Plan Your Trip

Plan Your Trip

For the best experience on the Violet Crown Trail, we recommend planning your trip before you leave. Scroll down for information about each section of the trail, and for helpful tips for planning your trip. 
For the best experience on the Violet Crown Trail, we recommend planning your trip before you leave. Scroll down for information about each section of the trail and for tips for a successful trip.

Zilker Trailhead to 290 Trailhead

Mile Zero of the Violet Crown Trail is the Zilker Trailhead, located in Austin's iconic Zilker Park. This segment of trail is just over 5 miles of natural surface trail, winding through the urban wilderness of the Barton Creek watershed, which is known for its outstanding recreational areas. Near the Spyglass trailhead you'll find Cambell's hole, a popular swimming spot on Barton Creek. If rock climbing is more your speed, check out the Gus Fruh climbing wall near the Gus Fruh trail access point.

For the first 4.5 miles, the trail route overlaps the Barton Creek Greenbelt. When the trail reaches Gaines Creek, the routes split—the Barton Creek Greenbelt curves north toward the Hill of Life, and the Violet Crown Trail continues south into the Gaines Creek Greenbelt. Thanks to the plentiful Ashe Juniper trees, the Gaines Creek Greenbelt provides habitat for the federally endangered Golden-cheeked Warbler.

If you're an avid mountain biker, try a ride from the 290 Trailhead—this section of trail has the National Interscholastic Cycling Association's seal of approval. Its technical switchbacks and steep climbs make this a challenging and fun cycling route.

Caution: This natural surface trail has an uneven, rocky surface, and at times has steep slopes and sharp curves. It is not advisable for strollers or road bikes. There are numerous creek crossings along the route which are periodically flooded. Proceed at your own risk, and check the VCT Facebook Page and this website for closure notices after any periods of heavy rain or other extreme weather events. 

Trail Access Points:

290 Trailhead to Dick Nichols Trailhead

After exiting the Gaines Creek Greenbelt, the trail enters the city of Sunset Valley and becomes an urban hiking trail, following the sidewalk along Brodie Ln and down Home Depot Blvd. From there, the trail turns and meanders through the Williamson Creek West Greenbelt then follows the Mopac Expressway Access Road sidewalk to William Cannon Drive. After crossing south across William Cannon Drive and crossing west under Mopac Expressway, the Violet Crown Trail follows the existing crushed granite path around the Arbor Trails Shopping Center until it reaches the Dick Nichols Trailhead.

Trail Access Points:

Dick Nichols Trailhead to Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Between the Dick Nichols Trailhead and the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, the Violet Crown Trail connects neighborhoods, retail centers, a library, parks, and the Wildflower Center. With this proximity to both residences and urban amenities, the Violet Crown Trail provides an alternate method of public transportation and access to the benefits of green spaces.

This section of trail is a combination of crushed granite pathways and some concrete sidewalks, offering a smoother, more even terrain better suited to wheelchairs, road bikes, and trail users of all ages.

The Violet Crown Trail currently ends just past Slaughter Creek.

Construction on the final segment of Violet Crown Trail Phase I, connecting Slaughter Creek to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, has commenced. There is currently no access to the Violet Crown Trail from the Wildflower Center. For more information, click here.

Trail Access Points:

Gateway to the Wildlands

From the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, the Violet Crown Trail will leave Austin's urban surroundings and begin to wind through the stunningly beautiful and ecologically sensitive Water Quality Protection Lands, which are in place to protect the water quality of the Barton Springs segment of the Edwards Aquifer. Trail visitors will be able to learn about the Texas Hill Country's unique ecological systems, which are intrinsically connected to the health of our region's water supply.

As the trail reaches the SH45 Toll Road, the route will overlap with a portion of the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority's (CTRMA) 45SW multi-use trail. The entire 45SW trail is fully constructed and open for use. More information can be found on the CTRMA website.

After the Violet Crown Trail diverges from the 45SW trail, it will leave Travis County and enter Hays County, traveling south until it ends in a loop south of FM 967 in Buda. See the entire planned 30-mile route here.

Trail Access Points:

Know Before You Go

  • Plan ahead.  Familiarize yourself with the route before you leave, and prepare accordingly. Look for the Violet Crown Trail logo on trail markers to ensure you stay on the correct path.
  • Dogs are allowed on the Violet Crown Trail between the Zilker Trailhead and the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, but must remain on-leash at all times. This keeps both your furry friend and wildlife safe.
  • There are few restrooms and water fountains on the trail at this time. Please be prepared and bring plenty of water for your trip. Read the details of your chosen trailhead/trail access point above to check if your route has restrooms or water fountains.
  • Leave no trace! Pack it in, pack it out. Keep the trail litter-free—that means taking your dog waste bags out too! Most trailheads have a dog waste station and/or trash can available for use.
  • Stay alert—the Violet Crown Trail is a multi-use path. Bicyclists, please yield to pedestrians and pass slowly on the left. Use a bell or say "on your left!" to warn pedestrians and slower riders of your approach.
  • Be a good trail steward. Stay on the designated trail, respect others, and share the trail.
  • This trail traverses a sensitive wildlife area. Please be kind to the plants and animals that live there. 
  • No alcohol, camping, or fires on the Violet Crown Trail.


  • The trail section from Zilker to 290 has an uneven, rocky surface and at times has steep slopes and sharp curves. It is not advisable for strollers and road bikes.
  • There are numerous creek crossing along the route, which are periodically flooded. Proceed at your own risk.
  • Closures will be posted on the VCT Facebook page and on this site. Please check for updates before entering the trail, especially after extreme weather.
  • Bring water! There are few water fountains along the trail, so plan accordingly.
  • Stay on the trail to minimize your chance of encountering wildlife, including rattlesnakes or poison ivy. If you encounter a rattlesnake on the trail, simply leave it be and give it plenty of distance.