The Canyonlands

2.00 Miles
260 Feet
3point5stars (3.80)18
2point5stars (2.97)
3point5stars (3.53)
More Info

Coppertone sits in the shade for a moment while heading down to the canyon. The first part of the trail gently descends to the canyon rim.
Coppertone sits in the shade for a moment while heading down to the canyon. The first part of the trail gently descends to the canyon rim.
Getting there: From Ranch Road 620 in Lakeway exit onto Lakeway Blvd. and head north. Follow Lakeway Blvd. through its turns until you reach Hills Drive. You should see a sign for the swim center or World of Tennis. Turn left onto Hills Drive and then turn right onto Trophy Drive. Look for the swim center on the right and park in the parking lot there. The trailhead is on the opposite side of the road.

The Hike: The Canyonlands is Lakeway's newest park and one that provides refreshing solitude, despite its small size. The park encompasses only 20 acres, but the thick vegetation and steep canyon walls quickly erase some signs of the growing community around it.

A view of the trail just as it is about to enter the canyon proper.
A view of the trail just as it is about to enter the canyon proper.
The trail begins at the trailhead on Trophy Drive, immediately across the street from the swim center. The first quarter mile of the trail parallels a high tension Pedernales Electric Cooperative power line. This is technically not part of the park, but the PEC has granted an easement to allow for easy access to it. The trail here is very well maintained with a thick, sometimes heaping, layer of mulch.

The trail descends from the rim into the canyon below on the northern half of the park. Some small spots can be steep.
The trail descends from the rim into the canyon below on the northern half of the park. Some small spots can be steep.
Where the trail splits on the map there is a choice. From here the two halves of the trail make a figure 8 with this point at the center. If you're short on time the north side provides a rougher trail with more elevated, scenic views. But at only about 2 miles, there are few who could not complete the entire trail in a quick outing.

The access trail to the canyon rim is surrounded by Live Oak and Juniper, but not very shielded from the Sun. That changes when the trail descends into the heart of the canyon. The vegetation becomes dense, more diverse, cooler and more humid. The Sun is well filtered near the bottom of the canyon. The trail surface in the canyon itself is rougher than the mulched path leading up to it. Packed dirt and rock line the path and some small sections can be a bit steep.

A small stream runs through the canyon that eventually feeds into Rough Hollow Cove and Lake Travis. Two small ponds dot the creek's path. While the stream was small on our visit the signs around us point to wetter periods that carved the canyon we see today. One probably does not want to be at the base of the canyon after a heavy rain.

During the one hour that I spent covering all of the trails I never saw another person. I did hear a couple of other folks out there, but the heavy tree cover in the canyon meant that I never caught a glimpse of them.

Serene Loop pond
This is the pond that can be seen from the Serene Loop portion of the trail. (Photo by heatharcadia)
Pond Trail pond
This is a portion of the pond that can be seen from the Pond Trail part of the trail system. (Photo by heatharcadia)
Small peaceful waterfall
This was either along the Canyon Trail or Rock Trail portion of the trails. (Photo by heatharcadia)
After a Rainy Day
Everything looks nice and lush after a rainy day. (Photo by swedegirl5)
Lots of creeks
Several creeks run across the trails along the way. (Photo by swedegirl5)
Creek Crossing
Coppertone crossing the creek. Though small, this body of water has had a noticable impact on the land around it. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
Rim Trail
The northeast trail runs along the rim of the canyon. In some cases a vertical wall of rock lie just a bit off trail. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
Side Canyon
A small side canyon feeds into the main one in the distance. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
(Photo by Texpride12)
Skull At the Canyonlands
(Photo by Texpride12)
Log Entries
Worth returning to
By heatharcadia on 12/22/2016
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 2point5stars Solitude: 3stars
Distance: 4.32 Miles Duration: 2 hours, 24 minutes

I was looking for a new place to hike and found this area. I didn't end up doing all of the trails, so I'll have to come back. I encountered several mountain bikers and a few other hikers/trail runners, but for most of the time I was alone. There are nice water features to take in (multiple small waterfalls) and good views.

I began to go up the Mt. Lakeway trail (which connects to the Canyonlands trails), but turned around before I got all of the way up because I didn't know how long it would be and I was running out of water. I'll have to return with more water to do that whole trail and finish the parts of the Canyonland trail that I skipped! 

What I didn't like: You could hear (and in some places, see) construction work going on, building new neighborhoods on the sides of nearby hills, and near the start of the trail there is some kind of treatment facility that stinks up the area. But the trails are varied enough and interesting, so I still enjoyed myself. 

Terrific Scenery
By trailsforever on 2/18/2016
Rating: 4point5stars Difficulty: 4stars Solitude: 3point5stars
Distance: 10.00 Miles Duration: N/A

Cayonlands Trails now connect with Mt Lakeway Trail which connects with Serene Hills Trail which connects with Bee Cave Primitive Trails.

For map see website:

Variable Hike
By mgialusis on 5/17/2014
Rating: 3point5stars Difficulty: 3point5stars Solitude: 4stars
Distance: 2.00 Miles Duration: N/A

This was a really cool hike.  We were pleasantly surprised with the variety of the hike.  There were shady areas, non-shady areas, parts near a creek, parts with a very narrow trail next to a field of flowers, inclines, declines, etc.  It had it all.  There were so many trails, we actually got a little lost.  We were very happy we took a photo of the map when we arrived because it helped us find our way out.  We came across 3 mountain bikers and 2 couples hiking, so there was pretty good solitude.  

One of my favorites
By texaskdog on 1/25/2014
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 3stars Solitude: 3point5stars
Distance: 3.00 Miles Duration: 1 hour, 15 minutes

I have this #5 behind McKinney Roughs, Walnut Creek, River Place, and Barton Creek for near-Austin hikes (with Hamilton Greenbelt in Lakeway #6).  Don't be fooled by the loop on the map here.  That is the serene loop and its far less interesting and shorter than the rest of the park.  Head to the right on one of the two trails instead of going left to Serene Loop.  They will intersect, and then had left on the Canyon Descent Trail.  You head down and then eventually back up in a loop through the park (though avoid the Rim trail on the way back its about the only dull trail in the park).  Download the city of Lakeway map as you will need it to find your way around.  Great trail in a nice area!  Well worth the drive.

By trailsheaven on 8/24/2012
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 4stars Solitude: 4stars
Distance: 6.00 Miles Duration: N/A

New spur trail from west side of the canyon leads to Mt Lakeway and incredible views in all driections. Beautiful Madron forest along the way.

By texaskdog on 6/6/2010
Rating: 3stars Difficulty: 3stars Solitude: 5stars
Distance: 3.00 Miles Duration: 1 hour, 7 minutes

It was nice, we tried to hike all the trails but got turned around and missed a few in the middle of the west/north loop.  Other than that they do label most trails with arrows.  Erica took a pic of the map which we hope to post as the topo map on here doesnt show everything on that side.  They've built some bridges which ruins some of the water crossing appeal.  Saw one guy on a bike but no one else.   Very nice hike and worth a trip to Lakeway.

Hidden Gem
By bkalmick on 2/14/2010
Rating: 5stars Difficulty: 3stars Solitude: 4stars
Distance: 3.00 Miles Duration: 2 hours, 12 minutes
I took my wife on Valentines day and we discovered in our opinion; the most romantic hike in town. Stay to the right and you will find the hidden natural pools and trust me; you wont want to leave!
Charming hike with a couple of choices for hikes.
By swedegirl5 on 2/6/2010
Rating: 3stars Difficulty: 2stars Solitude: 3stars
Distance: 3.20 Miles Duration: N/A

As others have described, this an attractive walk with three trails that can easily be completed in an hour.  Just enough ups and downs and just enough change in the scenery to please everyone. 

By JKTX on 10/25/2009
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 2stars Solitude: 3stars
Distance: 3.00 Miles Duration: N/A
A hidden gem, though I am sure it helped that it finally has started raining. The hike along the power lines was not an accurate predictor of what was in store ahead. Beautiful trails. If you turn left at the trailhead, you go on a fairly flat, beautiful hike crossing the stream several times and walking around a beautiful pond. Go to the right, and you have a choice of hiking the rim trail with good views, or take the descent trail into the canyon. While the trails are somewhat short, eye candy abounded. Another pond, a stream, very wooded. Really a treat and I will be visiting again.
Still love it out there!
By BANDA on 11/1/2008
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 3stars Solitude: 4stars
Distance: 4.00 Miles Duration: 3 hours, 30 minutes

This was the latest of many trips we have made to the Canyonlands. We hiked every single trail out there today, including the new half-mile trail on the west side of the park. All of them are great, and even though this was a beautiful Saturday, we only saw a handfull of other people. The trees are starting to show some pretty fall colors, and is is very quiet and peaceful out there. We really enjoyed it!

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