Getting there: From Austin, head north on Hwy 183 and take the
Spicewood Springs exit. Turn left on Spicewood Springs and turn right onto Rustic Rock
Drive. The park parking lot is on the right immediately after the last turn.
The Hike: A neighborhood park that appears popular with the locals,
Tanglewood does not provide a retreat to solitude. It does however offer a bit of a
respite from the growing suburbia that is northwest Austin.
The trail begins at the parking area, marked on the topo map by the waypoint "Trailhead"
and carves a figure 8 into the park, with a small extension to the north. We chose to
hike counter clockwise. The trail surface is mostly paved, with the exception of the northern
extension, which we'll get to shortly.
Most of the trail at Tanglewood Park is paved.
The trail climbs a small hill to the waypoint "Pavilion", which has a small covered
shelter and would make for an ideal picnic spot, except there is no picnic table here,
which struck us as a bit odd. Perhaps one will be placed there in the future.
The trail continues to the northeast, following the small creek that runs through the
park. It then crosses the creek and doubles back on itself. The one portion of the trail
that is not paved is the interesting northern spur that shoots in a straight line to the
waypoint "Turnaround". Here the trail ascends a rocky incline that can get a bit steep,
with some large natural steps.
A small part of the trail ascends these steep, rocky natural stairs.
One of the strangest incidents I've encountered in a park was on these steps. While on a
hunt in the park I took some time to
pick up some broken glass on the trail. While my head was down I heard my girlfriend say
cryptically, "you've got a duck". I look up to see a man walking down the stairs with a
large dog following. It was not until a moment later that I saw the Mallard duck walking
behind the other two, trying to keep up. Occassionally the duck would flap its wings and
fly a few feet to make up the distance that his longer legged companions would get ahead.
According to the man, the duck was a pet and he often follows them to the park to swim in
the water. Unfortunately I did not have my camera ready.
One won't confuse Tanglewood Park's trail with a genuine outdoor experience, but you never
know what kind of wildlife you might see!