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Located just a few miles outside of downtown Austin, Mount Bonnell gives visitors a great opportunity to check the surrounding area.  Standing seven hundred and eighty feet above sea level, Mount Bonnell is second only to the Jollyville Plateau in terms of height in the Austin area.  This height allows for a fantastic view of the Lake Austin portion of the Colorado River, the 360 Bridge, and the downtown Austin skyline.   While the site was designated a Texas Historical Landmark in 1969, it has been a heavily visited tourist spot since the 1850s.  The site was named for George W. Bonnell, who was a prominent figure in the fight for Texas Independence.  In addition to being the Commissioner of Indian Affairs under president Sam Houston, he also published the prominent paper The Texas Sentinel.   There are two ways in which to reach the top of Mount Bonnell.  The most direct route is the gigantic staircase that will take you straight to the top.  The long way is a gentle slope up the side of the hill, giving you some great views of the West side (as well as some great views of some of the most expensive homes in the Austin area).  Once at the top there is a picnic area overlooking the entirety of the Austin skyline.  You will be hard pressed to find a better view for your lunch.   For those who are interested in the rich history of Mount Bonnell, there are a number of stories presented here.  Our full gallery of images can be found here. Mt Bonnell 428