Yesterday Austin Dirt Runners hosted an introduction to trail running on one of my favorite trail systems: Brushy Creek Sports Park. I think this is one of the best trail systems in the Austin area, especially for those of y’all who are just starting the sport and are worried about getting lost, turning an ankle, or are afraid of being alone out in the woods. It’s also well maintained, it’s fun, and its got quite a bit of variety. For reference, the trails of which I’m speaking of are Peddler’s Pass, Save the Trees, Carcass Cafe, and Mulligan. I’ll list some reasons why I love it below:
1. It’s Great For Beginners:
Are you looking to get into trail running, but you’re worried about where to start? Well, once you get your shoes, socks, and other gear from us at ATRC, you need to hit this park. It’s got features that make it a fun and safe start for those who are looking to get their feet on some dirt:
- The trails are very well marked and maintained: If you’re worried about getting lost, these trails are very well made with little to no side trails or user-created “shortcuts”. It’s very difficult to get lost on these trails and there’s always reference landmarks in your line of sight if you get turned around.
- They’re not too difficult: These trails are on the more easy side of the difficulty scale as far as Austin trails go. They’re winding and rocky in places, but they’re relatively flat and have no loose or super steep sections to navigate, (except for one steep exit on Mulligan, but it has an alternate exit that’s more runnable).
- You’re never alone: Unless you’re running on these trails at 2am (which I’ll admit I have), there’s always quite a few folks on these trails, though I wouldn’t consider it crowded on most days. Since these trails are technically made for mountain bikes, you’ll see a few mountain bikers go past, as well as other trail runners. What’s more, you’re almost always in sight of the parking lot or the main Brushy Creek Regional Trail, and there’s lots of activity there and on the nearby softball fields, which makes you feel nice and safe.
(Or you could always run with a group like the Austin Dirt Runners!)
2. These Trails Have Variety:
It’s easy to get bored with a trail system when every mile looks the same as the mile before. Luckily, with the Brushy Creek Sports Park system, you don’t have to slog through boring mileage – each trail has their own little characteristics and quirks that make them interesting. For example, Peddler’s Pass has lots of little dips and bumps that make the running surface interesting, Save the Trees is full of berms that are fun to speed around on, Carcass Cafe is flat, fast, and goes by the actual Brushy Creek where you can see wildlife, and Mulligan is probably the most challenging trail of the group – it’s quite rocky and has a couple small hills that allow you to play around with gravity and let it pull you along your run. All of these trails are worth trying out and experiencing for yourself.
3. They’re Convenient
If you’re like me, you have a limited amount of time to run before you either have to get home or make your way to work. Oftentimes, when I’m on a long trail system, I catch myself checking my watch and getting anxious about whether I’ll get back to my car in time. Luckily, with the Brushy Creek trails, there’s numerous entrances and exits for you to bail out if you need to get going. Each individual trail is relatively short, and you can pick and choose which ones you want to sample and get your miles in on while being confident that if you’re running a little slowly that day, it won’t make you run late. For a busy guy like me, this is a godsend. If you’re an on-the-go person with just an hour or half an hour of time to run, this is a trail system that will make you very happy.
Important Things to Remember:
- There are restrooms and water fountains near the softball fields, so if you need to change after your run or need to fill up your bottle, then you have options.
- The park is open from 6am to 10pm officially, so keep that in mind for scheduling purposes.
- Most importantly: These trails did not just “pop” into existence out of nothing. They were created and are maintained by a very dedicated team of mostly mountain bikers, and they’ve poured their hearts into these paths. Treat the trails with respect, give cyclists a wide berth, and avoid running trails after a hard rain. We’re also looking for opportunities to volunteer on these trails ourselves, so keep an eye on our events page for dig days around here.
So stop by Austin Trail Running Company sometime, and we’ll send you a list of the locations of all the trails in the Austin area, including the Brushy Creek Sports Park Trails. Hope to see you in store and on the trails soon!