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Exploring the Trails

Hiking Through West Austin with Matthew Guthrie

Outdoor enthusiasts are always on the lookout for the next great adventure, and West Austin offers some of the best trails in the region. I had the pleasure of sitting down with the Founder of Hike Austin and Owner of Mesrie Construction Group, Matthew Guthrie, who boasts over 120,000 followers on Instagram. His passion for the trails of West Austin is contagious, and his guidance will inspire both novice and experienced hikers alike.

Can you share some of your favorite hiking trails in the West Austin area, and what makes them special?

Bull Creek is one of my favorites. The creek seems to stay flowing much longer than others when the heat really kicks in. St. Edwards Park along Bull Creek is really worth checking out!

River Place Nature Trail is another favorite, but make sure you are ready for a workout! There are a few thousand stairsteps if you do the whole thing.

The upper sections of Barton Creek are also really nice. You can start at the Lost Creek Greenbelt and work your way downstream. Many folks will drive over Mopac and not see any water and assume the whole creek is dry, when you could have beautiful waterfalls near Lost Creek/Hill of Life areas.

What essential tips would you give to someone new to hiking in this region, especially during the summer?

Always take plenty of water! That is really the main thing to keep in mind, especially if you are planning to hike with pets. Also, if you are hiking with your dog, do not let them drink from the streams or creeks. It can be hard to do sometimes, but during the summer months, the water is not always safe for them to drink. It is also important to learn about the four venomous snakes in this region. Although they are very rare to see, they are out there.

How do you stay prepared and safe while hiking in the Texas heat?

Water, water, water! That is really the main thing to keep in mind. People commonly underestimate how much water they should take on a hike, especially when it is 100+ out. Lightweight long-sleeved shirts are also very helpful. They will keep the sun off of you and, once you start sweating, they will help keep you cool.

Are there any hidden gems or lesser-known spots around Lake Travis that you recommend for an adventure?

Tom Hughes Park is a personal favorite and not super well known. It’s a small park on Lake Travis with great views. Also, a great place to watch sunsets.

Hamilton Greenbelt in Lakeway has a really mellow trail with some great waterfalls to check out. It’s also stroller-friendly for folks with small kids.

The park is pretty well known, but Emma Long has some great trails along the ridge above Lake Austin that a lot of people overlook. Definitely worth checking out!

How has hiking in West Austin influenced your appreciation for nature and the local environment?

West Austin holds some of the best parks and greenbelts. It’s really where the hill country begins. There are countless natural springs to find and dozens of beautiful waterfalls. The trails throughout West Austin will really make you appreciate all that Austin has to offer.

Raised in Austin with a greenbelt right outside his backyard, Matthew Guthrie’s love for nature started young. Through Hike Austin, he collaborates with various park organizations, including Texas Parks & Wildlife, Austin Parks & Recreation, LCRA Parks, and Travis County Parks, to provide a comprehensive resource for hikers. Follow @hikeaustin, tag your adventures, and use #hikeaustin to be featured on Instagram! For more details, email hikeaustintexas@gmail.com.

  • Matthew Guthrie, Founder of Hike Austin and Owner of Mesrie Construction Group
  • Matthew Guthrie, Founder of Hike Austin and Owner of Mesrie Construction Group