Take a Fun Family Hike This Fall

As the Texas heat becomes a memory and fall weather sets in, October is a great time to get outside and enjoy nature with a family hike. Perfect for all ages, hiking can be as gentle or as challenging as your group wants to make it. Just pick a destination, pack some gear and hit the trail!

Choose Your Path

For beginners, folks with strollers or those wanting an easy stroll, Austin offers gentle trails like the Butler Hike and Bike Trail that follows Lady Bird Lake or the Shoal Creek Trail that winds through Pease Park. Both these trails are available through a number of access points, some with parking lots attached. Be ready to move to the side when bikes pass, and expect to see dogs on leash; the trails are very popular with the four-legged crowd.

More rugged paths can be found at the Barton Creek Greenbelt, the Bull Creek Greenbelt and Walnut Creek Park. These parks include moderate trails, with some stretches that can be rocky, muddy or steep. For a strenuous adventure, the Riverplace Nature Trail is about as challenging as you are likely to find in the Austin area. The solid but narrow trail follows Panther Hollow Creek through a wooded canyon.

Gear Up

Depending on the length of your intended hike, you may want to bring one or more hiking essentials. Water and sun protection are always a good idea, even when the days aren’t so hot. First aid supplies like bandages, ointment and allergy medication can keep everyone comfortable. If rain is a possibility, bring lightweight ponchos or rain jackets along. And a snack like trail mix can keep little ones from losing energy.

Connect with Nature

A hike is a great opportunity to help children appreciate the great outdoors. Listen for birdsong and footsteps; look for wildlife and various colors of flowers; touch the water and rocks; note the smells of soil and plants. Use landmarks such as creeks and ridges to orient yourselves. Look for wildflowers, trees, deer, squirrels, birds and butterflies. Use guidebooks to help with identification.

With a little planning, your family hike can get everyone moving and make treasured memories. Happy fall, y’all!

Austin Family Magazine serves the greater Austin area with up-to-date information and ideas that promote smart parenting and healthy homes. Pick up the latest issue at any local HEB, Central Market, Whole Foods or visit austinfamily.com.

Sherida Mock is the editor of Austin Family Magazine.

All opinions expressed here are those of their authors and/or contributors and not of their employer. Any questions or concerns regarding the content found here may be sent to info@austinymca.org

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