Coppertone sits in the shade for a moment while heading down to the canyon. The first part of the trail gently descends to the canyon rim.
From Ranch Road 620 in Lakeway exit onto Lakeway Blvd. and head north. Follow Lakeway Blvd. through its turns until you reach Hills Drive. You should see a sign for the swim center or World of Tennis. Turn left onto Hills Drive and then turn right onto Trophy Drive. Look for the swim center on the right and park in the parking lot there. The trailhead is on the opposite side of the road.
The Hike: The Canyonlands is Lakeway's newest park and one that provides
refreshing solitude, despite its small size. The park encompasses only 20 acres, but the
thick vegetation and steep canyon walls quickly erase some signs of the growing community around
A view of the trail just as it is about to enter the canyon proper.
The trail begins at the trailhead on Trophy Drive, immediately across the street from the swim center. The first quarter mile of the trail parallels a high tension Pedernales Electric Cooperative power line. This is technically not part of the park, but the PEC has granted an easement to allow for easy access to it. The trail here is very well maintained with a thick, sometimes heaping, layer of mulch.
The trail descends from the rim into the canyon below on the northern half of the park. Some small spots can be steep.
Where the trail splits on the map there is a choice. From here the two halves of the trail make a figure 8 with this point at the center. If you're short on time the north side provides a rougher trail with more elevated, scenic views. But at only about 2 miles, there are few who could not complete the entire trail in a quick outing.
The access trail to the canyon rim is surrounded by Live Oak and Juniper, but not very shielded from the Sun. That changes when the trail descends into the heart of the canyon. The vegetation becomes dense, more diverse, cooler and more humid. The Sun is well filtered near the bottom of the canyon. The trail surface in the canyon itself is rougher than the mulched path leading up to it. Packed dirt and rock line the path and some small sections can be a bit steep.
A small stream runs through the canyon that eventually feeds into Rough Hollow Cove and Lake Travis. Two small ponds dot the creek's path. While the stream was small on our visit the signs around us point to wetter periods that carved the canyon we see today. One probably does not want to be at the base of the canyon after a heavy rain.
During the one hour that I spent covering all of the trails I never saw another person. I did hear a couple of other folks out there, but the heavy tree cover in the canyon meant that I never caught a glimpse of them.