One of the fastest-growing communities in the country, Cedar Park is located northwest of Austin on US 183. Now primarily a suburb of the capital city, this was once “cedar chopper” country, the home of many Scottish immigrants who cut the local ashe juniper (locally called “cedar”) trees to provide fence posts for area ranches. This generations-old trade is still plied by some Hill Country families.
Austin Steam Train. Take a ride on the Hill Country Flyer, running from Cedar Park to Burnet (where visitors stop to have lunch and shop). Each of the 1930s–era cars is restored to original splendor. Other excursions include the Bertram Flyer for a ride from Cedar Park to Bertram (with a chance to get out and see the old depot), and a host of themed excursions such as the Spring Break Flyer and Murder Mystery Excursions. Dogs are permitted on the train but must remain in their crate or carrier the entire journey. 401 E. Whitestone Blvd., Suite C-100.
Brushy Creek Regional Trail. This trail, expanded to a length of nearly seven miles, is a favorite with dog owners thanks to its water fun and wide gravel trails. Although the park may get busy in the areas of the splash pads and playgrounds, the dog-friendly trail winds along the water and offers plenty of entry points for a doggie swim, picnics, and photo sessions in wildflower fields. The trail itself is wide and easily shared by dogs and bicycles. The trail winds alongside several parks including Twin Lakes Park off US 183 (a busy park with swimming and sports facilities), Creekside Park off Parmer Lane with lake swimming as well as fishing and picnicking, and easternmost Champion Park (on Brushy Creek).
Cedar Bark. Three separate sections—small dog (under 30 pounds), large dog, and large dog swimming area offer a variety of fun at this expansive dog park. The swimming area is definitely a favorite thanks to a large pond with a fountain as well as a dock for those dock diving dogs. Along with benches and fountains for both four- and two-legged visitors, the park also includes a separate fenced dog shower area for rinsing off Rovers after a swim. Adjacent to Veteran’s Memorial Park, 2525 W. New Hope Dr.
Cedar Park Community Sculpture Garden. Located adjacent to the Cedar Park Recreation Center, this large outdoor area features a rotating collection of sculpture created by local artists. Meandering gravel pathways wind through the displays and if you happen to fall in love with one of the pieces, you’re in luck, as most are for sale. 1435 Main St.
Discovery Well Cave Preserve. The city of Cedar Park boasts a wealth of natural caverns, some containing endangered and rare species beneath a large greenbelt area on the city’s west side. These caves are kept sealed to preserve their fragile ecology, but the parkland is open to the public and visitors–and their dogs– can hike the preserve’s trails and learn about the cave system from informational signs posted at cave entrances along the way. Parking is found near the intersection of Rachel Ridge and Del Roy Drive off Anderson Mill Road.
Cedar Bark Festival. Fidos and their families flock to this annual celebration of pets. Benefiting the Cedar Bark dog park, the event features a dog costume contest, a talent show, agility demonstrations and a photo booth for attendees. Veteran’s Memorial Park, 2525 W. New Hope Dr.