By Melissa Hawthorne

The Greenbelt is truly one of the bright spots of living here in Austin. After the hustle of the week, I make time to go wander in the Greenbelt. I see some other folks wandering, as well, and wonder how many people here in the neighborhood take advantage of this respite. If it’s been awhile since you’ve enjoyed this gem in your backyard, now is a good time to go. The maps at the bottom of the page can give you a better idea of where the best access points are.

Depending on your skill level, there are several entrances you could choose to enter the Greenbelt. No matter which access point you use they all lead to the creek. If you are looking for a nice wide “main” trail — really wide and level — take the Greenbelt access through Zilker on the south side of Barton Springs Pool or the Spyglass entrance (from the Mopac side), which is actually across from the Homedale entrance.

The 360 access point is also fairly simple to navigate and, when you get down into the Greenbelt, you can go either south or north. Going south takes you toward the Wilderness Park, a developed trail not quite as large as the Zilker entrance. Going north toward Gus Fruh is stunning in its own way. The Gus Fruh entrance is definitely one of my favorites.

The Barton Hills access point, on Homedale, is a little more challenging, but once you’re there it’s absolutely exquisite. Staying on the neighborhood side on Homedale and Gus Fruh, the trail kind of dead ends; however, since the creek is not flowing now due to drought, you can easily cross to the other side of the creek to get to the “main” trail.

When the water is flowing, Homedale has the “rapids” and “falls” that kayakers love to navigate, as well as a small swimming “pool” beside the rapids, and Gus Fruh has the large swimming hole that families and dogs share. The 360 area has climbing walls just the other side of the creek. Climbing walls can also be found between Gus Fruh and Spyglass on the main trail across the creek from our neighborhood entry trail.