Central Texans have a new place to hike after 16 years in the making. The Violet Crown Trail has been in the works since 1999 and officials are opening the first six-mile segment of the trail to the public on Friday.
The open stretch of the Violet Crown Trail travels from the Zilker Trailhead south along the Barton Creek Greenbelt for more than four miles. From there, a dirt path leads to the new 290 Trailhead, where a ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place August 14 at 10 am.
When completed, the Violet Crown Trail will be the first regional trail in Central Texas. It will wind across two counties and connect multiple Central Texas neighborhoods, shopping centers, parks and schools. The entire route will span 30 miles from Barton Springs Pool in Zilker Park to the Water Quality Protection Lands in Hays County.
"Simply put, the [Violet Crown Trail] offers outdoor enthusiasts access to some of the most beautiful, native landscapes of the Texas Hill Country. The preserved Water Quality Protection Lands not only protect a significant portion of the rural community's drinking water, they also preserve in perpetuity iconic and irreplaceable landscapes for residents to enjoy for decades to come," reads the Violet Crown Trail Final Master Plan.
The project is helmed by the Hill Country Conservancy and is supported by other entities including the City of Austin, the Austin Parks Foundation and Texas Parks & Wildlife.
The second segment of the trail (from Highway 290 to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center and the Veloway) is slated to be finished by the end of 2016. The third segment of the trail will continue to the Water Quality Protection Lands.