Barton Creek Greenbelt
Hours: 5am-10pm daily
Parking: Varies - Parking lots at Zilker and Loop 360, street parking (please obey all posted parking restrictions)
Rules: Keep all dogs on leash; Scoop the Poop; Leave No Trace; Pack it in, Pack it out; avoid littering; No glass containers; No smoking; No fires; No alcohol; No overnight camping.
- Loop 360: 3755-B Capital of Texas Hwy, Austin, TX
- Gus Fruh: 2642 Barton Hills Dr, Austin, TX
- Spyglass: 1599 Spyglass Dr., Austin, TX
- Twin Falls: 3918 S. MoPac Frontage Rd., Austin, TX
- Trails End: 1710 Camp Craft Rd., Austin, TX
- Homedale Access Point: 2010 Homedale Dr., Austin, TX
- Zilker Park: 2212 William Barton Dr., Austin, TX
Latest Explorer Observation
The Barton Creek Greenbelt is an urban oasis winding 7.8 miles through the canyon created by Barton Creek. The clear-running water rushes over rocks and boulders, punctuated occasionally by small waterfalls and cascades. The Creek flows primarily during the rainy seasons in the spring and fall. During dry conditions, surface water in the creek disappears, while the underground flow through the Edwards Aquifer continues feeding Barton Springs.
In 1988, a huge development was proposed within the Barton Creek watershed. Austin environmentalists rallied to protect Barton Springs, its watershed, and endangered species. After much controversy and community input, an ordinance was put to voters to restrict development in the recharge zone, along with bond proposals to expand conservation lands such as the Balcones Canyonland Preserve and the Barton Creek Greenbelt. They passed with overwhelming support.
Cutting across the Balcones Escarpment, Barton Creek carves its way through the rocks of the Edwards Plateau, the southern extension of the Great Plains. These thick limestone beds consist of several different layers made up of sediments deposited by oceans and shallow seas that covered this area over 100 million years ago.
Soaring canyon walls and overhanging rock bluffs flank Barton Creek. They provide evidence of the power of wind and water, and the ancient movement of the Balcones Fault over hundreds of thousands of years. The canyon’s dense vegetation and steep walls afford visitors an opportunity to discover for themselves connections with the forces of nature and the beauty of this special place.
The Greenbelt is part of the Balcones Canyonlands Preserve (BCP), a system of protected lands that provide essential habitat for several federally protected Endangered Species of plants and animals. While visiting the Greenbelt, many colorful birds can be seen darting through the grasses, bushes, and trees. Their songs echo off the canyon walls. Wildflowers large and small can be discovered, while butterflies and iridescent insects fill the air like flying jewels. Much of the Greenbelt is rugged, but the rewards from experiencing this urban oasis make the effort worthwhile.