Situated in south Austin, McKinney Falls State Park encompasses 744.4 acres of land that was acquired through a private donation in 1970 and opened to the public in 1976. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s headquarters are conveniently situated near the park.
Surprisingly, few residents are aware that this natural haven is a mere 13 miles from the capitol building, making it one of Austin’s best-kept secrets.
Observe and photograph diverse wildlife such as white-tailed deer, raccoons, armadillos, squirrels, and a variety of birds (an available checklist provided).
A Glimpse into the Park’s Past
The park is named in honor of Thomas F. McKinney, an early settler who arrived in Texas during the 1820s as part of Stephen F. Austin’s first 300 colonists. Between 1850 and 1852, McKinney relocated to Travis County, settling on Onion Creek property.
There, he became a renowned racehorse breeder, complete with his own stable and private track. With the help of slave labor, he constructed a sizable two-story home, stone fences, and the region’s first flour mill.
Engaging Park Activities
Visitors can explore preserved ruins of McKinney’s trainer’s cabin and the stabilized remnants of his homestead. The park also offers camping, hiking, mountain biking, road biking, picnicking, fishing, and wildlife observation. Swimming is permitted in Onion Creek; call 512/243-1643 for up-to-date creek conditions.
The Park’s Amenities
The park boasts numerous facilities, including screened shelters with bunk beds (mattresses not included); campsites with water; campsites with water and electricity; walk-in water sites featuring a picnic table, fire ring, grill, and nearby water (located 200 yards in); and picnic sites. There is a 3/4-mile interpretive hiking trail; 3.5 miles of paved trails; 4 miles of multi-use trails for hiking and mountain biking; and an interpretive center equipped with an exhibit room and an audiovisual room.
A sponsored youth group area and a group camp, which consists of screened shelters next to the dining hall, are also available. The dining hall, with a capacity of 80 people, can be rented separately for day use. Additionally, there is an amphitheater that seats 50 people.
Mckinney Falls State Park Gallery
McKinney Falls State Park
- Address: 5808 McKinney Falls Pkwy
- Website: https://tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/mckinney-falls
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