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Quick Escapes: 10 Trails Near Major Cities

The perfect metro-area trail: close, wild, uncrowded. Here are 10 major city options.

Phoenix | San Diego | San Francisco | Boston | New York | Philadelphia | Chicago | Seattle | Los Angeles | Austin

Austin, TX
Practice your river crossings on Barton Creek.

Twenty-nine trails within Austin’s city limits extend for more than 1.5 miles each. But the real treasure here, as all locals know, is Barton Creek Wilderness Park, a 1,021-acre wooded preserve on the west end of the Barton Creek Greenbelt. Access the Barton Creek Wilderness Trail from the southwest edge of Zilker Metropolitan Park. You’ll see others on this seven-miler, but to find the best elbowroom, continue a mile past popular Twin Falls, to Sculpture Falls and its deep swimming hole. Or go after heavy rains; the waist-high creek crossings mean you’ll likely have it all to yourself.

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