Saturday, to celebrate the cool morning, I decided to do one of my favorite hikes in and around Austin - Bull Creek Preserve to St. Edwards Park and return.
The Bull Creek Greenbelt entrance to the preserve is located at the northern parking area on the west side of 360. Please read and follow the restrictions for trail use posted at the entrance and just inside the pass-thru in the fence. Note that is it a no smoking area, and that no horses, dogs, even on leashes, or bicycles are allowed.
The are several shorter trails and loops close to the parking lot, and there is also good hiking in the more accessible greenbelt. The longer trails to St Edwards Park start inside the pass-thru to the right of the signs and all the way to the fence.
Following this trail up the hill you will come to three junctions fairly quickly. All three lead off to the right to the shorter loops. To stay on the longer option take the left forks at all. You will be heading mostly west and a little bit to the north as you can see on the trail map. All of the trail junctions inside the preserve are very well marked except for one, and I will get to that shortly.
At the next junction (the fourth) you will have the option of either left or right. The left options heads west up Jester Hill. The right option gets to the same place but a different, and I think better, way. The right option heads west also but this trail is steeper and more challenging, IMO.
Both the right and left options end up on a limited-access power line road. Whichever option you previously took, turn left on the power line road and continue up Jester Hill.
At the top of Jester Hill up will come a City street and on both sides of the street there is a pass-thru in the fence. Continue across the street and up the hill but now start paying attention for the junction to the right that leads north to St. Edwards park. The marker is nearly hidden buy the overgrown brush and the marker is a few feet to the right of the trail you will be on. If you come to a second City street you have passed it so turn around, go back and look for the trail off to your now left.
Once on this northern trail just follow the trail markers, which are plentiful and easy to see. You will have to negotiate several more pass-thrus and cross under a large overhead power lines, but will soon start the downhill section to St. Edwards. I like to stay to the left following the fence line, but there are numerous side trails off to the right I have not tried any of these but they are the trails in the hash-mark section of the linked map. They all look like they will take you down to the park where you will need to cross Bull Creek in you want to get all of the way into St. Edwards Park. The creek and all of its feeders are represented by the blue dotted lines on the linked map.
This out and back (Point A to B, then back to A) takes me about 2.5 to 3 hours depending on how much time I spend at St. Edwards, but I walk at a steady fast pace.
I have never taken my GPS on this hike (I should) so I can't give you the mileage. Another poster describes the hike from the other
direction and says the round trip is 8.5 miles, but yet another poster says it is 6.58. I split the difference and said 7.5.
It actually could be all 3 depending on which and how many of the side trails you do or don't take. You can also do this one way, but that necessitates a car parked at each end.
There are people on the trails on weekends, but not many. I frequently do it on weekdays and have seen no one. Give it a try and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!