Average ratings are based on the published values and not the values entered in your own log entries.
My overall impression only changed slightly from my previous post. I measured the altitude using my altimeter/watch (admittedly crude), which indicated a difference of less than 500 feet from information kiosk at the north trailhead down to the pond at the south trailhead. Yes, there are many undulations which make this hike more challenging (and interesting) than it could have been if it had merely followed the creeksides.
None of the many climbs along this trail require more than about a minute of moderate exertion before flattening out. I'm sticking with my assertion that the climbs on this hike (out and back) total nothing close to 1800 feet.
Even so, this is my favorite hike in Travis County and I look forward to doing it again. Being 6-foot 5, I appreciate the fact that I rarely had to duck my head to avoid branches. The trail is well marked, in great condition and it would surprise me if anyone gets lost along this trail.
The pond/boardwalk at the south end is worth stopping at for a few minutes. Lots of turtles and small fish can be observed from the boardwalk. I fed them a few bits of the remains of an organic apple I had eaten. Saw a large (probably 40 to 50 pounds) snapping turtle surface for air and then slowly move out to deeper water.
Yesterday was a great day for hiking, with sunny skies and temp about 80 F. The trees along this trail provide plenty of shade. The clear-running creek and a few birds were the only sounds I heard for most of the hike. Only encountered 1 other human the entire hike.
This hike was much easier than I expected, based on comments I'd read on this website. I'm 57 years old and I barely broke a sweat while hiking this trail. Someone needs to re-check the estimated 1800 foot elevation gain because it seems to be way off the mark. The highest point of the nearby Jolleyville plateau is roughly 1100 feet above sea level and the Lake Austin shoreline is at about 492 feet above sea level. Even if you count the undulations along the River Place trail, it does not come close to 1800 feet, which would make it the trail with the largest gain of any in this database. Regardless, I enjoyed the hike a lot and will return with my altimeter/watch to get more info on this discrepancy. Will re-post if I find anything contrary to my initial thoughts.