How Do You Find and Navigate Trails at St. Stephen’s? There’s An App for That.

Our location, the land and the opportunity to enjoy nature and the beautiful Texas Hill Country are some of the most valuable assets at St. Stephen’s. For the first time ever, the SSES community can find and follow the paths stretching between “Capital of Texas Highway” Loop 360 and the Colorado River using their phone. In partnership with Land id, the school just released its first digital, interactive trail map that can be accessed in a web browser or through the company’s app.

In order to maintain campus security, users must be logged into MySSES to view the map, located on the Student Handbook & More Resource Tile.

Under the direction of Director of Outdoor Education Charlton Perry and Upper School Biology Instructor Dean Mohlman, students involved in the Spartan Conservation Corp started working on the project during the 2021-22 academic year. Perry discovered Land id while working with land management organizations. He reached out to their founder and CEO, Steve Roberson, who was interested in working with students and getting Land id involved with education.

“I hope it helps students, faculty, staff and families enjoy the trails,” said Perry. “Although, we are using the app for more than just wayfinding. We also use it for land management data and we may even help operations map underground utilities.”

Perry believes more people in the St. Stephen’s community are likely to use the trails if they know where they’re going. Before the app was introduced, the only way to get familiar with them was through trial and error, experience or orientation hikes with Mr. Perry. Most of the trails pre-date the school’s history. Some are game trails that expanded with our use, others are old dirt roads and some are trails that the Spartan community have built. 

Additionally, Perry says learning to use the app is a great opportunity for students who may discover they enjoy working with Geographic Information System (GIS) or doing land and science work. 
“It will help us lay down layers of data that will give us an idea of the state of our land and the impact our efforts are having over time,” said Perry.

Students, employees, alumni and families of these groups are all welcome on the trails. Here are some tips and recommendations while hiking the trails:
  • It's always a good idea to keep pets on a leash.
  • Generally speaking, observe, but do not disturb wildlife.
  • Always pick up after your pets.
  • Pedestrians always have the right of way.  
  • Winter and spring are mountain biking seasons.  
    • It's the cyclist's responsibility to look out for pedestrians, but it's the courteous thing for pedestrians to step out of the way.
  • Announcements will be made if there is going to be a timed loop run by the team.  During those occasions, the bikers have the right of way.  
  • It is never a good idea to wear headphones or earbuds while walking, running or cycling.  One cannot hear if cyclists are riding up on them. 
Address: 6500 St. Stephen's Dr., Austin, TX 78746
Phone: (512) 327-1213