Shady, Now with bathrooms

THIS is the real park entrance: Onion Creek Drive   Vine Hill
There's a trackway leading to Onion Creek, and the trail begins off to the right of that track. Basically, walk straight back into the middle of this picture from the sign, if that makes sense.
User: plectrudis - 3/27/2017

Location: Onion Creek District Park

Rating: 3point5stars
Difficulty: 1point5stars  Solitude: 3point5stars
Miles Hiked: 2.80 Miles  Elapsed Time: N/A

Comments:

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.



Log Photos
The sign says it's a park, but the empty lot is just a small clearing in the weeds--no trail access.
The former neighborhood--tall trees, no brush--very park-like
THIS is the real park entrance: Onion Creek Drive Vine Hill
The trail is straight and not ankle-twisty
Area around Onion Creek District Park
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