The Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail around Lady Bird Lake is one of the most visited and beloved spaces in the Austin area – it truly is the heart of the city! The trail is a place where we go to connect with nature, with loved ones, and with ourselves. Have you visited before? While many locals use the trail almost daily, sometimes we need a little help breaking from our routines to explore all that the trail has to offer! Here are the top 5 places to visit at the Butler Trail for locals and first-timers:

The Boardwalk at Lady Bird Lake

1. The Boardwalk

If you haven’t had the opportunity to get out to Austin’s best over-water experience, what are you waiting for? This 1.1 mile, partially over-water, boardwalk flows east-west and provides some of the most gorgeous views of downtown and wildlife over the water. This ADA friendly stretch of the trail is an excellent place to take visitors to give them a uniquely Austin experience.

Check out the Boardwalk in action.

Lou Neff Point at the Hike and Bike Trail

2. Lou Neff Point

This Austin icon is a favorite spot for visitors to take a break while drinking in the view of downtown from across the clear waters of Barton Creek. This water overlook includes beautiful, native flowering plants that attract butterflies and birds, as well as encompassing natural woodlands. Take the kids and don’t forget to bring some bread to feed the ducks!

Restrooms on the Hike and Bike Trail

3. ‘Austintatious’ Trail Restrooms

Everyone has ‘gotta go’ at some point when enjoying the trail and when nature calls, there are a number of unique restrooms to answer that call! The Miro Rivera Restroom is an award-winning space at the foot of Rainey Street; the Heron Creek Restrooms are "inside-outside" restrooms where you can enjoy a view of nature during your pit stop; and the Johnson Creek Restrooms are a part of the popular see-and-be-seen space that allows for privacy among the ambient noise from the freeway overhead.

Auditorium Shores at the Hike and Bike Trail
Credit Jody Horton Photography.

4. Auditorium Shores

This heavily used part of the trail is home to a doggie off-leash area, and recently has completed a renovation to improve the park which includes several series of rain gardens, a set of exercise equipment, upgraded drinking fountains, and a new restroom facility. There are now a couple of great spots for Fido to cool down in Lady Bird Lake during Austin’s hot summer!

Rendering of the Trail Bridge at Congress

5. The Trail Bridge at Congress!

Everyone loves watching the colony of 1.5 million Mexican free-tailed bats fly out at dusk from under the Congress Avenue Bridge. This natural sight to behold is a staple of the Austin experience from March-October. The Trail Foundation (TFF) recently replaced the old wooden bridge under Congress Avenue to provide a safer experience for Trail-users as well as a viewing platform to observe the bats.

If you have visited before, become a member today and sport your TTF gear on the trail or wherever you call home! 

TTF is committed to protecting and enhancing the special central green space and 10.1 mile Trail that makes Austin a great place to live. TTF works in cooperation with the Austin Parks and Recreation Department to close the gap between what the City can provide and what the trail deserves.

Contributed by The Trail Foundation. Photos courtesy of The Trail Foundation.