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Rules

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Texas Law

In addition to the Texas Water Safety Act, the City of Austin has established several ordinances for Lake Austin, Lady Bird Lake and Lake Walter E. Long. The purposes of these ordinances are to protect the health and safety of the public using the area lakes.

  • Texas law requires the following with respect to PFDs (personal flotation devices). Recreational vessels (including canoes, kayaks, and other paddlecraft) under 26ft. in length when underway (including drifting or not at anchor).
  • All children under 13 years old must wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket(type I, II, III, or V (wearable).
  • Adults must have a properly fitting U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket(type I, II, III, or V (wearable) that is easily accessible.

Fishing: It shall be unlawful for any person to fish from the deck or other portion of any bridge that crosses the Colorado River within the city limits. Additional information about fishing in Lake Bird Lake can be found on the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department website

Events/Exhibitions:  No public event or exhibition may occur on Lady Bird Lake without City of Austin and City Council authorization.

Swimming: It is illegal for any person to swim, bathe, wade or go into the waters of Lady Bird Lake, except in efforts to rescue and recover human beings.

Jumping/Diving:It shall be unlawful for any person to dive from or jump of any bridge that crosses the Colorado River within the city limits.

Motorized Vessels: No person shall operate a gas-powered or electric motor vessel on the waters of Lady Bird Lake, except with the permission of the city. Motorboats operated by officers and employees of the city in the performance of their official duties are exempt. Only watercraft powered by electric motors that do not exceed a capacity of five horsepower can operate on Lady Bird Lake. Home made watercraft with any motor additionally required Texas Parks and Wildlife registration and inspection.

  • No person on any watercraft on Lake Austin, Lake Walter E. Long, or Lady Bird Lake shall possess, use or operate, or assist in the use or other similar device capable of propelling or launching fluid-filled balloons or other projectiles.
  • No person within 150 yards of the shoreline of Lake Austin, Lake Walter E. Long, or Lady Bird Lake shall use or operate, or assist in the use, of other similar device to propel or launch fluid-filled balloons or other projectiles towards the waters of said lakes.
  • It shall be unlawful for any person to occupying watercraft located on Lady Bird Lake for the purpose of sleeping between dusk and dawn or overnight habitation unless the City Council approves otherwise.
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Visiting the Boardwalk:

  • Hours: The Boardwalk is open from 5am to midnight each day, with a curfew between midnight and 5am.
  • Boardwalk Access: The Boardwalk can be accessed at several points – the northeast corner of the American-Statesman parking lot, off the Riverside Drive sidewalk at Blunn Creek, from the northeast corner of the Riverside and IH35 intersection and at International Shores Park, 1820 S. Lakeshore Blvd. 
  • Parking: Street parking is available along S. Lakeshore Blvd. between Pleasant Valley Road and Riverside. Or if you are walking the Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail loop, you can park at Festival Beach across the river, or at any of the parking areas near the trail.
  • Fishing:  is allowed on the rest areas but not along the main trail.
  • Maintenance:  To report trail maintenance issues, please call 311.
  • Contact:  Manuel Soza at 512-495-9163
  • Yield to slower trail users and pass on the left with care.
  • When approaching congested areas, please slow down.
  • No motorized vehicles are allowed on the trail.
  • All pets must be on a leash 6 feet or less in length, unless playing in the designated off-leash area at Auditorium Shores.
  • Please clean up after your pets.