Hike and Bike Trail: Pfluger Bridge

Pfluger Bridge is one of several bridges connecting the north and south sides of the Austin Hike and Bike Trail. This bridge spans Lady Bird Lake, which is the section of the (Texas) Colorado River which flows through the city of Austin. Pfluger Bridge carries pedestrian traffic only … plus strollers, skateboarders, roller skaters, cyclists, unicyclists and tight-rope walkers. 

Pfluger Bridge is a busy place. I guess people like to hang out up above water. The benchesand there are plenty of themare usually full. Sometimes bands or musicians are playing. I’ve heard there are concerts here all night during South by Southwest. Photographers are attracted by the great view of the nearby railroad bridge and the downtown skyline. 

The northern access to the bridge has both stairs and a circular ramp to get to the trail. I tend to take the stairs to avoid the bicyclists zooming down the ramp. Sometimes an artist sets up an outdoor studio near the bottom of the stairs and paints scenes of downtown Austin. 

Back in early February the City of Austin opened an extension to the Pfluger Bridge which goes over the busy street of Cesar Chavez. The extension provides safer access to the trail from downtown. Due to the railroad tracks, you still have to walk along Lamar Boulevard to reach the Lamar-Sixth Street intersection with Whole Foods, BookPeople, Waterloo Records and other popular Austin destinations. At least the sidewalk along Lamar was widened so now you just have to worry about exhaust fumes.

From street level, the Pfluger Bridge extension looks rusty and doesn’t match the rest of the bridge. I am guessing that a) this design was cheaper or b) someone was trying to mimic the nearby railroad bridge. But the walkway on top is lined with dark wood strips which look like outdoor paneling. The wood dampens the street noises below and creates a very inviting entrance to the walkway.

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