Pickett Trail

1.00 Mile
250 Feet
3stars (3.29)9
3stars (3.39)
2stars (2.22)

Getting there: To get there head north on I-35 from Austin, exit onto Hwy 29 (also known as University Avenue) and head east. Turn left onto Rock Street and continue north to the entrance to Blue Hole Park as the road turns to the left. Park along the road. The trailhead is located at the western edge of Blue Hole Park, past the waterfall and behind the restroom building.

The Hike: The trail starts at the waypoint "Trailhead", next to a wooden sign that bears the name of trail. The terrain along the trail quickly turns rocky and very steep in places. The rocky terrain and steep drop offs above the river make for rock climbing opportunities and several anchor bolts can be seen near rock's edge.

Much of the trail follows the edge of a rock cliff overlooking the San Gabriel River.
Much of the trail follows the edge of a rock cliff overlooking the San Gabriel River.
At several places along the trail rocky bluffs overlook the San Gabriel, providing potentially beautiful views. The limiting factor here is the large row of large apartment buildings that have been built near the water's edge on the opposite bank.

For a short, urban trail, Pickett Trail is fairly tough.  A few sections like this one require scrambling up slopes and crawling over pieces of staircases.
For a short, urban trail, Pickett Trail is fairly tough. A few sections like this one require scrambling up slopes and crawling over pieces of staircases.
This short, but challenging, trail was enjoyable and obviously some group expended a lot of effort in constructing it. Several spots along the trail are in dire need of repair if the trail is to be enjoyed by those less inclined to climb or scramble up slopes. There are two sets of stairs along the trail that are partially coming apart. While what remains appears stable and safe, the missing portions leave large drop offs and gaps that make the going more difficult.

The turnaround point is marked by the waypoint "Park". Here and just a short distance to the north are two entrances into Chautauqua Park. This park could serve as an alternate trailhead to the trailhead we used at Blue Hole Park.

Trash was a bit of a problem along the trail and we picked up about 3 plastic grocery bags of refuse on the return trip back to the trailhead. We'd like to encourage everyone else to leave the trail in better shape than they found it.

Our hike lasted a bit over an hour and covered almost one mile. We picked up two geocaches along the way, which slowed down our progress. At no time during the hike did we see anyone else on the trail, even though it was a beautiful Sunday afternoon. We did see several people near the apartment buildings on the opposite bank and heard cars from the nearby roads.

We had been to Blue Hole before, but did not realize that this trail was here, hidden from view. Though far from perfect, this short and tough trail turned out to be challenging and fun.

The trailhead sign is hidden behind the restroom building at Blue Hole Park. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
Another of the stairs that have fallen into some disrepair. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
San Gabriel River
Several spots along the trail provide great views of the San Gabriel River below. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
Log Entries
By fiftyandfat on 1/30/2011
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 3stars Solitude: 3stars
Distance: 1.00 Mile Duration: N/A
By cmbarrick on 5/31/2010
Rating: 3stars Difficulty: 3stars Solitude: 2stars
Distance: 1.00 Mile Duration: N/A
Great path but short
By texaskdog on 4/25/2010
Rating: 3stars Difficulty: 4stars Solitude: 2stars
Distance: 1.00 Mile Duration: 30 minutes

Didnt see any sign behind the restroom but it is pretty easy to find.  Beautiful hike with great views (even with the apts across the river) but its very short.

Blue Hole Trail
By Melissa-Austin on 3/19/2009
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 3stars Solitude: 3stars
Distance: 2.00 Miles Duration: 1 hour, 30 minutes

The first part of the trail is nice, shaded with lots of trees and it's a great change not to have the typical crushed granite pathways.  After going down the green metal stairs and the green metal bridge, I soon reached the creek again.  Unfortunately, apartment buildings were across the water.  However, I kept going up & down the rocks & continued to a part of the trail that had not been walked in quite some time (after the apartments ended).  The trail was barely noticeable and it became very rough.  I was climbing over and under many fallen trees & through a lot of rough brush.  There was also a cool cave to walk through.  I eventually approached a cliff area that was pretty challenging to walk across the multi-level rocks & hold onto tree branches to balance myself.  This area was very secluded & no one was around - it was very peacefuil.  I passed a really nice area of the creek with lots of large boulders and it made a beautiful sounding waterfall sound.  I eventually came up to an overpass with cars going across above, out of nowhere.  This is where I turned around because I could not see anymore walkable areas.  If you look down at this point, there's a very old, totalled blue pick-up truck that had trees literally growing through it and big boulders had falled on top of it.  It was really wild.  I really enjoyed this trail, although it was definitely tough on the knees and I wound up getting lots of cuts from all the brush.  If you're looking for solitude, just keep going past the end of the apartments.

Very fun, some climbing not just hiking
By reson46 on 8/28/2005
Rating: 4point5stars Difficulty: 4stars Solitude: 2stars
Distance: 1.00 Mile Duration: N/A
This is a very fun trail if you are looking for more than just walking along a path. There are several steep sections that require some climbing and caution as you cling to the side of the river bank. I think the trail should be left as is. Makes a nice alternative to the sidewalk on the other side of Blue Hole. The only negative was the trash. Lots of broken glass and beer cans. It is really unfortunate that some people don't clean up after themselves.
By toobsox on 3/5/2005
Rating: 1star Difficulty: 3stars Solitude: 1star
Distance: 2.00 Miles Duration: 1 minute
This trail has seen better days
By moore9ksucats on 3/18/2004
Rating: N/A Difficulty: 3stars Solitude: 1star
Distance: 1.00 Mile Duration: N/A
The trail has not been maintained in some time. Apartments have been built across the river from the trail, so there's not much solitude left. A month ago we found that sections of the trail had been vandalized, so passage is even more difficult than it was.
Needs work
By Centex Trekker on 4/24/2003
Rating: N/A Difficulty: 4stars Solitude: 3point5stars
Distance: 1.00 Mile Duration: N/A
I had to turn around because Geokatt was getting freaked out due to the steepness of the trail. If this is supposed to be a city maintained trail, then it needs steps on the steeper areas.
Surprisingly tough
By Austin Explorer on 11/17/2002
Rating: 3point5stars Difficulty: 3point5stars Solitude: 2point5stars
Distance: 1.00 Mile Duration: N/A
Coppertone and I hiked this trail while on the hunt for a couple of geocaches in the area. Though not a lot of elevation gain overall, the hike includes some tricky steep sections that worked our knees a good deal.
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