Texas is not the main place one would go looking for water, especially waterfalls! Thankfully Austin is the most nature-packed part of the state! With the intense summer heat creeping in, staying near water will become essential to anyone’s summer plans.
The usual places to evade the heat in Austin include Barton Springs Pool or Lady Bird Lake. Sometimes you just want to get away from the crowd and forget you’re living in a city. So I’m here to tell you about the best waterfalls in or around Austin!
Now, keep in mind that a Texas waterfall is different from your typical one. I spent a year traveling the country in my van and saw some real jaw-dropping falls. That’s what makes Texas so special, though! Because it’s such an uncommon place to find them, it makes it all the more valuable when you do stumble across one.
In this state park, there are two waterfalls: the Upper Falls and the Lower Falls. Located about 15 minutes south of Central Austin, this is the closest and best state park in the city. One of the perks of this park is that the waterfall is just one of the highlights. There is something for everyone here, whether it be hiking, biking, fishing, camping and, of course, swimming. After October, you start to get some rain and by springtime, the falls start flowing! Mckinney Falls is my favorite full-day activity if I’m trying to see some flowing water.
This is the best waterfall near Austin, but it’s a fairly far drive. So if you only have time for one waterfall visit, this one is sure to blow you away. I would dare to say it’s one of the best things to see in all of Texas. Back in the day, there was no reservation required and you were free to come here with no plans and have this wonder of the world to yourself! With so many people moving to the city, it’s become quite crowded and hard to have for yourself. Now, you need to make a reservation before you go. Upon arriving, you’ll hike a short way until you stumble upon a huge carved-out cave with a 50-foot waterfall raining down into the natural pool. Currently, swimming is prohibited so you’ll have to admire it from afar, but keep an eye out on their website for any updates. Even after traveling the entire country, this place still blows me away. It’s grand, unique and will make you fall more in love with this planet.
Founded in 1955, this is a long-time hidden gem to the residents in and around Austin. Over 100 acres of hiking and biking make this outdoor haven worth a full day. The main feature is its collection of human-made and natural swimming pools as well as waterfalls dispersed throughout the area. The water stays 68 degrees year-round due to being fed by the natural springs. This makes it so there is never stagnant water, making it always safe to swim in. The waterfall is covered in vibrant green moss and you truly forget you’re in Texas when looking at this wonder. Krause Springs is the greenest part of Austin and a place I take people to prove that we have nature in Texas!
Austin is known for its Barton Creek Greenbelt, a collection of dense uninterrupted nature trails. Along these trails is easily the most popular waterfall and hike in the Greenbelt. You have to make sure there’s been rain so the pools are deep enough to swim in. There’s a beautiful 2.5-mile hike leading to it that should help weed out some of the crowd and hopefully, you get this wonder to yourself! Another reason why this is such a treasure for the locals is that it’s pet-friendly! Now, your dogs can escape the heat with you and enjoy a beautiful day in that crisp, refreshing water. Sculpture Falls is my favorite half-day activity. It gives me a chance to run some trails and hop in the water as my reward. Once I’ve soaked up enough sun, I can head back and still have so much time left in the day.
Everyone should get the chance to enjoy nature without the crowd. With the exploding population of Austin, this is becoming hard to do. My recommendation is to go when no one else will! Make an effort and get out there first thing in the morning. Have some time to yourself and sit in peace and gaze upon these hidden gems in this hot desert that is Texas.
About the Author
AFM Ambassador Billy Bosco is an Austin-based personal trainer who sells his own fitness supplements. The world is full of deceptive marketing and fast-track approaches to health. It’s his mission to cut through this and help everyone become realistically fit.