Before I’ve traveled to a place, I’ve always paid attention to where others have gone. It must be the traveler reflex in me or it must be that my bucket list keeps adding on. Before coming to Austin, Texas, I saw from one of my old high school classmate’s Instagram photos that she had gone to see these views on Mount Bonnell. I never wrote it down, but I had remembered it and researched it. I was pleased to have found this beautiful spot to check out while visiting Austin.
Mount Bonnell is located along Lake Austin of the Colorado River, outside the bustling downtown city feels of Austin. Before you jump ahead and think this is the same Colorado River like the one that goes from northern Mexico to the southwest of the US, nope. Texas has its own Colorado River and it’s only within the state. It is about 862-miles long (that is sooo long – given that perspective that Texas is the biggest state of the lower 48 states) and you can see a good extension of the calming green-blue river pretty well below Mount Bonnell.
Mount Bonnell is the highest point of Austin, Texas at 785 feet above sea level. With a short hike there, visitors are rewarded with gorgeous views of the river, nice big mansions, homes on the hills, and different parts of the park where you can walk around and explore by the cliffs.
Before Mount Bonnell became a spot to see nice views, it was once Native American territory, according to Austinot.com. This spot was first recorded by a man named George W. Bonnell and he recorded what he saw ecologically on the climb there.
Getting up there
You will drive up to what looks like a parking lot in the surroundings of trees and then the entrance to Covert Park, which you can point out from the plaques aside of it. To hike here, you’ll need to climb up a staircase with 106 steps.
The cobbled staircase will be uneven and interchange into varying sizes from lower to steeper, but there are also some handrails to hold onto if support is needed. This short climb to Mount Bonnell may take you 30 minutes on average to go up to (depending on your hiking level, of course).
The first thing you’ll see upon getting past the staircase climb is a historical monument that states the park is dedicated to a man named Frank M. Covert Sr., the man whose family and he donated the land to Austin, Texas in 1939. Then, you can see, photograph, and/or hang under the shade structure.
What else you can do there
Since Mount Bonnell is a park with picnic tables, you can hang out and have a picnic there! It would be perfect during sunset and watch the sun come down over the river. Another option you can do to have a picnic is bringing your own blanket and a picnic basket packed with your preferred foods and drinks and then setting it down over the many rocky areas you can sit on by the cliffs (Uhh.. just don’t stay too close to the edge!).
The park is also a great place to get a good workout at. I saw some visitors there doing some pilates. You’re surrounded by nature and that’d motivate you more.
There are many spots located along Covert Park to get different perspective angles of the river. You can also see the skyline of downtown Austin from across when you walk towards the west side of the park. Whichever spot you end up on, it’ll make for a good photo-taking spot and a spot to just reflect upon with someone or your own company.