Slaughter Creek Preserve Trail

5.00 Miles
1100 Feet
3point5stars (3.80)5
2stars (2.40)
3point5stars (3.70)
9901 FM 1826
More Info

The trail starts next to the map and informational kiosk next to the Trautwein Homestead. There is a large map showing the preserve boundaries, the trail and some of the history of the family that used to own the land.

A typical view along the trail. Mostly open to the Sun with patches of Oaks and Junipers here and there.
A typical view along the trail. Mostly open to the Sun with patches of Oaks and Junipers here and there.
The parking here is limited. There might be about 20 spaces total, depending upon how well drivers line up their cars and trucks. Once the parking area is full people are asked to come back at another time.

Some signs along the trail indicate that the portions of the trail covered in crushed granite are ADA compliant. I would hesitate to call this trail even partly ADA accessible. It looks like the crushed granite only goes a couple hundred feet to the turn where bikes and hikers and horseback riders are sent in opposite directions.

Contrary to what you might think, there are not separate trails for bikes riders and other users. Instead, the trail forms a loop and the trail planners decided to route bikes in a clockwise direction and the hikers and horseback riders in a counter clockwise direction.

Though the trail does not feature any dramatic views from the top of a mountain it does have a few nice ones such as this. Note also the information kiosk sign along the trail.
Though the trail does not feature any dramatic views from the top of a mountain it does have a few nice ones such as this. Note also the information kiosk sign along the trail.
This scheme actually seems to work out very well here. On many trails where hikers and riders share the trail I've often felt like I have to have my head on a swivel to determine whether or not the noise I heard behind me was a bicycle about to overtake me at a relatively high speed. With the higher speed users going in the opposite direction from the slower speed users that's never an issue. Both eyes and ears can work on one direction to avoid any collisions.

The terrain undulates through a restored savanna that is maintained by the Austin Wildland Conservation Division as a Water Quality Protection Land program. As such, facilities are minimal here and the emphasis is on protecting the land's ability to filter rain water into the underlying aquifer. To accomplish this Ashe Juniper (a.k.a. Cedar) is cut back and native grasses are encouraged to grow in pocket prairies that more closely resembles what the area looked like before man interfered with the normal processes.

For trail users this means that Slaughter Creek Preserve's trail provides lots of Sun! There are patches of Oak and some Juniper still standing that can provide a bit of respite to enjoy a snack or a drink of water. However, one is well advised to bring your sunscreen.

There are a couple of hilltops in the preserve but the trails venture around them making the going fairly easy for both bike riders and hikers.

After mile marker 1 and for the next couple of miles the trail does pass close to the edge of preserve and near some of the homes of the Circle C subdivision. Though the houses are often shielded by trees and brush the sounds are not so easily covered up. On my visit the sounds of a child's birthday party and a roving ice cream truck were my frequent companions for part of the hike.

The waypoint marks a cutoff near the 2.5 mile mark where one can elect to head back to the trailhead and cut the hike short. That decision will net a length of a bit over 3 or 3.5 miles instead of the full five.

Along the trail I ran into an assortment of animals that one normally expects to see and hear, including Cardinals, White Wing Doves, Mourning Doves and lizards scurrying off into the brush. I also spotted a White-Tailed Deer that huffed a warning to any others in the area as he hopped into the brush.

Carpet of yellow daisies
Carpet of yellow daisies (Photo by plectrudis)
Phlox and other small wildflowers at Slaughter Creek
Phlox and other small wildflowers at Slaughter Creek (Photo by plectrudis)
Log Entries
By joed on 12/16/2012
Rating: 3point5stars Difficulty: 2point5stars Solitude: 4stars
Distance: 5.00 Miles Duration: N/A

Dogs are NOT allowed on this trail.

Multi use but fun!
By Trailmagic on 8/5/2012
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 2point5stars Solitude: 2point5stars
Distance: 5.00 Miles Duration: N/A
Slaughter is definitely multi use, on Sunday I encountered sever Mountain bikes and 3 groups of horses. It was Mid morning when everyone was out. That being said, this is a great short Central texas hike. there are some fun interpretive markers along they way that describe some of the history and area and the trail is in great shape. The trail also does not continually bend back on itself like some mountain bike trails and that " flow" style of trail can get tedious when hiking.. Overall this is totally worth checking out.. its about 60-40 Shade to sun.. so be prepared for a warmer hike in Summer. Have fun! T
Nice new trail for the area
By Austin Explorer on 5/29/2011
Rating: 3point5stars Difficulty: 3stars Solitude: 3stars
Distance: 5.20 Miles Duration: 2 hours, 51 minutes

I enjoyed this one a bit more than I expected to.  It's mostly a mountain bike trail, but the way in which the trail routes bikes and hikers in opposite directions means one doesn't have to have ones head on a swivel for fear of being overtaken.  There are a few spots with shade, but also lots of open spaces so be sure to bring your sunscreen.

5 mile singletrack loop for hikers, runners, horses and bikes
By figment on 4/1/2010
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 2stars Solitude: 5stars
Distance: 5.00 Miles Duration: N/A

Slaughter Creek WQPL trail probably has the most access restrictions outside of Forest Ridge - there are more signs here than at any trail I've ever been to.

The trail itself is a nice 5 mile single track loop with a cutoff at the 2 or 3 mile point. Bikers go one way, hikers and horses go the other way. Not a lot of views or hills - kind of reminded me of the trails at the Wildflower Center in the same general area.

Be sure to check the Facebook, Myspace, or Twitter pages to see if it is open before making the drive down. There is no water, but there are a few portable toilets. Parking is very limited, and when it is full, that's it - no overflow parking.

Recommended Item
Recommended Item Hiking Texas: A Guide to the State's Greatest Hiking Adventures (State Hiking Guides Series)
Laurence Parent
List Price: $24.95 Your price: $20.87 Buy Now
From the rugged Guadalupe Mountains in the west and the deep canyons of the Red River in the Panhandle to the lakes on the eastern landscape, the Texas backcountry is as spacious and diverse as the Lone Star State itself. This guide contains unforgettable hikes that suit all abilities and interests.