Spring at Mckinney Roughs

As part of my continuing efforts to climb out of my post-COVID rut, I journeyed to my favorite trails yesterday. These hilly and rocky trails are close to Austin, an hour and a half drive from my house, so I need to have enough time and motivation to get myself there and back.

My motivation is that I need to get out more before I forget how and I had just enough time to do it even though I had to take my son to work at 3:00.

Mckinney Roughs is an LCRA park on Highway 71 between Austin and Bastrop. The actual location is Cedar Creek but not many people have heard of that, or they confuse it with Cedar Park which is northwest of Austin. The park hugs a bend of the Colorado river and shares a boundary with the Hyatt resort.

Some trails are hidden in trees and some are more open.

You can find all the park details with trail descriptions and the map here.

Overcast skies made it a bit humid, but the 65 degree temperature was nice. I wore shorts and a short sleeve tech shirt, my Altra Timps, and injinji socks. My Nathan vest held all my gear, water, phone, glasses, some peanut M&Ms, a dog bone, and my car keys.

Best shoes for rocky trails!

The day use fee is $5 which I am happy to pay because this park is huge and has 17 miles of great trails.

My dog Ellie was so excited to be on a road trip with me and even more happy to be back at the park. Her sniffer was working overtime but I wasn’t in a hurry so I let her smell all the animal smells. She was, as always, a great running partner.

Down at the river which was very low. Not much rain in the past year.

My body is out of shape and I feel ten years older than I did when I used to run trail races, though it’s only been two years! I had to pick my way slowly down the steep, gravel covered trail with my weak quads, but I told myself, and Ellie, that you have to start where you’re at. I always talk to her when we are out on the trails.

Even though there were cars in the parking lot, and I saw some people around the headquarters, we did not pass a single person on the trails. I did hear yells and hoots from the zip line riders. I was perfectly happy to be alone with my dog.

The trails were in great shape. I think I ran here last October, but I didn’t go to this side of the park so it has been at least a year since I’ve run these trails.

I made a big loop, almost five miles, from HQ to the zip line , down to the river, then climbed back up, up, up, then down into the valley again and back up before returning to HQ. I usually do this route in the opposite direction, but I actually liked this way better. I got the most technical section done while my legs were fresh. It’s not a lot of miles, but it’s a good start to regaining my trail legs.

We took a quick break to eat some M&Ms at the overlook before hitting Woodland trail. Ellie ate a dog bone. She was tired, a little out of shape herself, but seems healed from her encounter with the car.

Looking northwest over the river

The long drive was definitely worth the reward of peace and release that I felt in body and soul. I’ll be going back soon.


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