There are several ways to get to the Barton Creek Greenbelt, starting with the original entrance at Barton Springs Pool and ending at the Scottish Woods entrance at the top of the Hill of Life. For more information on each of your options take a look below.
View Barton Creek Trail Heads in a larger map
This entrance is at the far end of the parking lot at Barton Springs. From here the trail heads upstream following along the creek bed. This trail is not graded like the hike and bike trail around Town Lake, so there are some rough spots. Farther up there are several sections of rock garden that would be challenging for beginning mountain bikers.
Exit Mopac (Loop 1 for you out of town-ers) at the Barton Skyway exit just south of the river and head east. The trail head is at the bottom of the hill at the corner of Spyglass and just across from Tacodeli, which is a great place to stop for lunch afterwards.
The descent to the creek is pretty short and a little rough but an easy walk. Several rock gardens between here and the 360 entrance.
2010 Homedale Drive
Just across the creek from Spyglass this entrance requires a bit of a walk to get to the creek.
2642 Barton Hills Drive
From S. Lamar take Barton Skyway to Barton Hills Drive. Turn left and the trail head will be on the right.
Follow the trail through a series of switchbacks to the creek on a relatively smooth trail. Stay right at the first fork or you’ll end up on a very steep and rocky descent. When there’s water in the creek this is a great place to swim as it’s a relatively short walk to the water.
A short and easy gravel path from the trailhead to the creek.
Heading downstream the trail is pretty smooth for a while until the first creek crossing, but not too bad. Upstream the main trail quickly gets into some fairly challenging obstacles. There’s a hiking only path that borders the creek and is much easier.
Gaines Ranch / Twin Falls
One of the busiest trail heads when there’s water in the creek due to the proximity to Twin Falls, a swimming hole popular with the younger crowd. From here it’s about a one mile walk on a fairly smooth trail to the falls.
1710 Campcraft Road / Trail’s End
This trail head is at the end of the trail at the top of the notorious Hill of Life, a 200 foot 1/4 mile descent to the creek over a very steep and rough trail. A popular spot for runners doing hill repeats and mountain bike ascents if you like a challenge.
Here’s a video of the trail head and descent to the creek. My camera and camera work are not the best, but maybe you can get a little bit of a feel for the trail. I speed up the middle part to keep it short. The ride in the video is about 0.6 miles and 275′, so the average grade is around 9%.
Violet Crown Trail at Sunset Valley
This is the newest access to the Barton Creek Trail system and the first in the area for the Violet Crown Trail which eventually will extend to the Buda area. There’s no parking at this access point, but there are plenty of options in the area shopping centers.
From here the trail heads downhill for about a mile where it joins the existing “Sweet Sixteen’ trail which runs from Baron Creek just downstream from the Mopac Bridge to the old entrance to Travis Country on Southwest Parkway.
These trails are a bit rough in places, especially at the creek crossings which the trail is named for. Total distance from here to Barton Springs is about seven miles.