Great Hills Park

Any outdoor excursion in today’s gorgeous weather was likely to have been amazing but the boys and I think we stumbled upon something pretty special at Great Hills Park. The park consists of 85 acres in the Bull Creek watershed.

We entered the trail off of Floral Park Drive, just past Jollyville Road. We parked in the street and could see the trail entrance from the road.

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This helpful map is located right by the trail entrance.

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The trail can be viewed via Google Maps. Here’s a detailed map of the entire park area, including trails.

Just yards from the trail entrance, my son was busy finding rocks to throw back into the creek.

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The boys were drawn to the little creek like magnets!

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We saw several small offshoot paths down toward the creek bed. Many exciting things were found around the creek! The boys were delighted to discover a spring flowing out of the rock.

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My 10-year-old was thrilled with this fossil. He said it’s the “third best fossil” he’s ever found.

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This area with moss and maiden hair fern was particularly lovely.

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Most of the trail has quite a bit of shade.

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Less than 1/4 mile in, we saw this directional sign.

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We took the fish pond trail and came across some beautiful sights, like this waterfall over an old dam.

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Later, we crossed the creek on top of another old dam.

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Speaking of creek crossing, you will do that a lot on this trail! If you think your kids would be frightened by stepping across the creek on rocks, then this probably is not the trail for your family.

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After hiking a little bit less than a mile, we came to the Colina Trailhead and turned around.

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On our way back, we took another trail offshoot and saw this pretty waterfall. The boys played here for at least 15 minutes.

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On our return trip, we determined that this was probably the “fish pond” area (for which the fish pond trail is named), since it was near a creek crossing and had a bench nearby as indicated on the map we had seen at the Colina Trailhead.

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Whether we found the “fish pond” or not, Great Hills Park was a grand adventure or, as my youngest son said, “The epic-est hike ever!”

THE RUNDOWN:
Austin Active Kids Opinion: Major exploration fun on an easy-to-follow trail!
Outing Time: About 2 hours
Outing Distance: Approximately 1.75 miles
Reminders: Bring along drinks and snacks. Wear shoes that can get wet. We visited after a recent 2-inch rainfall. The water level might not always be the same as seen in these pictures, especially if we are in a dry period. The trail does have several small paths/offshoots that might be confusing. You can use your cell phone to follow your progress on Google Maps to make sure you are staying on the main trail.

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