Getting there: From I-35 in Round Rock take the RR 620 exit and head west on 620. Turn right onto Great Oaks Drive. Look for the park on the right after a few blocks. Ideal parking is behind the fire station and community center.
The Hike: The Cat Hollow Trails are a set of three connected trails segments that also go by the names Community Park, Liberty Walk Greenbelt and Cat Hollow Park. Like typical parks one can find open fields, playscapes, playing fields, and a recreation center. The park also boasts an easy, partially paved trail, perfect for afternoon strolls.
The trail begins along Great Oaks Drive at the waypoint "Trailhead". The first half of the trail is paved, so those looking for easy going are in luck, and those looking for a rougher experience need to look elsewhere. Generally, the terrain is flat and the sparse tree
cover means little shade.
Look for this windmill next to the main trailhead at the park. It's behind the activity center and fire station.
The waypoint marked "Alt-TH" is actually the recommended trailhead and where most of the locals park. The parking area is located behind the fire station and recreation center.
The trail near the trailheads is paved. Go further out and you'll get granite.
Given the flat terrain, the waypoint "Overlook" may be somewhat generous, but there is indeed a slight slope downward looking into the slight depression that drains to the northeast. In the distance you can see an iron fence that was constructed to keep people out of one of
the karsts in the area. Not only are karsts or caves ecologically sensitive because they connect directly to the area's groundwater below, but they are also important habitat for a small colony of bats, which help keep the neighborhood insect population under control.
Along the trail there's an overlook to provide a view of a karst or cave opening. A colony of bats is known to live there.
Soon after the overlook the trail splits. To the right the paved path continues back to Great Oaks Drive. To the left, the trail surface turns to gravel and the number of people on the trail declines somewhat. Still, one should not expect to get any solitude on this trail.
Farther from the trailhead the trail surface switches to crushed granite. Fewer folks venture this far out, though there's not much solitude
Like the rest of the park, the trail here is wide and wide open to the sky. Ashe Juniper (Cedar) and Live Oak dot the area, but rarely in suitable numbers or strategically placed to provide any shade. The backyards of houses to the right and left are apparent at all times,
and occasionally dogs can be heard barking at "intruders".
The first trail segment ends at O'Conner Drive. The Liberty Walk Greenbelt segment starts on the opposite side of the street. Be careful crossing! Traffic moves very fast along the road and yielding to pedestrians doesn't seem to be on the drivers' agenda. The crosswalk sign situated here seems to do little good.
Despite the close proximity of houses, the Liberty Walk trail segment manages to provide a couple of tranquil spots.
The trail surface continues with crushed gravel throughout and is well maintained. Unlike some of the other adjacent segments, Liberty Walk has more Cedar, brush and tree cover, though open areas are the norm.
The segment ends, appropriately enough, at Liberty Walk Drive.
At Liberty Walk Drive the trail crosses the street again and you're into Cat Hollow Park. The trail is once again paved and merely consists of a sidewalk around the park perimeter. There are the usual playscape, tennis court, basketball court and some room for picnicking. This park can also serve as an alternative trailhead.
The grand total mileage for the three segments of trails in Cat Hollow comes out to around 1.8 miles. It is about as flat as one can get in the Central Texas area, so it's got that going for it if you're looking for an easy stroll.