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Why Texas? Why Austin?Map

"It's like a whole other country." You've heard it said that everything in Texas is "larger than life." Texas is well known for its legends, heroes, cowboys and barbeque, and is fast becoming known for its great trails and greenways.

Texas is a vast state— 267,000 square miles to be exact— with abundant outdoor recreational opportunities. As part of your trip to the 17th National Trails Symposium, visit one of Texas' 120 state parks and historic sites. Head on over to the coast and catch some rays (or fish). Head westward and camp in one of America's favorite national parks— Big Bend National Park. Tour the Central Texas Hill Country, best described as "music, rolling hills, spring-fed rivers, and dude ranches." There is something for everyone in Texas. Plan your trip by visiting: www.traveltex.com, www.tpwd.state.tx.us, and www.texastrails.org.

Why Austin?

Austin is the geographic and political center of the Lone Star State. It stands as the gateway to the Texas Hill Country and the Highland Lakes. As the state capital and home to the University of Texas, the city supports a politically charged and culturally rich environment. Its hip, trendy, high-tech, and health-conscious society crowds the over 100 miles of trails throughout the Austin metroplex! Austin is internationally renowned for its Town Lake— complete with 10 miles of hike and bike trails— where joggers, walkers, cyclists, and water trail users can be found at any hour of the day. The conference hotels sit right on the Town Lake Trail, with trails right out your back door! With emphasis placed on sustaining their environment, Austin leaders have partnered with numerous developers, organizations, and citizen groups to protect and preserve what makes Austin so unique— its natural resources!

Information on canoeing, kayaking, & sculling concessionaires will be available at the Symposium Trailhead Information Booth.

walkers carrying a dog
Austin: the city within a park

Austin has a Natural Appeal

Blessed with a temperate year-round climate and 300 days of sunshine a year, Austinites live for the outdoors. Nature trails, parks, and wilderness preserves create an oasis in the heart of the city— or is it a "city within a park?" The media has long had a fondness for Austin, the "Live Music Capital of the World," ranking it consistently among the best places in America for residents and visitors:

  • Bike magazine ranked Austin in its "America's Five Best Mountain Biking Towns." (June 2002)
  • Runner's World Magazine says Austin is "One of the Best Running Cites in America." (February 2001)
  • National Geographic Traveler named Austin one of the "50 Places of a Lifetime America" and one of the "Ten American cities that have a defining character, a uniqueness, and an influence beyond their borders." (October 2001)
  • Travel & Leisure magazine ranked Austin as one of America's Favorite Cities: 4th for "Best Cultural Attractions," 3rd for "Best in Spring," 5th for "Nightlife," "Friendliest," and "Best-Looking People." (April 2003)
  • Sports Illustrated Women magazine named Barton Springs one of the world's top swim spots. (August 2002)

The conference hotels overlook Town Lake, with trails right out your back door! Austin leaders have partnered with developers, organizations, and citizen groups to protect and preserve what makes Austin so unique— its natural resources!

Attendees also enjoy a rich downtown environment with plenty of entertainment, including live music, at more than 100 venues on any given evening. They're also just steps away from the famous Sixth Street and Warehouse District areas and Austin's 13 registered national historic districts. The free shuttle service makes getting around town extremely easy.

logo: the emerging role of trails in American lifestyles
Barton Springs

So, what is there to do in Austin? What isn't there to do?

  • Tour de France champion, and Austinite, Lance Armstrong has taken cycling to new heights around town. Favorite routes are along scenic Loop 360 and the Veloway at Circle C Ranch: La Crosse Ave. & MoPac.
  • From April through October, 1.5 million Mexican free-tail bats live under the Congress Avenue Bridge that spans Town Lake— just a few steps from the conference hotels. Onlookers flock to the shores nightly at dusk to watch the nocturnal creatures emerging from beneath the bridge.
  • In the 351-acre Zilker Park: fly a kite, toss a frisbee, dive into the famous spring-fed Barton Springs Pool, or enjoy doing nothing at all. Zilker Park: 2100 Barton Springs Rd.
  • Rent a mountain bike and hit the 8-mile Barton Creek Greenbelt Trail.
  • Endangered birds and other wildlife find shelter at Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge, a 30,000-acre sanctuary just west of Austin.
  • At 635-acre McKinney Falls State Park, outdoors enthusiasts find miles of trails, campgrounds, picnic areas, and two spectacular waterfalls.
  • Pack in a full day on Lake Travis or on any of the other six Highland Lakes to enjoy water sports, lakeside dining, or picnicking with friends by the shore.

Other points of interest in Austin

The Austin Convention Center is the site of the 17 th National Trails Symposium. The 900,000 square foot, state-of-the-art Convention Center has inspired new development in downtown Austin (see map). Attendees of the Symposium will enjoy a rich downtown environment with plenty of entertainment, including live music playing at more than 100 venues on any given evening. You'll also be just steps away from the famous Sixth Street and Warehouse District areas and Austin's 13 registered national historic districts. The free 'Dillo shuttle service makes getting around town extremely easy. Congress Ave. Bridge ~ Largest Urban Bat Colony in America

Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau: www.austintexas.org. Phone: 866-GO-Austin.
Read about the Austin Convention Center .
Information on canoeing, kayaking, & sculling concessionaires will be available at the Symposium Trailhead Information Booth.