Snake Island – Austin, Texas - Atlas Obscura

Snake Island

A small island hides in plain sight on Austin's Lady Bird Lake. 


While nearly everyone in Austin, Texas seems to know about Lady Bird Lake (aka Town Lake), many have never heard of Snake Island, a curious island hidden in plain sight which lies at the East End just a short paddle from downtown.

Also called “Hobo Island,” the small 2,000-square-foot landmass has no official signage or landing area. The City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department doesn’t acknowledge it as a site of interest. It’s just there. In the middle of everything and few people, aside from some seasoned kayakers and fishers, seem to know it.

The island is covered in trees and at various times has featured a tree swing, trapeze, rope swing, fire pit, and picnic tables (apparently brought by an agile and ingenious kayaker). There’s also a well-kept grave for a dog named Squiggles. And once in a while the occasional (illegal) camper.

But are there snakes? You’ll just have to find out for yourself.

Know Before You Go

The island is near the HI Hostel on Riverside drive. There is no bridge or walkway to the island. You must use a non-powered watercraft to get there. Swimming in the lake is illegal. There are many kayak, SUP, and canoe rentals on Lady Bird Lake. As of this writing the closest is EpicSUP rentals.

Getting onto the island is easiest on the east side, though you can also port on the west if you want to clamber up a six-foot dirt drop off.

During many times of year open fires are banned in Austin parks. Please don't burn the island down.

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