One of the best things about living in a Dripping Springs community is that hikers have many options to take in the beauty of the Texas Hill Country right in their backyard or close to it. For those who aren’t a hiker, you can still savor the magnificent scenery and experience some of the best trails around Austin. These places offer more amenities besides hiking.
Ready for an adventure? Check out these places that are a short drive from Dripping Springs. They’re sorted based on distance closest to Dripping Springs. Before you go to any of the parks, check out their websites for information on making reservations, hours, and park conditions.
Hamilton Pool Preserve
27490 Ranch Rd 12
Dripping Springs, TX 78620
What a better reward for a hike than a refreshing dip into the pool? The rugged and steep hiking trail is about a quarter of a mile from the pool. A perfect place to start if you’re newish to hiking as you won’t have to go far. The preserve offers hour-long guided hikes. And be sure to bring water as there are no concessions on site.
La Toya Cir
Wimberley, TX 78676
Referred to as a hidden gem, Prayer Mountain offers a challenging hike with uneven stairs. It’s so worth exploring for its peaceful setting and a quick hike that won’t take you far. You can easily make a second stop at the next one, Jacob’s Well.
Jacob’s Well Natural Area
1699 Mt. Sharp Rd.
Wimberley, Texas 78676
With more than 81 acres surrounding the Jacob’s Well Natural Area spring, visitors relish its ecological splendor and diversity with limestone cliffs and native vegetation. Open year-round, hikers can explore a variety of trails with things to see at each one. Between May and October, you can swim in the refreshing Trinity aquifer where its temperature remains 68 degrees Fahrenheit all year long.
Pedernales Falls State Park
2585 Park Road 6026
Johnson City, TX 78636
A 30-minute drive along W. Hwy. 290 and Ranch Rd. 3232 N takes you to Johnson City where you’ll find the tranquil Pedernales Falls State Park. Not only is it home to one of the best hikes in Austin, but also you can fish, tube, bike, and catch wildlife at the bird blind and butterfly garden.
Campers can stay overnight and have a choice of a site with water and electricity or a hike to a primitive area for a quiet, electricity-free escape. Horse owners and experienced riders can ride their horses on 10 miles of a rocky trail with steep slopes. A park store sells ice and gift items. Make reservations online at Texas Parks and Wildlife’s Pedernales Falls State Park page or call ahead.
Blanco State Park
101 Park Road 23
Blanco, TX 78606
If you’d like a smaller, more intimate park, head to Blanco State Park in Blanco, Texas. The park is about six miles further from Dripping Springs than Pedernales State Park. It has a spring-fed river that keeps the water at comfortable temperatures no matter how hot it gets. Visitors rave about it for its scenic views and the slow-moving river that’s ideal for kayaking and tubing.
The park features plenty of picnic tables, restrooms, and a playground. Campers can stay overnight. Hikers can walk uphill to the charming town square to shop and browse. After a long hike, there’s nothing like fishing, swimming, or boating to relax. One visitor recommends checking out the donut shop next door.
McKinney Falls State Park
5808 McKinney Falls Parkway
Austin, TX 78744
Located in Austin, McKinney Falls is worth the longer drive for the waters of Onion Creek streaming over limestone ledges. While a little further, the park contains almost nine miles of trails for great hiking in Austin. One 2.8-mile trail has a hard surface for those who want to push strollers or ride road bikes.
You can camp at one of more than 80 campsites that have water and electric hookups as well as remodeled cabins. Fishing and swimming are available.
This list barely scratches the surface of the places to go for hiking and convening with nature. Residents living in the Caliterra community in Dripping Springs have many options for the best hikes around Austin. For times when you want to stay closer to home, the community has an expansive trail and park system that sits by Onion Creek.