San Marcos Greenbelt Alliance •  107 E. Hopkins St. Suite 121A; San Marcos, Texas 78666

Emerald Crown Trail

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emerald crown trail

Let’s start by imagining a regional trail…

It’s a short walk or bike ride from your front door to the Emerald Crown Trail.  You can go north towards Austin or south towards San Antonio. You experience the beauty of our Texas Hill Country while avoiding traffic. Whether it’s just a short hike to get some fresh air and exercise, or cycling to a neighboring community for work or fun, the Emerald Crown Trail is a valuable part of your lifestyle.


What is the Emerald Crown Trail? 
emerald crown trail map
The Emerald Crown Trail is a proposed trail system that would link Buda, Kyle, San Marcos, and areas of Hays County, with connections to other trails to the north towards Austin and to the south towards New Braunfels and San Antonio.


Who’s involved in the Emerald Crown Trail?

The Emerald Crown Trail Work Group includes the cities of Buda, Kyle and San Marcos, Hays County, the Great Springs Project, and the San Marcos Greenbelt Alliance (SMGA) as partners, and the Hill Country Alliance, the Texas State University Geography Department, Take-a-Hike San Marcos, the cities of Dripping Springs and Austin, and the Guadalupe-Blanco River Trust as stakeholders. The Work Group meets periodically to share information and coordinate trail projects of the various entities so they will eventually connect. The Work Group is chaired by SMGA member Mark Taylor.


How did the Work Group develop a plan for the Emerald Crown Trail?

In 2018 the Work Group, assisted by National Park Service Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance (RTCA) program staff, hosted public outreach meetings on the concept of a regional trail in southern Hays County, and met with city and county staffs and local stakeholders to study possible trail corridors, points of connection, and trailheads. In 2019, the RTCA staff prepared a draft master plan for the Emerald Crown Trail, which the Work Group refined and approved.


What’s included in the Emerald Crown Trail Master Plan?

The Emerald Crown Trail Master Plan identifies possible trail corridors, trailheads, trail types and amenities, and points of interest that would be linked by the Emerald Crown Trail. The plan is conceptual, however, and does not include a budget, cost estimates or completion schedule. The plan can be accessed online at: Emerald Crown Trail Master Plan.


ECT Master Plan Cover
Does the Emerald Crown Trail have the support of elected officials?

Yes! The city councils of Buda, Kyle and San Marcos and the Hays County Commissioners Court have adopted resolutions supporting the Emerald Crown Trail Master Plan.


Who will construct the Emerald Crown Trail?

Construction of trail segments that comprise the Emerald Crown Trail will be undertaken by entities such as Hays County and the cities of Buda, Kyle and San Marcos, with assistance from entities such as SMGA and Texas State University.


What is Great Springs Project (GSP), and how is it related to the Emerald Crown Trail?

GSP envisions a national park-scale corridor of protected lands between Austin and San Antonio and a regional network of trails that link Barton Springs, San Marcos Springs, Comal Springs, and San Antonio Springs. GSP is developing a plan for the trail network and helping coordinate and support trail development efforts in the area between Austin and San Antonio. The Emerald Crown Trail would become a part of the broader trail network envisioned by GSP.


What can you do?

Your support for the Emerald Crown Trail and the Great Springs Project can help make it happen!

  • Express your views about a regional trail network to city and county officials
  • Donate to the Great Springs Project at the link below
  • Volunteer with the San Marcos Greenbelt Alliance trail crew



For questions and more information about the Emerald Crown Trail, email Mark Taylor at [email protected].


We’ll see you and your friends and family on trail!


Useful Links: 

Great Springs Project:

City of Buda – Buda Moves Transportation Mobility Master Plan:

City of Buda Parks and Trails Master Plan:

City of Kyle Parks Master Plan:

City of San Marcos Parks Master Plan:

Hays County Parks and Open Space Advisory Commission:

Hill Country Conservancy – Violet Crown Trail:

City of San Antonio – Howard W Peak Greenway Trails System:

Comal Trails Alliance:

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