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41 votes

McKinney Falls State Park

5808 McKinney Falls Parkway, Austin, Texas 78744 USA

Open Now
Tue 8a-10p
  • Independent
  • Credit Cards Accepted
  • Wheelchair Accessible
  • Public Restrooms
  • Outdoor Seating
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“a perfect spot for day time relaxing ”

Humans began occupying this area about 8,750 years ago. Artifacts found in the park illustrate a long and rich Native American history. Exactly which early groups were here is unknown. Some may have become part of modern tribes in Texas, such as the Tonkawa. From the late 1600s to the early 1800s, a portion of El Ca­mi­no Real de los Tejas ran through what is now the park.

Missionaries, friars, government of­fi­cials, soldiers and traders travelled along various routes from Spanish-controlled Mexico in­to Texas and Louisiana during this period.

Reasons for expeditions varied. Mis­sion­aries and friars hoped to convert Native Americans to Christianity. Govern­ment of­fi­cials and soldiers wanted to defend Spain’s interests in the New World from the French. Traders used the routes for commerce. His­tori­cal evidence suggests some of these expeditions crossed Onion Creek just above the Lower Falls. By 1850, Thomas McKinney was living on this property along Onion Creek, near a crossing of the El Camino Real.

Kentucky-born McKinney had settled in San Felipe de Austin in 1830 as one of Stephen F. Austin’s first 300 colonists before moving to Galveston.

McKinney and Samuel May Williams entered into a business partnership in 1834 that was to have profound effects on Texas history. During the Texas Revolution, the McKinney-Williams firm was the primary source of men, money, and supplies for the Texas army. It financed over $150,000 - more than 10 percent of the total cost of the revolution. The McKinney-Williams ships formed a part of the quickly-assembled Texas Navy.

Voters elected McKinney as a senator to the first legislature in Austin. During this time, he made plans for his new home on Onion Creek. Between 1850 and 1852, McKinney built a two-story limestone home, gristmill and dam on his ranch.

Developed by McKinney’s slaves, his ranch continued to grow in number of structures, livestock and other assets. McKinney owned and bred a number of thoroughbred racehorses, and even had his own racetrack somewhere on the ranch.

McKinney died on Oct. 2, 1873, at his home. He was deeply in debt. His peers remembered him fondly and gave him an elabo­rate funeral service on the steps of the Capitol building. He is buried in Oakwood Cemetery in Austin.

Look for the ruins of McKinney's homestead, his horse trainer's cabin, gristmill and stone walls in the park.
The stabilized ruins of McKinney's homestead and his horse trainer's cabin are preserved in the park. Camping, hiking, mountain biking, road biking, picnicking, fishing and wildlife observation are popular activities. Swimming is allowed in Onion Creek; call (512) 243-1643 for current creek conditions.

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Reviewed by
Travis & Jenna

  • Road Warrior
  • 56 Reviews
  • 14 Helpful
January 09, 2015
Rated 5.0

Such a great park! We camped here for two weeks with our 20 foot Airstream. We had so much space. They don't have full hookups, but the dump station worked just fine. The rangers were very nice and helpful. We loved the trails and hiked around the falls a couple times. Plus it's super close to Austin. 15 minutes and you're on South Congress. Verizon and AT&T worked well here. The only bummer is that they close the gate at 10pm and it's a little tricky to open it. We saw lots of deer, pretty much every day. We would totally stay here again. We were in spot 62.

2 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 16 Reviews
  • 1 Helpful
July 21, 2015
Rated 4.0

It's real pretty. It's real close to the city. There's lots of hiking and biking trails and swimming. The camping is fun. I would give it 5 stars, but the park rangers here are F**KING D**KS. I've been to a lot of state parks in Texas (I used to go camping once a month Sept-April for 5 years with my friends) and we have never encountered problems with rangers at any of them...except here. Just be on your absolute best behavior, I guess.

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 13 Reviews
  • 0 Helpful
August 30, 2017
Rated 5.0

What a great park - excellent facilities and definitely one of the highlights of our trip. Definitely recommended.

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Reviewed by

  • 5 Reviews
  • 15 Helpful
September 05, 2015
Rated 4.0

Nice place, nice people but there was not enough water at the small or big falls. But at least it was deep enough for people to jump off the cliff and it was not crowded.

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McKinney Falls State Park

5808 McKinney Falls Parkway
Austin, Texas
78744 USA


Open now until 10:00 pm
  • Sun - Sat: 8:00 am - 10:00 pm

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  • Independent
  • Credit Cards Accepted
  • Wheelchair Accessible
  • Public Restrooms
  • Outdoor Seating
  • No Wifi
  • Street Parking
  • Private Parking
  • 81 Camp Sites
  • Pull Through
  • Limited Hookup
  • 50 AMP
  • Tent Sites
  • Dump Station
  • No Sewer Hookup
  • Showers
  • No Laundry
  • Paved Sites

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