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Makeover planned for Violet Crown trailhead at Zilker Park

Thursday, January 6, 2022 by Jonathan Lee

Significant improvements are coming soon to the beginning of the Violet Crown Trail at Zilker Park, including an overlook and an entrance worthy of what may someday be Austin’s longest urban trail. 

The new overlook, shaded by a heritage pecan tree, will offer views of Barton Creek and include seating and educational signs. Several hundred feet of trail will also be reconstructed at 12 feet wide, slightly wider than the existing trail, and will meander through a meadow instead of taking a straight route. Other improvements include a shaded pavilion, a landscaped gathering area, a rain garden near Andrew Zilker Road, and an arch to mark the trailhead.  

The Violet Crown Trail, which follows the Barton Creek Greenbelt before heading farther south toward Sunset Valley, is planned to eventually stretch 30 miles into Hays County. 

The trailhead improvements have been in the works for several years. The Hill Country Conservancy announced the project in 2017 and conducted community engagement in 2018. Groundbreaking is scheduled for this summer, and construction will take about a year, with TBG Partners serving as the landscape architect and designer of the project. The conservancy will pay most of the construction costs, estimated at $1.5 million, with other funds coming from the Austin Parks Foundation and city parkland dedication fees. The project got the all-clear Dec. 14 when the Planning Commission approved a conditional use permit. 

Below are renderings of the project, courtesy of the Parks and Recreation Department:

Download (PDF, 3.84MB)

The trailhead will likely close for at least part of construction, according to D’Anne Williams, who manages the project for PARD. “We will look at our options to provide a safe detour, but we may need to direct trail users to other Barton Creek Greenbelt trailheads,” Williams told the Monitor via email. 

Work is also scheduled to start early this year on a mile-long segment of the Violet Crown Trail between Home Depot Boulevard in Sunset Valley and MoPac Expressway just north of William Cannon Drive.

The Austin Monitor’s work is made possible by donations from the community. Though our reporting covers donors from time to time, we are careful to keep business and editorial efforts separate while maintaining transparency. A complete list of donors is available here, and our code of ethics is explained here. This story has been changed since publication to include the project’s designer. 

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