Return to Bull Creek Preserve

Nice hike to hilltop
User: gmtjoy - 12/14/2021  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 3stars Solitude: 4point5stars
Distance: 4.00 Miles Duration: N/A

A fun hike that's a big uphill, then some easy gravel road walking to the end/start of the St. Edward's park trail at the top. Then a quick hike back down. Saw one other person the entire time. Lots of side-trails I haven't done yet.

much less traveled
User: jimmy peace - 3/3/2017  [View Log Page]
Rating: 2point5stars Difficulty: 3point5stars Solitude: 4stars
Distance: 5.00 Miles Duration: N/A

not many hit this part of the trail

i made it as far as the blue water tower
User: jimmy peace - 10/4/2015  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 4stars Solitude: 4stars
Distance: 4.00 Miles Duration: N/A

next time i will go all the way to jester and over to st edwards

Fun hike
User: texaskdog - 2/8/2014  [View Log Page]
Rating: 3stars Difficulty: 3stars Solitude: 4stars
Distance: 3.19 Miles Duration: 1 hour, 6 minutes

Not as steep as we previously thought thanks to runkeeper (actually once you go up near the beginning you go back down quite a bit too).  Trail closes for the year again soon.

User: AustinWhitewater - 4/22/2013  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 3point5stars Solitude: 4stars
Distance: 9.00 Miles Duration: N/A
Hiked this yesterday and did about 9 miles with all of the side trails we did. We were on the trails for about 5 hours.
But my friend's car was broken into while we were hiking. They broke the glass to get in. Great hike but bad experience!
BTW, contrary to what ayh123 said on 1/13/13, you DO NEED A PERMIT to hike in the fenced preserve during the period of March 1 thru July 31 of each year. Being in the preserve without a permit during this timeframe is a finable offense and rangers do patrol it.
You do not need a permit the rest of the year, and you never need a permit to hike the Bull Creek Park and greenbelt, which is not fenced.
The place needs some picking up.
User: cwlatapie - 3/7/2013  [View Log Page]
Rating: 3stars Difficulty: 2stars Solitude: 2point5stars
Distance: 2.00 Miles Duration: 2 hours
The place needs some picking up from the last flood. There a lot of downed trees on and around the trails.Not very many people on a Thursday afternoon. Very nice I will go back
Some tips
User: ayh123 - 1/13/2013  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 2stars Solitude: 4stars
Distance: 5.00 Miles Duration: 2 hours

Between Mar 1-Jul 31, you don't need a permit here. But rules are technically 3 per group max, no dogs, no bikes.

I started from just off of 360 South, first right after Spicewood Springs. The map provided was so undetailed, I had to backtrack several times. The most recognizable trail actually leads you around to the Bull Creek Greenbelt. If you want to go on the trails heading North towards St. Edward's, go behind the signage to the right, along the chain link fence. The path is sort of hidden.

The thing that helped me the most was my smartphone GPS. I hadn't even planned on using it, but that was how I knew I was completely off the trail. (Well, that, and I ran into the Bull Creek waterfall.) Also, I bookmarked a topographical Google Map, which helped me find the path with the most elevation gain.

Even looking for the most elevation gain, I only got from 600 ft to 800 ft, only a 200 ft climb to the water treatment facility! It was really nice, a peaceful, beautiful day, with the most elevation I have climbed so far in Austin anyway. I am fairly new, so if anyone knows any hikes nearby that climb to the top of a really high hill... let me know :)

360 trail head thru Bull Creek Preserve to St. Edwards Park and return
User: AustinWhitewater - 10/6/2012  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 3point5stars Solitude: 3stars
Distance: 7.50 Miles Duration: 2 hours, 45 minutes
Saturday, to celebrate the cool morning, I decided to do one of my favorite hikes in and around Austin - Bull Creek Preserve to St. Edwards Park and return.
The Bull Creek Greenbelt entrance to the preserve is located at the northern parking area on the west side of 360. Please read and follow the restrictions for trail use posted at the entrance and just inside the pass-thru in the fence. Note that is it a no smoking area, and that no horses, dogs, even on leashes, or bicycles are allowed.
The are several shorter trails and loops close to the parking lot, and there is also good hiking in the more accessible greenbelt. The longer trails to St Edwards Park start inside the pass-thru to the right of the signs and all the way to the fence.
Following this trail up the hill you will come to three junctions fairly quickly. All three lead off to the right to the shorter loops. To stay on the longer option take the left forks at all. You will be heading mostly west and a little bit to the north as you can see on the trail map. All of the trail junctions inside the preserve are very well marked except for one, and I will get to that shortly.
At the next junction (the fourth) you will have the option of either left or right. The left options heads west up Jester Hill. The right option gets to the same place but a different, and I think better, way. The right option heads west also but this trail is steeper and more challenging, IMO.
Both the right and left options end up on a limited-access power line road. Whichever option you previously took, turn left on the power line road and continue up Jester Hill.
At the top of Jester Hill up will come a City street and on both sides of the street there is a pass-thru in the fence. Continue across the street and up the hill but now start paying attention for the junction to the right that leads north to St. Edwards park. The marker is nearly hidden buy the overgrown brush and the marker is a few feet to the right of the trail you will be on. If you come to a second City street you have passed it so turn around, go back and look for the trail off to your now left.
Once on this northern trail just follow the trail markers, which are plentiful and easy to see. You will have to negotiate several more pass-thrus and cross under a large overhead power lines, but will soon start the downhill section to St. Edwards. I like to stay to the left following the fence line, but there are numerous side trails off to the right I have not tried any of these but they are the trails in the hash-mark section of the linked map. They all look like they will take you down to the park where you will need to cross Bull Creek in you want to get all of the way into St. Edwards Park. The creek and all of its feeders are represented by the blue dotted lines on the linked map.

This out and back (Point A to B, then back to A) takes me  about 2.5 to 3 hours depending on how much time I spend at St. Edwards, but I  walk at a steady fast pace.

I have never taken my GPS on this hike (I should) so I can't give  you the mileage. Another poster describes the hike from the other
direction and says the round trip is 8.5 miles, but yet another poster says it is 6.58. I split the difference and said 7.5.

It actually could be all 3 depending on which and how many of the side trails you do or don't take. You can also do this one way, but that necessitates a car parked at each end.

There are people on the trails on weekends, but not many. I frequently do it on weekdays and have seen no one. Give it a try and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Great hike, not much water to be found
User: jtkatie - 9/10/2011  [View Log Page]
Rating: 3stars Difficulty: 2point5stars Solitude: 4stars
Distance: 5.50 Miles Duration: 1 hour, 51 minutes

Hiked through the St. Edwards Hill trail, through the preserve, to the preserve trailhead (as marked on here), through to the other side and along Whisper Ridge Drive (?) for about 1.2 miles. Then we turned around and retraced our steps. We only saw one other group (of 3) along the whole way - probably because Texas football was playing at the time!

Evening hike
User: jtkatie - 11/26/2010  [View Log Page]
Rating: 3stars Difficulty: 2point5stars Solitude: 3point5stars
Distance: 3.00 Miles Duration: 1 hour, 10 minutes

We climbed from the St. Edwards Hill Trail trailhead to the preserve entrance, through the preserve to the parking area marked on this Jester Mountain map and back. Wish we had more time to hike, but the sun was setting fast

Climb of about 300 feet in elevation from the St. Edwards trailhead to the parking lot. A nice climb. :-)

From St. Edwards Park to Jester Mountain to West Bull Creek Preserve and Return
User: ee_achee - 8/28/2010  [View Log Page]
Rating: 3point5stars Difficulty: 2point5stars Solitude: 3point5stars
Distance: 8.50 Miles Duration: 3 hours

I was planning to just take a peek at St. Edwards Park when I drove to swim downtown on Saturday. I parked the car right outside the park entrance at 1.30pm and started my investigation. That investigation turned out to be a 8.5 miles hike from St. Edwards Park to West Bull Creek Preserve, which is located at the junction of 2222 and 183.

From St Edwards Park entrance, follow the hilll trail until you reach the gate to Balcone Canyondland Preserve.  You can find GPS info from the

Get pass the gate and the 2.5 miles (something like that) trail that led  to West Bull Creek Preserve is very well marked. First you will cross the street of some neighourhood, then you will see a giant water tank  before you start descending. There are only 2-3 forks on the way to the parking lot of west Bull Creek preserve. Whenever there is a fork, just stay on the left.

When you reach the entrace of the preserve, you will find a map which shows the trail and how it winds back to St. Edwards Park. There is also another trail in the preserve that led you to the creek (Bull Creek, I presume?). It's quite short... may be 1.5 miles return.

On your way back, stay on the left track whenever there is a fork. It took me a solid hour to walk back to my car from the entrance of West Bull Creek Preserve.

Lots of ups and downs
User: texaskdog - 8/8/2010  [View Log Page]
Rating: 3stars Difficulty: 4stars Solitude: 3stars
Distance: 2.00 Miles Duration: 1 hour, 5 minutes

We first discovered this trail from the back of the St Edwards Hill on April 1st.  Said you needed a permit and neither phone number worked.  Decided to keep it legal so contacted someone who said all permits had been given out so we decided to wait for August.   Couldnt find the gate by the water crossing by 360 so went down the trail to the far west end and went up & back down to the parking lot.  Went up the hill to the fork but it was over 100 today.  Very nice trail and we will attempt again soon.  For solitude we didnt see even one person on the trail but you can hear 360 the whole time.  May park at the top at Jester Mountain and take a 2nd car to make it all downhill each time.

Read the signs?
User: jmm482 - 4/20/2008  [View Log Page]
Rating: 3stars Difficulty: 2stars Solitude: 4stars
Distance: 1.50 Miles Duration: 30 minutes

I wandered into the preserve from St. Edwards and did not see any signs for the need of a permit...Hmm?  I should have actually read the sign.  Makes sense, I guess.  As a passive user sticking to the trail, you might be able to talk your way out of any citation if you bump into City personnel.  Seeing that Feb-Jun is the breeding season for the golden-cheeked warbler, it's probably not a good idea to get caught in the preserve without the proper authorization during those months.

Closed from March 1 to July 31 unless you have...
User: christiniprosperity - 4/3/2007  [View Log Page]
Rating: 1star Difficulty: 1star Solitude: 5stars
Distance: N/A Duration: N/A
a permit!!! I drove all the way up there to the very end of the subdivision (beautiful!) and low and behold - all these forboding signs from the City of Austin saying No this and NO that. You can pass, you just need a permit. Right... I just went to the other side by entering St. Edwards Park. Couldn't pass the river but still a nice park.
Connect the dots
User: Austin Explorer - 10/30/2005  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 3point5stars Solitude: 3stars
Distance: 6.58 Miles Duration: 3 hours, 53 minutes
I had known the some of the trails from Bull Creek led into preserve land around Jester. Today we connected the dots and hiked from the top of the Jester subdivision all the way down to Bull Creek and back up again. Only saw a couple of people on the trail away from Bull Creek. There are some side trails we didn't have time to explore today, so there are some more miles that await us on a future trip.