Austin Attractions - Austin Things to Do
Mount Bonnell, Austin's highest point within city limits at 775 feet above sea level, should be included on any Austin Things To Do list.
View of Lake Austin from Mt. Bonnell in Austin Texas
Located at 3800 MT BONNELL RD (see map and directions below), the park falls under the administration of the City of Austin Parks and Recreation department.
A popular destination going back all the way to the 1850s, there is some question as to the origin of the name. Most likely, it was named for George Bonnell who moved to Texas in the 1830s to fight for Texas Independence. He later published the Texas Sentinel and was killed in 1842, during the failed Mier Expedition.
But Mount Bonnell isn't a popular Austin Tourism spot because of the history. People come here for the view.
And the view is incredible. The panoramic view encompasses an incredible bird's eye view of Lake Austin down below. To the southeast, the Austin Texas skyline is visible and off to the northwest, there's a great view in the distance of the Pennybacker Bridge (aka the "360 Bridge" after Loop 360, which is alternatively known as the "Capital of Texas Highway" - why give something one name when you can give it three?).
There are minimal facilities here - basically a few picnic tables and a pavilion. Parking consists of spaces on the side of the road (MT BONNELL RD).
There are two access points to the overlook area - a rocky trail from the north or a set of steep stairs (99 in total) at the south end. But we're not talking about a major hike here - sensible shoes and a camera are all you'll need - and some water and sunscreen during the summer.
It also tends to be one of the more popular Austin Texas attractions - both locals and tourists come here often and it's also popular for special occasion photography sessions (weddings, graduation, something involving your dog, etc.) so expect a crowd.
Park hours are from 6am to 10pm - curfew enforced after hours.
View of boat on Lake Austin from Mt. Bonnell in Austin Texas
Mt. Bonnell - Map and Directions
DIRECTIONS: From Mo-Pac (aka Loop 1), take 35TH ST exit and head west (left from the south; right from the north). 35TH ST branches into FOOTHILL DR (right) and OLD BULL CREEK RD (left). Continue onto OLD BULL CREEK RD and then turn right onto MT BONNELL RD. Continue traveling north a short distance until you see a bazillion cars parked along the side of the road.
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