Written by Shirley T
Monday, 08 March 2010 00:00
For Austin city folks, McKinney Falls State Park is the nearest state park to their home. Located 13 miles southeast of State Capitol in Austin Downtown, the park can be reached via U.S. Highway 183, followed by McKinney Falls Parkway.
As the name calls, the focal point of the park is McKinney Falls. Although this is the shortest traveled state park from home, we decided to spend a full day at McKinney Park in order to put our newly bought mobile gas stove for good use. Weather was cold in winter, wind chilled on average reaching 50 plus degree Fahrenheit, so guess it would be great to have a 'steamboat' (or hot pot) picnic for lunch to welcome New Year 2010!
We reached early before noon and headed to the Upper McKinney Falls near Smith Visitor Center. We picked the picnic table that is the nearest to the Upper McKinney Fall scenic area. Not too long after we set up our fire, a few families joined us picnicking by the Onion creek. They seemed busy grilling and white smokes was in the air while we were 'boiling' our lunch!
After tucking in our tummy, we went to check out the trail heading to the Lower McKinney Falls. There are more than a couple of means to reach Lower McKinney Falls. One may drive on paved road to the nearest parking bay. Second option is taking a stroll on dirt path crossing picnic area before reaching the rocky ground. Thirdly, one may walk along Indian Rock Shelter Trail and last alternative is passing through 'Rock Shelter Trail'. We opted for the last choice to get as close as possible to the river bank of Onion Creek. This trail is indeed a leisure stroll. Easy, short and shady path under the red oaks, chinaberry trees, Bald cypress and cedar elms.
The bonus of taking this trail is seeing the Rock Shelter right after we crossed a narrow wooden bridge. This large rock shelter was carved out by Onion Creek long ago during periodic flooding. Durable stone above stays while softer rock below were eroded, creating a roof and home to nomadic people more than 1400 years ago.
The trail connected us to the boulders area and the sound of water falling was prominent. Instinct told
us we were on the right track to the Lower McKinney Falls!
5808 McKinney Falls Parkway
Austin 78744 TX
Phone: (512) 243 1643
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