State Parks With Waterfalls in Texas

State Parks With Waterfalls in Texas
Texas is not exactly the kind of place that comes to mind when pondering waterfalls; however, four state parks in Texas have at least one waterfall that is accessible by visitors. All of the parks offer swimming, camping, interpretive programs and other outdoor activities. So, when the thermostat starts peaking this summer, one of these lush parks may be just the place for recreationists in Texas to cool off.

Big Bend Ranch State Park

Big Bend Ranch State Park is the largest state park in Texas, and it has four waterfalls that are accessible to visitors. The 100-foot Madrid Falls are really two waterfalls, the Upper Madrid and the Lower Madrid Falls, which together make the second highest waterfall in Texas. The Madrid Falls are particularly difficult to access, and until 2009 visitors were not allowed into the area without a guide. The 80-foot high Rancherias Spring Falls lie at the end of the five-mile Rancherias Canyon Trail. The Ojito Adentro Waterfall is a 35-foot stream of water that plunges into a pool at the end of a narrow canyon that visitors can view after a short but difficult two-mile hike. The Mexicano Falls Overlook trail head is six miles from the Sauceda Ranger Station. Once visitors are there, it is a short one-mile hike to the overlook. The Mexicano Falls do not have the roar of a typical waterfall; if there is any water at all, it drips slowly through the 57-foot, fern covered wall.

Big Bend Ranch State Park
Presidio, TX 79845
432-358-4444
tpwd.state.tx.us

McKinney Falls State Park

Within the city limits of Austin, Texas, lies McKinney Falls State Park. The Onion Creek has carved an upper and lower waterfall through boulders to form two levels of pools that are open for swimming and fishing. The top of the boulders that the falls flow through are 10 to 13 feet high and are suitable for jumping into the pools below. Inner tubes and other floating gear are commonly used to relax and enjoy the pools, regardless of how much the falls are flowing. There are also nearly seven miles of trails available for hiking and mountain biking. The most popular trail in the park is the Rock Shelter Trail, a one-mile interpretive trail that leads to an overhanging rock once used by Native Americans as shelter during inclement weather.

McKinney Falls State Park
5808 McKinney Falls Parkway
Austin, TX 78744
512-243-1643
tpwd.state.tx.us

Pedernales Falls State Park

The Pedernales Falls are the park's main attraction, cascading over layered limestone, running 3,000 feet while dropping only 50 feet. There is an overlook at the north end of the park which visitors can use to view this waterfall from a distance. Swimming and fishing in the Pedernales River is a popular activity; however, the river can flash flood without warning. Swimmers should familiarize themselves with the signs of flash floods.

For an additional waterfall adventure in the Pedernales Falls State Park, the much smaller Twin Falls is a lush area fed by the Regal River that sightseers can view from above at an observation overlook at the south end of the campground. Because of the negative environmental impact visitors have had to the area, access to the falls has been restricted.

Pedernales Falls State Park
2585 Park Road 6026
Johnson City, TX 78636
830-868-7304
tpwd.state.tx.us

Colorado Bend State Park

The Gorman Falls in the Colorado Bend State Park is accessible on Saturdays on a two-hour guided tour that includes a one and a half-mile hike. The Gorman Falls are also accessible without the tour guide by using the five-mile long River Trail from the campground or the three-mile long Gorman Falls Trail from the east side of the park. The falls are 60 feet high and surrounded by lush green vegetation, with several small travertine dams that have formed small pools of water on the way down. If you are staying in the park for more than one day, guided tours and underground interpretive hikes through the caves in the park are another popular activity.

Colorado Bend State Park
Bend, TX 76824
325-628-3240
tpwd.state.tx.us

Article Written By Eric Duncan

Eric Duncan is a military veteran and a professional in the safety, travel and aviation industries. Duncan has been writing since 2002 for magazines, newspapers, local business literature and on such websites as Singletraks.com. He has earned his Bachelor of Science in professional aeronautics and his Master of Business Administration.

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