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.
Oakview Neighborhood Park (10902 Oak View Drive) has a gravel trail circling around the seven acre park. Wooded scenery and interpretive signs describing the plant life make for a pleasant run of about 0.4 miles per lap. This park also has a nice large picnic pavilion and easy street parking. There is some construction going on in the middle of the park but I couldn’t tell what is being built. A group of three deer greeted me in a little clearing.
Northwest Balcones Neighborhood Park (10225 Talleyran Drive) offers a paved loop that circles the more developed section of the park as well as a small unofficial path that meanders into the pretty wooded area, totaling about 0.5 miles per loop. There are several nice picnic shelters, parking lot, and playground at this park and the path is relatively flat. Some lovely canyon views can also be enjoyed here.
Quail Creek Neighborhood Park (1101 Mearns Meadow Drive) has a 0.5 mile gravel track with several exercise stations along the path. Street parking is available and the trail is partially shaded and has a few tiny hilly sections. There were several other runners and families out at the park on this sunny, chilly day I visited.
North Star Greenbelt (11701 Tallow Field Way) is an interesting running locale, basically a long skinny tract of land under power lines with a curvy paved path that measures about 1.7 miles with each out and back. Though most of the “view” is of the back of people’s fences, it’s actually quite a pleasant space to run. I saw an abundance of bird life on this cold day and had the place to myself. The park does have some rolling hills, just enough to make it interesting. Other than a few benches there are no other facilities here. Street parking is readily available.
I also attempted to visit North Cat Mountain Greenbelt on this day but it is an undeveloped, un-runnable spot.
North Acres Neighborhood Park (1112 Hermitage Drive) is a smaller park that has a footbridge and a sidewalk along a wooded area with a bit of an incline. That path is about 0.6 miles out and back and street parking is readily available. There are no other facilities.
North Oaks Neighborhood Park is about six minutes away, at 900 Plaza Drive (not 820 Plaza Drive as the Parks Directory says). The unpaved path is a short loop with a little straightaway, totaling about 0.2 miles. I ran six laps on this flat trail today. The small playground and picnic area would make this a fun spot to take kids. It’s been deserted every time I’ve been here and you can easily park on the street nearby.
Patterson Neighborhood Park (4200 Brookview Road) has many amenities including a skateboarding area, volleyball court, tennis center, pool and children’s wading pool, and many picnic areas. There is a small parking lot and ample street parking. The partially paved trail here totals about 0.8 miles per lap. Some areas are treed and other areas are more open. A neat mosaic mural can be seen on the pool house.
Montopolis Neighborhood Park (1200 Montopolis Drive) has a flat 0.4 mile unpaved loop trail. There is on-site parking next to the rec center here; this park also has a pool, playground and sports courts. It was deserted on the day I visited but the adjoining backyards sure had a lot of territorial barking dogs.
Nicholas Dawson Neighborhood Park (704 West James Street) has a short unpaved trail that is basically a path through the block. It’s about 0.25 miles out and back. There is just one parking spot at this address. It’s a nice little wooded jaunt with a small swing set and Austin’s most ornate trash can.