Violet Crown Trail – Phase One 8/7/15


Friday, August 7, 2015


Hike: Violet Crown Trail – Phase One (Barton Creek Greenbelt), Austin, TX

Weather: high 80s, warm, clear

Hikers: Ian

Length: 5.14 miles


Ok, so this is really just the regular Greenbelt that I’ve done a dozen times, but the difference today was that the Hill Country Conservancy has started to put Violet Crown Trail markers in.  This is the beginning (Phase 1) of the Violet Crown Trail, which is eventually going to stretch about 30 miles from Austin south to almost San Marcos.  This trail is scheduled to be complete in the next few years and I’ll be very excited when it is.  It will be nice to have a lengthy trail right in my own backyard.


I got out to the trail around 8am and the heat wasn’t too bad for a couple of hours.  There is still some water in the creek, but it is very low.  El Nino is supposed to ramp up again in September, so hopefully the rain will come back.  I did get to hike down the middle of the creek for a while, which provides a different experience than just sticking to the trail.  Unfortunately, with this trail being in the middle of the city, it attracts people who use it for a drinking spot and generally these people aren’t familiar with the Leave No Trace concept, so there is a lot of trash.

SAM_3304 SAM_3310 SAM_3311

waterfall complete with beer can.  sigh.
waterfall complete with beer can. sigh.

SAM_3313 SAM_3314 SAM_3318 SAM_3320

I crossed the creek and found a different trail and followed it for a while, but it brought me to a dead end and I had to backtrack.

dead end
dead end
and another dead end
and another dead end


completely dry creek
completely dry creek
some ferns hanging on
some ferns hanging on

I got to Gus Fruh and decided that the heat was about to kick into high gear so, so I headed back.  There is a section of the trail that has a recommended detour because of falling rocks.  I’ve done this section before and it has always seemed safe, but this time there were a couple of boulders in the middle of the trail that had fallen recently that were the size of cars.  With thoughts of 127 Hours going through my head, I decided to cross back over and go with the detour.

Gus Fruh dry
Gus Fruh dry
giant split boulder almost on the trail
giant split boulder almost on the trail
it came from up there
it came from up there

The morning ended with a quick swim in Barton Springs.  68 degree water is cold, but refreshing.


map elevation profile

2 Comments on “Violet Crown Trail – Phase One 8/7/15

  1. Great photos, Ian.
    Barton Creek and Barton Springs are really the heart and soul of Austin, IMHO.
    Maren and I arrived to swim at Barton Springs probably just 30 minutes after you had left. The crowd had grown in that short amount of time. It would have been a serendipitous experience to have seen you there!

  2. Yeah, I didn’t stick around too long. Just jumped in and out. That water is always a shock to the system at first, but feels so good afterward.

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