Sights and Sounds of McKinney Falls

Posted on April 22nd, 2009

This is the best time of the year to experience Austin's
McKinney Falls State Park, with ample water in the creek, fresh leaves boasting their new bright-green colors, and full, flowing falls. With summer on the way (it was a depressingly foreshadowing
94 degrees in Austin today), now's the time to soak up the sights and sounds of this natural oasis just southeast of downtown.
On Sunday, we packed the boys and a picnic lunch in the car and made the quick 15-minute drive to the park, arriving just before the noontime crowd. We enjoyed our sandwiches in the shade on picnic tables adjacent to the upper falls, which provided a pleasant rushing resonance in the background.
Afterward, we made the relatively easy mile-long trek down Rock Shelter Trail, featuring several attractions that wowed the kids, including a massive 500-year old cypress tree known as Old Baldy, several sturdy wood bridges, and the namesake rock formation that shielded Native Americans for centuries. The falls at the end of the trail were larger and more picturesque than the others, and the boys loved playing in the "pools" that formed via erosion in the rocks.
Another interpretive trail with the park's historic homestead beckoned beyond the falls, but the boys were soaked and we opted to wait for a future excursion when the sight and sound of crashing water is a distant springtime memory.


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