Even with our mild Austin winters, we’re glad that spring has finally sprung! We’re all about getting outside with our pets, and we’re lucky Austin has so many different options when it comes to local hikes with dogs. Let our team suggest some of the best dog-friendly hikes and walks in the Austin area. We’ll also provide some safety tips to keep you both happily on the trail.
Local Hikes and Walks for You and Your Dog
Barton Creek Greenbelt – One of the most well known hikes in Texas, the Barton Creek Greenbelt is a 7.8 mile trail that will delight any outdoor enthusiast, human or dog. The trail has lots of shade, and there are multiple points to access waterfalls and Barton Creek. This park is on-leash only, and you’ll likely encounter hikers, bikers, kayakers, and climbers along the way.
Bull Creek District Park – Bull Creek District Park offers a beautiful space for local hikes with dogs. There’s access to the creek, and mature oak trees provide ample shade. There are many areas to explore in this park and the adjacent greenbelt. The 32-square mile area includes limestone seeps, springs, cliffs, waterfalls, and interesting archaeological features. There are also many on-leash trails to explore (this park is on-leash only as of 2011).
Turkey Creek Trail – Located off the Emma Long Metropolitan Park, this is a short and sweet 3- mile walk that’s packed with amazing scenery. Bonus for dogs: this is an off-leash park! There are multiple places where the trail crosses the creek, so consider water shoes if it’s been rainy, and bring towels for muddy paws.
Shoal Creek Trail – This is another shady trail with great amenities for dogs and their hiking buddies. At 3.7 miles, it’s great for a quick walk or run, and it connects to Lady Bird Lake Trail at Shoal Beach if you wish to go further. There are designated areas along the trail for off-leash fun.
Walnut Creek Trail – This is a good one for explorers! There are lots of unmarked trails, so if a walk in the woods (and maybe getting a little lost) is your thing, this one’s for you. This is a mostly flat area, and the trail is rated as moderate. There are overlooks, creek access, and few obstacles. Dogs must be on-leash.
River Place Nature Trail – Last but not least, get ready for a challenge! This is a 5.5-6 mile trail with lots of stairs and inclines. Maybe your dog can help pull you up, if you need it! Again, you’ll be crossing water, so bring good water shoes or hiking boots.
Hiking Safety for Dogs
While you enjoy one or all of these local hikes with dogs, make sure your pet remains safe and protected. Remember to condition your dog for long hikes with a gradual exercise plan. Here are a few other things to keep in mind, as well:
- Use flea and tick control to prevent parasites and tick borne diseases.
- Keep your dog on a leash and/or have a strong recall to avoid a tangle with a rattlesnake.
- Cool off frequently in a creek or rest in the shade; take it easy in hot weather to avoid heat stroke.
- Avoid intestinal parasites found in standing water by bringing lots of drinking water for both of you.
- Avoid foxtails, cactus, and other prickly plants by staying on marked trails.
- Pick up after your dog, and take poop bags with you.
- Know the location and phone number of BEEVET Animal Hospital, just in case!
If you need other hiking safety tips or if you experience a health scare with your dog while hiking, please don’t hesitate to call or come see us. See you on the trail!