McKinney Falls State Park | Outdoorsy

McKinney Falls State Park
Guide

Introduction

McKinney Falls State Park is a beautiful place to get lost and learn about its history. While people have occupied this area for thousands of years, the beautiful nature here has not changed. RVers visiting the park will get to see the ruins of all that Thomas McKinney, whom the park is named after, built once upon a time in the 1800s. This includes his own homestead, the horse trainer’s cabin, the gristmill, and other historical remnants.

Along with the ruins, you also won’t want to miss out on seeing the famous “Old Baldy,” one of the oldest bald cypress trees in Texas that is open to the public. This impressive tree is estimated to be over 300 years old and stands at 103 feet tall.

The McKinney Falls is one of the major attractions here at the park and is fed by the Onion Creek, which winds through the park. You can hike to either the upper falls or the lower falls and swim in the pools below the falls when you visit the park. Other fun outdoor activities include bouldering, road and mountain biking, geocaching, and fishing.

There’s so much to see and do when you visit this park and the combination of the beautiful nature and its exquisite history makes it the perfect place for a holiday in your RV. Choose between the 81 sites that the park has to offer, all with electric and water hookups, or try out one of their recently remodeled wooden cabins. Being located deep in Texas, you can expect lots of warm sunshine. Even in the winter, you likely won’t find temperatures anywhere below the 40s, so you won’t have to worry about ever getting too cold, no matter when you visit.

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Camping Accommodations

115'
Max RV length
115'
Max trailer Length
Electrical hookup
Water hookup
Generator use
Food storage
Sewer hookup
Dogs & cats

RV Rentals in McKinney Falls State Park

Transportation

Driving

McKinney Falls State Park is situated just 10 miles away from the city of Austin, the capital of Texas. Here RVers can find shops and restaurants to stock up on supplies and other amenities. The park is easy enough to find and is just a short distance off the I-35 along the McKinney Falls Parkway. RVers with bigger rigs traveling to the park from Austin don't need to worry about any height restrictions along the way once they leave Austin. The roads leading to the park are double-lane highways and are clearly marked. Alternatively, campers can fly into Austin-Bergstrom International Airport and rent an RV or car before heading to the park.

Once you reach the park the roads are still paved but become narrower, so make sure to watch out for other vehicles and people walking or biking. The park does not have any vehicle size restrictions for any of the roadways here, so navigating the park is easy for just about anyone. The only vehicle restrictions you'll have are the number of vehicles allowed at each campsite - only two vehicles are allowed at a time.

Parking

There is parking available at both the upper and lower falls areas in the park, so you shouldn’t have trouble finding any spots, especially if you set up your RV first and take your smaller vehicle through the park. If the park does get too full and there are difficulties with parking availability, the park will temporarily shut down for the day to help with the issue.

Public Transportation

Campgrounds and parking in McKinney Falls State Park

Campsites in McKinney Falls State Park

Reservations camping

The Main Campground

The Main Campground offers 81 sites dispersed amongst several loops. Between all of the different loops to choose from, there are 69 sites with 30-amp hookups and 12 sites with 50-amp hookups. Most sites can accommodate rigs up to 50 feet long, and some can even hold an RV up to 115 feet long. When you stay at McKinney Falls, you’ll also find that there are restrooms and showers near the campsites, water hookups, and a fire ring, grill, picnic table, and lantern post at each site. The campground offers excellent facilities for you to enjoy when you camp at the park with your RV. Pets are welcome as long as they stay out of park buildings. Hiking trails are within walking distance to most sites.

Leander / NW Austin KOA

On the edge of Texas Hill Country, surrounded by beautiful lakes and landscapes and abundant wildlife, the Leander/NW Austin KOA provides a comfortable camping experience. This peaceful campground in the midst of nature is just a few minutes from Austin, the Live Music Capital of the World. There’s plenty of space for a big-rig, with pull-through sites for vehicles up to 100 feet long. Sites offer full hookups, picnic tables and BBQ pits. Hang out in the campground clubhouse, or take the pup to the on-site dog park. Soak your tired feet in the hot tub or swim in the saltwater pool after hiking on the beautiful nearby trails. Kayaking, fishing, and bird watching are available nearby in the Highland Lakes area. Laundry facilities and restrooms are open 24 hours a day and firewood and propane are available for purchase on-site.

Austin East KOA

The modern Austin East KOA welcomes you to the hustle and bustle of Austin, Texas. At Austin East KOA, you’ll be minutes away from big-city attractions, as well as beautiful Austin-area nature sites such as Walter E. Long Lake. Campsites at Austin East KOA include full hookups with cable, Wi-Fi, and patios; some feature fire pits, picnic tables, patio furniture, and/or gas grills. The campground offers showers and restrooms, 24-hour laundry facilities, a heated and chilled pool, a recreation room, a playground, a dog park, and planned activities including cookouts and food truck visits. Propane and firewood are available for purchase and a barbecue restaurant and caterer are just down the road.

Alternate camping

Cabin Camping

If you’re looking to stay somewhere that has a bit of a more homey feel, you can choose to stay at one of the six cabins located within McKinney Falls State Park. There are a few restrictions to keep in mind before making this choice though. Only four people are allowed per cabin, and you may be disappointed to hear that you’ll have to leave the RV elsewhere, as it can’t stay parked at the cabin. You’ll also need to bring your own bedsheets and linens. Reservations are required to stay here, and on special event weekends or holidays, a minimum of three nights is also required.

The good news is you’ll have more amenities than you would if choosing to camp in an RV or tent. For example, you’ll have access to air conditioning, a mini-fridge, a sink with a prep area, a microwave, electrical outlets, a workspace, and much more. There are lots of options to explore if you want to stay at McKinney Falls State Park.

Seasonal activities in McKinney Falls State Park

In-Season

Ranger Programs

At this state park, you’ll be able to find a wide array of ranger-led programs that will allow you to learn about the park in ways that are fun and exciting. Subjects range widely and include activities such as birding and geocaching. Your child can also become a Junior Ranger, receiving an activity journal and earning a cool badge from completing fun activities. The Ranger Programs are a great way for your children to explore the outdoors and enjoy nature while learning new skills.

Family Get-Togethers

This park is perfect for all of your family get-togethers. You can rent the group recreation hall and the amphitheater, which can both hold a large number of people. Both have outdoor seating, which is ideal for warmer days when you can enjoy the outdoors, but the recreation hall has indoor seating as well if the weather isn't so pleasant. The recreational hall is fully decked out with water and electricity, a stove, oven, refrigerator, outdoor grill, and restrooms.

Fishing

If you wish to go fishing, there are plenty of great spots here in the park. You can choose to fish at either Onion Creek or Williamson Creek, and you don’t even need a fishing license. Just bring your fishing pole and bait, find a good spot, and relax right there by the water. There is even a fishing tip sheet you can get at the park, with tips and fishing regulations to help you out.

Bouldering

Bouldering can be a fun pastime at McKinney Falls State Park. There are a variety of places to climb here, but many of them can be difficult, as they’re made of rough and steep terrain. Be sure to come prepared with the right clothes, gear, and experience level before heading out. There are often water pools near boulders, and you can enjoy a refreshing dip after you've had fun on the boulders.

Swimming

Swimming in Onion River here at the park is a lot of fun and a great way to cool off from the heat of summer in Texas. Just be sure to check conditions before making the trip out, as the river can flood after rain, which can make swimming here dangerous and challenging. Be sure to read through the swimming safety tips provided by the park before swimming and always take steps to stay safe so you can have fun. When you hike to either the upper falls or the lower falls, swimming is only permitted in the pools below the falls.

Off-Season

Onion Creek Hike and Bike Trail

There are almost nine total miles of trails available to you to explore here at McKinney Falls State Park, and the Onion Creek Hike and Bike Trail is one of the most popular. This 2.8-mile trail takes you all over the park and is not overly challenging. You can walk, run, and bike on this trail all year-round, but it will be less busy if you come to the park during the off-season. Hikers and bikers can also make use of the picnic benches and restrooms situated along the banks of the creek.

Rock Shelter Trail

Unlike the Onion Creek Hike and Bike Trail, this trail is open only to hikers, giving it a little bit of a different feel. On this one-mile trail, you’ll not only get to immerse yourself in the nature around you, but you’ll also get to see where early visitors to the area first camped. This is a popular trail, and when you visit during the offseason, you’ll find it to be less crowded and cooler.

Bicycling

Here at the park, not only do they allow you to bring your bike, but you have the option to choose whether you want to go mountain biking or road biking. The Onion Creek Hike and Bike Trail is the perfect trail for bikers, but there are other options to look into as well. The park also offers several paved biking trails for visitors looking for a more smooth ride. These trails are wide and enjoyable without being too difficult. You can also navigate the park on your bike if you want.

Geocaching

Geocaching is like modern-day treasure hunting, and when you visit this state park, you’ll have the opportunity to join in on this exciting game. All you have to do is go to geocaching.com, download the GPS coordinates for the caches located in the park, and start searching! There are lots of them located in the park, some easier or harder to find than others. Make sure to leave the caches in the same condition you found them so that others can also enjoy the adventure.

Picnicking

The park is full of beautiful scenery and picturesque spots that are perfect for picnics. You can find several designated picnic spots with picnic benches throughout the park, often with restrooms conveniently situated a short distance away. A couple of these picnic spots are located along the banks of Onion Creek. Children can swim in the creek while the adults enjoy the shade of the trees and soak up the beautiful views on offer.

There is even a picnic trail where you will find picnic tables along the route to enjoy your packed food and snacks. The trail is about 0.5-miles long and is well worth the walk. Remember to take all your wrappers and other trash with you finish picnicking.

Find the perfect campsite.