People Love Mckinney Falls State Park
The park has 222 reviews on Yelp and has gotten a four start rating overall. The people at the park are friendly and it truly feels like you are in the middle of nature, not just a few miles from a big city. Theres little traffic noise or Hipsters. We would have to agree that when you enter the park, its like crossing over into a whole new world where you can truly relax.
The good news is, that the Austin winters are so mild, you can visit the park most of the year. Sure its a great bonus to splash in the swimming holes or see all of the trees green and lush, but you can also escape the everyday anytime you want.
Frequently Asked Questions About Mckinney Falls
Can I bring my dog to McKinney Falls State Park?
Yes, but not inside any State Park Buildings. Dogs must also be up-to-date on the Rabies vaccine. See all pet policies for Texas State Parks.
Does McKinney Falls have Wifi?
Do you have to pay for McKinney Falls State Park? | How much does McKinney Falls State Park cost?
Yes. It is $6 per adult, and free for children 12 years and younger for the day.
How long is the hike to McKinney Falls?
There is a 2.75-mile Homestead Trail
Do I need a reservation for McKinney Falls State Park?
Reservations are strongly recommended for a day pass, cabins, and camping sites.
Does McKinney Falls Campsites have water?
There a 81 campsites that includes water and electric hookups.
Is it safe to swim in McKinney Falls?
Swimming at McKinney Falls is at the risk of the swimmer. Swimming is permitted. The Lower falls have shallower waters, where the Upper Falls has deeper waters. There are no lifeguards on duty. See the Texas Parks and Wildlife swimming safety tips.
Does McKinney Falls have a Dump Station?
Yes. There is a Dump Station. See the Park Map for location.
Where can I fish in McKinney Falls State Park?
Fishing is permitted at the Onion or Williamson Creeks. Fishing licenses are not required when on shore at Texas State Parks.
How many acres is McKinney Falls?
It is 614 acres in total.
Mckinney Falls State Park Information:
Year Opened: 1976
CCC Park? No
Park Store? Yes
Pet Policy: Pets are allowed throughout the park and on the trails, but must be kept on a leash at all times. Pets are not allowed in buildings.
Lodging Options at McKinney Falls State Park: RV Camping, Tent Camping, Cabins
Amenities: nature center, hiking, biking, bouldering, bird watching, wildlife viewing, fishing, swimming, camping, geocaching, picnicking, amphitheater, playground, historic ruins
Hiking the Rock Shelter Trail
Region: Texas Hill Country
Nearest Towns: Colton TX , Bluff Springs TX , Del Valle TX , Creedmoor , Austin TX
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Alerts And Important Information
When the park reaches maximum capacity it will close to day-use visitors without a reservation. Closures are common on weekends and holidays so reservations are highly recommended. If you are planning to visit for the day, please arrive early and have a back-up plan in case of a closure. Customers with camping reservations will be able to enter during these closures.Access to trails across Onion Creek may be affected by creek conditions due to rainfall. Please contact the park for trail access information.
If your plans change, please modify or cancel your reservation as soon as possible to allow someone else to enjoy the park.DAY USE FEE: OFFICE AND GATE INFORMATION:PARK PHONE NUMBER:
Relax In Nature Only 10 Miles From Austin
This was the perfect spot to visit Austin. The park is only ~10 miles from town yet is set in a lovely, large green area with miles of hiking/biking trails, historical interest and even several creeks with cute, little water-falls. The sites themselves are very decent asphalt pads with great separation, green sitting area and electric/water hook-ups. The only negative is some of them are rather uneven . Overall we thoroughly enjoyed exploring/hiking the park and taking trips into Austin and would certainly stay here again if we came back.
More info and pics here:http://wheelingit.wordpress.com/2011/03/31/sp-campground-review-mckinney-falls-state-park-austin-tx/
Extra Info: Both Verizon aircard and phone worked fine. Sites are $16/night for 30Amp/water or $20/night for 50Amp/water. Additional entry fee of $5/person/day . On-site dump.
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Things To Do At The Mckinney Falls State Park:
Hiking: Don’t miss “Old Baldy”! Estimated to be more than 500 years old, this huge bald cypress tree measures 103 feet tall and more than 16′ around! It is listed as one of the oldest bald cypress trees on public land in Texas. You’ll find Old Baldy on the Rock Shelter Trail .
McKinney Falls State Park is home to over 10.5 miles of hiking trails ranging from easy to moderate in difficulty. Some trails require you to cross the creek or on rocks above some of the falls to reach the trailhead.
Things to look for while you hike: the Upper and Lower Falls, Old Baldy, historic ruins of the McKinney homestead and Thomas McKinney’s 1852 gristmill. You can also walk on part of the 400 year old El Camino Real and find the old Smith Family Picnic Area.
Bouldering: The most unique activity at McKinney Falls State Park! Experienced rock climbers can test their bouldering skills near the Lower Falls. Bring your own equipment.
Biking: Biking is allowed on 9.5 miles of the park’s trails including the Homestead Trail, Williamson Creek Overlook Trail, Flint Rock Loop Trail, Service Road Trail, and the Onion Creek Hike and Bike Trail. Some of the trails require you to cross a creek to reach the trailhead.
Newly Reopened Visitor Center
Visiting Old Baldy
Birding: Some of the birds you might see at McKinney Falls State Park include painted buntings, yellow-bellied flycatchers, barred owls, green kingfishers, cardinals and several different kinds of warblers. Bring your binoculars.
How To Get There
McKinney Falls State Park is located just 13 miles from downtown Austin. The drive takes roughly 20 minutes or less, depending on traffic. From Downtown Austin, travel south on I-35 and TX-71 to reach the park entrance. If you are arriving from the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, the drive is even shorter at just seven miles away. From the airport, you’ll take US-183 south for three miles before making a right onto the McKinney Parkway. There is only one entrance and exit in the park.
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Inside Mckinney Falls State Park
Theres a reason why numerous visitors flock here each year. McKinney Falls State Park gives visitors the chance to take part in fun outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, fishing, swimming, geocaching, and more.
Hiking : McKinney Falls provides fairly good variety in terms of hiking terrain, including almost 9 miles of trails. Some of the most popular trails include the Onion Creek trail , Rock Shelter trail, and Lower Falls and Homestead trail.
Biking : Many of the parks hiking trails are also available to bikers. The most popular trail for bicycling is the Onion Creek Trail, as it has an easy to navigate, paved surface.
Fishing : You dont need a license to fish from the shore in a Texas state park. Both Onion and Williamson creeks provide great fishing opportunities for anglers, with the most commonly caught species being sunfish, largemouth bass, and catfish. Other species to look out for include crappie and white bass.
Swimming : Visitors can swim in Onion Creek, however, must be aware that the creek can flood after rainfall. This area is not patrolled by lifeguards, so swimmers should take caution.
Geocaching : Visitors of all ages love the treasure hunt that geocaching provides.Geocaches are hidden items that may be camouflaged, but not buried. Visitors simply use a GPS unit or smartphone app to find the coordinates of the nearby geocache, then set out to find it. Its a great way to enjoy the scenery of the state park and have some fun along the way.
Mckinney Falls State Park Camping
The park campground features 81 campsites, all with water and electrical hookups, as well as six newly-remodeled cabins. Restrooms, bathhouses, a dump station, and park hosts round out the amenities.
My campsite, #77 in the Big Cedar Camping Area, was a spacious wooded plot with a unique horseshoe drive-through.
The rain continued through the night and into the next day, but I was cozy inside my van and used the down time to research and make reservations for upcoming campgrounds.
Mid-morning there was a break in the rain, so I headed out to visit the upper and lower falls and even hike some trails.
After returning to the van, wild turkeys visited my campsite and kept me entertained through the afternoon.
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Plan An Unforgettable Mckinney Falls State Park Camping Trip
by Howard Blount | Jul 18, 2021
On a McKinney Falls State Park camping trip, plunge into an Austin swimming hole, hike to historical ruins, and immerse yourself in the beauty of the Texas Hill Country.
This post may contain affiliate links. Please refer to our our Disclosure/Disclaimer page for more information.
Caprock Canyons State Park & Trailway
850 Caprock Canyon Road, Quitaque, TX 79255
Located in the states panhandle, between Lubbock and Amarillo, this stunning state park is worth a detour. The scenery alone is enough of an attraction, with red rock cliffs rising up from green canyon floors and sweeping views in all directions. Nearly 90 miles of trails are available for hikers and cyclists of all levels. Swimming, fishing, and no-wake boating are available on Lake Theo. Wildlife viewing includes coyotes, pronghorn antelope, and prairie dogs, but the real draw is the Texas State Bison Herd that roams the park. Youre almost guaranteed to safely spot these magnificent beasts during your visit. There are 31 campsites with water and electricity available at Honey Flat Campground near Lake Theo. Campground facilities include playgrounds, a store, and a dump station.
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Amenities And Fun Things To Do:
McKinney Falls State Park has 81 sites with water and electricity, 8 walk-in sites with water only, and 6 screened shelters. The campsites are in five different loops and all of the sites have a parking pad, 20 and 30 amp service , water, a picnic table, lantern pole, and fire pit. A lot of sites also have a tent pad. The vast majority of the sites are back-in but there are several pull through sites for bigger rigs. Most of the sites are level, heavily treed, and very spacious. The roads are paved as are the parking pads.
Some of the other amenities at McKinney Falls State Park include:
- group dining hall with a full kitchen
- showers and restrooms
- Park store with ice, firewood, caps, T-shirts, and more
The biggest attraction of McKinney Falls State Park are Upper and Lower Falls. Upper Falls is created from Onion Creek flowing through natural limestone channels which cascade into a beautiful pool which is excellent for swimming and it’s surrounded by huge cypress trees and a natural gravel beach. Lower Falls is similar with water flowing across a gently dipping limestone shelf before it plunges eight feet into a fantastic swimming hole complete with a gravel beach.
When you enter, pick up a list of the Ranger programs and enjoy the night hikes, birding, geocaching, or atlatls programs.
Entering Mckinney Falls State Park
Children 12 years and under are free to enter the park, while adults must pay a daily admission fee of $6.
McKinney Falls State Park Adult Admission Ticket: $6.0
Were very excited that youre planning a trip to McKinney Falls State Park. Once youve finished exploring all that the park has to offer, there are also some incredible opportunities waiting for you outside of its gates! During or after your stay, we encourage you to tag us in any of your social media posts, or why not share your photos and experience with us at ? We may even feature your story on our blog or social media channels. Happy camping!
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Our Experience At Mckinney Falls State Park
In The Rock Shelter at McKinney Falls State Park
We stayed in campsite number 35 in the Big Oak Camping Area. Our back-in site had 30amp electricity and water. It was plenty big enough for our 34′ Class A Motorhome and Jeep Gladiator with the Jeep parked across the front of the pavement. We were just a few feet down the street from a bathroom and trash dumpster. A park host was next door.
Space wise, our campsite was huge! We had plenty of space between us and our neighbors. Our fire pit was set quite a ways from our RV which meant we could enjoy a campfire without having to worry about the smoke going into ours or our neighbors’ RVs.
We really enjoyed exploring McKinney Falls State Park by hiking. We had a great time at the Upper and Lower Falls. The park was almost completely empty during the week in January.
Our favorite hikes on this visit were the Rock Shelter Trail and the Homestead Trail. Both offered some great views and interesting history. The Rock Shelter served as a campsite for the ancestors of the Tonkawa Indians 2,000 years ago. We visited another of these shelters at Mother Neff State Park.
To reach the Homestead Trail, we crossed over the Lower Falls. We also really enjoyed searching for the Smith Family Picnic Table. And I think that’s one of the things we really enjoyed about McKinney Falls State Park… as we spent time exploring the park, we felt like we were doing just that… exploring! It was fun, and interesting all at the same time.
Get To Know Thomas Mckinney One Of The 300 Pioneers Of Texas
You can also check out the homestead of Thomas McKinney, the parks namesake and original member of Stephen F Austins settlers.
The park is also part of the 300-year-old El Camino Real de los Tejas, which is a trail that was once traversed by French, American, and Spanish pioneers.
See all the points of interest at McKinney Falls State Park
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Rv Site Details: Mckinney Falls State Park
- Site Pad Material: Gravel
- Water: Yes, included with daily rate
- Electricity: Yes, included with daily rate
- Sewer: Not on individual sites
- Laundry: No
- Dates of our Stay: January 5-7 and February 21-22 2014
- Site Number: #14 on January 5-7 and #19 on February 21-22
- Cellular Coverage: We received strong Verizon and AT& T signals in the park
- Most Memorable Moment: When a hawk landed on our passenger side view mirror. Brittany crawled across the floor to grab the camera and we were able to snap a couple of pictures before it flew off!
- Other Awesome Moments: Hanging out with epic travel bloggers around a campfire, deer meandering all over our site throughout the time we were there, and our open house that we had with Austin-area friends.
- Least Fun Moment: Doing the dump station thing without disposable gloves, which we forgot to buy.
- Fun People We Met: Jill Sessa of Vespa and a Laptop, Brian and Maria of The Roaming Pint, Shaun and Erica of Over Yonderlust, and John and Laura of The Democratic Travelers.
Mckinney Falls State Park Entrance Fees
McKinney Falls State Park tickets or entrance fee is valid for one day and costs $6 per adult, and is free for children 12 years and younger.
McKinney Falls State Park Annual Pass is the same as an Annual Texas State Parks Pass, and is available for $70 per year. This annual pass covers entrance to McKinney Falls State Park and all Texas State Parks. The pass includes all guests per vehicle.
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Cabins At Mckinney Falls State Park:
Kitchen Inside Cabin
Parking at Cabin
These cabins include a patio with picnic table and fire ring / grill. Inside is another picnic table, a kitchen sink, microwave, mini-refrigerator, living room seating, desk, two twin bunk beds , dresser and ceiling fans. Bring your own linens and kitchenware.
No tents, RVs or pets allowed. No bathrooms in the cabins. A bathhouse with showers and restrooms is located in the cabin loop.
Cabins at McKinney Falls State Park require a two-night minimum rental on weekends and a three-night minimum rental on holidays and special events weekends.
Austin Lone Star Rv Resort
Just a 15-minute drive away from the state park is theAustin Lone Star RV Resort, which provides over 150 spacious, tree-shaded sites complete with full hookups. With its convenient location, youll find it easy to access all of Austins most popular tourist destinations from here. Long term stays are available, and sites can fit RVs measuring up to 45 feet.
Water hookup: yes
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