Austin has a large metro park called the Emma Long Metropolitan Park in northwest Austin. I have been trying to get to this trail for years and finally made it. The drive into the park was beautiful and the trail was pretty good for an urban trail.
Emma Long was the first female councilperson in the city of Austin serving twice, first from 1948 through 1959 and again from 1963 through 1969. She was most noted as a liberal firebrand who helped change Austin into the community it is today. She also hosted a Friday night poker game weekly with her friends from just after WW2 until shortly before her death at 98 in 2011. She once spoke for 13 hours at an Austin city council meeting to get her issued passed.
The park charges a fee for entrance but the Turkey Creek Trail trailhead is before the entrance booth, so no fee is required to hike the trail. I got there right after sunrise as the trailhead parking lot is small and there is no parking along the road. When I finished my hike there were people waiting for parking spaces so that was a good call to arrive early.
After the initial uphill section the trail descends into the canyon. The first half of the 3 mile hike stays along the creek with several crossings all on rocks, no bridges, although since it’s been dry several of the crossings had no water. This creek seems to run underground as the water was mostly moving but occasionally there were areas where the soil was wet but no water was visible.
The major geological feature of this trail is the fern wall at the head of the canyon.
Right past the fern wall was a grotto with a steady drip of water. After the fern wall the trail ascends the canyon quite steeply. The biggest bummer of hiking is to do a steep uphill and then get no view at the top. This was on of those times. The trail stayed atop the canyon wall with no view into the canyon.
For an urban trail this one had a lot going for it. It had creek crossings, a canyon, solitude, a geological feature, and elevation gain. Very nice.