Lakeway, TX, USA: Parks & Trails
The Canyonlands is the City of Lakeway's newest park and nature trail. The Canyonlands is a twenty-acre tract named for the scenic canyon running through the property. This Canyon is the upper reaches of the Rough Hollow Cove that is an major arm of Lake Travis to the west of the City. The scenery of the canyon from the overlooks along the rim trail is truly breathtaking, on a par with other great vistas in the State of Texas. In late fall, the fall foliage is spectacular; with shades of yellow, gold, brown, orange, and red. Early spring brings a new riot of color as the new leaves sprout out on the deciduous trees in the canyon; from the overlooks along the Rim Trail, behold the many different shades of lime greens. Sunsets from the overlooks are awesome anytime of the year!
The new Canyonlands park is the result of a generous gift to the City by the Lakeway MUD. The donation of this important natural area was one of the most important factors in Texas Parks and Wildlife's decision to award the City a $500,000 grant toward the construction of the Swim Center Park. Under the provisions of the grant, the Canyonlands must remain as a natural area in perpetuity. Nature trails, benches, and other limited improvements are permitted, however no major improvements in the Canyonland tract itself are permitted. Biological surveys have found no endangered species or habitat on the property. Volunteers have built multiple trails, along the canon rim, trails into the canyon itself, trails to the opposite rim, and trails grand confluence linking multiple canyons.
The trailhead to the Canyonlands is located on the west side of Trophy Drive across from the Swim Center Park; parking is available in the Swim Center Park parking lot. Entrance to Canyonlands is attained via the .25 mile Access Trail, which transverses City and MUD property. Again, the City is grateful to the Lakeway MUD for granting easements across its property for the Access and Rim Trails. Once on the Canyonland property itself, the Rim Trail takes the hiker to spectacular overlooks and vistas of the Canyon. The Canyon Trail descends into the Canyon to offer a new, different, and exciting type of splendor. In the Canyon the visitor will find two small ponds. The ponds are usually dry in the summer months, however in the wetter months the ponds are full and treat the visitor to a special peace and tranquility. In the fall migrating ducks make frequent stops on these ponds. During especially wet months, walk softly and quietly along the rim trail, listen for the tumbling water in the creek below. As the sound of the water grows louder, the visitor is beckoned to a roaring waterfall deep in the canyon, below the lower pond.
The Confluence in the far northwest corner of the Canyonlands is especially scenic. At the Confluence, the southern and western arms of the Rough Hollow canyon join to form a Confluence of three canyons with spectacular scenery. Sitting on a cliff overlooking the Confluence is a perfect site for solitude, reflection, and meditation.
The Rim Trail and its grand vistas are easily navigated with minimal physical exercise. The Canyon Trail requires greater physical effort. The Canyon Trail is narrower and presents stepper grades, however this trail is well graded, marked, and easily conquered. No special hiking equipment is necessary on any of the Canyonland trails, however visitors are advised to wear good walking or hiking shoes; take special care on the steeper sections. In the warmer months, carrying water is strongly advised.
Volunteers have built four idyllic bridges to cross the stream at the bottom of the canyon. These bridges allow the stream to be crossed in all weather. The bridge near the highline crossing with its curved hand rails is especially scenic.
Always take special care in the Canyonlands, this land is a special gift from nature. Do not move rocks or boulders near the trail; the rocks were placed in a unique position to control erosion on the trail. Enjoy the views, but please stay well back from cliffs and overlooks. In wet weather be especially careful because the trail can be slick and dangerous.