This trail has limited access. If the small parking lot is full, come back later. It's open 7 days a week from sunrise to sunset but may be closed during or after bad weather. The front gate automatically closes about sunset - don't get trapped inside.
This is a protected area with no facilities or water, and picnicking or camping is not allowed.
Be sure to take note of any other restrictions posted at the trailhead.
Some sections are very narrow. Watch for bikes that may appear suddenly around curves or hills. Runners yield to horses and bikers should yield to runners and horses.
To begin the Slaughter Creek Trail
, enter to the right of the parking lot behind the house. When you reach the fork near the trailhead, be sure to keep right and go counterclockwise around the trail. Bikers will take the first left turn after the trailhead and proceed clockwise around the trail.
This is an easy trail through wooded areas and fields with gentle hills. The trail is well marked, and there are numerous signs pointing out historic areas and providing information about the water conservation studies done here. The majority of the trail is NOT shaded, so start early on hot days and bring water. There is a small pond near the end of the trail and, despite the name Slaughter Creek, it is not visible from the trail. Paleo Native Americans frequented this area in the past as it was a good source for flint to make tools.
The trail begins with a fairly straight section that runs along the edge of a wooded area. It then becomes a pleasant shady trail as it winds through trees. After passing through an open area, you'll return to a tree-shaded section of the trail that passes through an area that served as a dump for the ranch – You'll find some discarded equipment and old rusting household items. You might see some wildlife while you travel in this wooded area.
At about 0.7 miles, you'll be in an area of mostly open fields that can be covered with wildflowers in the spring.
At a little more than 2 miles into the trail you'll have to make a choice: 1) take the right fork for a side loop of almost 2 miles to see more forest and fields but not many markers, or 2) take the left fork for the bypass to get back to the trailhead about 0.8 miles away.
After the side loop returns to the trail, you'll skirt a hill on your left where you can see equipment used by the City of Austin to measure rainfall and water usage. To the right is Slaughter Creek, but don't get too excited because it is usually small and not visible from the trail. Watch for the signs that tell you about the Native Americans that frequently visited this area to collect flint for making tools.
Finish your run back at the old ranch house that was occupied from the 1850's until the 1950's. Take a moment to see the family history with photos on the sign behind the house.
Turkeys and other common small animals and birds are prevalent in this area. Wildflowers bloom here in the spring.