Urban Hiking-There really is one….. Chisholm Trail Crossing, Round Rock, Williamson County, Texas

There really is one…what? A ROUND ROCK! Yes, and from this Round Rock, Texas gets it’s name.

Post civil war, cattle drives from Texas to the railroads in Kansas became big business. Jesse Chisholm and his Lenape Indian friend Black Beaver laid out the trail north from the Red River to near Kansas City. In Texas numerous feeder trails from the Rio Grande and San Antonio connected to the main route that ran through Oklahoma, or at that time Indian Territory, to form the Chisholm Trail system. The trail from San Antonio north ran about where I-35 runs today.

Part of commemorative statue display at Chisholm Crossing Park.

So where does Round Rock fit into this story. On the way north the drives had to cross Brushy Creek. Brushy Creek is not a large stream but was formidable for wagon and cattle crossings with it’s numerous canyons, steep banks and deep pools. But at the settlement of Brushy (1851) there was a low water crossing. This crossing was found by looking for a mushroom shaped round rock in the stream.

Brushy was the original name of Round Rock. When on the trail south and later on the cattle drives north the directions to pioneers moving south and cowboys later moving north, “cross Brushy Creek at the ’round rock'”. Here was a dependable low water crossing. and a geologic marker along the Chisholm Trail.. Brushy was renamed Round Rock in 1854.

Explaining the way

At this popular and heavily used crossing there are wagon ruts in the rock, still visible today.

Wagon ruts still in existence today
The Low Water Crossing at the “round rock.” The bridge in the distance is I-35

Just upstream is a nice water fall.

Waterfall at Chisholm Trail Crossing

Yeah, you’re probably thinking about now …where’s the damn rock! Well here it is. Pretty disappointing but still a huge part of Round Rock’s history along with Sam Bass.

Sam Bass was a well known outlaw, train robber and bank thief. He came to Round Rock in 1877 with his gang with the intentions of robbing the bank.

A shootout ensued and Bass fatally shot Deputy A.W. Grimes and was himself, mortally wounded. Bass wandered off to a field near town where he collapsed and died. That field today is Round Rock Cemetery.

Oh yeah the ROCK!


The bridge behind is the modern “low water crossing” but it is more along the trail then is I-35 in fact the street name is Chisholm Trail and it runs quite a way north of the creek.

From it’s rough past as a cattle crossing and shootout scene Round Rock has grown to be a super suburb. Today it is famous as the international headquarters of Dell Technologies.

More history then hiking but the Chisholm Crossing Park is connected by trail to Memorial Park so I did walk about a mile and a half on this one.

Torpedo display in Memorial Park
Waterfall at Chisholm Crossing.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: