Austin has some really great hiking trails. Below are some of the Austin Hiking trails with waterfalls and water features. I have created this list after doing hours of research on what each trail has to offer. The list is summarized down to the pros and cons of each trail and a few tips that you will find useful when hiking that particular trail. This list is in no particular order. Please tell me in the comment section below on your favorite of all the trails.

St. Edwards Park

St Edwards Park, Austin Hiking Trails With Waterfalls
Image from Yelp.com

Quick Info

Parking: Street parking & at Trail Entrance

Hours: 5am-10pm

Location: Click Here for a Google Maps Link to Edwards Park – Austin

Key Attraction: Natural swimming area with a rope swing

Entry Fees: Free Entry

Pros

  1. St Edwards Park is one of the popular Austin Hiking trails with waterfalls since it has a really pleasant natural swimming area that you can swim in with your dog.
  2. Plenty of shade when it gets hot.
  3. Well Marked Trails
  4. Great for hiking with a dog
  5. There is a Variety of trails to choose from, making this a great place to come multiple times without getting bored.
  6. It’s not a difficult hike and you will be ok even if you are not in great shape.

Cons

  1. The waterfall itself is not much to speak of but it has some nice water scenaries that compensate for the small fall.
  2. Parking is a bit limited on busy days. To get a good parking spot, get there early. If you arrive late, you can park on the street but put your mirrors in.
  3. The picnic areas aren’t that great. Only one picnic table in the whole park.
  4. It can get a bit crowded on busy days so if you are not a crowds person, this may not be for you.
  5. There is poison Ivy on some of the trails. Be careful when walking the trails and avoid shorts if you are planning to get off the trail.
  6. You may encounter some Off Leash dogs along your trail

Quick Tips when Hiking St. Edwards Park

  1. Take a picture of the trail map just in case you need to refer back to it.
  2. Take the blue trail. It runs along the creek. This has the best views.
  3. Bring your fishing pole with you. There are a few nice fishing spots.
  4. Your shoes will get wet so plan ahead with the right boots.

Here is a short video to give you a glimpse of St Edwards Park in Austin.

Barton Creek Greenbelt

Parking: Street parking

Hours: 5am-10pm

Location: Click Here for a Google Maps Link to Barton Creek Greenbelt.

Key Attraction: Twin Falls and Sculpture Falls

Entry Fees: Free Entry

Image from Yelp.com

Pros

  1. Another popular Austin Hiking trails with waterfalls: Two Falls- Twin falls and Sculpture falls.
  2. Large variety of Beautiful and Easy Hiking trails
  3. Swimming areas that are not very deep and great for hanging out in the water.
  4. Beautiful lush scenery with plenty of shade.
  5. The trails are Dog-friendly you are required to use a leash

Cons

  1. They allow mountain bikes but you would rather not come with it since the trail is very rocky. Some sections are really rough and some will force you to carry your bike across them.  If you are looking for a good biking trail in Austin, check out Walnut Creek, Slaughter Creek, Muleshoe, Pace Bend and Rocky Hill Ranch. These provide better biking trails.
  2. No Water fountains so, carry your own water
  3. Trails are not paved so you need to mind your footing to avoid any mishaps. Use hiking boots with ankle support to protect yourself from sprained ankles.
  4. Most of the dogs not leashed.
  5. The trail is not well marked on all sections and you may get lost. Take a picture of the map when starting your hike to avoid getting lost.

Quick Tips when Hiking St. Edwards Park

  1. There are a Kayak and stand-up paddleboard rental along the creek. You can spice up your hike with that additional activity
  2. Bring your own water with you since there are no water fountains. Here are some great hiking water bottles you can use
  3. Slippery in a few places and the rocks at the falls are places you need to take extra care.

Barton Creek Greenbelt stands as one  of the Austin Hiking trails with waterfalls that provides lots of fun for the whole family. Here is a sped-up video that will give you an idea of what you expect to find at Barton Creek Greenbelt

 

McKinney Falls Texas State Park

Parking: Private Parking Lot

Hours: 8:30am – 4:30pm

Location: Click Here for a Google Maps Link to McKinney Falls Texas State Park.

Key Attraction: McKinney Falls & historic McKinney Homestead

Entry Fees: $6 in January 2018

Lower falls at McKinney Falls State Park in Austin
Image from Yelp.com

Pros

  1. The large area can handle a big crowd without it feeling crowded.
  2. Beautiful and peaceful Scenery with lots of picnic tables (especially around Onion Creek Trail)
  3. Very helpful staff who will provide you with all the guidance you need.
  4. Big area for kids to explore but small enough to allow you to keep your eyes on them.
  5. Great for camping with multiple campsites and you can also bring your RV. Camping is $20 per night and they have water and electricity supply available. The bathrooms and showers are also well maintained.
  6. The hiking trails are short and diverse.
  7. There is good cell phone reception.

Cons

  1. The water levels go down that sometimes there are no falls. This is due to drought. You will have the best experience if you go during the rainy season.
  2. Poor trail markings and directions which may lead you to get lost.
  3. Camping fees are excluded from park entry fees.
  4. Around the beginning of the year, the lower falls may be dry and there may be no swimming areas that are good enough to swim in.
  5. Dogs are not allowed into the water.

Quick Tips when Hiking Mckinney Falls Park

  1. Try out the Homestead Trail. It crosses the lower falls and goes to the historic McKinney Homestead
  2. Don’t go into areas that have been barricaded off. You may get a $500 ticket. It’s not worth it.
  3. The park has rocky terrain that requires that you have the right shoPreferablyably Hiking Boots)
  4. Get there early to get a good parking spot.

When scoping ou for Austin Hiking trails with waterfalls, you need to think consider the time of year since some falls like the McKinney falls tend to dry up in the dry seasons. See the McKinney falls for yourself in this video that was done by T-Roy Cooks.

River Place Nature Trail (Editor’s Choice)

Parking: Street Parking

Hours: 6:00am – 10:00pm

Location: Click Here for a Google Maps Link to River Place Nature Trail.

Key Attraction: Beautiful Hiking trail with elevation changes

Entry Fees: Free Admission

*Disclaimer: This trail does not have any big waterfalls but there are many cool rapids along the creek

Image from Yelp.com

Pros

  1. Beautiful Hiking trails that have different levels of elevation. These offer more challenge and are a great workout.
  2. Well maintained climbs with stairs on steep inclines.
  3. Well shaded trails that will keep you from being sunburnt. There are also lots of benches to take a breather from the climb.
  4. Beautiful views  with majority of the trail running next to the spring-fed creek
  5. Better parking than other Austin Trails.

Cons

  1. The trail may be a bit challenging due to the high elevations and steep climbs you will find along the trail.
  2. There are no water fountains. Carry your own water. Stay hydrated.

Quick Tips when Hiking River Place Nature Trail

  1. If you would like an easier hike, start at the Southern Big View Drive Entrance and if you are looking for something more intense, use the Northern River Place Drive Entrance.
  2. This is a great trail if you are training for the  Grand Canyon
  3. Get there early to avoid the crowd.
  4. Take brakes and pace yourself. Especially if you are not in great shape.
  5. The trail is not a loop and you will need to turn back and walk the distance that you have come.
  6. Wear proper hiking shoes with ankle protection when using this trail.

I would rank this at the top of the list of  Austin Hiking trails with waterfalls. Though the waterfall is not very large, the general experience there is pretty lovely and the trail is very welcoming due to the great maintenance that they have done on it. Here is a video that Luis Vela did on the River Place Nature Trail. It should give you an idea of what you should expect to find there.

Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve

Parking: Private Parking Lot

Hours: 6:30am – 6:00pm

Location: Click Here for a Google Maps Link to Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve.

Key Attraction: Easy Hiking trail. Great to bring kids along.

Entry Fees: Free Admission

Waterfall at Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve in Austin Texas
Photo by Yelp.com

Pros

  1. Beautiful hiking trail with paths that are well maintained and mostly shaded
  2. An easy hike (2.5 Miles) so you can bring your kids along.
  3. The paths are well marked and also well maintained.
  4. The trails are not crowded. This is a good hike if you do not like crowds.
  5. Its close to downtown Austin and can be part of an afternoon plan.
  6. Parking is very near the trailhead

Cons

  1. The waterfall is not very big but is beautiful all the same. so this may not rank at the top of the list of the best Austin Hiking trails with waterfalls for some who have encountered much better falls in their hiking adventures.
  2. When considering the Austin Hiking trails with waterfalls, you need to be cautious in choosing Wild Basin because of its water fall. This is because the waterfall sometimes drys out in some parts of the year and you may get disappointed if that is the only thing you were looking forward to seeing.
  3. The trails are short and this may be too short for a full day of hiking (You will be done with all the trails within 1 hour if you are fast)
  4. No picnicking or camping allowed in the preserve.

Quick Tips when Hiking the Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve

  1. Catch the waterfall’s magnificence when it rains.
  2. No Dogs are allowed in the wilderness preserve
  3. You can make your hike longer by taking some of the inner loops that lengthen your trail distance.
  4. Wear sturdy hiking shoes since you will be walking on loose rocks and over roots.
  5. If you are allergic to pollen, it would be advisable to take your allergy pills before coming.
  6. Take the Yaupon Trail if you are looking for elevation
  7. Bring a trekking pole if you plan on coming early. There are a lot of spider webs in the morning

Here is a video that was done by Rebecca’s Almanac on her visit to the

Walnut Creek Metropolitan Park

Parking: Private Parking Lot

Hours:5:00am – 10:00pm

Location: Click Here for a Google Maps Link to Wallnut Creek Metropolitan Park

Key Attraction: Off-Leash Dog Park.

Entry Fees: Free Admission

Waterfall at Wallnut Creek Metropolitan Park
Photo by Yelp.com

 

Pros

  1. Dogs are allowed in the park and there is an off-leash area. You will probably enjoy this hike the most if you have a dog.
  2. This trail is great for bikers as well. The trail is good for biking.
  3. Lots of forks in the road and brilliant for  the adventure-seeker
  4. The park has Plenty of parking
  5. Beautiful scenery.

Cons

  1. The Bikers ride really fast and you need to watch out for them.
  2. Most of the path is not well shaded. Bring your sunscreen.
  3. Dog poop bags that the owners didn’t dispose of properly
  4. Nota great place if you do not like hanging out with a lot of stranger’s dogs running around without leashes.

Quick Tips when Hiking the Walnut Creek Metropolitan Park

  1. Watch for mountain bikers in the trails. A lot of them like to bike fast and zoom past you and you have to keep your eyes open.
  2. The paths, as with most of the other trails I have talked about above, are rocky and it will be advisable if you wore hiking boots for the hike.
  3. Some steep cliffs along paths that do not have guard rails may be dangerous for both you and your pet.Take care.

This is not one of the best Austin Hiking trails with waterfalls, if your only measurement is the waterfall. This is because the waterfall there is man made and is not that majestic. Here is some drone footage of the park done by Joseph Falco

Bull Creek Greenbelt Upper

Parking: Private Parking Lot

Hours: 8:00am – 8:00pm

Location: Click Here for a Google Maps Link to Bull Creek Greenbelt Upper

Key Attraction: the Bull Creek Swimming Hole

Entry Fees: Free Admission

Waterfall at Bull Creek Greenbelt Upper
Image by Yelp.com

Pros

  1. Crystal Clear Spring fed swimming holes on the Bull Creek. Perfect for a hot day.
  2. Great place to hang around with friends. Especially around the river
  3. Great scenery for photography. Bring your camera with you.
  4. The waterfalls are beautifully surrounded by greenery and lush trees.
  5. Dogs are allowed so you can take your dog for a walk there.
  6. There is a well shaded area at Bull Creek District Park for picnicking and there are a few picnic tables.

Cons

  1. The place can get a bit crowded on the hot days.
  2. Freeway noise is heard from most parts of the trails
  3. Parking can be an issue on busy days.
  4. The entrance and start of the trail is a bit hard to find: So if you plan on going here, turn onto Old Spicewood Springs road from highway 360. You’ll pass a small parking lot on the left with a bathroom. You can park here or you can continue down the road for another second and there will be another dirt lot on your left

Quick Tips when Hiking the Bull Creek Greenbelt

  1. Watch out for poison ivy. There is a lot of that in some places.
  2. Getting to the parking might be a challenge if you have a low riding car.
  3. Some of the trails can get a bit slippery when it rains so come prepared with good shoes.
  4. Be careful when crossing the creek. The rocks can be slippery.
  5. Remember to carry drinking water along with you to avoid dehydration.

When looking for the best Austin Hiking trails with waterfalls, Bull Creek Greenbelt upper definitely needs to be on your list. This is especially the case if you are looking for a beautiful waterfall. This creek ranks at the top for the best looking waterfalls. Its also a great place to take a dip. The crystal clear water is really inviting and you will be definitely tempted to jump in. Here is a short video that was done by Neo-Tribal Nomads on the bulls creek swimming hole

Conclusion to Austin Hiking trails with waterfalls

As you can see, Austin has some very beautiful Hiking trails with waterfalls. Some of the falls are pretty beautiful and some are seasonal. The key thing to consider when considering your trail is that the waterfall will only be a small part of the adventure. Choose a trail that has more than just one good feature. We hope that this article has helped you to make sense of where to find the best Austin Hiking trails with waterfalls.

Have you visited any of the listed trails? Are there any other trails that we have left out? Please let us know in the comment section below. We would be glad to hear what you think.


Antony

Just like you, I enjoy hiking. I have been hiking for the last 10 years and enjoy spending a Saturday afternoon on a hiking trail. I created this blog as a resource for anyone who is thinking about hiking for fun, or to foster a healthy lifestyle. I have not visited all the places I have reviewed here but I have done tons of research on each of the items talked about here to ensure that I give you the most accurate description of the products and places that you plan to use and visit. My hope is that this blog will help you to make the best choice when planning your next adventure without having to spend countless hours researching.