Waterfalls of Central Texas

Ha! This should be a short one!

Had surgery for a hernia a few days ago so I am off the trail for 4 to 6 weeks. Boo Hoo!

For some reason while I was lying in recovery, I got the wild idea that I would write about the waterfalls I have seen in Central Texas. Why I do not know since I am always bitching that it never rains here. Also, I guess that means hiking is never far out of my mind! Besides this little project will take up some of my down time where I get to do …. absolutely nothing. Can’t lift, can’t work, can’t exercise, can’t hike. Can’t even drive a car for a few days or until I can push hard enough on the brake pedal to actually stop the car. Believe me that was my first ask along with hiking. I can go for a walk in a few days, but absolutely no hiking the doctor says!

I love waterfalls.

Surprisingly there have been quite a few waterfalls although many are intermittent or seasonal.

Waterfall at Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge

The first waterfall I encountered was on my first hike out of the city at Balcones Canyonlands NWR. It’s not tall but was gushing on this day. I have been back to Balcones several times and have not seen much water over this waterfall since my initial visit. Only a trickle now and then. Got lucky on this one.

I take Quincy on a dog walk quite often to Balcones District Park which is nowhere near the wildlife refuge although the names are similar. It was here we were surprised with a waterfall that we made several trips to monitor as it continued to rain over a couple weeks. Ultimately it was a fine waterfall.

This surprising waterfall at Balcones District Park turned out to be quite scenic. Again, very intermittent.

McKinney Falls is a nice one. At McKinney there are actually two falls on Onion Creek within the park called the Upper Falls and of course downstream is the Lower Falls. McKinney Falls always runs but sometimes at just a trickle.

Upper McKinney Falls
Lower McKinney Falls

Then of course there was or is Crockett Garden Falls. Once very unique it has since collapsed so it is now just a straight drop waterfall. Crockett is another spring fed falls so it is a dependable choice when you want to see a waterfall.

Crockett Garden Falls
Crockett Gardens Falls after the collapse

One day I was doing the random trail called Spicewood Valley Trail in the city. Quincy and I came across another intermittent waterfall. I don’t know the name or if it even has one, but it was a good one.

Along the Spicewood Valley trail. This is only the upper half of the falls.

One of the major Central Texas Waterfalls is Pedernales Falls. The waterfall is located in Pedernales Falls State Park. It is more of a slide down the rock, but if you hike up into the canyon there is more.

Pedernales Falls
Up in the Canyon at Pedernales Falls

Also at Pedernales Falls I found this other nice little waterfall on Mescal Creek

Intermittent waterfall on Mescal Creek at Pedernales Falls State Park.

Bull Creek here in Austin is another place where the water always flows although not so much more than a trickle at times. There are various falls along the Inga Van Nynatten Trail and the Bull Creek Greenbelt.

Along the Inga Van Nynatten Trail
Known as the Big Falls on Bull Creek

Chalk Ridge Falls near Belton is one of my favorites. Lying on a tributary of the Lampasas River it never disappoints.

Chalk Ridge Falls
Chalk Ridge Falls

Inks Lake has a great waterfall if you can catch it running. At the Devil’s Waterhole is a nice waterfall and one of the most beautiful areas of Central Texas. Known as the Spring Valley Creek Falls or Valley Creek Falls. It gets it’s Spring moniker not because it is spring fed but because it is usually in the Spring when you find it running.

Spring Valley Creek Falls Inks Lake State Park
Spring Valley Creek Falls Inks Lake State Park
The Devil’s Waterhole a gorgeous place

Along Gilleland Creek in Pflugerville are a series of falls that always run on this large spring fed creek.

More of a slide than a waterfall on Gilleland Creek

One I have watched all fall and winter has finally come to life. Only a trickle when I first saw it, it has now become a small waterfall. This one is on Bee Creek in The Wild Basin Preserve. I think this one can do more if we continue to have some rain.

Falls at Wild Basin

Another beautiful and unique waterfall is the one at Sailmaster on the Hamilton Greenbelt in Lakeway. Sailmaster has small waterfalls on three sides of the pool before the last big drop shown below.

Sailmaster Falls
Sailmaster Falls

When Barton Creek is running it has a few waterfalls. But even more uncommon then catching the creek running is the ability to snap a photo of the falls without swimmers all over them. It is a wildly popular swimming area. That’s why I went once, caught the falls running and I am out.

Sculpture Falls on Barton Creek
Hill of Life Falls Barton Creek

Of course, in Central Texas is the Grandaddy of all waterfalls in Texas, Gorman Falls. Gorman Drops nearly 70 feet and being a travertine falls in is about 100 yards wide with multiple streams flowing down at different locations.

Gorman Falls at Colorado Bend State Park

Colorado Bend also has a series of falls along the Spicewood Trail and Spicewood Springs Creek.

Spicewood Creek Falls Colorado Bend State Park

So, in spite of all my bitching and griping I guess I have seen quite a few waterfalls throughout Central Texas. They are just not the 30 to 100 foot drops I got used to in the mountains of North Carolina.

So there ya go. There are waterfalls in central Texas. Most are small and intermittent, but they are there.

And I found an article to write while sitting on my keister.

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