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The Austin Oboz Trail Experience - A Few of Our Favorite Trails

Posted by Whole Earth | 09.09.2021

A shady path on the Violet Crown Trail in Austin photo by Eric Pronske

 

 

The Austin Oboz Trail Experience -

A Few of Our Favorite Trails

 

While we're waiting for cooler weather to set in, we have a suggestion for those of you who live in the Austin area and can't wait to get back on the trail this fall. Sign up for the Oboz Trail Experience! Register in September and hike in October.

 

Oboz, Whole Earth and the Hill Country Conservancy invite you to complete as many segments as you can of 100 miles of selected trails during the month of October. By walking, hiking or running, you can check off the selected trails and segments at your own pace over the month. It's free to register and sign up is easy.

 

All participants will receive swag from Oboz and Whole Earth. Other rewards can be unlocked by completing promoted trail segments throughout the Experience. Complete as many trail segments as you can within the month and you'll be entered to win one of five pairs of Oboz boots! The more segments you complete, the more entries you'll get.

 

Austin Oboz Trail Experience logoHow does it work? Trails can be completed in any order, and some are broken up into segments. Some segments may have a directionality component to them, while others may be bi-directional. You must record all your activities on either a GPS device or smartphone activity tracking app. Your segments will be recorded as you complete them. Your progress will be visible to you and the public on the event's leaderboard. Each segment must be completed in a single attempt. You can’t start a segment one day and finish it on another for it to count. Have questions? Check out the FAQs. Some trails will be old friends. Others may be new to you. Get out in October and experience trails from San Marcos to Georgetown, from East Austin to the Balcones Canyonlands.

 

When you register, there will be an opportunity to make a donation to the Hill Country Conservancy, the group that spearheaded the creation of the Violet Crown Trail. They currently manage over 13,000 acres of easements in the Hill Country protecting aquifers, wildlife habitat and the expansive views that make this area one of great natural beauty. Donations are not required, but we hope you'll consider giving to this worthy organization.

 

We suggest downloading or printing each trail map before you go and have a compass. If you're using an electronic device for your map, be sure to bring a charger in case the power on your device runs low. Bring water. Dress appropriately. Leave no trace!  Here are a few of our favorite trails that are included in the Austin Oboz Trail Experience.

 

 

Violet Crown Trail

Violet Crown Trail marker

The Violet Crown Trail is 13 miles long and was established in 2006 by the Hill Country Conservancy. It follows Barton Creek from Zilker Park , near Barton Springs, to Mopac where it turns to the southwest and ends at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. The Violet Crown Trail is part of a proposed regional trail system in Central Texas that will someday reach Onion Creek in Hays County and San Marcos.

 

There are four segments of the Violet Crown Trail included in the Oboz Trail Experience. Three of the segments are out and back and one is a loop. You may already be familiar with the Zilker trail head to 360. You'll be sharing the trail with cyclists so stay alert! Some portions of the trail have uneven and rocky surface, steep slopes, and include numerous dry creek crossings which could periodically be flooded. Wear appropriate shoes and be cautious. After heavy rains, expect trail closures for safety purposes. The segment of trail from the 290 Trailhead to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center Trailhead is being constructed by ADA standards to the greatest extent possible. Currently there is a half mile of completed ADA accessible trail in Deer Park. That trailhead is located on Davis Lane, just East of Mopac. Dogs are allowed on the Violet Crown Trail but must be leashed. Bring water, bug repellant, maps and a compass.

 

Good Water Loop Trail

The Good Water Loop Trail along the San Gabriel River and Lake Georgetown is a favorite for trail running and for hikers who are training for backpacking trips. The 26.9 mile trail passes through five parks operated by the Army Corps of Engineers some of which include camp sites. There is no water at the campsites, so be sure to fill up when possible at the parks with water. The trail passes through typical Hill Country landscapes - dense Oak and Ashe Juniper forest, bottomland hardwoods and prairie grasslands. Four segments are included in the Oboz Trail Experience. For the most part, the trail is dirt and exposed limestone and Lake Georgetown is often in view. Dogs may accompany you if they are on a leash. Be sure to have your map and a compass handy. Some parts of the trail can be confusing.

 

Balcones Canyonlands Indiangrass Trail

Hiker on the trail in the Balcones Canyonlands

Created in 1992, the Balcones Canyonlands Wildlife Refuge harbors 245 bird species for part or all of the year. Almost half are neotropical migratory birds that breed in the U.S. and winter south of the border.  Because of its importance to birds, this refuge has been designated a Globally Important Bird Area and has played a significant role in conserving the Golden-Cheeked Warbler, the Black-Capped Vireo, and their habitats. Within the refuge, old growth stands of mature Ashe juniper, low-growing shin oaks, grasslands and spring-fed creeks provide important habitat for many species unique to the Texas Hill Country.  At least one-third of Texas' threatened and endangered species live or move through this area.

 

Located in northwest Travis County, the Indiangrass Trail is part of a connected group of trails located at the Doeskin Ranch trailhead on 10645 FM 1174 near Bertram. If you are coming from the south, it is about 1.5 miles north of the intersection of FM 1174 and Cow Creek/County Road 328. If you are coming from the north, it is 2.3 miles south of the intersection of FM 1174 and RR 1869. It is on the east side of the road. The area is open from sunrise to sunset 365 days a year. Since it is a wildlife refuge, no dogs are allowed. Bring water and a map.

 

Dante's Trail through Purgatory Creek Natural Area

With a name like Purgatory, it's no wonder that members of the San Marcos Greenbelt Alliance named trails after Dante, the Divine Comedy and classical authors. Purgatory Creek comes by its name honorably. The creek rises to the west of town near the Devil's Backbone. Dante's Trail through Purgatory Creek Natural Area is popular with trail runners, hikers and mountain bikers so be alert on the trail. The trailhead for the Oboz Trail Experience is located at 2101 Hunter Rd. in San Marcos. The trail includes canyon bluffs, upland meadows and Oak and Ashe Juniper groves. The trail can be rocky so watch your step. Bring water and bug repellent. Dogs may accompany you if they are on a leash. Be sure to have your map and a compass handy as some parts of the trail can be confusing.

 

These are just four of the 17 trails that make up the Austin Oboz Trail Experience. Get a group of friends together or go solo and discover the magic and beauty of Texas Hill Country trails. Plus you may earn and win a great prize. You'll find a list of the trails and the segments here.

 

 

Whole Earth kid on the trail!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 




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