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.
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.
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
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.