Nature in Austin?
April 4, 2008 10:01 AM   Subscribe

AustinNatureFilter: What are the best places in and around Austin, Texas to explore the Natural History of the area?

I'm going to be in Austin next week to conduct some research. When I'm not busy with that, I would like to explore some of the natural places in and around the city. I will have access to a car, so some short trips would be fine. By Natural History I mean just that: the flora and fauna of this part of Texas.
posted by gavia to Science & Nature (10 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Well, there are a number of state parks in the area: McKinley Falls, Pedernales Falls, Enchanted Rock, etc.
posted by grouse at 10:07 AM on April 4, 2008

If you head about an hour and half west towards Fredericksburg, you can go to Enchanted Rock. A truly surreal place.
posted by nitsuj at 10:08 AM on April 4, 2008

There's the obvious Barton Creek, and I like Walnut Creek cause it can be a bit quieter. See other greenbelts here. Also, it might be a little early in the Spring to see any flowers, but the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is good for this.
posted by Durin's Bane at 10:17 AM on April 4, 2008

ride a bat boat
posted by busboy789 at 10:28 AM on April 4, 2008

We're going to have a meetup at Enchanted Rock in a few weeks if you want to come.

I'd also recommend Barton Creek and and highly recommend McKinney Falls.
posted by Pants! at 10:28 AM on April 4, 2008

oops... here's what I'm talking about
posted by busboy789 at 10:29 AM on April 4, 2008

After visiting Enchanted rock go by Luckenbach for a beer. It's both natural and beeriffic.
Wild Basin Preserve off of HWY 360 is great and super-close. Hamilton Pool is lovely.
Rumor has it that the best swimmin' hole is just 30 miles west of Austin in Spicewood. I'm vowed to check it out in the spring.
Directions: Hwy 71 west for 34 miles. Seven miles past the Pedernales turn right at the "Spicewood" sign onto Spur 191. Turn right onto County Rd 404, over the low-water crossing and see it on your left. 830-693-4181
posted by kristymcj at 10:36 AM on April 4, 2008

I forgot the caves!
Longhorn Caverns is great and cool in summer. It's also near Enchanted Rock. I heard that Natural Bridge Caverns just opened up a new section. There are a lot more but that'll get you started.
posted by kristymcj at 10:39 AM on April 4, 2008

Enchanted Rock is the obvious first choice. A great in-town thing is the million bats that fly out from under Congress St bridge every evening at sunset.
posted by neuron at 2:56 PM on April 4, 2008

Not exactly "naturally occuring" (it is pretty landscaped) but Mayfield park is neat. Lots of colorful Peacocks. Not to far from the scenic overlook of Mt. Bonnell.
posted by delladlux at 5:43 PM on April 4, 2008

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