Near downtown Austin, Lady Bird Lake, known to locals as Town lake, provides another locale for outdoor enthusiasts. Formed in 1960 with the construction of the Longhorn Dam, Lady Bird Lake slows the flow of the Colorado River and is a great place for kayaking, sculling, fishing, and enjoying the beautiful days Austin offers. It sits in the shadow of the downtown Austin and the high-rises that make up the cityscape.
One of the tributaries of Lady Bird Lake is Barton Creek. This meandering creek flows over limestone through one of Austin's most popular hiking areas along the Barton Creek Greenbelt. From this oasis, the water flows into Barton Springs Pool, a favorite of locals in which to cool off on a hot summer day. Fed by underground springs, this body of pool stays near the same temperature year-round.
Several Bridges span Lady Bird Lake, including Congress Bridge, First Street Bridge, Lamar Bridge and the Pedestrian Bridge. During the summer, a colony of Mexican Free-Tailed Bats live beneath the bridge. Visitors flock to the bridge each evening to watch the bats depart their home in search of nightly prey. Congress Bridge also offers a nice view of the Texas State Capitol.
Surrounding Lady Bird Lake is the Austin Hike And Bike Trail, a part of the outdoor mecca, Zilker Park. The land for this park was donated in 1979 and today is on the National Register for Historic Places. Also on the Zilker Park land is Barton Springs, a spring fed pool that stays the same temperature all year (cold). Along with the springs, this location is home to the famous Stevie Ray Vaughan Statue, the Zilker Zephyr (my daughters\' favorite Austin mini train), the Zilker Botanical Garden, and the world famous Austin City Limits Music Festival (ACL).