ZBOT makes a convenient after-work hike for downtowners, at least during the warm months when it has longer hours. It is a pleasant, slightly hilly garden with lots of shade, although it's never as much cooler than surrounding areas as one expects. (Unlike Turkey Creek, for example, which is always several degrees cooler than the rest of Austin.) Perhaps because it is more or less a south-facing hillside. There are enough trails for a decent little weekday hike, and there are interesting plants to look at, especially in the dinosaur and butterfly gardens.
We walked the trails at Zilker Botanical and it is difficult to call it a hike, but it was very enjoyable and relaxing. The variety of ecosystems here and the layout make it a great place for kids or just to get away and relax.
no companions here
but my near-silent footfalls
on wet smooth worn stones
surely we're meant to bare soles
surrounded by this