Walnut Creek is my favorite Austin park. That is high praise for a park in the city of Austin that is filled with so many great parks!
Located in the middle of North Austin, Walnut Creek covers almost 300 acres, mostly wooded, with fields and a flowing stream and many trails criss-crossing the entire park. With its convenient location and ample parking, this is my go-to destination on any evening or lazy weekend when Patience and I need to get out and get our blood pumping.
Most of the trails are leash-free, and are shared by hikers, dogs and mountain-bikers. A walk in the park is like a walk through the woods, and there are so many trails it's always possible to take a different route on each visit.
There is a single paved road running through the park, with baseball fields, etc., on the north side of the road and the large leash-free area and trail system on the south side. It is possible to get to the trails from any point along the road, but the best doggy swimming is on the upper end, closer to the entrance off Old Cedar Lane.
If you follow the main trail to the south you'll eventually come across the center of activity (if you're a dog) which is a large swimming hole where most stop to rest and let the dogs play. At this point it is difficult to cross the creek without getting wet, but the trail also continues on into the woods and circles back around to the main parking area.