McKinney Falls State Park Review & Rating
McKinney Falls State Park Overview:
McKinney Falls is about 13 miles from downtown Austin, but once you're in the park you would never know you are so close to suburbia. This is a very nice park with sites that are spacious and set in the trees. The Park is very clean, pretty, well maintained, and offers a lot to do within the Park and in nearby Austin
Amenities and Fun Things To Do:
McKinney Falls State Park has 81 sites with water and electricity (11 with 50 amp), 8 walk-in sites with water, 6 screened shelters, group dining hall with a full kitchen, amphitheater, picnic area with 120 picnic sites with tables and a barbecue grill, visitor center, and historic ruins. Three different hiking and biking trails: Onion Creek is a 3 mile paved trail that circles the campsites and has a section that is excellent for bird watching; the quarter mile Smith Rock Shelter trail is an interpretive trail with a 500 year old cypress tree and lots of birds; and the 3 mile Homestead Trail is more strenuous and good for mountain biking. There is a designated rock climbing area between the upper and lower McKinney Falls. For more information on climbing in the park. Swimming is good below each of the falls.
A Typical Texas Outsider Day:
Start the day by hiking or biking one or all (if you are really ambitious) of the three trails. Homestead Trail is 3 miles of uneven terrain, very pretty, and moderately strenuous. Cool off in Onion Creek after biking.
Fishing is good in the creek and if you bring the bait the Park will supply the rods, reels, and basic tackle for FREE and no fishing license is required. Texas State Parks have started a fishing program that does not require a fishing license to fish in any of the State Parks - check with the park office for more information.
You'll find some good swimming below either upper or lower McKinney Falls.
After hiking, biking, and swimming, chill out and go visit the Smith Visitor Center which has exhibits on wildlife and cultural history, a, museum, a slide show, and a touch table for the kids.
Cool Nearby Activities:
Austin offers most everything you could ever want to do: great music, excellent restaurants, a wide variety of bike/hike trails, museums, the State Capital, fun bars, lots for kids to do, and much more. Visit the Guide to Austin and Central Texas section of Texas Outside.
- Overall Rating:
- Scenic Beauty:
- Things To Do:
Texas Outside uses a tough rating scale and it’s difficult for a campground to get a “10”. Each park is rated on:
- Scenic Beauty: a campground that is flat with no trees or character gets a “1” and hills, lots of trees, beautiful lake site, and lush ground cover gets a “10”
- Park Condition: the cleaner, well kept, and maintained campgrounds receive high scores
- Amenities: we are looking for lots of amenities like restrooms, dump stations, playgrounds, boat ramps, shelters, concession stand, rental toys, and more.
- Campsites: low scores are given for sites that are right next to each other (good for getting to know your neighbors, but not what we’re looking for when we’re camping); have no lantern holder, no water or electricity, no fire pit, no grill, or no picnic table (or it’s rotten wood); have no trees and no view; the ground cover is crushed rock (my bare feet hate that stuff!); and they require a lot of work to get your rig level.
- Things To Do: Bonus points are given for campgrounds that offer lots of fun things to do at the park or very nearby – this includes: biking, hiking, climbing, boating, entertainment, golf, swimming, fishing, volleyball, horseshoes, and more