Mount Bonnell and Mayfield Park are two historic and beautiful public parks located off of 35th Street in West Austin. Firstly, we’ll talk about Mount Bonnell. After that, we’ll show you all about Mayfield Park.
Mount Bonnell provides stunning views that you can’t find anywhere else in Austin! For instance, you can see Lake Austin, the 360 bridge, and downtown. It is located at 3800 Mount Bonnell Road, where you will find street parking. Above all, Mount Bonnell is a true Austin landmark.
The park is officially known as Covert Park at Mount Bonnell, thanks to the generous donation of the summit of Mt. Bonnell to the City of Austin by the Covert Family in the 1930s.
My kids practically raced up the stairs! They could not wait to get to the top. The stairs are steep and there are a lot of them. In other words, you will be out of breath once you get to the top unless you are in pretty good shape! That being said, this is the most challenging part of the hike. The rest is all downhill!
The main viewing area has stonework you can sit on as a well as a fence for safety.
As you make your way down, the fence disappears and the drop off is close to the path. In other words, make sure your kids understand that the bluff is dangerous and that they should be cautious.
After surviving our “walk on the edge,” the boys had fun hopping along these big rocks.
There is no bad time of day to visit Mount Bonnell! However, with views like these, I’m partial to sunset.
Mayfield Park is less than five minutes drive away at 3505 W 35th St. Here, you will find an enchanted place! For instance, it is populated by peacocks and surrounded by beautiful gardens. Therefore, this is one of our family’s favorite hikes.
It’s perfect for kids of all ages (even toddlers), shady in the summer and even pleasant on a rainy day.
The property was originally purchased by Allison Mayfield in 1909 as a summer and weekend retreat. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Mayfield Park was donated to the City of Austin in 1971 by Mary Mayfield Gutsch. In addition to the 21-acre nature preserve, the park includes a historic cottage, gardens, lily ponds, and peacocks.
There were many beautiful peacocks on the Mayfield Park grounds, which is a popular spot for weddings and outdoor photography. Amazingly, these peacocks are descended from peacocks given as a gift to the Mayfield-Gutsch family in 1935!
The Ponds and Gardens
My youngest son had hopes of finding a frog in the lily ponds but he didn’t have any luck.
I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to photograph these beautiful tulips!
After we thoroughly investigated the gardens and lily ponds, we headed to the nature preserve’s trails.
The Nature Trails
We like to start over at the far end of the parking lot, opposite from the peacocks and ponds. Not far from this trailhead, you can hike down a small hill and find this view. Doesn’t it remind you of a Bob Ross painting?
All the trees along the trail help keep it cool and shady on hot days and make a nice covering on rainy days.
If you keep to the right on the trail, you eventually come to these stairs:
Then you cross the creek:
And you come upon my boys’ favorite part: the big hill!
They also love spending time in the teepee:
When you’re ready to head back to the parking lot, cross back over the creek and the stairs, then keep right. When you come upon this sign, go right at the fork. The trail will loop you back to the parking lot, over on the peacocks side.
We absolutely love visiting Mayfield and come here several times a year to hike and visit the peacocks. In conclusion, this is a fantastic place to visit no matter the weather or if you’re old or young! For more easy hikes, go here!
Austin Active Kids Opinion
A great duo of fun outdoor activities! You could do one or both if you have time. In addition, Mount Bonnell and Mayfield Park are both are free to visit.
Mount Bonnell will take you less than an hour if you just go to hike and not to stop and stare at the views for a while. We were there for about an hour. Mayfield will take about an hour and a half to two hours. In other words, allow about 2-3 hours to visit both Mount Bonnell and Mayfield Park combined.
If you have children under age 5, you might want to have at least one other adult with you to help you monitor the kids at Mt. Bonnell due to the high bluff. Also, Mt. Bonnell is not stroller-friendly so the only way to get up that hill is leg power.
Mayfield Park is a much easier outing for young children, although the trails in the nature preserve are a little rough. For instance, some spots are tough for a stroller.
Both Mt. Bonnell and Mayfield Park are more crowded on weekends. In addition, there are no restroom facilities at Mt. Bonnell and Mayfield Park used to have a porta potty that has been removed (it might return).
Mount Bonnell and Mayfield Park Location and Hours
Mount Bonnell: 3800 Mount Bonnell Rd, Austin; 5 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Mayfield: 3505 W 35th St, Austin; 5 a.m. – 10 p.m.