines and is unpaved. It’s very shady and has houses up on a ridge on one side and a babbling stream on the other which the trail crosses once. A pretty spot to visit and a good place to run if you’re willing to do some repeats.
View more photos of this and the other parks here.
Ramsey Neighborhood Park (4301 Rosedale Avenue) has many features like brand new playground equipment, a pool, and sports courts that make it a great place for children, and a flat sidewalk that goes around the rectangular perimeter that makes it good for runners. Seven laps around gets you three miles.
The park is rather busy with families on weekends, but had a decent number of other users on this overcast, muggy weekday too. There is no lot but street parking is available all along the perimeter. Restrooms and water fountains are also present. You can see across this five acre park from pretty much any point on the path, and it’s in a residential area.
Springdale Neighborhood Park (1175 Nickols Avenue) is a smaller park with a short paved pathway. It’s too short to be much good for running – it takes about six out-and-backs to make one mile. But, it’s a nice place to visit with several picnic tables and a good quality playground. There’s also an interesting mosaic-ed pavilion here. The path is relatively flat; it was otherwise deserted on the cold day I visited, and quiet except for dogs from neighboring yards and airplane traffic overhead. There is a parking lot with ample spaces onsite.
Scofield Farms Neighborhood Park (12901 Scofield Farms Dr) has a meandering out-and-back gravel path with a little tributary section that leads down to the creek that runs through it – which actually had rushing water in it the chilly day I visited. With three out-and-backs, one tributary jaunt, and finishing on the sidewalk in front of the park, I got two miles of my run in here.
There were several other folks out here walking. Street parking was ample. The trail has one inclined bit as you head back out, just enough to be a little challenge for the legs but not too intense.
Riata Neighborhood Park (12401 Riata Trace Parkway) is a lovely park that’s hard to park near. The streets and office parking lots nearby are all tow away zones, so you need to drive a ways down the road to find a spot. It does have a flat gravel trail that surrounds the pond and features some exercise stations and a playground. In addition to that main pond loop trail, there is also a smaller more rugged trail near the tennis courts to explore. I was the only visitor on this weekday. Signage indicates that each loop is 1/2 mile, but it’s really about 0.4 miles.
Red Bud Isle (3401 Red Bud Trail) is a popular off-leash dog park that has an unpaved trail. Each loop is about 0.4 miles, 0.5 if you take the detour out onto the little pointe. The trail is relatively flat with one slightly inclined spot.
It’s often crowded with people and their dogs who run in and out of the water. There is a small parking lot and no other facilities.
I recently also attempted to visit Nuckols Crossing of Slaughter Creek, but it as undeveloped and unrunnable, as well as Parque Zaragoza Neighborhood Park, which was full of folks loitering there in such a way that I did not feel safe.
I also had the opportunity last month to trek through Bright Leaf Preserve with the local Sierra Club. It’s a lovely, hilly spot with beautiful views and a historic home at the top; we did about 3 miles here. It’s only open with a trained guide.