Reliably Austin
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Streaming troubles? We've made changes. Please click here on kut.org/streams for more information.

With missing link in place, Violet Crown now offers 11 miles of uninterrupted trail

 An aerial view of the new segment of the Violet Crown Trail. From above, you can see part of the trail meandering through a wooded area heavily populated with green ashe juniper plants. Beyond the trail, is MoPac and office buildings.
Nathan Bernier
/
KUT
The $2.9 million segment of the Violet Crown Trail meanders through a wooded area and underneath MoPac, connecting the end of Home Depot Boulevard to the Garza Ranch development near the Arbor Trails Shopping Center.

A mile-long missing link in the Violet Crown Trail is now complete and open to the public. This new segment in Sunset Valley guides trailblazers from the end of Home Depot Boulevard, through a wooded area, under MoPac, and up to the Garza Ranch development close to the Arbor Trails Shopping Center.

With this new link in place, the 11-mile trail now runs unbroken from Barton Springs Pool in Zilker Park to Slaughter Creek near MoPac. And by the end of 2024, another segment is planned to reach 1.7 miles farther from Slaughter Creek to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

"It reminds us of the peaceful reward we get from connecting to nature," Hill Country Conservancy CEO Kathy Miller said of the Violet Crown Trail. "Then you emerge and you realize, right in the middle of this thriving city, I have access to this incredible natural wonder."

A map of the new section of Violet Crown Trail
City of Austin
The new section of Violet Crown Trail runs from Home Depot Boulevard, under MoPac and into the Garza Ranch development. Eventually, it will connect to a yet-to-be-constructed segment of sidewalk along the MoPac frontage road.

Designing and building the trail segment cost $2.9 million. About 43% of that was covered by federal grants from the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization; the rest was paid for by bonds Austin voters approved in 2012 and 2016. The Hill Country Conservancy will maintain the trail.

The Violet Crown Trail is a varied mix of paths. Some sections are rugged, rocky and wild. Others – like the new segment in Sunset Valley – are 10-foot wide, ADA accessible hike-and-bike trails with a crushed granite surface. In certain areas, the trail relies on public sidewalks, putting hikers alongside streams of noisy traffic.

A map of the Violet Crown Trail from Zilker Park to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
Hill Country Conservancy
Another segment of the Violet Crown Trail is planned to reach from Slaughter Creek to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center by the end of next year.

The jigsaw puzzle of paths reflects the challenges of assembling a trail across different terrains and through multiple jurisdictions.

Looking to the future, the Hill Country Conservancy plans to extend the Violet Crown Trail another 17 miles south to the Onion Creek Management Unit in Hays County.

If that happens, the trail could connect with the proposed Emerald Crown Trail and continue to San Marcos, forming a regional trail more than 60 miles long. The Emerald Crown Trail Master Plan even imagines a connection to other trails continuing to San Antonio – creating a pedestrian link from the cool waters of Barton Springs Pool to the Alamo City.

To celebrate the new Violet Crown Trail segment, a grand opening is set for Saturday, July 29 from 9 to 10:30 a.m. at the Home Depot Boulevard trailhead in Sunset Valley. The event will feature guided nature hikes, family bicycle rides and kids' activities. Austin's Mayor Pro Tem Paige Ellis and Sunset Valley Mayor Marc Bruner are expected to attend.

Nathan Bernier is the transportation reporter at KUT. He covers the big projects that are reshaping how we get around Austin, like the I-35 overhaul, the airport's rapid growth and the multibillion dollar transit expansion Project Connect. He also focuses on the daily changes that affect how we walk, bike and drive around the city. Got a tip? Email him at nbernier@kut.org. Follow him on Twitter @KUTnathan.
Related Content