LADY BIRD LAKE
Lady Bird Lake trail is one of the more popular places for Austin residents to Get Outside!! Lady Bird Lake trail is perfect for hiking, biking, running, or just strolling. The beloved lake that runs through the center of Austin was called Town Lake for decades. It was renamed Lady Bird Lake in July of 2007 in honor of former first lady and Austin resident Lady Bird Johnson. Because the name change was somewhat recent and the body of water was called Town Lake for so long, locals use the two names interchangeably.
Lady Bird Lake is actually a reservoir on the Colorado River that is six miles long and flows through downtown Austin. The width of the lake spanning anywhere from 400-2,500 feet with an average depth of 14 feet, its easy to see why it’s called a lake.
Several bridges cross the lake. One is the Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge, which is where millions of Mexican free-tailed bats emerge on summer evenings at dusk. During summer nights, hundreds of people gather on the bridge overlooking the lake and wait for the bats to fly out.
Activities on the Lake:
Because the lake is very calm and placid, it is a popular place for kayaking, rowing and canoeing. You can rent paddleboats, canoes, kayaks, and other gear from companies on the lake. Most motorized boats and jet skis are not allowed on Lady Bird Lake, and neither is swimming.
There are several companies that operate watercraft on the lake; you can pay to join a group boat ride or you can charter a private ride for a party. Many of these boats allow you to watch the bats emerge from under the bridge.
On the south shore of Lady Bird Lake is Auditorium Shores, a large outdoor park often used for outdoor concerts and other large events. When events are not held there, many people use this area to toss balls with their dog, picnic, and throw Frisbees.
Lady Bird Hike and Bike Trail:
Town Lake Metropolitan Park stretches along the lake and contains more than 10 miles of hike and bike trails. The main trail, which winds around the entire lake, is the most popular of its kind in town. It was first built in the 1970s and is the city’s largest trail designed for non-motorized traffic.The main trail is quite wide and extremely popular, especially on the weekdays after work and on the weekends. Many locals bring their dogs out for a jog or walk. There are other trails that branch off the main one. The trails are smooth, primarily flat, and mostly made of crushed granite (with a few areas of concrete).