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County
Travis
Region
Hill Country
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Parks
McKinney Falls Texas State Park
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McKinney Falls State Park Information:
In 1709, Father Isidro Felix Esty Espinosa, a member of the Olivares-Aguirre expedition, described the arroyo/río de las Garrapatas (present-day Onion Creek) in his writings. In 1716, the Domingo Ramon expedition followed the left bank of Onion Creek to its junction with Williamson Creek. The onion creek area of the park was located on the historic El Camino Real de los Tejas (Kings Road) National Historic Trail. In the lower falls area, wheel indentations in the rock document the heavy use of the road by wagons. In 1850, Thomas Freeman McKinney, a member of Stephen F. Austin’s original Old 300 Colony, and a prominent breeder of race horses, moved to the McKinney Park area in Travis County on 40,000 acres of land. He built a two story home, established a racing horse stable and private race track, and built the area’s first flour mill. The ruins of his trainer’s cabin and the stabilized ruins of his house are located within the park. The park is named after him. The 744 acres of parkland was acquired by private donation in 1970, and opened to the public in 1976. The McKinney Falls on Onion Creek make this a popular recreation site. Activities include hiking, mountain biking, canoeing and kayaking, camping, fishing and birding. Park entrance and camping fees apply. The park is located in southeast Austin at 5808 McKinney Falls Parkway, 78744.For more park information, read the Park Brochure and watch thePark VideoFrom the U.S. 183 junction with SH 71, go south on U.S. 183 for 4.3 miles. Turn right onto FM 812 (Dee Gavriel Collins Drive, formerly Scenic Loop), and drive 2.2 miles to McKinney Falls Parkway. Go right and drive 0.4 miles to the park entrance on the left.
 
Onion Creek:
Onion Creek rises twelve miles southeast of Johnson City in eastern Blanco County and runs northeast for sixty miles to its mouth on the Colorado River, two miles northwest of Garfield in Travis County. It passes near Dripping Springs, Driftwood, the City of Buda in Hays County, and through the Onion Creek and Bluff Springs neighborhoods in southern Travis County. The creek forms the falls at the park. Canoeing and kayaking are popular activities when the creek waters are high.
 
McKinney Falls:   
The falls are beautiful when the water level is high. They drop into a large pool where turtles sun on the rock banks.
 
Old Baldy Cypress Tree:
Father Isidro Felix de Espinosa of Queretaro, Mexico kept, a diary detailing the adventures and misadventures of his 1716 Spanish Franciscan expedition on its travels along the El Camino Road, a highway that stretched from Mexico to Louisiana. His May 22, 1716 entry noted that his group camped on Onion Creek within less than half a mile of its confluence with Williamson Creek, and sought shade underneath a bald cypress tree now named Old Baldy. The over 500 year old tree, is 103 inches tall,  has a circumference of 195 Inches, and a diameter of 60.5 inches. The tree was honored as Austin’s 2012 Tree of the Year. It is located in the park along Onion Creek, off the Rock Shelter Hiking Trail. Wagon wheel and hoof marks are still visible adjacent to a nearby granite outcropping.
 
McKinney Falls State Park Directions:  
5808 McKinney Falls Parkway, Austin, Texas 78744. From the U.S. 183 junction with SH 71, go south on U.S. 183 for 4.3 miles. Turn right onto FM 812 (Dee Gavriel Collins Drive, formerly Scenic Loop), and drive 2.2 miles to McKinney Falls Parkway. Go right and drive 0.4 miles to the park entrance on the left.