mtbonnell.com

All things Austin and Mt Bonnell

mtbonnell.com is the source for Mount Bonnell Austin hiking, location, and siteseeing. Austin's Mount Bonnell is one of Austin's oldest tourist attractions being documented as far back as 1850. It is the highest point within Austin City Limits at 785 feet, but is actually smaller than Mt. Larson directly across from Mt. Bonnell but located in West Lake Hills. A wonderful place to picnic in the sun, Mt. Bonnell contains views of Lake Austin and the Pennybacker or 360 Bridge as well as wonderful vistas of downtown. The area is a short hike from the road and there is no entrance fee.

After parking, you have to walk up about one hundred steps to the top. There, you are greeted with great views of Lake Austin (Colorado River) and the 360 Bridge (Pennybacker). Downtown Austin is also visible in the distance to the South East. It's about five miles away. There is now some kind of structure (house?) on the southern edge of the park. In the past, you were able to walk in that direction, but now it's blocked off. There is a pavilion in the center of the park and a trail goes to the north.

The park also provides great views of all the houses that I will never be able to afford!


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PROS:
+ beautiful views, great for pictures
+ great for hiking
+ has little paths
+ great for picnicking (bring the tools)
+ stairs available
+ an Austin treasure & landmark - come think of it, a mount in the hill country?

CONS:
- not wheelchair accessible
- ugly view on the other side (thanks to the huge bulky warehouse or something)
- the pavilion on top reeked of urine? Vandalism? Somebody should get on top of the game.

I would return to enjoy the great views.


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scenic hill top park is a simple rite of passage for any austinite.
Here are your instructions
1. have a margarita at establishment of choice with a friend for happy hour
2. go to mount bonnel, climb steps
3. at top, climb up on top of the wooden rafters to watch the sunset
4. bond with your friend
5. admire mansions below


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This mountain is about as big as a nun-sandwich. 100 steps? Oh no! Quelle domage! How will we ever get to the summit? Maybe with sherpas and a base-camp supplied by Hummers.

That said, it's a great place to take a look at the scenery from. Nice place to watch the sunrise too, though there's probably some law against that. Search and rescue might not want to have to helicopter people from the 37th step before dawn.


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I think that this park was o.k. Now, I will admit that I am a tad biased about things because I have a 5 1/2 month old baby to lug around places with me. This park is not even possibly handicap accessible, which I have an issue with. It is also impossible to take my daughter for a walk there in her stroller. It's fine if I want a workout carrying her up all those stairs (or the slope at the end).

The views are nice, but the views are really great out at other places too.


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Count them - 102 steps to the top! Mount Bonnell is a great place to take a date or visitors to Austin for picturesque views of downtown, Lake Austin and Pennybacker Bridge.

Wear comfy shoes, bring your camera and a picnic or snack and enjoy the pavilion on top and the views.


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I can't believe I have lived in Austin for for long and never heard about/been to this place!? My date took me here to walk off our Sunday brunch - amazing.

I'm with ANA - flip flops are not ideal, nor are those stairs in 100 degree weather, but it's totally worth it! The view is truly incredible. Perfect for newcomers, out-of-towners, a mini hike, a date....

Tip - seems obvious, but if you'd rather not walk UP the steps, just park down the road a bit and walk up the slope, then you can walk down the steps!

I cannot wait to come up here when it's cooler to just poop around - better yet, with a picnic for sunset!


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A hidden treasure this place is! No one's kidding when they say those stairs kick your ass, 'cause they do, especially when it's over 100 degrees out and you're wearing flip-flops (I should've known better). Once you get past that torture, it's beautiful up there! The views are breathtaking and picturesque. It explains all the other visitors up there with their tripods and expensive cameras, which I wasn't a fan of when we were just trying to enjoy the view without being rushed to get out of the way.

Anywho, I wouldn't compare these views to places outside of Austin -- that's just stupid because it can't compare. Different cities will offer different characteristics. But for Austin, Mount Bonnell is beautiful.

The trail was very short, but we didn't mind on a hot day. Definitely wear comfortable walking shoes, and watch your step! There are a couple of picnic tables (but no shade), so bringing lunch would be nice.


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Finding spots like this is one of my favorite things in life. I should be a tour guide.

As the other reviewers mentioned, there are lots of stairs to climb to get to the top. But, it wouldn't be as exciting if the journey was too easy.

The view is refreshing, and I like to look at all the mansions and figure out which one is Sandra Bullocks. I've heard that people get married up there too.

Take visitors and loved ones here. Pass It On.


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Everybody's gotta see Mt. Bonnell at least once. It really showcases the beauty of Austin, it's a great place to watch the sunset and it's free.

The stairs kind of suck, if you're not in the mood for a workout, and I wish it was a little bigger because there's not a whole lot to do except enjoy the view. But sometimes I guess that's all you need.


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I don't know anywhere else you can get views like this -- I don't think there's more I can add to anyone else's, except that for the first time this weekend, we took a couple of our friends here *at night* and it was *beautiful*! Even though it was rainy and cold, and dark & we totally coulda slipped on those stairs & I was afraid our visitors might sue us :D

But the view of the downtown skyline at night -- man. I always think the skyline looks *tinny* (yes, 2 n's) b/c I'm used to Houston's -- but the Frost Tower, surrounded by other shorter but well-lit bldgs, set off to the right of the UT Tower at this particular vantage point -- offset by the right clouds, it was beautiful. (And this is night proper, not even sunset.)

Also, another friend of mine got married here back in August -- we chose to move the party to the outcrop of rocks + the gravel plateau, and the pictures from the ceremony, with nothiing but sky + lake as the backdrop -- gorgeous.


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Sweet view, not all that difficult to walk the steps (there aren't many). I sort of felt like I was peeping down on an uber-wealthy private community though, as most of the view is expensive homes bordering the lake.

As a sidenote, we swung into the nature sanctuary at the bottom of the hill and it was AMAZING. Gorgeous little place with peacocks all over, walking and in trees. That said, I think there was some sort of ceremony or private party and wasn't sure we were totally welcome (though no one said anything and was friendly). Check it out!


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An austin landmark. Over 100 steps to get to the top but the view is wonderful. If you want to skip the stairs you can park down to the right and just gain the elevation on the short trail. Wear comfortable shoes and clothes and bring a lunch/picnic because it is a little out of the way for just a quick peek. Don't forget your camera! (Look down at the houses to see how the other half lives!)


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It's more of a bump than a mountain...that being said, it's a great place to take out of towners. You can see so much of the city from the top. The university, downtown, Westlake and the 360 (Pennebaker) Bridge all are in the vista from the peak.
It's also a great place to bring lunch and a book and get a little solace. It takes about three to five minutes to get to the top and it's a pretty easy climb.


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Austin never ceases to amaze me in its ability to juxtapose urban modernity against natural seclusion, and Mount Bonnell is a great example. About a 10 minute drive from anywhere in Central Austin, you wouldn't believe something this beautiful and scenic is so close. Prepare to bring your walking shoes and non-restrictive clothing because to get the best view you've got to climb a very long staircase, navigate uneven rocky ground, and perhaps even skitter down a "goat path" along the cliffs in order to look out past the scraggly bushes and trees. There's also some great views for those not so climbing-friendly, and tables that are perfect for a picnic lunch.

One last tip: figure out your digital camera's panorama stitching mode before you come. This is a great chance to get some beautiful wrap-around photos!


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Everyone must come here at least once in their lifetime. However, please take your inhaler if you're not in great shape...those stairs leading to the top will KICK YO ASS! It's well worth it, though, for the spectacular view! I would love to come here and make-out but there are far too many people to do that, unless you're into that kind of thing.

I debated subtracting a star for the late night hours that it's off-limits (they will ticket you and kick you out!) but I just couldn't bring myself to do it.


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A beautiful view, a hike (from the front) or gentle slope (from behind), and a few picnic tables and such for your use. Bring a camera and a lunch, and enjoy the beauty - this is part of what makes Austin so awesome.


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Why you should go: best view of Austin from Austin

Who you should take: a first date, your family, your dog, a good conversationalist, an out-of-towner, yourself, some one you're trying to convince to move here (or stay), a combination of the above.

What you should take: beer

But you should probably not: make out or try to push someone off the cliff. The area is too busy, even late at night, for either.


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The view of downtown and the Colorado River from this hill top are georgeous.

One time my neighbor's brother fell from the top and lived. He was sitting on a rock ledge with friends. Yes, alcohol was involved.


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Gorgeous! I felt like I wasn't in Austin anymore. I love that the ride there involved a drive through a really gorgeous, scenic neighborhood. The view is really breathtaking. We went close to sundown and it pretty surreal watching the light travel across all those trees. Cheesy, but it really was incredible!

Complaints? Few. It was VERY crowded. While you couldn't hear cars or any of that urban noise, I overheard a lot of conversations I would rather have not.

I should warn you that there's an incredible flight of stairs you have to climb to get to the top. IT'S WORTH IT.

There are also lots of nice secluded places you can sit on the cliff side. I loved it.


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Mt. Bonnell is one of the pretty sites in Austin, Texas. The 2 main things I dreaded the most was the huge steps I had to climb and the hot weather. But, it was worth it in order to get a beautiful view of the lake!
Reommended place if you want to have a picnic with a friend or to just relax.


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I moved here 14 years ago and one of the very first places my new hosts took me to was Mt Bonnell. I can still remember being astonished by the lovely, unobstructed view of Austin from that elevation. It really reminded me of the view from Mulholland Dr in LA. But Austin style. A real "welcome to Texas" kind of moment.

Flash forward 14 (or so) years and a return trip is on the books: one of my best friends was having a birthday and it's tradition for her to be somewhere up high and have a drink while taking in a view.

First off, I'm sorta thrilled that it hasn't gone the way of the bulldozer, as so many other Austin institutions have. So kudos to the city for fighting off what ever army of developers or special interests tried to get their grubby hands on it. However, I have to say that the current view is a mere shadow of what it once was. You see, the trees have gotten so tall along the banks that the view is obstructed. And as a result, when you get there now, you have to practically fight for a position that has less density of trees just to get a good look.

Definitely not what I remember. Maybe I was drunk then (probably) but oddly enough, those stairs hardly bothered me at all this time.

The reason it gets only two stars (meh I've experienced better) is because I have: Mt Bonnell 14 years ago.


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Good view of the lake, a tower farm, and in the distance you can see downtown Austin. Great place to pickup To-Go and have a picnic - please throw away your trash though.

The usual entrance is the 100 or so stairs, but if you drive a little past that there is a second entrance. The second entrance doesn't have you hiking up stairs but you'll walk a little longer to reach the top. Bring a camera.

After you visit Mt. Bonnell go visit Mayfield Park and Preserve (peacocks!)


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Nice view! I walked up the one hundred or so stairs at Mount Bonnell over the holidays to see what everyone was raving about. Unfortunately, I was too early for sunset, so I'll have to go back and check that out, but in the afternoon there's a still lovely view of the lake, the bridge, and some magnificent homes. There were quite a few people at the top of the stairs, but I walked down the trail to the right and felt very secluded (in a good way).

I was a little bit disgusted and disappointed by the amount of litter I saw just over the ledge. When we have such a great natural area, I don't know why people would want to defile it like that. The drop-off is pretty steep though, so I can understand why it would be hard to clean up.


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We went on an excursion to Mt. Bonnell this evening after dark. The view really was lovely. I definitely want to return for a sunset.

Mt. Bonnell seems to be a popular hang out spot for high schoolers wanting to get their drink and/or mack on. If this doesn't turn you off, you should come on out. It's definitely worth the climb up the 100 stairs. There are plenty of spots to sit and enjoy the city lights, cell phone towers, and kazillion dollar lake homes. And it was indeed romantic.


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Mount Bonnell is about a fifteen minute, pleasant up-hill walk from my dad's, so I go there very often. In the warm months I take a cold drink, a friend, a book or my iPod, lay in the sun and just relax. When it's not quite as hot I like to walk around a bit more. Mt. B is very scenic, peaceful, and a great place to stop by, even if briefly, to chill out and see firsthand how beautiful and cool Austin is.


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Since everybody wants to do Mt Bonnell today, I'll give an older fart prospective on this thing.
Back in the day ( sounds like your father Huh) say 1969 or so, 2222 two lanes, people in Austin screaming about devlopers ruining the view and landscape, I found Mt. bonnell a romantic cool place to go out to and maybe almost get in trouble. Believe it or not, there were a few nights with no other people there.
Now, to me, it is just an elevated point with a crowd looking at the city lights. That's not a bad thing, just not my thing.
Somebody please go count those stairs, there used to be 102.


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This is supposedly Austin highest point....... and after visiting I don't really see the point. Lets start out from saying that I came from Salt Lake City (elevation 4,500 feet), the view out my front door was pretty incredible...... and much better than Mt. Bonnell. When you come from a city that has great views at every street corner, its hard to be amazed by anything else. Mt. Bonnell was interesting, but its nothing to write home about. I was excited to get a great view of Downtown, but I could hardly see it. If you want the best view of downtown drive down 360, or go stand in Barton Creek Mall parking lot. I don't think I will ever visit again......

It gets two stars because I enjoyed sliding down the giant banister on the stairs.


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One of the most beautiful lookouts in Austin - definitely worth the walk up. Great view of the lake, and some of the most amazing homes in Austin.

If you're ever in the Mopac/2222 area, it's worth a pop-by. Only takes a few minutes.


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Four stars because I don't know of anywhere else close by to get a nice view. The view is nice, especially since you can see downtown Austin. Downsides -- Too bad someone built a big house at that same side of the park and it really does obstruct/take away from the view. There are plenty of little trails and places to sit and have a lunch, but what I didn't like was all the trash and beer bottles up there. And condom wrappers. It does tend to be crowded, but it's a nice spot to take pictures.

Wear sensible shoes since the stairs on the way up are the only level surfaces. Uneven rock everywhere.


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There isn't really any up there but you are up there. Just a few flights of stair and you are up there, looking at the beautiful Lake Austin and Hill Country. The place is small but good enough when you are trying to figure out where to bring your guests to.

Austin Chronicle has just rated this the best place to make out so grab a blankie and your lover and smooch away!


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Austin's highest point.

Big deal.

The short but significant walk to the top is a good spurt of energy to get you excited about the view, but once you get there, it's kind of a clusterfuck with zero vantage point to really see over or past the trees that frame it.

Why they can't build a tower here to make it an actual vista for unobstructive viewing...

Also, the focus seems to be on people who have lots more money than you do with the 4-6 million dollar homes below. Thanks for reminding me. On a clear day, you can crane your neck or stand on the stone blocks to get a great view, but its framed in a weird way. I never quite got it here.

Eh.

ps I've walked up here 4 times with someone, and I can't stand him


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OK, maybe my birthday wasn't the ideal sunset day (full moon was coming two days later), but there was still a decent (noisy) crowd.
I'm not one to like to stare at rich people's houses unless I'm there TO stare at rich people's houses, so that was more of a distraction than anything else.
Regardless, it is a cool, wide vista that's worth gazing at for a while, and I do love my gazing.
I just don't know if I would go back and try to be romantic about it. I giggled at the groups that brought wine and were trying to sit and do their thing as this mom kept loudly asking her son, "Gots to make a poo? Gots to make a poo?"


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You have to put it in perspective - Mt. Bonnell gots its reputation for beauty, nature, romantic, etc. before all the yelpers moved here. Now it's an urban park, with all the problems that our woefully underfunded and un-cared for parks have. As for the people comparing it to Yosemite and Utah, that is really stupid, in my opinion. Ya know, they call it the "Hill Country," not the Mountain Country. Just because they both serve food, you don't compare a bistro in Paris to a greasy spoon in Austin.

I gave it a one star so that hopefully all of the mountain people will stop visiting and it will become pleasant again.


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One of the best places in Austin. Great views. Tons of little areas to sneak away too. Great for families, dates, or just chillin with your friends. If you are in Austin, it is a MUST see.


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All right, I will be the first to give it less than 5 stars. I only wish those 100 (or was it 99?) steps kept most people from going up there, but Austin's a town of agile folks. It's a good place to take your out-of-town relatives for a view of Lake Austin and the sunset, but I don't really consider it a romantic place.

First of all, I don't see what's romantic about sharing a view with a whole bunch of people. Every time I've gone, the place is just crowded with picnickers, camera-wielders, and families. Also, I don't see what's romantic about gazing down upon these grandiose Westlake homes.

Then again, my idea of romantic is in the middle-of-nowhere West Texas, in total seclusion, with a gigantic sky of stars above.


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Although it may not be the most notable, Mount Bonnell is an Austin landmark. I am 100% in agreement with John D. on his review of this viewscape. Climb the steps for some exercise and a glance at the truly beautiful homes sitting peacefully on the cliffs below.

While I definitely wouldn't consider this spot romantic, it is unique and probably worth a visit for residents and visitors. After dark, the city and the artificial luminescence pouring from residents' windows make a charming little connect-the-dots of light. Play a game. See how many moon towers you can count. (Austin is apparently the only city in the country to still have a system of moon towers intact. 17 of them shed light on the city.)

Head up 2222, turn onto Mt. Bonnell Rd., and watch for a smattering of parked cars. The main staircase is not well-lit and hard to find. Some use this spot for photography or weddings, but I don't think I'd recommend it for that purpose. And to be perfectly honest, it's a little creepy after dark. I wouldn't consider it dangerous, but I also wouldn't go alone.

Mount Bonnell provides a sneak peek from an advantageous peak.


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If I need to sit and think, or commune with nature without leaving the city or going to the Greenbelt, I go to Mt. Bonnell.
So all y'all bitchin that it isn't as beautiful as the Grand Canyon, Pike's Peak, or the summit of Mt. Everest, well no shit. We're in AUSTIN. So don't go back there. Then I can have my quiet time in relative peace.
Even though I'm a bit peeved right now at the people who dare to degrade my beloved chill spot, I'll let you in on a tip: the best time I find to be there is around 3 or 4 am, after a lil' drinky-drink. When the moon is full and bright. You can see pretty reflections off the river and city lights, but not all the big houses that can get in the way of a nature experience. You may get caught and ticketed by police, but hey. That's part of the fun!
This should be a no-brainer but if you go, please don't leave any trash/ beer cans behind. It's starting to pile up here and there.


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I always have a hard time finding Mt. Bonnell.

I drive up and down and all around and all the streets look the same and I start to feel lost. Finally I see a whole mess of cars parked and figure I'm getting close and then I have to walk all these stairs. Haven't we invented outdoor escalators yet? Come on, people!

The view sure is purty, but I have found just as nice places to go that aren't overrun and hard to find. I think I'd be hard pressed to find anyone who would go to Mt. Bonnell on a regular basis. It's not that cool.....


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I am SO glad that someone reviewed this place. As more and more of Austin gets built up, there are only a few spots you can still visit to "commune" with nature. Mount Bonnell is one of these places. First thing...you have to climb 99 steps to get to the top. Yes, I have counted ( well not me..but, er...other people.) Once you get to the top of the mountain you are greeted with an astounding, beautiful view. I always said that if I had billions of bucks to blow I would buy a floating lake house right underneath Mount Bonnell.

Come here on a picnic, bring your religious group for a service ( some of the best services Ive been to have been up here) or just to see the sights...but beware those 99 steps, they can make even the most in shape person stop for a breather.



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