More Trail Changes

Austin Parks adds new restrictions to hike-and-bike trail to combat COVID-19

Austin Parks adds hike-and-bike trail restrictions to combat COVID-19

The Trail Foundation
Trail users should now go clockwise around Lady Bird Lake. Photo courtesy of The Trail Foundation

The city has announced even mores changes for the Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail. In the weeks since Austin Mayor Steve Adler and Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt rolled out Stay Home/Work Safe measures to help combat the novel coronavirus, the 10-mile trail has become the subject of increased and ever-changing regulations. 

Beginning today, parking is being decreased around popular parks, and the trail will now be one-way in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19. The newest rules were implemented on Monday, April 13, the same day city parks and trails reopened after closing for four days to keep residents away during the traditionally busy Easter weekend.

The decision, says Austin Parks and Recreation Department, was made in conjunction with the Public Health Authority and the City of Austin Equity Office in "recognizing the positive benefits parks and trails have on mental and physical health when used while practicing physical distancing."

Parks within the bounds of MoPac and I-35 and Barton Springs Road and 15th Street will all have reduced parking. This includes, but is not limited to: Zilker Park, Butler Shores, Auditorium Shores, and Republic Square Park.

Additionally, all other district and neighborhood parks with parking lots will see decreased availability.

"Reducing parking access will decrease the number of visitors and amount of crowding within a park, while keeping parks open to provide health benefits," notes Sam Haynes, a senior public information officer with the City of Austin.

One-way on the trail
Perhaps the biggest change to date, the Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail will implement a one-way policy, guiding users to all go clockwise around Lady Bird Lake. South of the water, people should travel from east to west. North of Lady Bird Lake, people should travel from west to east in accordance with how the current mile markers are set up.

Signage and park rangers will be available to help guide trail users, and the new rules do allow multi-directional travel for those with mobility impairments in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

With the new changes beginning Monday, the city says it hopes to have them fully implemented by Friday, April 17.