Blunn Creek Preserve

1.50 Miles
320 Feet
3stars (3.17)16
1point5stars (1.88)
2point5stars (2.97)
More Info

The trail surface is mostly compacted dirt and gravel, typically in good shape.
The trail surface is mostly compacted dirt and gravel, typically in good shape.
Getting there: From Central Austin on I-35, take the Oltorf Street exit and head west on St. Edwards Drive. Look for the preserve on the right side soon after a bend in the road after St. Edwards Circle.

The Hike: Just blocks away from nearby Blunn Creek Greenbelt, Blunn Creek Preserve feels like another world altogether. The park is larger, more rugged, less visited and offers a bit more of a true hiking experience, all the while still surrounded by South Austin.

We began our hike at the western preserve entrance marked by the waypoint "Trailhead". Please note that the start of our hike turned out to not be the official entry point to the preserve. When visiting, please enter the preserve from the south, along St. Edwards Drive. There are much better parking options at the south entrance.

If you've hiked the nearby greenbelt, the first thing that you'll notice is that this is no city park. It's run as a nature preserve and so remains largely wild and rough. The trails, though well maintained, are rocky and occasionally steep. One moment you'll find yourself enveloped in dense tree cover and the next you're looking out to sweeping vistas of the preserve and surrounding city from atop a hill.

Several overlooks provide views of downtown and other parts of the city.
Several overlooks provide views of downtown and other parts of the city.
We started to the left and headed north in the direction of the waypoint "Overlook", near the eastern edge of the preserve. This first overlook is the more impressive to be found along the trail and look upon St. Edwards University, also on a hilltop in the area. Another overlook a short distance to the north provides views into parts of downtown Austin.

Though hilly in places the trail tends to be well maintained.
Though hilly in places the trail tends to be well maintained.
At points on the trail a close examination of the trail surface will uncover something a bit odd about the gravel's texture. The odd mixture is actually compressed volcanic ash, the by-product of eruptions from Travis County's very own volcanoes that existed here approximately 75 million years ago. Some of the tops of those volcanoes now provide birds' eye views of the surrounding terrain.

In the more recent past, part of the land that makes up Blunn Creek Preserve used to be a dairy farm in the 40's and 50's. The city acquired the land and set it aside as a preserve, but not before significant damage had been done to native flora and fauna that live here. On our trip we just happened to run into Rene Barrera from the City of Austin's Parks and Recreation Department. We'd met Rene before and on this occasion we touched on some of the changes that this land has witnessed in the last 100 years. Foreign, introduced plants are choking out the natives that many of the local animals depend on. Here, Chinaberry and Ligustrum are the two main culprits, though they are not alone. With its meager resources, the Parks department does what it can to hold back the invasive species to try and give the natives a chance to fight back.

Most creek crossings were trivial.  But this one presented a bit more of a challenge.
Most creek crossings were trivial. But this one presented a bit more of a challenge.
As we continued our hike we stopped by the third overlook along the trail at the waypoint, "Overlook3". Here the creek canyon walls are steeper than in other areas of the preserve and this overlook provides a vantage point from which to observe from above the vegetation that runs along the creek's banks.

Some sections of the trail can be a bit steep.
Some sections of the trail can be a bit steep.
The southern half of the preserve is less hilly than the northern portion. Mostly, the trail parallels the creek and crosses it at one spot marked on the map. The southern crossing is the more difficult of the two by a long shot though and this crossing may not be an option following heavy rains.

The highlight of the trail in the southern section is the group of springs marked by the waypoint of the same name. There are two here in close proximity. Though the preserve boasts several others and some additional springs flow nearby outside of the preserve boundaries, these springs are the closest to the trail.

The length of the hike at the preserve is a short 1.5 miles. However, what the preserve lacks in mileage it more than makes up for in roughness and beauty. One should not expect to avoid other hikers on the trail, but the number of people encountered here is far less than one would see at the Blunn Creek Greenbelt hike just a couple of blocks away. So if you find yourself in South Austin with a need for a quick, escape from the hustle of city life reserve some time to try out this preserve.

st edwards in b and w
st edwards univ (Photo by jimmy peace)
big tree
big tree (Photo by jimmy peace)
blunn creek
blunn creek (Photo by jimmy peace)
pretty tree changing color
tree in the park (Photo by jimmy peace)
View from scenic overlook
One of the high points on the hike is the top of this ridge that overlooks St. Edwards and downtown Austin. (Photo by swedegirl5)
If you enter from Longbow head north and this tree is just across the creek. Keep going Northeast to get to the Volcanic overlook. (Photo by Caledonia)
(Photo by Caledonia)
Log Entries
a jewel in south austin
By jimmy peace on 10/20/2017
Rating: 2point5stars Difficulty: 1star Solitude: 3stars
Distance: 1.50 Miles Duration: N/A

i hadnt been on this trail in a yr or so 

Serene Bluebonnet Patches
By kjv1212 on 4/3/2014
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 2point5stars Solitude: 4stars
Distance: 1.00 Mile Duration: N/A

Great neighborhood trail for jogging. Hiked this with my 2-year-old, and it was perfect for his skill level with a couple of fun challenges. When the bluebonnets are in full bloom this place has spots that are downright magical.

oasis in middle of town
By jimmy peace on 10/12/2013
Rating: 3stars Difficulty: 1point5stars Solitude: 2stars
Distance: 3.00 Miles Duration: N/A
the city has done great work on this park, a lot of clearing and mulch on the trails
Impressive with sharp contrasts
By Kat Person on 1/20/2013
Rating: 3point5stars Difficulty: 2stars Solitude: 3stars
Distance: 2.00 Miles Duration: 1 hour

The cliff drop-off down the the creek bed is very impressive, especially when you contrast it to the impressive view of St. Edward's University and of the City.  The recent work done on the trail is impressive with an emphasis upon native plant survival.  This hike will only improve with time.

Beautiful and historic
By Eclogite_ATX on 3/18/2012
Rating: 3point5stars Difficulty: 2point5stars Solitude: 3stars
Distance: 1.50 Miles Duration: N/A
Great hike this morning at Blunn Creek Preserve. Lots of bluebonnets in bloom. Neat that it is an ancient, extinct volcano. Not many know about this area's volcanic past. Spring has definitely sprung so watch out for poison ivy right at edges of many of the trails. Could use a good trash pickup, but not too bad overall.
Nice hike
By texaskdog on 2/12/2011
Rating: 2point5stars Difficulty: 2point5stars Solitude: 3point5stars
Distance: 1.50 Miles Duration: 35 minutes

A lot there for the location.  could easily wander for quite a while.  Sign says no dogs but there were many dogs there anyway.

Cute little trail
By claireific on 7/17/2010
Rating: 3stars Difficulty: 2stars Solitude: 5stars
Distance: 2.00 Miles Duration: N/A

As hikes in Austin go, this one gets points for solitude (I didn't see anyone else the entire time) and scenery. The high point has a great view of St. Edward's and downtown, and there are plenty of trailmarkers, which I happen to prefer. It wasn't particularly special or challenging, and I like the hikes further southwest better (Barton and the like) but this one was nice. There's a little creek, and as one reviewer noted, a fair amount of debris and litter. It's too bad, really. Bonus: I saw a bright purple dragonfly and a cottontail rabbit on the trail!

Canyons, rivers and volcanos in the middle of town.
By swedegirl5 on 2/23/2010
Rating: 3stars Difficulty: 2stars Solitude: 1star
Distance: 1.20 Miles Duration: N/A

Nice little hike with several amazing views and interesting history lesson about the geology of the region.

Very disappointing
By sdonaldson on 2/20/2010
Rating: 1star Difficulty: 1star Solitude: 4stars
Distance: 1.50 Miles Duration: N/A

There was considerable trash just about everywhere especially along the creek.  Basically a dump.  There was no one around and I understand why.

Awesome view, secluded, my new favorite hike
By smeevil on 4/12/2008
Rating: 5stars Difficulty: 2stars Solitude: 4stars
Distance: 1.50 Miles Duration: 1 hour

Like the others have said, it is surprisingly quiet.  Awesome view with the "volcanic overlook." Lots of squirrels and possibilities of seeing wildlife.

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