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Iconic Austin: Lady Bird Lake Hike & Bike Trail

published on December 12, 2011

When the sun is shining over the city – and sometimes, even when it’s not – you can find more than a few Austinites enjoying themselves along the Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail. The trail was conceived in 1971 by the Town Lake Beautification Committee, with Lady Bird Johnson as Honorary Chairwoman, 11 years after Town Lake was created by the damming of the Colorado River by the Longhorn Dam.

According to the Trail Foundation, the organization that works to protect and enhance the trail, the committee “set out to create a scenic corridor of hiking trails and landscaping that would allow residents and visitors the opportunity for a rural escape in an urban setting.” The trail does exactly that, giving its visitors a place to exercise, people-watch, ride their bikes, fish, play with their dogs, enjoy the outdoors, and so much more. Other Austin icons that visitors can see along the trail include the Stevie Rae Vaughan statue, the Ann Richards bridge, the Pfluger (Lamar pedestrian) Bridge, and of course an amazing view of downtown.

The trail around the banks of Lady Bird Lake (formerly Town Lake) is a total of 10 miles long. The path of crushed granite and occasional concrete runs from the Johnson Creek Trailhead under the MoPac Bridge (also known as “The Rock,” this is the entrance where over one third of the 1.5 million visits per year originate), all the way to Pleasant Valley in East Austin. Currently, there is a 1.1 mile gap in the trail where users must walk on the sidewalk along Riverside Drive. After much planning, research, permitting, and working with the private landholders in the area, a boardwalk project has been developed that will close that gap and make a partially overland, partially over-water trail. The project has not yet started, however, as it is dependent upon private funds that have yet to be raised.

The Trail Foundation also offers opportunities for residents to exercise their charitable sides – with trail improvement projects like weeding and cleaning, group lake clean-ups seven times per year, and a garden adoption program. Local animal rescue groups, like Austin Pets Alive!, set up along the trail on the weekends to connect dogs with people (their Healthy People Healthy Pets program lets people walk dogs around the trail, giving them much needed socialization, exercise, and exposure).

A favorite among serious runners and casual strollers alike, this is definitely one of Austin’s not-to-be-missed places. If you are looking for a luxury Lake Austin home or a downtown Austin condo with a view, perform an Austin Home Search and let Austin REALTOR® Brian Talley help you find the perfect home.

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