Trail Blazing

Austin Monthly – November 2, 2015

One of Austin’s most treasured natural gems has a brand new addition. After 15 years of planning by the Hill Country Conservancy, the first six miles of the Violet Crown Trail opened in August, thus extending the already-existing footpath that starts at Zilker Park and goes all the way down south to Brodie Lane. This latest segment of the trail provides scenic views of the urban wildlands of the Barton Creek Wilderness Park. Designed with sustainability in mind, it has rolling dips in the dirt surface to divert rainwater and prevent erosion. In addition, the Texas Conservation Corps chiseled out rock and hand-built walls and ledges into the steep landscape. “It’s easily one of the best technically built trails in the state,” says trail manager Butch Smith. Once the whole system is completed by the end of 2018, it will extend 30 miles and lead all the way into Hays County, making it the longest of its kind in Central Texas. Before you hit the newest part, though, here are a few things to know.