Hike to Mount Bonnell, Austin

Mount Bonnell, one of Austin’s original tourist attractions, is one of the most beautiful places to see in the city!

The beautiful views of Lake Austin and the city skyline are popular with locals and visitors alike. Everything you need to know here to visit Mount Bonnell in Austin!

Mount Bonnell and its history

Although it’s hard to call Mount Bonnell a mountain (it’s only 775 feet tall), it’s often considered Austin’s tallest point and offers one of the best views in the city.

Mount Bonnell was first mentioned in writing in 1839, when Albert Sidney Johnston wrote, “My agent will leave in a few days to begin the building of the city of Austin at the foot of the mountain on the Colorado River.”

Of course, the mountain he pointed to was Mount Bonnell as we know it now.

Johnston was Secretary of War for the then-independent Republic of Texas when he wrote the Austin founding letter, and Mount Bonnell figured prominently in the fledgling city’s military defense strategy in the early days after its formation.

The stunning views of Mount Bonnell quickly made it a popular destination for locals and tourists alike, and it’s now Austin’s oldest major tourist destination.

Hike Mount Bonnell in Austin

Despite the fact that visiting Mount Bonnell is usually presented as a hike and there are trails to walk on, Mount Bonnell is more of a viewpoint than an actual hike.

Before reaching the top of Mount Bonnell, you will need to climb a flight of 102 steps (or 106 steps, depending on when you start counting) to get to the viewpoint.
Turning left along the limestone path will quickly bring you to a fantastic perspective of the Austin skyline while turning right will bring you to the best views of Lake Austin in minutes.

You’ll have the perfect view of Lake Austin, as well as the waterfront homes that line it, and then you can just see the 360 ​​Bridge in the distance looking down from the central vantage point.

The stairway to the Mount Bonnell lookout is sheltered, but the walk along the summit is not, but there is some shade along the margins depending on the time of day.

What is the best way to get to Mount Bonnell?

Mount Bonnell is in Covert Park.

If you put “Mount Bonnell to Covert Park” in your GPS you will be directed to a short two lane road with parking on one side.

The Mount Bonnell viewpoint is just minutes from the entrance stairway, which is directly adjacent to the parking lot.

The Legend of Mount Bonnell in Austin

Over the centuries, Mount Bonnell has been associated with a few tales, but one of the most enduring is (unsurprisingly) the most romantic.

According to legend, if a couple visits Mount Bonnell together once, they will fall in love, twice they will get engaged, and three times they will marry.

The tradition is said to have started with a couple in the 19th century, and the romance of Mount Bonnell is still alive today – the viewpoint is popular for engagements and maternity shoots, as well as picnics romantic!

Visitor Tips for Mount Bonnell

  • The park is open to the public for free.
  • There are no restrooms or water fountains within walking distance of the viewpoint.
  • The best times to visit are morning and evening.
  • Dogs are allowed!
  • Check out the skyline as well as the view of Lake Austin.
  • At the top of Mount Bonnell there are picnic tables.
  • Bring plenty of water and sunscreen.

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