Getting there: From I-35 head west on Parmer Road. Turn right onto FM 1431 and then left on CR 175. Look for the park on the right and turn right onto Perry Mayfield Blvd. to get into the park proper. The first parking area on the right is the trailhead.
Watch out for trains at the train crossing, and be sure to wave to the kids as they pass by.
The Williamson County Regional Park is one of the newest parks in the greater Austin area. The parks boasts a wide variety of features including football and baseball fields and basketball and tennis courts. Even with all of the amenities currently in place only about 100 of the park's 800 have been developed.
My trip was concerned with the trail system at the park. There are two trails totaling four miles,
each of which begins at the waypoint "Trailhead" on the topo map.
The first, and most commonly used, is the crushed granite hike and bike trail that circumnavigates the developed portions of the park (This is shown in blue on the topo map). The path is well maintained and as flat as can be. Most of the
people who use the trail are joggers. Though the trail usually passes by the numerous playground fields, it also darts through sections of trees that provide a moment or two from others' view.
The hike and bike trail part of the trail system encircles numerous playgrounds and playing fields.
Watch out for trains! Like Austin's Zilker Park, Williamson County Regional Park features its very own small gauge railroad that provide rides for kids around the park. There is one rail crossing along the trail. Be sure to wave as they go by.
Starting at the same trailhead as the hike and bike trail is the little known nature trail (This is shown in red on the topo map). One of the reasons it's not well known is that it's hard to find. Standing in the parking lot across the street it's easy to dismiss the existence of the trail on other side. Only when crossing the street was the trail apparent.
The hike and bike trail still manages to provide a bit of solitude here and there.
Unlike the hike and bike trail, the trail surface is mostly mulch, and a thick application of it at that. Anyone with foot or joint problems would appreciate the spongy feel of the trail surface near the trailhead. The trail is wide and surface flat, like the rest of the park, so don't expect too much
The nature trail portion of park was completely empty and the mulched path made the going easy. This is where to find solitude in the park.
The nature trail forms a semi-circle that rejoins the hike and bike trail to the east. The nature trail ends at the waypoint "Nature Trail Ends". Here it empties out into one of the streets in the park. One can either double back towards the trailhead and make it an out and back hike, or head southwest down the road for a bit until it crosses the hike and bike trail at the waypoint "Rejoin Trail".
There are no grand views given the flat terrain, but there are some pluses that shouldn't be dismissed. While on the nature trail I didn't see another person. Furthermore on a previous trip I also encountered no one else. That's not too shabby for a park in a fast growing area. How long will it last?
The park overall is remarkably underutilized, compared to others in central Texas. I think that park administrators have wisely planned for the future and expect more and more people to discover the many recreational opportunities that "Wilco" has to offer.