Return to River Place Nature Trail

hiking fees
User: jimmy peace - 2/12/2019  [View Log Page]
Rating: halfstar Difficulty: halfstar Solitude: halfstar
Distance: N/A Duration: N/A


i hate to be the bearer of bad news.... 

For my 60th burthday my daughter and I hiked this trail.
User: Ed Kotapish - 11/25/2017  [View Log Page]
Rating: 3point5stars Difficulty: 3stars Solitude: 1star
Distance: 5.50 Miles Duration: N/A

Lots of steps and people (it's very popular). Not for those that want to start going up and keep going up, the 400ft net gain requires 620ft of total gain. A rigorous hike through mostly wooded areas with occasional openings that overlook the city neighborhoods. It was a fun way to start the day.

Lots of stairs
User: offoxandbear - 5/14/2017  [View Log Page]
Rating: 3point5stars Difficulty: 4stars Solitude: 2stars
Distance: 3.23 Miles Duration: 1 hour, 20 minutes

This was our second time hiking this trail. It's very well maintained and has some great scenery. Lots of cliffs here and there along with tiny waterfalls. It would be great to come here after a rain.

There a A LOT of stairs here, so be prepared. Also, don't hike on the Water Main Trail. It's just a maintenance road for some water mains and smells like sewage.

User: minhaj - 4/30/2017  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 4stars Solitude: 4stars
Distance: 6.00 Miles Duration: 2 hours, 30 minutes
This place is gorgeous!
User: JConger - 10/2/2016  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4point5stars Difficulty: 3point5stars Solitude: 1point5stars
Distance: 3.50 Miles Duration: N/A

My wife's Fitbit measured that we conquered 96 flights of stairs hiking this trail.  It was so worth it.  Only thing is I wish is was a little bit longer.  They did such a great job making is place.  So many beautiful views and the trail is pretty challenging.  Not the best place to go for solitude so expect to see lots of other people.  

User: Jamie - 5/5/2016  [View Log Page]
Rating: 5stars Difficulty: 5stars Solitude: halfstar
Distance: 7.00 Miles Duration: N/A
i give this a five star rating.. fantastic, pics are up on my facebook page
User: jimmy peace - 4/15/2016  [View Log Page]
Rating: 5stars Difficulty: 5stars Solitude: 5stars
Distance: 4.80 Miles Duration: N/A

you can go to hiking central texas to see the pics 

Great hike- fairly challenging but fun
User: amirmaf - 3/5/2016  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 4stars Solitude: 2stars
Distance: 7.00 Miles Duration: N/A

We did this hike on a beautiful Saturday with temps in the 70s. Starting at the bottom it get progressively steeper with long runs of stairs winding through the forest along a little creek. It's very well maintained and has a good canopy for shade although it could be pretty brutal in the summer.

Only negative is the number of other people, especially those that don't have much ettiquette when it comes to yielding right of way, but overall it's a great hike.

Beautiful Surroundings
User: attainablelife - 12/25/2015  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4point5stars Difficulty: 5stars Solitude: halfstar
Distance: 7.00 Miles Duration: N/A

My first hike in 10yrs, why I gave it a 5 for difficulty. Moved here 10yrs ago and haven't hiked since leavng Tuscon, Az.

Great Christmas day hike, quite a few people out enjoying it.

The only spoiler, people not cleaning up after their dogs !!

Look forward to going back again to this one and discovering more trails in and around Austin.

Great workout with beautiful surroundings!
User: heatharcadia - 12/23/2015  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4point5stars Difficulty: 3point5stars Solitude: 2stars
Distance: 7.50 Miles Duration: 3 hours, 54 minutes

This is a beautiful place and a great workout. I'll be returning to hike it again!

I began my hike at the Boardwalk trail head just before sunrise. I made my way up to the very top of the trail (taking a small journey off of the main trail to check out what looked like a side trail but ultimately that went nowhere special) and turned around at the upper trail head on River Place Blvd and made my way back down. On the way back, I turned and hiked the Little Fern Trail segment. I'm glad I did: That segment has some of the best-looking water features. When I got to the trail head for that segment I turned around and went back and hiked out the way I came in. 

This was a good workout! BRING WATER! I'm glad I brought more than I thought I would need because I drank it all. There are many, many stairs and I certainly felt it a day and a half after the hike. This trail isn't a loop, so you'll have to turn around and hike it again to get back to where you started, or have someone come and pick you up at your ending spot. I recommend doing what I did if you don't have someone to pick you up: Start at the bottom, go to the top, come back down to the bottom. That way your return trip to your car is mostly descending stairs.

The trail was pretty wet and muddy even though it hadn't heavily rained (to my knowledge) before I went. Keep this in mind along with the fact that you have to cross a creek several times and wear appropriate shoes (ones that you don't mind getting covered with mud).

For the first hour or so of my hike I didn't see but two other people. After that the place started getting more busy with people and their dogs, so if you want to hike for solitude this isn't the place (I didn't mind, though). 

great workout!
User: crocodile235 - 6/24/2015  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4point5stars Difficulty: 4stars Solitude: 2stars
Distance: 5.00 Miles Duration: N/A

I'm so glad this trail reopened.  I hiked it a few times after the May rains, when there was tons of water in the creek.  I usually start at the bottom and go two or three miles then turn back, since the upper section is not quite as pretty.  The creek is gorgeous and there are several small waterfalls that empty into picturesque pools.  There isn't much solitude--this is (rightfully) a popular trail.  This would be a good place to hike while training for a backpacking trip.  Stairs and more stairs! 

User: jimmy peace - 6/6/2015  [View Log Page]
Rating: 5stars Difficulty: 4point5stars Solitude: 3point5stars
Distance: 4.30 Miles Duration: N/A

so far, i think one of the best trails i have hit

Did the reroute
User: texaskdog - 3/7/2015  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 3point5stars Solitude: 3point5stars
Distance: 3.00 Miles Duration: N/A

This time we parked at the central entrance, did the stub and the new route, double back to the south (with the fountain) and back.  The new routing offers a lot of cool views of the creek that weren't there before, but the tradeoff is you are right next to the golf course a lot of times (and thanks to the golf course as I believe it is their land that they offered up).  There is one new stairway steeper than all of the others.  They are putting up a huge fence along the protected land.  Apparently the loud generator doesn't bother the birds..not sure why the old trail needs to be dismantled if no one can go in there.  Looks like they allow dogs on the trail now, with the good and bad that comes from that (I don't understand someone bagging up the poop and then leaving it for others to magically clean).  Thanks to Sandy Perry and everyone who worked hard on this trail, the trail should be renamed for her.

Best trail in Austin newly reopened!
User: Riff Raff - 1/25/2015  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 4point5stars Solitude: 3stars
Distance: 3.84 Miles Duration: N/A
I noticed the web site indicated they had completed the 1600 foot reconnect, and that the full trail is now reopened. So I immediately went out for a very nice hike with the dogs, taking advantage of the awesome weather this weekend. Saw lots of other folks out doing the same thing! There was one section of the reconnect trail that got a bit confusing at a stream crossing that is effectively a Y intersection (with the right side of the Y going into the golf course), but apart from that all looked good.
Great weather for a Christmas day hike!
User: AustinWhitewater - 12/25/2014  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4point5stars Difficulty: 4stars Solitude: 3point5stars
Distance: 6.00 Miles Duration: N/A

Contrary to what the WARNING in the description above says, the trail is now open all the way from the Canyon Trail Kiosk (highest point) to the Boardwalk Kiosk (lowest point), a distance of 3 miles, and that is exactly the direction I hiked it. Then I turned around and went back up.

As others have said, most, but not all, of the steep steps are in the 1 mile Canyon Trail, which has the largest overall elevation change from 920 feet to 680 feet. In this section, however, the accumulated gain and loss is greater as the trail and steps meander up and down several times.

The Canyon Trail then connects to the 1.5 mile Upper Panther Trail. It has a few steep sections but also some level sections. This section ranges from 700 feet down to 530 feet, but again the accumulated gain and loss is a bit more as there are some uphill stretches.

The Upper Panther Trail connects to the 0.5 mile Lower Panther Trail, which terminates at the Boardwalk Kiosk. This trail is fairly flat, only ranging from 560 feet to 520 feet.

Had great weather and quite a few people were out on the trail, but I had a fair amount of solitude as well. There wasn't much water in the creek but it was still a very pleasant day. Thanks to all the people from River Place and elsewhere that worked long and hard to get this trail open again!

Starting the out and back at the Boardwalk Kiosk is easier as you don't have to finish on the steep steps of Canyon Trail as I chose to do.

And if you only want to go one way, you will need to have transportation parked at both trailheads.

Counted the stairs
User: texaskdog - 3/23/2014  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 3point5stars Solitude: 4stars
Distance: 3.00 Miles Duration: 1 hour, 20 minutes

I counted every stair in the open portion.  923 each way! 366 up and 557 down on the way in.  If anyone really cares I logged everything.  "EE" is emergency exit.  "FEE" is fake emergency exit, small crosspath that looks like the real ones.


20D, 54D, (Bench), 10U, 20D, 7U, 1D, 2U, 19D

Dry creek (:05)

42U, 4D, 1U, 9D

2nd creek

13U, 10D, 34U (steep), 2D, 19D, (rim), 22D

.5 mile marker (:11)

Slope down, 46D, deep ditch crossing, 52U (steep)

50 U

Cairns (:15)

7U, (FEE), 1D, 13U

Bench overlook

98D (partway down EE), 5D, 1U, 33D, 4U, 19D, 4U, 15D, 4U, 2D, 4U, walk rim

35D (nice view)(FEE), 92D

Arrive at creek/1 mile (:24)

2D, cross creek

6D, cross creek again

3U, 6U, 7D, 2U, 1D, muddy areas, 5U, 1D, (bench), 3U, 3D, 1U, 1D, 6U, 9D

Cross creek again (:32),  (bench)

arrive at staircase (:33), 1.5 miles on staircase

87U, 1D, (EE), 5U

Reach end (:36)

leave Creek (:50)

Cairns (:62)

1/2 mile (:67)

first V (:72), 2nd V (:73)

Finish hike (:79)

I don't believe you are allowed to go further even if the trees have orange ribbons on them.  The hike will be less challenging when the path is reconnected.


Hidden Gem
User: Lone_Star - 3/15/2014  [View Log Page]
Rating: 3stars Difficulty: 2point5stars Solitude: 2stars
Distance: 6.30 Miles Duration: N/A

I hiked the River Place Nature Trail with a friend as a training hike.  We were both looking for some elevation change without travelling too far and River Place sounded like the perfect place.

I found the trail to be scenic, especially the Lower Panther Trail section.  Absolutely charming.  It was also refreshing to see the trail well-marked with display maps and distance markers.  The people that developed and maintain the trail have done a very nice job.

I was a little disappointed in the difficulty level, though.  I expected it to be harder.  Maybe I am more accustomed to hiking up mountains with a full pack, but I expected a better cardio workout.  Just when I started to break a sweat, I reached the top and leveled off.  On balance, it is still a decent workout, but I was hoping for a bigger challenge.

A small part of the mid-section of the trail is currently closed due to trail renovation.  There is a detour route marked by orange tape streamers on the tree branches, but my friend and I didn't take the detour since it was steep and slippery and her shoes didn't provide enough traction.  So we hiked back to the original trailhead, then drove around to the second trailhead and did the remaining part of the trail up to the "closed" section and hiked back.

I accidentally deleted the 2nd half of our hike's GPX file, so I am only able to upload the first section we hiked. :(

It reopened!
User: texaskdog - 2/16/2014  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 4stars Solitude: 3stars
Distance: 3.00 Miles Duration: 1 hour, 26 minutes

They reopened the 1.5 miles on the north end.  The connection wont be open until the fall, but its HARDER now because you can't loop it anymore, a nice strenuous 3 miles RT.  You'll never see so many stairs.  You go up and down a lot but mainly down.  At one point 120 stairs down, then another 129 before you get to the flat section at the creek.  When you leave the creek its another 87 stairs with no break but you may not want to do it as it is closed just past the top.  This is the outdoor stairmaster for sure!  Loses solitude points today since it's been reopened for a week and was quite packed, but for being near a golf course they do a good job of making it seem isolated.  #3 on my list of favorite Austin hikes (behind McKinney Roughs and Walnut Creek). 

River Place Trail
User: maddix - 1/26/2014  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4point5stars Difficulty: 4stars Solitude: 3point5stars
Distance: 6.70 Miles Duration: N/A

Very nice senic trail, with a fair amount along a spring fed creek.  A fair amount of elevation change with the trail having stairs built in.

Nice shaded hike w/spring fed creeks and decent elevation changes.
User: 2AOutdoorsman - 1/26/2014  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 4stars Solitude: 3stars
Distance: 6.70 Miles Duration: N/A

Clear running water in the creeks.  Elevation changes make for a good workout.  Stairs built into the trail.  Very nice, but 6.7 is the max unless you start repeating more of the trail.

The whole upper trail is now closed
User: texaskdog - 6/11/2012  [View Log Page]
Rating: 3stars Difficulty: 2stars Solitude: 2stars
Distance: 2.00 Miles Duration: N/A

Whole upper trail from the junction to the north end is now closed.  The environmentalists won.  Don't bother going anymore.  Can still do the bottom stub until they close that too.

Did the north half
User: texaskdog - 3/29/2012  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 4stars Solitude: 3stars
Distance: 3.00 Miles Duration: 1 hour, 15 minutes

We were going to do the loop starting on the south end but saw the closure so decided to start from the north.  You can actually go about 1.25 miles from the north, ending just after the longest staircase.  Not an ideal situation but at least we got a 75 minute EXHAUSTING hike in.  The species didnt die off since the trail opened, maybe they can just ban dogs from that portion, or maybe route the path along the edge of the golf course.  Birds aren't dumb, they'd move, there is plenty of room there that has no trail on it.  Be forewarned, other parks could be next (like at Forest Ridge)

My favorite hike ever
User: tarrains - 1/22/2012  [View Log Page]
Rating: 5stars Difficulty: 4stars Solitude: 3stars
Distance: 5.00 Miles Duration: 2 hours, 30 minutes

Be ready for STEPS.

User: kfergu3 - 1/13/2012  [View Log Page]
Rating: 5stars Difficulty: 4point5stars Solitude: 4stars
Distance: 3.50 Miles Duration: 2 hours

It's like Alice's underworld in some places! Other spots have great outlook views, and places to rest, or meditate. The coyotes and owls make their presence known out there (dusk). Watch your step for native lounging lizards! It's easy to lose yourself in the stairstepping--counting them is a fun challenge. Sometimes there are nice pools, where your barking dogs can cool off, and your canines. I ran into one guy who was doing one of those satellite scavenger hunts. Found out there's stuff hidden back there with log books! Pretty cool.