For this Discover Austin episode, I paddle Lady Bird Lake in a kayak to enjoy an afternoon of recreation and take in the ever-changing Austin skyline. If kayaking isn’t for you, this episode also highlights other activities you can enjoy on or around the lake. If you prefer to read than to watch, the video’s transcript is available below the video.
Other Discover Austin topics mentioned in this video: The Stevie Ray Vaughan statue.
Greetings, I’m Craig Smyser. In this episode of “Discover Austin,” I enjoy a leisurely afternoon kayaking on Lady Bird Lake.
Lady Bird Lake runs on both sides of and through downtown Austin. Originally used for flood control and as a cooling pond for a power plant, it is now used a great deal for recreation. Although part of the Colorado River, it is referred to as a lake because Longhorn Dam prevents it from being a free flowing body of water. Called Town Lake for many years, it was renamed Lady Bird Lake in 2007 to honor Lady Bird Johnson who helped with a beautification project years earlier. As a side note, you’ll sound like a local if you occasionally call it Town Lake and pretend you are still trying to get used to the new name. The lake is teeming with kayaks, canoes, & paddleboards, with numerous places available to rent these watercraft. Fishing is permitted and you will find a good population of catfish, bass, and sunfish.
Use of most motorized boats is prohibited and swimming in the lake is against the law as well, but there are two very popular pools nearby. First is Deep Eddy Pool which is along the banks of Lady Bird Lake and is fed by a well. Second is Barton Springs Pool, a spring fed pool which feeds into Lady Bird Lake.
The hike-and-bike trail is a 10-mile loop along much of Lady Bird Lake. It is a great place for biking, running, or walking. You’ll find people from all walks of life using the trail which crosses the lake in several places and has a boardwalk portion which runs for about a mile.
There is usually something going on along the banks of Lady Bird Lake as Zilker Park and Auditorium Shores both host a variety of events all year long including Austin City Limits Music Festival, South by Southwest, and the Food & Wine Festival, to name just a few. The Stevie Ray Vaughn statue is also along the shore.
Whether you are on the water, on the trail, or with your dog along the banks, Lady Bird Lake offers something for everyone. I’m Craig Smyser, thanks for joining me for this episode of Discover Austin.