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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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Waller Beach at Town Lake Metro Park

07.03.16 Posted in Central by

Waller Beach at Town Lake Metro Park (30 East Avenue) is part of the Town Lake Trail (Ann and Roy Butler Hike & Bike Trail) system. The trail through this section is gravel and there’s also a very interesting restroom design in this area. There are many different parks that make up our wonderful downtown trail system, the whole length of which is about 11 miles. I ran 4.2 miles on the Trail this morning; it’s my usual spot for a Sunday run. It was humid and hot out there, and a bit less crowded than usual. Preparations were underway for tomorrow’s 4th of July celebration at Auditorium Shores.

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Wooldridge School Park

06.29.16 Posted in NW by

Wooldridge School Park (1410 Norseman Terrace) has a gravel trail that measures about 0.20 miles per lap. It is flat and exposed. It is closed from 7am-4pm as it is on school grounds. There is a tennis court next to it but it’s pretty tattered. Visitors can park in the faculty lot next to the track outside of school hours. One has to walk through tall grass from the parking lot to the track, and that grass was really wet today. But I got to see a few chickadees hopping around as I did my laps this warm morning. Other than my avian friends I had the place to myself.

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T.A. Brown School Park

06.20.16 Posted in NE by

T.A. Brown School Park (520 Northway Drive) has a gravel track that is just under 0.2 miles per lap. It’s close and convenient to home for me, and a quick place to get a short run in when school is not in session. The track is flat and exposed. There are a few exercise stations along the perimeter but they are pretty decrepit. Ample street parking is available. One side of the park borders the 183 frontage road, so it can be somewhat noisy.

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West Austin Neighborhood Park

06.15.16 Posted in NW by

West Austin Neighborhood Park (1317 W 10th Street) is a three acre Clarksville-area park with interesting topography and a bit of a skyline view. It’s hilly landscape gives a nice little running challenge. Running out and back on the sort of U-shaped perimeter (plus out and backs on the mixed-surface walkways through the middle) twice yields one mile.

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There is a dog park here and a pretty swimming pool (open 1pm-6pm Tuesday-Sunday currently), along with a playground and picnic areas. Ample street parking is available, and the park was heavily trafficked by dog walkers when I visited yesterday. Even though there’s not a huge area to run here, the scenery makes it worth the visit in my opinion.

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Walter E. Long Metro Park

06.08.16 Posted in NE by

Walter E. Long Metro Park (6620 Blue Bluff Road) is a large park bordering Decker Lake. It is much more suited for fishing than running and there is a $5 entrance fee. You can get a run in of about 2 miles on the (flat, exposed) roadways within the park. Being next to the lake, you may expect it to be somewhat scenic but the view is dominated by smokestacks at a plant/factory and the smell is unpleasant. It’s not one of my favorites for sure. The parking areas and roads are filled with huge potholes. It’s not worth the trip or the entrance fee unless you’re fishing.

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I was glad that it was at least a nice sunny, clear day. The lake was very high given the constant rain we’ve been getting lately. I spotted this neat heron as well.

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Trailhead Neighborhood Park

05.31.16 Posted in NW by

Trailhead Neighborhood Park (10984 Boulder Lane) is about 14 acres of some developed park land and a wooded trail. The trail is paved for the first 0.4 miles; after that there’s some rocky terrain with inclines. We’ve been getting so much rain lately that the rocky section was super slippery (and jagged!) and I had to turn around for safety. The trail is shaded and feels secluded even though it runs along folks’ backyards.

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I had the trail itself to myself this morning but several other users were taking advantage of the brief break in the rain at the front of the park. In addition to on-site parking, this park has a nice rent-able covered gazebo, many picnic tables, water fountains, and a neat playscape. The playground has these short pillars pictured below that depress slightly as you step on them, making for a neat lower body workout for grown-ups as you hop across.

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This one was a bit of distance away for me, but worth the drive.

I also attempted to visit Tech Ridge Neighborhood Park (12813 Blaine Road) but it is undeveloped and unrunnable at this point.

 


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
166/176 Parks