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Level: Intermediate
Length: 20 mi (32.2 km)
Surface: Singletrack
Configuration: Out & Back
Elevation: +681/ -474 ft
Total: 224 riders

Mountain Biking Barton Creek Greenbelt

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#11 of 277 mountain bike trails in Texas
#473 in the world

A heavily wooded single track jaunt through the center of Austin. I said out and back but if you pay special attention you can find numerous trails which connect to the trail proper. The more time you spend on the trail the more systems you will find. Take a break at the falls for a swim but be careful not to inhale.

First added by epoderom on Jul 17, 2005. Last updated Apr 30, 2020. → add an update
Before you go
  • Drinking water: unknown
  • Lift service: unknown
  • Night riding: unknown
  • Pump track: unknown
  • Restrooms: unknown
  • Fat bike grooming: unknown
  • E-bikes allowed: unknown
  • Fee required: unknown
This trail information is user-generated. Help improve this information by suggesting a correction.
Getting there
There are several entrances. One is in the parking lot at the bottom of the ToysRus steep entrance which runs paralell to Capitol of Texas Hwy. If you are heading north on MoPac from 290 west you will take a right on to Capitol of Texas Hwy, cross over Barton Creek, and then take a left at the first light in to the aforementioned parking lot. The other entrance is at the end of Spyglass. Continue north on MoPac past Capitol of Texas(aka loop 360, BenWhite Blvd) to the Spyglass exit. At the dead end is the entrance. This is the "hill of life" a fun start but s***s at the end of the day.
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Barton Creek Greenbelt Trail map

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Local Info

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Trail checkins

Maxnremie (on Sep 19, 2022)
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Trail conditions

Good (on Oct 10, 2019)
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Camping & Lodging

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Barton Creek Greenbelt videos

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Barton Creek Various 20090503
RattleSnake -- 2007
Catch Me If You Can
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Mountain Bike Trails Near Austin, Texas

Intermediate | 7 mi
Easiest | 15 mi
Intermediate | 4 mi
Beginner | 85 mi

Rider questions

Q: I would not recommend this trail for children. It can be very technical.
A: Or, girlfriends on their first mtb ride.

Q: Can kids ride it

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  • Mike Hagen

    really technical sections going in. nice wide areas and some really great climbs. The stair step climb at the end is a smoker.

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  • DonD512

    Barton Creek Greenbelt. Is a mix of smooth singletrack Rock Gardens loose Rocky sections throughout eight mile of the Greenbelt with lots of side shooting connecting trails easy to get lost.
    Definitely not for beginners plus it does have a lot of hikers runners in people with their dogs that can get in the way and cause crashes.

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  • acee

    Love this trail it's busy with runner n walkers pretty view

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  • seadart

    Meh. There are funner trails in the Austin area. Greenbelt trails are either not built for MTB or not built for MTB very well. Riding has changed since the days of technical rigid trails was a fun trail. Been riding there since the 90's, I'm over it.

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  • rattler

    Took a trip to Austin and had some time to kill on a beautiful Thursday morning. I rented a bike from Mellow Johnny's, which is a very cool shop and super nice people.

    This trail system is quick to get to on a bike from the shop and I rode this. Some reviews say rocky and it was...baby heads and large rocks to go up and down. I found a nice drop to run a few times, both down and up as the height varied. Also a larger drop surprised me, but the 29er I had rented took care of it.

    The creek or river was too high for a crossing so the mileage was cut short, but this was a fun trail, but a solid 3.

    I did find some nice twisty single track before the trail ran out. Good, but limited in distance.

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  • Nefarious Eduardo

    If you're from out of town, rent a Specialized Rockhopper 29er from Bicycle Sport Shops on Lamar. You can leave your car there and just ride in. Parking at Zilker can suck. It's kind of easy to get lost, but you want to get lost on this trail. Most of the interesting stuff is off trail. I've actually never made it the whole way because I just venture off the trail every time. The rocky stream crossing can be kind of hazardous. That's usually where I go over the handlebars, otherwise a fun trail.

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  • NeverSawBigfoot

    I ride a singlespeed hardtail 29er, and this is the best trail I've tackled so far. Plenty of challenging technical spots (you can go around most of them) that are perfect for 29ers- you'll go right past riders struggling on 26" wheels. The north end is a VERY steep limestone hill, tough but doable going up (just me and one other guy were tackling it) and slippery coming down- I lowered my seat and really enjoyed the descent. This trail is heavily used by walkers and hikers but it's Austin, and everyone was laid-back, friendly, and accommodating. If it's warm you can cool off in the wide, clear creek. A most excellent ride not to be missed.

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  • uvaggio

    Tough to say this is a " Black diamond " Trail . However, the trail has everything to offer with 60 miles of trails. The Green Belt should be on the to do list

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  • rbeck7023

    Tough to say, there are different routes that can be taken that offer different challenges (same can be said for many tracks I suppose). At any rate, some technical areas that, when attacked, can be a lot of fun. Some parts would be better for a FS bike, but I made it through most with my HT, did have to come off the bike in certain areas, mostly due to not taking correct line. I liked that it is more receptive to really getting after it, some guys we rode with were being a bit cautious and it seemed to bite them more than those that were carrying some speed. All in all, will be back, just go with someone that knows where they are going.

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  • Jetnjeff29r

    See http://www.mtbepicrides.com/2014/03/barton-creek-austin-texas.html for links and such

    With a 34/15, I was geared great for much the river valley trails and made most of one of the big offshoot climbs, before the first underpass. The Hill of Life, was another story altogether, I be back with gears, cause one gear that makes that climb, maybe doable, would be painfully slow on some of the trails along the creek. There are lots of rock gardens and features to work your technical skills, a few would have benefited from a lower gear too! There are two entries on Single Tracks that kind of overlap, Barton Creek Greenbelt and Barton Creek Wilderness. From the topo maps they look like slightly different versions of the same trails. Distance and descriptions vary quite a bit though. My best take on that is that the Greenbelt encompasses the main trail along the creek and the Hill of Life and the Wilderness trails are the unmarked trails across the creek from the main trail head in Zilker park. A nice warm up would be to go east toward the river/lake, cross the first bridge and head west up to the road, around the construction and access the unmarked trails, just up the road a bit. Take them to the karin and go right across the creek, back to the main side. It looked like the trail may continue on the unmarked side, but I was uncomfortable riding through what looked like someones property, no signs, just a patio and a landscaped walkway. Even on the main side there are many offshoots, some come back to the trail, some dead end and others go back down into the creek. Some reviews on both entries mention the Hill of Life, but I do not think that you could get there in the 4 miles listed for the Wilderness, but the topo map includes it, but seems to miss the unmarked trails across the creek from the TH.

    This is the first time since I started running the Knard/Blunt 35, that I got to descend big rocks and drops, maybe since Pisgah even! Now while I was not descending like a I was on a downhill rig, I felt in more control and I did not feel like I was going to be bounce of the bike, like at Farlow Gap! While not quite as intense and gnarly as Farlow, descending the Hill of Life and other sections of Barton were a good test.

    I love the technical aspect of these trail and the first real climbing in quite a while. They can get pretty busy at peak times, so plan accordingly. Zilker park has a lot of other activities, such as canoe and kayak rentals, swimming holes, playground a kids train and a garden. Zilker also gets you access to the Town Lake bike path, which was even busier, due to its tame wide and flat crushed stone surface.

    Ironically, at first these trails reminded me of other river valley riding that I did way back when in the Minnesota and Mississippi river valleys in Minnesota. Just throw in lots of rock gardens from my more recent home town trails in northern New Jersey and a couple big climbs. It was "ironic" cause part way along as I was about to take another dead end, a rider comes by and I tag along. His name was Tim and he also was borne and raised in Minnesota. He left when for texas when he was 21. Small world for sure.

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  • gregval   ✓ supporter

    As many reviewers mention, this trail has it all. However, make sure that is what you want. We are really advanced intermediates, and found this trail quite frustrating. While it can be challenging to intermediate riders, there are still lots of hike-a-bike. The trail is also not well marked, so you WILL get lost trying to follow the right trails that are better for riders. (This was our first and only ride. One local said it took him probably 30 rides to find the right line.) He mentioned austinbike.com for more info.
    Trail has very little "flow" due to all the technical sections every few 100 feet.
    Trail is very busy, even Christmas eve day.

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  • zeitgeist404

    I live nearby so frequent BC Greenbelt trails. This is a great technical trail for beginners and experts alike. The latter should stay of the main trails as there is a lot of ped traffic.

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  • petersbike

    Nice ride with alot of hiker traffic, especially on wkends. Made it up Hill of life on the rigid singlespeed. Good technical rocks in various areas.

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