Return to Onion Creek District Park

Ehh...It's OK, but watch out for Poison Ivy.
User: offoxandbear - 4/30/2017  [View Log Page]
Rating: 2stars Difficulty: 1point5stars Solitude: 1point5stars
Distance: 2.75 Miles Duration: N/A

The main part of this trail is farily wide and takes you about a mile down to Onion Creek. Nearly half of the hike, you'll see LOTS of Poison Ivy on the East side of the trail.Anyone who is highly allergic should probably stay away (I am), as you will probably also encounter people with dogs that are running right through all of it. We were careful, but we won't go back here anymore.

That being said, we also decided to cross Onion Creek to get the Metropolitan park and try some of those trails. None were that great. Lots of dead cactus and again, a lot of Poison Ivy.

So, it's kind of a meh trail, and probably not worth it.

Shady, Now with bathrooms
User: plectrudis - 3/27/2017  [View Log Page]
Rating: 3point5stars Difficulty: 1point5stars Solitude: 3point5stars
Distance: 2.80 Miles Duration: N/A

Google directed me to park at the intersection of Firefly & Onion Creek Dr.  And, to be fair, there's a sign there that says "Onion Creek Park."  However, there are no trails anywhere near the sign.  The main entrance/parking lot is at Onion Creek Dr and Vine Hill.

The park folks have added a bathroom and playground since the original write-up, but no trial map (this has been a theme lately--the city puts up a map kiosk... and then leaves it empty.  Why???) 

TO ACCESS THE TRAIL: from the parking lot, head down toward the creek.  You'll see a well-worn (but unmarked) trail on your right with a gate across it--that's the greenbelt.  It runs parallel to the creek, though the creek isn't visible from the main trail.  By ~5 in the afteroon, the first ~1/3 of the trail is wonderfully shady, and about another 1/3 is part-shade.  The far end is less maintained, narrower, and more exposed.

THE GOOD:  Shade!  Can't have too much of it in Austin, especially in the summer.  Also, a reasonable amount of foot traffic and dogs.  It's not full of people, but there are enough on a weeknight to feel safe.  The dog density was fine (for me)--a few dogs, but not hordes of them.

THE BAD: Lots of poison ivy--mostly avoidable, since the trail is pretty wide at the beginning.  But it does lean into the trail, and is a little closer than I'd like as the trail narrows. The petering out of the shade is also a downer.  Also, it was crazy humid--not sure if it's always that way due to the creek, or just today's weather.  And I got some bug bites--a combo of chiggers and gnats, I think?  Might be the warm winter + wet spring?  Maybe August is less insectoidal.

Lastly, the empty neighborhood (not part of the trail, but of course you can walk down the streets) is kinda neat--lots of lovely mature trees and green grass, but virtually no shrubs or brush.  It's the most park-like park I've seen in such a large space a while.  Not sure if the city mows periodically to keep the brush and saplings down or what, but it's pleasantly Arcadian.  Next time, I would plan to start by walking the neighborhood and then the greenbelt, to get more steps.

very hot but my first time here, very quiet
User: jimmy peace - 8/2/2015  [View Log Page]
Rating: 3point5stars Difficulty: 2stars Solitude: 4point5stars
Distance: 2.30 Miles Duration: N/A
good dog walk
User: crocodile235 - 4/19/2015  [View Log Page]
Rating: 2stars Difficulty: 1star Solitude: 3stars
Distance: 2.00 Miles Duration: N/A

The Austin Parks Foundation website confirms that this is an official off-leash dog park (other than the playground areas, where leashes are required).  The walk to the first creek crossing is 3/4 mile down what is basically a Jeep trail.  From there you can play fetch in the shallow creek, then cross the creek and ascend a small hill to the rest of the trails.  There is a veritable spaghetti bowl of trails up there, so you can really choose your own distance.  I've done a couple of them, and even with a map, it is easy to get turned around since they're so twisty.  Horses are allowed on these trails, so there is a good amount of horse poop (dogs think that is super fun to roll in!) but I've never actually seen a horse in the 5+ times I've been there this year.

Great quiet morning walk
User: ZenRuth - 8/15/2012  [View Log Page]
Rating: 5stars Difficulty: 1star Solitude: 5stars
Distance: 1.00 Mile Duration: N/A

Aside from the trail, there are several blocks of deserted roads where houses have been removed, that are great for exercise.  I walk in the morning, and I rarely see anyone there before 8 am. 

If you use Onion Creek District Park regularly and want to support cleanup and community efforts there, please join our Facebook Group, Friends of Onion Creek.

Short Walk
User: wekulm - 11/14/2011  [View Log Page]
Rating: 3stars Difficulty: 1star Solitude: 3stars
Distance: 1.00 Mile Duration: N/A
We just walked a mile or so from the trailhead. We didn't encounter anyone but did find plenty of horse poop. Was carrying a baby so couldn't go further but I plan on returning.
very average! not great, not a waste of time.
User: texaskdog - 4/4/2010  [View Log Page]
Rating: 3stars Difficulty: 2stars Solitude: 4stars
Distance: 3.00 Miles Duration: 1 hour

Take the FIRST left off of Pleasant Valley to Onion Creek Drive and take it to where it ends that is the quickest way there.  There is NO signage anywhere for this park but the trail is easy to find.  Fairly straight as mentioned.  Austin parks lists additional side trails (marked on this map as "gravel pit") which was just full of old pipes and not worth the effort.  Coming back up we took the side trails to the right and there is a HUGE tree (takes 3 people to get your arms around it.  You can wade across the creek on the other side trail but not sure what is over there.  Main trail doesnt go near the creek but the trees are nice and worthy of a 3 for this trail.

My past adventures on the trails
User: Motoman - 3/6/2010  [View Log Page]
Rating: 5stars Difficulty: 1star Solitude: 3stars
Distance: N/A Duration: N/A

I live right down the street from the trails,I have been riding my small dirtbike on the trails for the past year and then all of a sudden new years day I started having trouble with people who want to be selfish and ugly about me being out on the trails.I do not go near the park,there are no signs saying I cant be out on the un attended trails on the east side of the creek,I do see horse tracks and poop over there at times.I don't leave trash out there,or poop on the ground for people to walk in or around,if anything I'm helping keep the trails cleared,my tracks from riding look like mountain bike tracks,so it's not like I'm tearing up the place.The only place that Austin does have trail riding is on city park road and it's not fun,it is nothing but rock..... So why not share the land  or have a designated area for dirtbikes and be friendly and everyones happy! We could even organize a clean up for the trash and debris that has been dumped there.

User: Motoman - 3/6/2010  [View Log Page]
Rating: 5stars Difficulty: 4stars Solitude: 4stars
Distance: 15.00 Miles Duration: N/A

my friend and I rode bicycles to the park as we approached the "leash free dog park" so it say's in spray paint on the ground,so that makes it official right??? not. both of the man's dogs ran up to my friend and I in the street as the man was yelling for his dogs to come back they didn't listen one of them bit onto my friends pants,he had to kick the dog to get it away. Then there was confliction between the guy and us,not cool! There is a playground right there as well,what if that guy's dogs decide to go over there and bite one of the kids??? Leash free dog parks should have a cyclone fence around them like the one at 35 and riverside! For the dog and human safety!

Tried and true
User: austinali27 - 3/5/2010  [View Log Page]
Rating: 3stars Difficulty: 1star Solitude: 3stars
Distance: 1.50 Miles Duration: N/A

I live close to Onion Creek so my dog and I frequent this trail.  Today we crossed the creek, thanks to my trusty Keens, and explored the other side.  If you are able to cross the creek do so! It's beautiful on the other side.

Easy hike but great if you need something quick and easy to tire out your pup!

User: Ollie - 2/9/2010  [View Log Page]
Rating: 3stars Difficulty: 1star Solitude: 4stars
Distance: 2.00 Miles Duration: 45 minutes
venture off the trail...
User: Zapp - 1/10/2009  [View Log Page]
Rating: 2stars Difficulty: 2stars Solitude: 2stars
Distance: 1.00 Mile Duration: 1 hour

There is some decent singletrack if you venture off the main trails.  You will have to cross the creek a few times (once on the trail) in order to get to the majority of the good singletrack.

Once you see the Onion Creek play ground the start of the trail is towards the creek, about halfway in between the playground and the creek


 -Horses use this trail a lot... keep your eyes peeled for their remnants
 -There are some rocky areas on the trails
 -Nothing is marked
 -If you are experience and looking for a techincal ride, this is not the trail for you

Roving Wild Dogs, Skittish Horses, Pipeline,
User: Sonni - 7/6/2005  [View Log Page]
Rating: 2point5stars Difficulty: 2point5stars Solitude: 1point5stars
Distance: 3.00 Miles Duration: N/A
This is a case of Austin's Wastewater destroying the creeks. I live in the onion creek neighborhood. I bought the house so I could hike in the trails and walk my dog. I was warned about the 'killer dogs' whose owners let them out at certain times to run. I learned the hard way when my dog was attacked. I would advise taking mace with you if you walk on this trail. The reason there is lots of flat land that a vehicle can drive on is because there is a pipeline that travels all under the trail. There are warning signs.
Overgrown in the summer
User: Austin Explorer - 8/8/2004  [View Log Page]
Rating: 2point5stars Difficulty: 2stars Solitude: 3stars
Distance: 2.08 Miles Duration: N/A
The main trail is fairly wide, but being so close to Onion Creek means lots of growth that sometimes closes in on you. It was difficult to tell the difference between maverick trails and the official ones on the city's map. Things may be easier to find in the fall or winter.
Creekside walk
User: maecenus - 7/1/2004  [View Log Page]
Rating: N/A Difficulty: 1point5stars Solitude: 4stars
Distance: 5.00 Miles Duration: N/A
I grew up in the neighborhood around here so I spent a good deal of time wandering these trails. There usually aren't very many people around here and the creek always seems to have some water in it. Years ago I heard a story about a ghostly white horse that used to haunt this creek long ago. So far, it only seems haunted by maybe a few kids and some stray pets.