Texas State Parks: McKinney Falls State Park

Located in south Austin, McKinney Falls State Park has been open to the public since 1976. From this location in Travis County, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is easily accessible.

Named after one of the first colonists in the area, Thomas F. McKinney, the park still features the remains of his horse trainer’s cabin and homestead near Onion Creek. The Smith Visitor Center, located within the park, offers information on Thomas F. McKinney along with details about the history of the park itself.

McKinney Falls State Park provides more than 744 acres of scenic beauty that provides a variety of activities including camping, hiking, fishing, road biking, mountain biking, hiking, and picnicking. Swimming is now permitted at Onion Creek, but it is wise to call ahead for the Creek’s condition as that determines its accessibility. Wildlife observation is another of the popular activities within the park.

Tours at McKinney Falls State Park are interactive, educational, and interesting. Quite a number of them are offered for a fee throughout the day. However, it is important to contact the park in order to make reservations or get more details.

In addition to maps and tours, McKinney Falls State Park also provides a detailed fishing tip sheet to make your fishing adventure even more enjoyable. This tip list is also available online at the official park website.

Other area attractions can add to your enjoyment of the Austin area. These points of interest include Bastrop State Park, Buescher State Park, Longhorn Cavern State Park, Lockhart State Park, and Pedernales Falls State Park.

Camping at the park is provided with 84 campsites that offer water and electricity. Additionally, park facilities provide screened shelters that offer bunks although mattresses are unavailable. A youth group camping area is one of the special features of this particular state park. In fact, a dining hall with a capacity to hold 75 individuals is available for rental on a daily basis.

Picnicking is simplified with picnic sites that feature a fire ring, a grill, a picnic table, and accessible water. Park visitors also have access to the park’s interpretive center that includes an audiovisual room as well as an exhibit room. The amphitheater can hold as many as 50 people at a single sitting.

Both hiking and mountain biking are popular activities here at McKinney Falls State Park. Four miles of trails are maintained for multi-use purposes while three and a half miles of paved trails are readily available. The scenery is gorgeous no matter what time of year it is. In fact, wildlife observation is so popular here due to the abundance of animals and the photographic opportunities. Wildlife species include raccoons, squirrels, white-tailed deer, armadillos, and birds.

McKinney Falls State Park is open seven days a week all year round. The park gates open at 8:00 am and close at 10:00 pm. The busiest season at the park falls between the months of March and November. A handy online calendar is available so that potential visitors can check for any scheduled closings due to maintenance or other issues.