Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail in downtown Austin Texas is the perfect inner-city getaway! A beautiful escape to nature without leaving the city – I often make a pit-stop for a quick walk by the water when I’m in-between client appointments. It’s the perfect place to get a little exercise and unwind. For any solo traveler this is a great place to go for walks, bicycle riding, kayaking or canoeing around Lady Bird Lake.
Lady Bird Lake (formerly known as Town Lake) is an Austin favorite for cycling, running, canoeing, kayaking, walking the dog, taking the kids out for some nature loving, bird watching, and just getting out to enjoy some fresh air and the beauty of nature.
The Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail was planned and envisioned by community leaders including Lady Bird Johnson, with the intention of beautifying the shoreline of Austin’s inner-city lake. Originally name Town Lake the name was changed to Lady Bird Lake in 2007 in honor of the former First Lady of the United States and resident of Austin Texas.
Wildflowers bloom along the shoreline of Lady Bird Lake and springtime is welcomed by the vibrant blooms of the red bud trees and the fragrant wisteria blooms.
The lake was created in 1960 due to the construction of the Longhorn Dam which is owned and operated by the City of Austin and the Lower Colorado River Authority. The dam was constructed to create a reservoir for flood control, as well as a cooling pond for the Holly Street Power Plant, with the added bonus of creating an outstanding recreational area.
Turtles are abundant along the trail – sunning themselves on logs – if frightened they all dive into the water.
The largest urban bat colony summers at the Congress Avenue Bridge overlooking Lady Bird Lake. From March to August people line the bridge and shoreline to view the bats descending from the bridge at dusk. Approximately 1.5 million Mexican Free tailed bats – that’s more bats than people living in Austin! I even took my mom to see them – they’re quite an amazing sight.
Lady Bird Lake is a haven for all sorts of birds including the Great Blue Heron, Yellow-Crowned Night Heron, Green-Backed Heron, American Coot, Mourning Dove, Ruby-Crowned Kinglet, Egrets, Mallard Duck, Wood Duck, Tufted Titmouse, Cliff Swallow, Bufflehead, Red-Bellied Woodpecker, Double-Crested Cormorant, Monk Parakeet, Carolina Chickadee, Carolina Wren, Red-Winged Blackbird, Belted Kingfisher, and the Pied-Billed Grebe.
Improvements are currently underway to complete the Riverside Boardwalk that extends to Lakeshore Park east of Interstate Hwy I-35 with completion expected in mid 2014.
With over 10 miles of trails Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail in downtown Austin is my favorite inner-city escape to nature.
A journey through the alphabet with ABC Wednesday Project where people from around the world create a weekly post – landing on the letter L this week.
Do you have a favorite inner-city escape or nature trail?