Mount Bonnell is the highest point in Austin (775 feet above the lake) and a fantastic spot to get a lovely view of both downtown and the Colorado River. Head there early to beat the heat and the crowds.
Mount Bonnell is Austin’s Number ONE hiking spot. It is an easy climb with the stairs and the view is amazing!!
Don’t let the stairs worry you. There aren’t that many – only 102!! (a flight of stairs is usually 12/13 steps so that is like climbing about 8 stories) Ask the kids to hold on to the rail if you are worried about anyone slipping. If you prefer you can come up the sloping side instead..just turn right at the car park instead of left towards the stairs.
Take a picnic lunch for a breezy spot to pause and soak in the beauty of Austin. There are several picnic tables both in sunny and shady spots. The one with the best view is to the left when you reach the top. You can’t see it right away so just walk to the left into the clearing for a breathtaking spot to have a sandwich!
Mount Bonnell has been the perfect spot for gorgeous viewings day and evenings (The sunset is spectacular!) for years and became an official Texas Historic Landmark in 1969.
Why is this place called Mount Bonnell? We did a little reading before we went, but you can get part of the scoop on these signs at the bottom of the hill before you start the hike/stair climb.
The truth is…no one knows for sure why it is called Mount Bonnell. It could have been named for either of these people. Since there is no proof for the real namesake, you can take your pick as to which one seems the most likely.
- Texas newspaper publisher, George W. Bonnell
- Captain Joseph Bonnell of the Texas Army during the War of Independence
To further complicate things, some say this spot was originally called “Annette’s Leap” after Annette lept to her death to avoid being captured by the people who killed her fiance.
Mount Bonnell is easy to visit get to. If you ride a motorcycle, the journey is an extra treat becasue the road there is curvy!
You can get another lovely view from Mount Barker, which is even taller at 840 feet, but isn’t actually IN Austin.
Things to know before you visit:
*Wear decent shoes.
*Sunscreen and water are always a good idea.
3800 Mount Bonnell
Austin, Texas 78731
Austin is a super cool place to visit. If you are headed to the capital of the Lone Star State you’ll be interested in these posts, too.
Texas is a great place. Visit and enjoy the lovely sights, great food and friendly people!
Natalie, The Educational Tourist