I’ve photographed a number of couples for their engagement at the highest natural point near Austin: Mount Bonnell. And I wanted to share some of those photos. If you’ve never heard of Mount Bonnell then you’re missing out one of the historic wonders of Austin, right up there with legendary places like Zilker Botanical Garden and Barton Springs.
Mt. Bonnell is located west of Austin, in the Hill Country, west of Mopac (1) near Camp Mabry (Austin’s own small military installation). Mount Bonnell is known for its scenic views overlooking the Colorado River. From Mount Bonnell one can look west and see all the way to the famous 360 Bridge, which crosses the Colorado River upstream and then as the river flows downstream all the way into downtown Austin – hands down one of the best scenic views of the Colorado River in Austin.
Like many other Austin landmarks, people have been coming to Mt Bonnell for a long time to enjoy the outdoors for picnics and leisure time. In fact, once you reach the summit after climbing the stairs on the east side of the facing you’ll find a large stone marker that commemorates the Austin landmark’s history (the corner of which is curiously missing). At this point you can go left or right. To the left is a short trail which follows the apex of the hill. To the right opens a wider, flatter trail along the same apex, offering lots of viewing spots of the spectacular hill country/river view.
The area is lined with Juniper (Cedar) Trees and scrub brush. Below the tree line on just about all sides are large lots lined with expensive, luxury homes along the Colorado River and along both sides of Mount Bonnell. Enjoy the “free” view of things; many other home owners in the area pay millions of dollars for theirs!
Things you’ll need to bring if you visit Mount Bonnell:
- Bug/Mosquito repellant
- Sun block
-Comfortable walking shoes (there are lots of stairs to climb to get to the top)
- Patience. If the park is busy, you may have to wait for that perfect shot!
Hints/Tips: Mt. Bonnell is somewhat busy on weekends and some week days during the summer. Pick a time when people are less likely to interfere with your photographs, like a weekday morning.