Circle C Ranch Metropolitan Park on Slaughter Creek

3.60 Miles
350 Feet
2point5stars (2.64)8
1star (1.44)
1point5stars (1.56)
More Info

A view of the trail along the north side of Slaughter Creek.
A view of the trail along the north side of Slaughter Creek.
Getting there: Slaughter Creek Park is located in south Austin in Circle C. On MoPac head south and take the Slaughter Lane exit and head west. Look for a parking area on the left after passing Escarpment Blvd. Slaughter Creek flows parallel to Slaughter Lane on the left and the parking area is on the opposite side of the creek from the main road.

The Hike: We started off our hike at the waypoint marked "Trailhead" that is north of the creek. If you are walking from the parking area near the more southern trailhead to get to this point be careful of any traffic coming down the road. A jeep trail starts here and heads east, following just north of Slaughter Creek. Much of the trail is a straight shot east towards South MoPac, where it terminates in a small loop and doubles back to the trailhead. The trail surface here is crushed granite and its width calls to mind an old jeep trail.

Slaughter Creek's loop around the soccer fields provides a very easy hike.
Slaughter Creek's loop around the soccer fields provides a very easy hike.
On the way back towards the northern trailhead a side trail splits off to the left and crosses the creek at the waypoint "Creek Cross". A concrete walkway extends over the creek making passage easy. The trail continues west and loops towards the southern trailhead in the main parking area.

Through much of this portion of the hike you will be within earshot, if not eyesight, of the soccer fields that the trail circles. On one visit to the park there was a soccer tournament in progress with some teams coming from as far away as Mexico. Chances are Sunday mornings are not normally this busy, or loud.

Slaughter Creek
Slaughter Creek
As the trail nears the southern trailhead it will pass next to the waypoint marked "Karst". Here you'll find a mysterious fenced-off area near a soccer field and a playscape. Closer inspection reveals that the feature being fenced off is a hole in the ground, known as a karst, that typically feeds right into an aquifer underground. In such a park the karst is fenced off not only to prevent people from crawling in, but also to prevent anyone from dumping trash into it. Since it is not being filtered by a large quantity of rock and soil but feeds directly into the aquafer, it is much more sensitive to human abuse.

The second creek crossing is more challenging, but not too difficult.
The second creek crossing is more challenging, but not too difficult.
The northern trailhead's trails shot off to the east and west, so we returned to that point and then took the western trail. The trail turns to the left and crosses the creek again at the waypoint "Creek Crossing". Unlike the eastern creek crossing, this one does not contain a concrete path spanning the water way. Instead, you'll have to hop from rock to rock across the stream if the water is flowing.

The farther from the trailhead, the more solitude.
The farther from the trailhead, the more solitude.
Shortly after crossing the creek the trail hugs along the sideline of a soccer field but then continues straight back along a fence and power line maintenance trail. As you can see from the topo map the trail along here is straight as an arrow. That trail eventually peters out near some homes on the southern boundary of the park. Doubling back, there are some side trails that lead to the east towards the main loop we already hiked or the main parking area trailhead.

A noisy soccer tournament that we encountered on one trip is not the norm as far as activity goes for the park. On nice days there's a pretty good contingent of walkers, runners and bicyclists on the trail, so solitude is not in great supply. However the more distant one gets from the trailheads the fewer people one encounters.

Note: The name of this hike used to be just "Slaughter Creek". However, the City of Austin refers to it by its long name that you now see above. Plus, the city has recently acquired another piece of property downstream on Slaughter Creek and they have been referring to it as the "Slaughter Creek Greenbelt", so we'll use the long name for this hike to avoid confusion.

Log Entries
By tarrains on 11/11/2010
Rating: 2point5stars Difficulty: 1point5stars Solitude: 2stars
Distance: 1.00 Mile Duration: N/A
By texaskdog on 2/20/2010
Rating: 2stars Difficulty: 2stars Solitude: 1star
Distance: 3.00 Miles Duration: 45 minutes

Not too exciting.  Too busy and not much variety.

Gloomy day
By tone on 12/30/2006
Rating: 3stars Difficulty: halfstar Solitude: 3stars
Distance: 3.00 Miles Duration: N/A
The weather has been a bit chilly and rainy, and I was tired of being indoors. I've walked the Circle C Ranch three times now, each time taking a different way. Solitude was pretty high, except for the young person who decided to scream at the top of his lungs. I can imagine that he has a sore throat today. Maybe he learned something. I saw some kids playing with a remote controlled airplane. It didn't appear they were able to get it off the ground, but they zoomed it around the parking lot. That looked fun. This time, I hiked onto the trail on the west side as far as I could go without getting a wet foot. Then I went back to the crushed granite path and walked around.
By lancescape on 12/22/2006
Rating: 2stars Difficulty: 1star Solitude: 1star
Distance: 4.00 Miles Duration: N/A
Hiking and caching
By Austin Explorer on 8/7/2005
Rating: 3point5stars Difficulty: 2point5stars Solitude: 1point5stars
Distance: 6.20 Miles Duration: 4 hours, 5 minutes
Went and hiked parts of the trail that I missed the last time I was out here. With all of the comings and goings to find a few geocaches in the park as well I ended up with a bit over 6 miles.
moderately long out and back
By nobody on 3/20/2005
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: halfstar Solitude: 2stars
Distance: 4.00 Miles Duration: N/A
There's a moderately long out and back trail that parallels Slaughter lane from one end of the park all the way to Mopac. It starts between the park entrance on Slaughter Lane and the creek (opposite side of the creek from the parking area and soccer fields). Trail is crushed granite. It crosses Escarpment just inside the Circle C subdivision entrance. You have to climb the embankment and watch for traffic. A lot of people park their cars on the road and walk from there.

I did this hike around dusk on a weeknight. The trail wasn't crowded, but I regularly saw other people - joggers or people walking their dogs.

This trail has always had a surprising amount of wildlife. This time I saw several cottontails, mountain lion scat and a great horned owl.

Short, Sunny loop hike
By figment on 10/17/2004
Rating: N/A Difficulty: 2stars Solitude: 1star
Distance: 1.50 Miles Duration: N/A
Go on a cooll or cloudy day for this short loop hike. Lots of soccer teams today as well, so park at the trail parking area and not the soccer parking area. A disc golf course runs next to the trail. I'm not sure how they cleared the trail, but parts of it are nice crushed granite, and other parts look like they converted an old jeep track.
Lots of folks, but covenient
By Austin Explorer on 5/27/2001
Rating: 1point5stars Difficulty: 1point5stars Solitude: 1star
Distance: 2.40 Miles Duration: N/A
The trail is not particularly quiet, as it may be filled with kids going from or to the soccer fields. But there is ample parking (except for soccer tournament weekends) and its very convenient for those living in Circle C.
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