When you think of doggy utopia, Austin’s Red Bud Isle comes first to mind. With 13 acres of off-leash fun, explore to your heart’s content with your canine.

Red Bud Isle, located in the hear of Austin, Texas, is a popular leash-free park for dogs and their owners. It rests on Lady Bird Lake, just below the Lake Austin dam and is popular for the views, swimming, fishing and hiking — and is the go-to spot for dog-owning Austinites with trails, shady trees, fields and a tree-lined shore for you and your dog to relax and cool off in the summer.

GETTING THERE From MoPac in Austin, take the Lake Austin Blvd. exit and head west. Drive past UT Married Student Housing and the Lions Municipal Golf Course. Turn left onto Red Bud Trail and then turn left into the parking lot once on the island.

Red Bud Isle sits just south of Tom Miller Dam, where Lake Austin ends and Town Lake begins. The small island features a short hiking trail that circles the island, with several spots along the way that extend right out to the water. These small coves are ideal for fishing or taking the dog down for a dip in the water.

The trail begins at the small parking lot on the north side of the island, just off of Red Bud Trail, which clips the northern tip. Hike the trail in a counter clockwise direction, starting on the west side of the island and enjoy the view of the sheer rock wall on the opposite side of the water.

The trail continues south, all the way to southern point of the island. Here you can see the two halves of Town Lake join again as they flow towards downtown. The view here is all the more spectacular when you consider how close you are to downtown. Looking south, there are but a few houses in view.

The east side of the island features the illusion of being away from it all. The University of Texas’ married student housing lies on the opposite side of the water, but a buffer of trees and shrubs all but hides them from view.

When you’re all done, cool off with a cold one on the dog-friendly, shaded patio at Austin Beer Garden Brewing Company. With watering stations to keep your friend hydrated, plus doggie biscuits for them and artisan pizzas for you, it’s on eof our favorite places. They also put their money where their mouth is. A dollar from the sale of each APA! American Pale Ale is donated to the Austin Pets Alive! Long Stay Dogs campaign. Best of all, it’s just a 10 minute drive (less than five miles) from Red Bud Isle.

CONCLUSION Red Bud Isle is an easy hike that anyone can enjoy — just be aware that it’s a very popular place for fellow dog lovers, with lots of doggos off leash. 

Red Bud Isle
3401 Red Bud Trail, Austin
(512) 974-6700; austinparks.org

Check out Austin Beer Garden Brewing Company in the CityDog Directory.

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about the author


Brandie Ahlgren is founder and editor of CityDog Magazine. She, and her team of dog-loving editors, dig up the best places for you to sit, stay and play with your four-legged friends. Brandie, 12-year-old boxer Thya and Mexican foster failure Pancho, reside in West Seattle and can often be found hanging out at Westcrest Dog Park.