The vision for a regional trail project connecting Williamson County communities was born nearly 25 years ago. Now, the cities of Cedar Park, Round Rock and Hutto are working to fund and construct trails and parks to bring this vision to life.

The ambitious Brushy Creek Regional Trail aims to connect these three cities through a shared-use trail for walkers, joggers and bikers. The project would ultimately link residential communities to commercial spaces with parks featuring splash pads, climbing rocks, fishing docks, canoeing and kayaking, picnic areas, and more along the trail.

Russell Fishbeck, Williamson County parks and recreation senior director, explained that the county is responsible for trail segments that lie outside of city limits—the extraterritorial jurisdictions—and that each city is responsible for the funding and construction of its segments within city limits.

Several Williamson County segments have already been completed or planned for, in large part due to parks bond packages passed in 2000, 2006, 2013 and 2019. Cedar Park and Round Rock are also seeing movement, but according to Hutto’s Director of Communications Allison Strupeck, a defined timeline for Hutto remains largely unknown due to the city’s lack of funding and funding sources.

A closer look

Construction on Cedar Park’s Brushy Creek North Fork Trail is ongoing and will span 3 miles. Starting near West Parmer Lane and East Whitestone Boulevard, the trail will extend south and connect to the existing Brushy Creek Regional Trail near Brushy Creek Road.

Round Rock’s Heritage Trail East and Heritage Trail West projects also tie into the regional trail system. According to Sara Bustilloz, Round Rock’s communications and marketing director, the western trail, which spans from Chisholm Trail Road to Mays Street, resumed construction earlier this year after work was originally done in 2020 and 2021. Construction of the eastern trail, which would span from Mays Street to Georgetown Street, is not yet in the works.

Hutto’s portion of the trail remains largely undeveloped despite having plans. According to Strupeck, the county will need to create a trail link to Hutto that would run underneath SH 130 and end at Adam Orgain Park. This trail extension is one of the connections outlined in the city’s proposed five-year list of possible capital improvement projects.

On the county level, a $59 million parks bond package will go before voters this November that will provide funding to complete a 1.5-mile gap starting at Hairy Man Road between Cedar Park and Round Rock if approved.

Cedar Park
  • Timeline: Construction began in March and will take 10-16 months to complete.
  • Cost: $4.2 million
  • Funding sources: Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, Cedar Park bonds and general fund
Round Rock
  • Timeline: west trail late 2024; east trail TBD
  • Cost: west trail $19.5 million; east trail TBD
  • Funding sources: Round Rock bonds and general fund (west trail), Texas Department of Transportation (east trail)
Williamson County
  • Timeline: Construction could begin in summer 2024 and be completed in 2025.
  • Cost: TBD
  • Funding sources: portion of $59 million parks bond package, if passed
  • Timeline: TBD
  • Cost: TBD
  • Funding sources: TBD
Going forward

For Williamson County, Fishbeck said that there is already a consultant designing the 1.5-mile gap, after which a bid will follow to hire a contractor for construction. Once the connection is made, the trail will pick up at a 1-mile-long segment constructed several years ago. With the current bond initiative, more trail projects—including this gap—will be completed if passed in November.

As Cedar Park and Round Rock move forward with its segments of the project through 2024, Fishbeck said that there is money set aside for the county segment between Round Rock and Hutto but that there are not enough willing landowners to provide an easement or sell some of their property for the connection.

There is even a “project on paper” to one day connect Hutto to its eastern neighbor Taylor, said Fishbeck, but like the Hutto segment, it requires willing landowners and affordable acquisitions in order to obtain the various tracts of land needed to make that connection.

“It’s an ongoing vision of the county and these communities,” Fishbeck said. “Due to the complexities of how it happens, when funding becomes available and who’s willing to participate, it’s hard to put a timeline on it.”

Put in perspective

Constructing a regional trail system takes years of work and has many moving parts. Here is a breakdown of the county's trail timeline so far:
  • 1999: The vision of a major regional trail concept is born.
  • 2000: The first parks bond package, $25 million, is approved by voters, and the first two phases of the trail are constructed.
  • 2006: The second parks bond package, $22 million, is approved by voters.
  • 2008: The Williamson County Parks Department completes a comprehensive parks master plan, and another phase of the regional trail is completed.
  • 2013: The third parks bond package, $40 million, is approved by voters.
  • 2018: The 2008 master plan is updated with a continued focus on the regional trail concept.
  • 2019: The fourth parks bond package, $35 million, is approved, providing some funding for the county to complete the 1.5-mile gap and initial planning for a future trail connection between Round Rock and Hutto.