About Pennybacker Bridge
Finished and open to traffic in 1982, the Pennybacker Bridge (often referred to as the 360 bridge) won first place in the 1984 Federal Highway Administration’s Excellence in Highway Design competition (so, it’s even cooler cause it’s an award-winning bridge, right?). The bridge is also unique in that, no part of Pennybacker Bridge touches the water, allowing for uninhibited use of Lake Austin by recreational boaters and skiers. You can read more about the bridge, it’s accolades, and construction details here.
The overlook at Pennybacker Bridge
A quick five minute hike from the road (parking is in the dirt area in-front of the trailhead), the overlook provides stunning views of Lake Austin, Pennybraker Bridge, and the city of Austin skyline in the distance. While it’s a quick and easy climb to the top of the overlook (especially with my trail-essential Brooks Cascadias), you’ll need to traverse light bouldering terrain on your way. The lookout is a great place for a picnic or an early morning coffee. Anecdotally, it appears there’s more foot traffic at the overlook during the evening and late morning.
Beyond the fence at the 360 overlook
If you’re feeling adventurous, head to the right after climbing to the top of the overlook, and you’ll see a worn down and pulled back fence. It’s gonna be slightly rugged, so throw your camera in a sling, and keep your hands free. Despite appearing to be off-limits, the area is well trafficked and plays host to a few different, more rugged lookout points to view the bridge and lake. These lookouts are steep, and a bit more difficult to get to, which is likely why the area appears to be off limits. Hike at your own risk. 🙂
Have you checked out Pennybacker Bridge and the Lake Austin 360 lookout? Leave your tips, comments, and stories in the comments!