Barton Creek - Upper North Log Entries

Return to Barton Creek - Upper North

beautiful trail even in january
User: jimmy peace - 1/16/2019  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 6.20 Miles Duration: 3 hours, 30 minutes

i have never been on this portion of the green belt, i parked at camp craft entrance,  , now i know why they call it the hill of life


Tough Hike
User: mgialusis - 5/4/2014  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 3.00 Miles Duration: N/A

Very rocky terrain; very steep, lots of mountain bikes.  You'll want walking sticks for this one.  Side trails are nice & shady and offer more solitude than the main steep trail.

Hill of Life packed on a sunny January Sat.
User: voolevoonye - 1/11/2014  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 2.50 Miles Duration: N/A

No wonder solitude is rated 1 today, as the Hill of Life and the upper falls were packed with people and their dogs on this sunny Sat. after a very cold start of the new year. Introduced the hill to my 13 yrs old and she did the way back up with some minor complaints :-). On the way down we looked for a geocache off main trail which was fun. Try the trails that go off to the right. Great single trek for bikes!

User: ValEpiscopo - 11/12/2013  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 1.50 Miles Duration: 40 minutes
Hiked down "Hill of Life" and back up.
User: crocodile235 - 5/1/2013  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 5.50 Miles Duration: N/A
User: tarrains - 10/12/2011  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 2.00 Miles Duration: N/A
gaines creek access (mopac) to sculpture falls and back, with some detours
User: barefoot mcgraw - 5/29/2010  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 4.00 Miles Duration: N/A

lots of folks and dogs out enjoying the water today.

also ran into a couple who were picking up litter along the trail. i need to get myself one o' them litter-grabbing thingies!

my object today (in addition to a nice stroll) was to locate and view the old stone walls/fences (mentioned on page 152 of "60 hikes within 60 miles" 2nd edition). i found them easily enough (there are a few mtn bike trails that lead up to them), though mapping them will have to wait for another day.

has anyone mapped them before? i can't find much info about them online. i figure they're from an old ranch/farm, though the hiking book says "Local legend has is [sic] that these rock formations were part of a failed Spanish mission from the early 1700s."

to me they look like the sort of walls you build as you pull rocks out of the field so the plow doesn't bork on them, but they are in some interesting arrangements.

added some pictures. coords are included in the descriptions.


User: jrod512ATX - 5/16/2010  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 2.60 Miles Duration: N/A
I registered just to comment on this place. This place is awesome. A word about the Scottish Woods/Camp Craft Rd entrance. Going down was cake for me. Going up...was a death march. Its my fault for not eating a morsel of food ALL day and for being stubborn and coming out here whilst still reeling from a week long cold. I actually finished the 100oz in my CamelBak. I stopped 3-4 times to rest. It was much more difficult then expected. I'm no stranger to hikes, I love the trails in Austin. But this return hike upwards just passed me around the cell block. Will definitely visit again and be better prepared. Cool site!!
No Crowds On a Cold Winter Weekday
User: swedegirl5 - 2/2/2010  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 3.40 Miles Duration: N/A

I can see why this is a popular hike, once you scramble down the hill the walk is picturesque and easy.  If I had more time, I would have kept on walking.  Since it has been raining in Austin, Barton Creek was running full and fast.  For 45 minutes I had the walk to myself, and only saw two other couples the rest of the time.  I'm glad I read this site before I headed back up to the top of the trail--it was more difficult than I expected! This walk will stay on my list of places to take people visiting Austin for the first time.

Great hike
User: texaskdog - 1/24/2010  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 5.00 Miles Duration: 1 hour, 45 minutes

We parked on Mopac, didnt find the Scottish Woods trail but went to the end with a treehouse and ended at a bldg.  Was a bit extreme near the end but that was the funnest part of all.

Very enjoyable and quiet
User: strontium87 - 12/12/2009  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 3.35 Miles Duration: 2 hours

The water was up and the falls looked great.  That last climb up to the Scottish Woods entrance is pretty severe though.

User: marakristina - 6/2/2009  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 5.00 Miles Duration: N/A
nice hike
User: sandew - 4/26/2009  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 8.00 Miles Duration: 5 hours

The notes about lots of bikes weren't kidding.  We went on a cloudy, humid Sunday morning and there were lots of bikers.  Most were curtious, only saw a couple going really fast.  What was interesting about the bikers, we pulled off the trail for 5 unicyclers!  That was a sight.  We took the trail from the "hill of life" which was difficult on the return of walking over 4 hours.  We found the ther trailheads and parking areas off Mopac and 360, which we'll do next time to finish off the trail (the first 3 miles).  This upper part is the last part of the trail, as we found a few of the mile markers.  We found a lot of dry creekbed mostly this part of the trail (April 27,2009).  So, if you want to get wet, do it soon after ending the "hill of life".

Good trails, but way too many people.
User: irwinr - 4/19/2009  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 6.00 Miles Duration: 4 hours

We loved the trails, but there were a lot of people.  Also, the guys on bikes really need to learn that they yield to pedestrians, not vice versa.  There were tons of guys on bikes riding them way too fast on trails that are very narrow and windy, we were almost ran over several times.

Have to do this one again.
User: cadenaang - 3/27/2009  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 2.00 Miles Duration: N/A
Trail of Life
User: Melissa-Austin - 3/23/2009  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 5.00 Miles Duration: 2 hours

Wow, what a hike!  The beginning of the hike was an amazing decline down to the creek.  At the "T" we went to the right, which is the more rugged of the two sides.  We walked along the beautiful creek & saw and heard many waterfalls.  It was beautiful.  We eventually crossed the creek and proceeded up river.  It eventually became to inclined and was a bit too dangerous to continue, so we went back down stream where the hike was flatter.  We ran into a few bikers and a couple people with dogs, but overall, there were not many people.  It was also a Monday morning, so it's probably much busier on the weekend.  Going back up the steep incline in the end was very tough after a long hike. 

Might be better on a weekday
User: Riff Raff - 10/5/2008  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 6.30 Miles Duration: 4 hours, 30 minutes

This is really a fantastic area. You hardly think about the fact that you're inside Austin until you get to the MoPac bridge.  Barton Creek itself was bone dry for all points I saw South of Sculpture Falls.  In fact I walked on the creek bed for about half a mile just for fun.

Only real negative is all the people - particularly the mountain bikers.  Several of them seemed fairly intent on running me down rather than bothering to actually slow down.  I also ran into no less than three separate people that were obviously lost and unprepared for the trail.  One of them was well into dehydration already, and had to beg some extra water from me.  All of them were shocked that I actually brought a trail map with me.  I might like to try this again on a weekday, and see how much activity there is then.

User: mr0973 - 10/3/2008  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 7.00 Miles Duration: 4 minutes
nice length but lots of bikes
User: Donell - 9/21/2008  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 6.00 Miles Duration: N/A

I hiked this morning from the trail head back toward Zilker crossing under Mopac for a bit before turning around. The hike is easy, but I agree with former comments that the uphill at the end of your hike is what makes this a little more difficult. Otherwise I would have only given it a 1 or 2. Pleasant hike that you don't have to weave around to try to get some distance but there was a number of bikes and a pretty busy trail. I would say that we passed/were passed by at least 50 people on the trail for just shy of 2 hrs.

User: tyan - 6/7/2008  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 6.00 Miles Duration: 3 minutes
Enjoy in spring!
User: Caledonia - 5/25/2008  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 6.00 Miles Duration: 2 hours

Cross the creek to the south side and explore miles of bike trails.  The horse flies will take the fun out of it soon.

Great Hike!!
User: ANDYROOSKY - 11/4/2007  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 3.00 Miles Duration: 2 hours, 30 minutes

This is a great hike...there is so much you can do.  Go for the distance and hit Zilker and back or go to nice relaxing views of waterfalls and a quick dip.  You can go up the river and see a lot more....or explore a little and get off the main trails....There was more bikers but they were nice and tried to let you know that they were coming so I could get out of the way.....Next time I'll try a longer hike earlier in the morning....

Free and decent length
User: caspalding66 - 6/7/2007  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 6.70 Miles Duration: 3 minutes
Good decent hike, average length and trees, too many people
The best hike yet!
User: christiniprosperity - 4/8/2007  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 3.00 Miles Duration: 1 minute
This hike, although it starts "all downhill", just kept getting better and better. The three small but beautiful water falls were amazing to see. The sound of the rushing water kept beckoning me on further and further. Very cool and almost hypnotic. I actually loved the ending where I had to climb and climb back up the "trail of life" as its called to get back to my car. Worth it. Next time I'll bring my water bottle. Great workout!!!
Hard at first
User: aggiehiker - 1/15/2007  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 4.00 Miles Duration: N/A
Wow, that first quarter mile is a killer, especially if you turn around and have to finish up with that hill again. It was fun, but a lot of inconsiderate bikers (my gf got hit by one of them).
Best when there has been rain
User: reynoldser - 7/12/2006  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 6.00 Miles Duration: N/A

Great places to stop and take a dip when there has been rain.

Great Solitude
User: big tex - 5/30/2006  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 7.00 Miles Duration: N/A
I really enjoyed this hike because it seems everyone goes to the part of the trail by Zilker and ignores this section. I love that you can hike on side of the creek down the the other side back. There are also some nice little springs coming out of the cliffs on the side of the creek. Great swimming too. The hill going into and out of the valley is an intense thing if you are tired so save your energy for the hike out.
Great Outing
User: Rajun Cajun - 4/2/2006  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 12.00 Miles Duration: N/A
This was my first long trail in Austin. It was so nice to be in town and enjoy so mych wilderness. Hiked from the neighborhood entrance to Zilker and back. What was so great is that you could hike to Zilker on one side and hike back on the other.
Watch out for bikes and nosey dogs
User: Soonhorn - 12/17/2005  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 7.00 Miles Duration: N/A
There are far better places to hike around this town. The people are friendly but the number of bikers(going way too fast) and the wandering dogs...just not our thing. Pretty trail but we have much more to offer around Austin. It would help if the water was running, but then we would have even more bikes and dogs. The trail is such that you usually dont have long views in front or behind makes you pretty nervouse when a bike comes up on you, on a 10 inch wide trail, traveling as fast as the guy can go...Cudos to thier skill and courteousness. Unless you live a mile away, find a better hike or get a dog and a bike.
User: brian724 - 6/11/2004  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 6.70 Miles Duration: N/A
User: Shylock and Fiona - 5/9/2004  [View Log Page]
Rating: N/A Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 6.70 Miles Duration: N/A
One of the best in Austin
User: figment - 12/7/2003  [View Log Page]
Rating: N/A Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 4.00 Miles Duration: N/A
This hike down the Hill of Life to Barton Creek and down to Twin Falls is one of the best in Austin. Share the trail with bikers and dog-walkers, but dogs should be kept on leash here. Go swimming in Twin Falls, Sculpture Falls, or any inviting looking swimming hole. Watch out for underage kids who haul down cases of cheap beer to drink at the falls, they can get obnoxious. This is best a few days after rain, or in spring or fall, when water is running in the creek all the way to Twin Falls. Sometimes, the water will disappear beneath the surface between Scultpure and Twin Falls, when can be somewhat disconcerting.
Nice scenery.
User: Centex Trekker - 10/22/2003  [View Log Page]
Rating: N/A Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 7.00 Miles Duration: N/A
The creek was bone dry.
Very nice hike
User: HikerGirl - 7/6/2003  [View Log Page]
Rating: N/A Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 2.00 Miles Duration: N/A
The walk down was a good warm up (was wondering if it was ever going to end!) and then I started hearing the people swimming, so I knew I was close. Saw the Scottish Falls (wish I brought my camera w/ the zoom lens...would have been a great picture) which were really pretty. Found the next falls and sat under a tree on a rock right by the water and watched the fish swim by as I just relaxed on this beatiful day looking around at the cliffs & trees. After the little rest, I headed on down the trail. Met up with several bikers which were all very courteous & friendly as they whizzed by. Passed some hikers, too, that were too busy walking to say hi when I passed by...oh well. Went all the way to Sculpture Falls and wished I had taken my swimsuit because the water looked so refreshing & everyone in it looked like they were having fun! I turned around at this point to head back because I just planned on seeing what the trail was like to see if I needed to bring my camera next time (which I most definitely will). As I was half way back (but not yet to the hill climb) it started to drizzle which was just wonderful seeing as how I was hot and upset because I didn't take a swimsuit! Walked all the way up to the top in the heavy drizzle realizing what a great day & hike this was.

* IMPORTANT - READ THIS IF YOU DON'T READ THE OTHER PART: As I got to the gate I noticed a girl holding two dogs and a highly upset feline in the front lawn of one of the houses directly in front of the gate. I helped the girl hold the dogs and found out that one of their other dogs had just attacked the cat...which explained all the hair in the front yard of the house. Through a chain of events, we found out that the cat belonged to the next door neighbor who came over to retrieve the cat after I helped him inspect it for injuries (there were none except for some bald spots). Well, needless to say he gave the girls a tongue lashing about letting their dogs run off their leashes in a area specifically marked for leashes and the girls repeatedly apologized to no avail. But he should have also remembered that cats do not have Free Reign Zone. Anyway, the point of this is to remind other hikers who have dogs to leash your dogs before you exit the park so an incident like this doesn't happen again. Put yourself in the other pet owners shoes and think how you would feel if your animal was attacked by a free roaming dog in a clearly marked area where leashes are required. When I was leaving, he was threatening Small Claims Court or something like that. So mind your pooches or better yet, make them mind you! Other than was a great day!

great in-town hike
User: Laurie Najjar - 6/29/2003  [View Log Page]
Rating: N/A Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 7.50 Miles Duration: N/A
My husband and I tackled the entire length of the trail, which took about 3 hours. Be sure to stop at the Sculpture Falls for a cool dip in the creek. Another nice feature: nearly the entire trail is shaded. A challenging climb up through rocky terrain at the end gives you your money's worth! We found the trail very busy on the Sunday morning that we went. Not many hikers, but tons of bikers. They weren't rude, but because the trail is narrow, hikers were forced to stop and wait by the side of the trail for the bikers each time they passed. Also, lots of dogs (not a problem) and lots of dog poop (a problem). All in all, an interesting, fairly challenging hike -- and a great find so close-in to town.
I Can't Believe It's So Close To The Mall!
User: AustinHiker - 4/21/2003  [View Log Page]
Rating: N/A Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 2.40 Miles Duration: N/A
This was a great hike that until Saturday seemed too close to home, and too close to a major mall and highways, that I almost crossed it off the list. But my 4.5-year-old son and I had only 2 hours to go for a hike before lunch, so I decided to give it a shot and lowered my expectations accordingly, expecting to not quite get away from the neighborhoods and malls that surround it. The first 6/10 mile is not terribly steep, but steep enough that I had to hold my son's hand. FYI, once you get to the bottom of the hill the signs direct you to the left (south) but if you turn right instead onto a smaller footpath and follow Barton Creek, you will eventually come to another waterfall that is large and loud, and so far as I know, is unnamed. (We didn't go there on this particular hike, but go there fairly often from my back yard in the Lost Creek neighborhood). There were quite a few people on bikes and walking dogs but it was surprisingly quiet and uncongested for being in the middle of an urban area. I forgot that the highway was so close by and really could not hear it at all at creek level. Also, once past the first 6/10 mile, we could no longer see houses or other evidence of development (aside of course from the bathrooms and signs along the broad, well-worn trail). So you won't really forget where you are, but it is a surprisingly quiet and lush setting for its location. There are many little side trails carved out that will be fun to explore once some other time. My son really enjoyed the map we downloaded from this site. I put it in a sandwich bag and he "navigated" us to Slanted Falls, by which time we had to turn around to make it home for lunch. But he's clearly disappointed that we weren't able to see Sculpture Falls after Dad hyped it up so much, so we're definitely out to hit this trail again soon.
The Downhill walk was almost freefall
User: adonaione - 12/30/2002  [View Log Page]
Rating: N/A Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 1.50 Miles Duration: N/A
Excellent scenery with the one fall I saw. Met Moms with backpack babies going down the first slope. Loved the stretch.