Getting there: From I-35 in Central Austin take the Riverside Drive exit and
head west. Turn left onto Dawson Road, just after the Palmer Special Events Center. Look for
a driveway entrance to an Elks Lodge and apartment complex on the right. Keep to the right along
the apartment complex. Despite the old no trespassing sign, there is a City of Austin Park sign
at the trailhead near the back of the apartment complex.
The Hike: The trail along Bouldin Creek appears to be a relatively new path.
At the time of our hike it did not show up on any of the city's official publications. So we
had no real idea what to expect with regards to how long or difficult the hike would be. West
Bouldin Creek is a work in progress, as you'll discover along with us.
West Bouldin Creek. The trail crosses this stream twice, but without any difficulty.
The good side of West Bouldin Creek is the trail itself. Much work has gone into providing a
safe trail along the sometimes uneven terrain. There are some rock retaining walls and wooden
railings at the more tricky points. The surface here is all rock and dirt.
The trail on the west side of the creek is flat and relatively rock free.
There are a couple of things about this trail that some might find unsettling. First, a number
of homeless inhabit West Bouldin Creek, particularly farther downstream. We even saw a homeless
camp on our journey. However, we did not actually see anyone in the camp at the time. Those
hikers who don't feel comfortable in such a situation may want to look elsewhere or line up a
Steeper sections of the trail have retaining walls and railings.
The other odd thing about West Bouldin Creek is that large amount of debris littering the
landscape. I use the word debris intentionally. There is some trash and we picked up a bit to
do our part. But what we could not move was the large debris. There are huge chunks of concrete,
complete with rebar sticking out of some of the chunks. In a couple of places people have dumped
large items, such as lawnmowers, along the ridge overlooking the creek.
In this regard West Bouldin Creek was something of a dissappointment. However, one should never
give up on a hike too soon. You never know what you might run into. On our trip, as we crossed
the creek and turned back we paused, a bit startled by a cacophany of noise. Birds, lots of
birds, had come together to forage in the leaf litter all at once. Robins, Mourning Doves
and a few other species that we could not identify. So much movement with so many calls that it
was tough to decide where to look. After a few moments the birds moved on and so did we.