Saturday we headed down to McKinney Falls State Park. Mat and Becca had been last weekend and said it was great. They told us stories of tons of frogs, snails, and great hiking. We didn’t see quite as many frogs, but I think we’ll definitely be back. As we’ve come to expect from Texas they charge per person to visit (kids under 13 free, others $4) instead of per car. Although a state park pass is available for $60 a year and covers everyone in your car. Go figure. The park itself offers camping (pretty normal sites without much privacy), picnicking, a little hiking and biking and of course hanging out at the falls. I was surprised to see that the campsites were full. But down here Veterans Day means camping just like Memorial or Labor days do in Washington. After all it is 80F down here this weekend.

Lower Falls: 20071110_IMG_1661

Much like Bull Creek the falls and Onion creek run over solid rock that has been smoothed, shaped and carved by the flowing water. You walk across several hundred feet of solid rock to get to the creek near the Lower Falls. The surface is pocked with small to large holes many of them filled with water even though we haven’t had much rainfall. Wesley had a good time exploring these holes and we had a hard time convincing him that we should keep going and that cooler stuff was up ahead.

Looking into Pothole: 20071110_IMG_1640

Before we crossed over the lower falls we stopped along the creek to skip some rocks. We hung out for a bit and Wesley had a good time. I did too. Apparently throwing rocks is something men never grow out of. I’ve been wanting to skip rocks for a while, but the only body of water we go to is Mills Pond near our house and their aren’t really any stones let alone flat ones.

Skipping Stones: 20071110_IMG_1648

The falls were pretty neat. Maybe 15 feet high with several different spills. I’m sure they would be much more impressive if it had rained much in the last few months. I’d like to come back and see it after a good thunderstorm. Crossing wasn’t too difficult though a bit unnerving as you step over one large gap with squirming children in your arms. In one area there is a complete hole cut through the rock forming a nifty circle. Water must flow through when the creek is up.

Lower Falls: 20071110_IMG_1667

After we crossed we headed down the trail a bit. We looked at the old grist mill which is mostly a big hole with stones in and around it. No pictures because I was afraid Wesley was going to fall over the edge. He likes big holes. We headed down the trail a bit in search of the frogs, but I think we went the wrong way. After a bit we turned around, but not before seeing this big guy. He is about 3 inches long and pretty sluggish. Very cool to see.

Grasshopper: 20071110_IMG_1682

We turned around and headed down the trail/maintenance road the other direction. We came across the McKinney homestead. It was to be his retirement home and was used by farm workers after he sold the property and until it burned down in the 1940s. The road/trail was actually rather pretty with the trees forming a lovely canopy and the light filtering through was soft and gentle. Jillian especially liked this area. She was alert and looking at everything.

McKinney House: 20071110_IMG_1688

At the house we gave Wesley a shot in the Ergo. He seemed to like it and rode all the way back to the falls that way. Amber said it was pretty comfy. It is certainly less bulky than the sherpani, but I don’t think I’d want to keep him in there all day. And it doesn’t really have any storage space so you’d need another bag of some kind.

Ergo: 20071110_IMG_1692

Back across the creek we stopped and changed Jillian’s diaper. Turns out we should have changed Wesley’s too, but that is another story. We stayed by the creek a bit and headed for home. Next time I think we’ll head up to the upper creek and check that out. I’d also like to hike the trail and maybe take a look at the “unimproved walk-in” camp sites. Not sure what to expect there.

Noses: 20071110_IMG_1740

Smiling: 20071110_IMG_1733


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1 Comment on McKinney Falls State Park – Austin, TX

  1. says:

    so happy to see you all exploring the region, and with summer weather why not! I say get the year park pass…i’d rather arange rocks than skip them

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