Summer is here and it's the ideal time to explore Austin bike trails for fun, productive, physically active adventures with your family.
The best Austin bike trails for families to explore
Bike riding is a winner, and we've collected some of the best places in the city that offer safe bike trails for riders of all ages. Have fun, get good practice, and enjoy the bliss of off-road cycling along Austin’s best bike trails.
Reviews of the best bike trails in Austin
Remember that this article is focused on family-friendly bike trails near the city center. That means easy routes suitable for all fitness levels. In addition, if cycling with children, these trails have plenty of support services along the way to ensure the perfect summertime outing.
Ann & Roy Butler Hike & Bike Trail
After the spectacular mile-long boardwalk was completed in late 2014, the Ann & Roy Butler Hike & Bike Trail (also known as Lady Bird Lake trail) now makes an incredible 10-mile loop through the downtown portion of the city.
The trail is one of the best places for cycling beginners; it’s flat, features crushed stone or pavement in some sections, and is wide enough to accommodate bikers, walkers, runners and the occasional stroller. There are plenty of stops along the way and any number of ways to enter or leave the trail. And, if you need to cut the ride short or make it longer, there are several pedestrian friendly bridges that you can cross to complete a loop. Best for a weekday ride, as it can get quite crowded on the weekends!
If you're looking for one of the best places in the city to teach a little one how to ride or need to get in some practice laps on an easy, flat surface Butler Park, across from Auditorium Shores is smooth, safe and calm. Plus, there’s a splash pad to cool off in afterward.
Distance: 10-mile loop; several options to cross the river and go shorter or longer.
Starting Points: Auditorium Shores (920 Riverside Dr.), Butler Park (1000 Barton Springs Rd.), Fiesta Gardens (2100 Jesse E. Segovia St.), Lamar Beach (1200 Cesar Chavez St.), Roy Guerrero Park (400 Grove Blvd.), Zilker Park (2100 Barton Springs Rd.)
Walnut Creek Metropolitan Park
Whether your young ones are just learning to ride off road or just want a bit of an adventure, the Walnut Creek bike trails in north Austin is a perfect place for beginner and intermediate mountain bikers.
There are, without a doubt, several challenging trails, but this 293-acre city park is well marked and features a number of excellent routes for riders of all levels. Plus, if you’re into BMX, their incredible pump track is one of the best places to get your kicks.
Distance: over 15-miles of trails. Most beginner-intermediate.
Starting Point: Walnut Creek Park (12138 N. Lamar Blvd.)
This is a fabulous, 3.1 mile inline skate and bike-only path near Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. Since it’s totally free of motorized traffic and also one way to users, it’s a great place to bring a beginner to practice climbing hills, balance, passing and turning. And, at nearly 23-feet wide, this is likely one of the widest bike trails you’ll ever bike on - plenty of room to stay close or alongside your group.
The Veloway also occasionally holds cycling events and parties, so stay tuned to their website for more info or get in touch to organize your own!
Also, there is also a 1-mile paved route in nearby Dick Nichols Park that is great for younger riders.
Distance: 3.1 mile loop with an additional 1-mile loop.
Starting Points: The Veloway (4900 La Crosse Avenue)
The Walnut Creek Hike & Bike Trail
Also known as the Austin to Manor Trail, this is a fully paved east side trail that runs for nearly 8 miles along Boggy Creek and Walnut Creek. At 10-feet wide, this route is one of the best places for a intermediate cycling. It has two-way traffic, and at peak times, can have a lot of bike traffic. Many experienced riders use this as a trail for uninterrupted riding and many more use it as a convenient commuter trail into Austin. In any case, it's a wonderful place for getting kids more comfortable with longer rides and developing the skills they need to alert their presence and pass pedestrians.
Distance: 7.3 miles, 14.6 round trip.
Starting Point: Govalle Park (5200 Bolm Road)
Prepare for your cycling adventures
Cycling Austin’s bike trails in summer can be tough for the unprepared. Given the heat and humidity, all of our suggested best places to go cycling with your family offer plenty of shaded areas and rest stops along most routes.
In addition to staying hydrated, another thing you can do to enhance your cycling adventure is get kitted with the right gear. Check out our shop for a wide selection of breathable shorts, caps, bibs, socks and cycling accessories.
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