Austin’s New Boardwalk on Lady Bird Lake


The city’s crown jewel, the Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail, just got even better! The trail, which runs along both sides of Lady Bird Lake from the MoPac Expressway on the west to Pleasant Valley Road on the east, recently enjoyed a major upgrade with the opening of the Boardwalk Trail at Lady Bird Lake. The Boardwalk, which opened in early June after several years of planning, design and construction, now connects the trail from behind the Austin American-Statesman building to Lakeshore Park, about ½ mile east of I-35.

Built in the 1970s as part of an effort to beautify the lakefront, the 10.1-mile trail, which winds through lush green parks and peaceful Lady Bird Lake, is used by walkers, runners and cyclists alike. But until recently, the loop was interrupted by a 1.1 mile section on the south shore on either side of I-35 that forced people to travel along busy Riverside Drive and over I-35, creating a tense and unpleasant experience, especially compared to the tranquility of the trail.

Twenty years ago, a city parks employee named Butch Smith had a vision to unite the trail by seeking the solution not on the shoreline, but in the water. The project, which was built with both public bonds and $3 million in private donations raised by the Trail Foundation, has opened sections of the shoreline that were previously inaccessible to anyone without a watercraft. Visitors to the Boardwalk have raved about its views and convenience, lookout points and ADA compliant pier—not to mention Belting It Out, an art installation commissioned by the city’s Art in Public Places program, which consists of 36 cast bronze, western-style belts integrated into the railings on both sides and embossed with song lyrics from well-known Texas singers and songwriters.

Planning a stroll along the Boardwalk? It is open from 5:00 a.m. to midnight each day, and there are several access points along the path. A good place to park is along S Lakeshore Blvd. between Pleasant Valley Road and Riverside Drive, east of I-35.

Blairfield Realty gives the Boardwalk Trail at Lady Bird Lake two big thumbs up!

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