Contact Information: After a heavy rain the Parks Dept. closes the trail until it dries up some, so it's a good idea to call beforehand if it has rained in the last few days. To get current trail conditions and closure information, call the hotline anytime at 472-1267.
Trail Description: The quintessential mountain bike trail in Austin and located right in the heart of town. This is the trail where most of us learned to ride. That's not to say it's an easy trail...far from it! The +/- 8-mile (one-way) "greenbelt", as it is affectionately known, has its share of rocky, technical sections that challenge even the most advanced riders. Its also not the place to hammer, not just because it's technical, but because it is a very popular multi-use trail and we respect trail etiquette and those who share the trail. There are numerous blind curves where a hiker, or another biker, could be coming around and a head-on (or even a glancing blow) will do little to advance your mountain biking career.
After rainy spells, the creek retains a good amount of water making for some wet and wild creek crossings but there is rarely water in the creek during the summer. From the trailhead at Zilker to the trail at the dam past the Hill of Life, there are no less than 7 creek crossings. The Hill of Life is something you have to experience for yourself to understand. About 7.5 miles into the trail the Hill of Life can be used as a bailout back to Zilker Park. - but at a hefty price. The Hill climbs about 150 feet in a 1/4 mile and it's about as close to real "mountain" biking as it gets in Austin. At the top of the hill riders out onto Camp Craft Road & Scottish Woods Drive, which can quickly to Loop 360 at Westlake High Drive. From this point you road it back to Zilker and be home in time for dinner. Good information signs are posted at the Zilker Park, Loop 360 and Hill of Life/Scottish Woods entrances to the Greenbelt. The Barton Creek Greenbelt is an incredible natural resource, please respect it... and have fun!
Medium to high depending on whether you stay on the main trail or whether you explore the back trails.
Main trail is about 7 miles from Zilker park to the "Hill of Life". From the Loop 360 trailhead, up through Travis Country, down over the dam and straight back to Loop 360 is about 12-13 miles depending on the actual conditions and exact route. It is easy to do 25-40 miles if you put your mind to it.
A variety of surfaces from hard packed soil (mud in the rain) to rock studded trails to rock gardens full of baby heads. The greenbelt has it all for you.