Spicewood Valley Trail

1.30 Miles
470 Feet

Getting there: From Hwy 183 in northwest Austin head south on Spicewood Springs Road. Turn right onto Scotland Well Drive and continue north. Turn right onto Middlebie Drive and look for the parking area.

The start of the trail is just across the street from Mountain View Park.
The start of the trail is just across the street from Mountain View Park.
The Hike: This trail is one of the newest in Austin, having only been completed and dedicated on November 12, 2005. The project was completed by the American YouthWorks? Environmental Corps. Over the course of two years 120 volunteers constructed the 1.3 mile trail and in the process have created a wonderful trail that occassionally draws to mind some of the stonework done by the CCC in national parks. Thousands of pounds of stone were harvested, moved, carved and placed to fortify the trail.

The rugged terrain of the northern half of the trail required extensive stonework by volunteers to construct.
The rugged terrain of the northern half of the trail required extensive stonework by volunteers to construct.
The trail begins across the street from Mountain View Park at the waypoint "Trailhead" on the topo map. There is plenty of parking at the waypoint "Parking" and just a short walk to the trailhead on the other side of the ball field and playground.

The trail starts off with a bang as it descends into the creek valley through a couple of steep switchbacks. The hard work put in by the American YouthWorks volunteers is evident right away. The steep terrain is workable by the average walker solely because of the stone steps put in place to ease the descent. While many hikers could have handled a steep descent straight down, the resulting erosion would be unacceptable.

The trail parallels a ridge of rock in the northern part of the park.
The trail parallels a ridge of rock in the northern part of the park.
At the waypoint "Junction" the trail comes to a "T". A turn to the left and heading north will take one to the more hilly and interesting section of the trail. Here the trail parallels a rocky bluff before switchbacking it's way uphill to another trailhead in the neighborhood. Near the waypoint "Alt-TH" a stone bench overlooks a dry waterfall that feeds water into the creek during wet spells.

The southern half of the trail is flatter. Even here some stonework can be found in the form of stone benches in the distance.
The southern half of the trail is flatter. Even here some stonework can be found in the form of stone benches in the distance.
Doubling back to the junction and continuing south results in an easier, flatter segment of trail that mostly follows the creek at the bottom of the valley. Unlike the northern trail segment, the southern trail does exit from the tree canopy, exposing hikers to the Sun.

The waypoint "Turnaround" marks the spot at which the trail runs into Scotland Well Drive, a short distance from Spicewood Springs Road. There's no place to park here, so I won't mark it as a trailhead. Although I briefly looked for it, I did not find a a way to connect this trail with the Upper Bull Creek Greenbelt trail across the creek. There probably is an unofficial way to connect them and it may be more obvious over time, but for now it's clearly a separate trail.

Though short, this new trail is a great addition to hiking in the Austin area. It boasts of some big hike features that make it an interesting trip.

The southern half of the trail is flatter. Even here some stonework can be found in the form of stone benches in the distance. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
This man-made waterfall on the trail is an older example of stonework in the area. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
In the southern reaches of the park the path turns into a jeep trail and the vegetation gives way to the open sky. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
A nice waterfall over a dam. I could see a trail on the other side of the dam, but the water was flowing too much over the dam for me to cross without totally soaking my shoes and socks. (Photo by heatharcadia)
These probably aren't dripping all of the time, but the weather has been wet enough that there was a steady drip. (Photo by heatharcadia)
This natural waterfall was on the opposite side of the creek from the trail. It looks to be spring-fed (I didn't see another creek on the other side). (Photo by heatharcadia)
I'm assuming a flood is how this got here, but I want to know where it came from and how long it has been out there, rusting. (Photo by heatharcadia)
always love the mossy remains (Photo by jimmy peace)
one of two wrecks along the trail, and still trying to figure how it got here unless by fllood long ago (Photo by jimmy peace)
just love the greenery (Photo by jimmy peace)
this is the other rust bucket (Photo by jimmy peace)
not sure how old this is (Photo by jimmy peace)
at the y to the rest of the trail (Photo by jimmy peace)
Log Entries
By jimmy peace on 1/1/2019
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 2.00 Miles Duration: N/A
Still unpopulated
Great hidden gem!
By heatharcadia on 12/24/2016
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 3.26 Miles Duration: 2 hours, 30 minutes

This is an interesting and diverse trail. You are often reminded you are in the middle of a neighborhood when you hear cars or see homes on either side of the canyon, but it is still an enjoyable, peaceful hike. There are several waterfalls which are nice and the rock ledge of the canyon is interesting. In wetter weather you can spot springs. If you follow a small side trail leading into a field you can see an old rusted and wrecked car.

I'm not sure if it was because it was drizzling most of the day today, but I did not see a single other person on this trail today. But use caution when hiking this in wetter weather: There are several places where the trail passes over large stones, which get slick when wet and covered in a layer of fallen leaves.

I parked by Mountain View Park and used the trailhead that is in between two homes. I first hiked the northern portion of the trail then doubled-back and hiked the southern portion. Reading logs here, I see that there is more to this trail system on the other side of the creek, near the middle school. I didn't cross the creek on this hike (I couldn't find a dry enough area to do so), but just sticking to the side I entered on I still had a great time. I highly recommend this if you are looking for a short hike in town. 

By k84arnold on 11/24/2016
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 1.00 Mile Duration: N/A
By Riff Raff on 5/22/2011
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 2.80 Miles Duration: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Started out on Upper Bull Creek and crossed over the dam, then explored all reaches of this trail network.  Much prefer the Spicewood Valley Trail side of things.

By Riff Raff on 5/8/2011
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 1.80 Miles Duration: 1 hour

As previously mentioned, this trailhead is rather hard to find since it just kind of pops up between two houses with no signage of any kind.  I practically walked right past it, even though I was specifically looking for it.

At any rate, it's a fairly nice area for an urban trail.  I did see where it connects with the Upper Bull Creek trail, so I'll have to try out that combination another day.

Re: finding the other trail
By texaskdog on 10/25/2010
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 3.00 Miles Duration: 1 hour

To find the Upper Bull Creek Trail from this trail, you'll see a small dam/waterfall you can easily walk across.  Cross it and go left.  Easier to just park at the middle school though and hike the other path first.

By Frank James on 5/10/2010
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 2.00 Miles Duration: N/A

Loved this hike; was hard to find @ first. The enterance was between 2 houses. Very quite me and my Dogs where the only ones and we got close to some deer on the north part, while we where sitting down on the rocks.

By texaskdog on 3/16/2010
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 4.00 Miles Duration: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Okay I just review Upper Bull Creek, which is really an extenstion of this one (little did I know we did 2 hikes, I would combine them for the purposes of this page, you can do both in 80 minutes).  Great path, only passes two guys walking their dog, solitude!

Great secluded area
By sandew on 3/6/2010
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 2.00 Miles Duration: 2 hours

It's very treed and great area, might be great when it gets hot in the next couple of months.

Spicewood Valley Trail
By Melissa-Austin on 3/20/2009
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 2.00 Miles Duration: 1 hour, 15 minutes

This was an interesting trail with two very different parts.  I was first excited about the rapid decline towards the creek with a beautiful natural stone staircase with a log handrail.  You quickly come to a "T" where you have to go left or right.  I first chose the left path.  This trail was absolutely beautiful - very natural, very secluded and lots of inclines and declines.  It had nice stepping stones to cross a shallow creek.  Along the trail, there were some large beautiful boulders and the pathway was very scenic and shady with lots of trees.  Unfortunately, this path was very short and I had to turn back.  I went back to the "T" and proceeded down the right path.  This side of the trail was very different.  The one thing that I loved was the river that had a beautiful waterfall sound that could be heard long before you reached it.  There were also nice sounds of birds and crickets, so it sounded like you were really away from it all.  However, shortly after passing this area, the trail became much wider and it almost seemed like you were walking down a dirt road.  There was no shade, no fluctuating elevations,  and I started hearing sounds of cars and construction.  This side of the trail was much longer, but it was not very impressive.  I came across a SUV which had burned to the ground in the middle of nowhere - very interesting.  Overall, I absolutely loved the left trail, except it was just too short, but I was not very fond of the right trail once I passed the waterfall.

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