• Activities:

    Chillin, Swimming

  • Skill Level:


  • Season:

    Year Round

Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly

McKinney Falls is located 15 miles from downtown Austin and is home to two waterfalls, ample spots for relaxation, and swimming in the summer months. Remember the $6 Entrance Fee (Free with a TX State Parks Pass).

McKinney Falls is separated into the Upper and Lower Falls along Onion Creek just 15 miles outside of Austin. The pin I dropped on the map gets you to the parking lot at the Upper Falls. From there it is a very short walk past the Smith Visitor Center to the falls. The upper falls offers some shady areas underneath beautiful cypress trees and an area to swim near the falls. It's not uncommon to see groups of local Austinites hanging out, swimming, drinking beers, reading, playing guitar and generally escaping the noise of the city for the day. It's also a dog friendly park, so many people will bring their furry companions.

To get to the Lower Falls you actually have to get back in your car and drive to it. While it's only about a mile down the road you'll have to follow the signs from the Upper Falls parking lot to find it. From the Lower Falls parking lot it's another very short walk to the falls. If you're wanting to just hang out at one spot for the day, my advice would be to scope out both spots and decide where the best option is to enjoy your day there. Sometimes one of the falls can be busier than the other. Either way you decide this is the perfect spot to get away for the day or weekend (there are a few primitive campsites available).

Pack List

  • Blanket
  • Towel
  • Cooler
  • Snacks & Water
  • Local Austin craft beer
  • Bathing Suit
  • Good book
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Stayed here for two weeks and it was great, very calm and peaceful also caught some decent small mouth

about 1 month ago
about 1 month ago

If you live here, it's one of the best places to spend a day (but not during Spring Break), along with the Barton Creek Greenbelt (360 access). It can be crowded, though, especially during swimming season. Best time is several days after a good rain when there's water in the creek and the falls are flowing. I don't camp here because I prefer more secluded places, but there are campsites here. A fair decent trail follows the creek, from the Upper to Lower Falls.

about 2 months ago
about 2 months ago

Average at best. McKinney Falls isn't really worth the sights when compared to some of the other spots around Austin. To each his own though

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

We lucked out with a beautiful day! There are trails you can take around the falls and they are all nice and easy. Was awesome to dip our feet in the water once we were done and just chill and take it all in. Love the fact that it's dog friendly! Also for any history buffs we came across an old farm house (blocked off) on one of the trails so could be fun to investigate that. There was a nice informative plaque about it. The trails themselves are easy but to get to them (at least the way we went) you might get a tad wet or have to do some jumping from rock to rock. Nothing extreme just something to keep in mind if you were going to take small children or dogs that can't jump well/like to get wet. Happy adventuring! The falls themselves warrant a 5 star rating, but the hike included is was got it to 4 stars. Nothing wrong with them just wasn't wowed to the 5 star status :)

almost 2 years ago
almost 2 years ago

Korey Taylor Explorer

The very basic core of a man's living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.

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