The goal of this ambitious trail is to create over 30 miles of trail that goes from downtown Zilker park, south to Hays County. As of right now, they have finished the trail for the six miles from Zilker to Brodie lane.
The next phase of this project will connect the trail to the Wildflower Center and Veloway by 2016.
There are hopes of a third phase, to eventually connect this trail to the Onion Creek Management Unit in Hays County.
I parked in the Spec's parking lot (4970 W Hwy 290), which, early in the morning, was quite empty. I then walked east on the decomposed granite trail beside the frontage road to 290/71. After just a short bit, I came to the entrance to the Violet Crown Trial.
I have been trying to figure this trail out - where it goes to and from. What I finally learned is that most of this trail is really the same existing trail in the Barton Creek Greenbelt. It starts in Zilker Park and heads south.
However, where the trail used to take a turn toward the west (heading under Mopac toward Twin Falls), there is now an additional trail that goes a mile due South - to end up on Brodie. You can sort of see it in the trail marker to the right.
So, the first mile of the trail from Brodie lane is new, but the remainder of the trail is the same one we know and love.
Traffic on the one-mile Brodie portion was quite light. On my way out, I saw no one. On the way back, I did catch up with a biker and pass a couple walking together. But this is a great trail if you don't want to walk with a large amount of people. Traffic did pick up quite a bit when I hit the main Barton Creek Trail.
The topography is pretty similar to many Austin trails, with Live Oaks overhead and Turks Caps at your feet. The trail is packed dirt starting (or ending depending on your direction) with a pretty hefty hill near the 290 entrance. As a trail run, it was a bit slow, but I still enjoyed it a lot. Once you hit Barton Creek, you'll hit some nice looking cliff-sides.
One thing of note, there are no facilities in the area. Be sure to bring water. If you bring your pups, make sure you bring water for them as well. Maybe one day it will rain again, but until then, plan ahead ;o)