River Place Trail

In preparation for our upcoming trip to Peru, we tackled River Place Trail twice this week. Our friends Erin and Jay first told us about this trail, calling it “The Stairmaster.”

Since we’ll be doing some serious mountain hiking in August, we figured River Place would be the perfect place to break in our new hiking boots.

We tried two entry points: Canyon Trail (July 2) and Little Fern (July 4). This is a nearly six-mile-round-trip hike, either way you slice it (Canyon Trail or Little Fern Trail). And it features a lot of stairs. For our July 2 hike (a Monday) we didn’t encounter a lot of people on the trail; for the July 4 (Wednesday) hike, which we started later in the morning, we were passing a lot of people coming and going. That slowed us down a bit.

Note: This is not a good trail for little kids, and you absolutely can’t push a stroller here (did I mention the stairs?). And unless your dog is a working breed, leave them at home. On our second outing, in particular, it was upsetting to see so many people who brought their dogs without bringing water for them. There are a few spots where you’ll find stagnant pools of water in the summer, but otherwise, make sure your dog is up for a hike like this and make sure you bring water for them!

I’d suggest hitting River Place early in the morning or late in the evening. Running into so many people on the narrow staircases gets old. Still, it’s a great way to train for mountain hiking (something we don’t get the chance to do here in Central Texas).

July 2: Canyon Trail

click to see stats
Duration: 2 hours, 13 minutes
Difficulty: Oh yes
Kids: No way
Dogs: Leave the little dogs home—and bring water for the big ones
Swimming: A few stagnant pools early on; maybe another time of year
Park here

We started the first hike at 6:32 a.m.  July 2, 2018,  and were done a little over two hours later.  We did the Canyon Trail, which you’ll find off Big View Drive between Steiner Ranch and Emma Long Metropolitan Park. (Driving Directions here)

So here’s where we began on July 2, at the pond by Big View Drive. Walk around the pond and turn left here:

It’s pretty easy going for a while.


Then the stairs hit.

You get a few reminders that the trail adjoins a golf course:

And (of course) you get a few reminders that some dog owners think someone is going to come behind them to clean up their bags of dogs shit.

About halfway there’s a “first aid” kit that has an emergency tampon or two


As you approach the end of the trail (or the midpoint), you get a decent view:

July 4: Little Fern Trail

click to see stats
Duration: 2 hours, 33 minutes
Difficulty: Oh yes
Kids: No way
Dogs: Only if they’re up for it—and bring water
Swimming: If you like snakes



Little Fern Trail Entrance

On July 4, we started with the Little Fern Trail


The second time, July 4, we started at 7:21 and took 2 hours, 33 minutes to finish. It’s already pushing 90 degrees by the time we finished. The trail was crowded and it was hot.

Little Fern Trail entrance looks like this:



It’s a little less popular than the Canyon Trail entrance, and it won’t take long for you to see where it gets its name:


On our July 4 hike, we found this guy … Anybody have any idea what it is?