One of my favorite local hikes is the San Gabriel trail from Cedar Breaks Park to Crockett Gardens and back. It’s about a five and a half to six-mile trip, just right for a quick morning hike. It is rugged and has some good elevation changes. And Crockett Garden Falls is one of the most unique falls I have ever seen.
One of my first hikes in Texas was to Crockett Garden. Crockett Garden is so named because the area was at one time a truck farm. Started by James Knight It was then purchased by L.M. Crockett for whom the falls are named. Knight Spring feeds the falls.
This is an environmentally sensitive area as Crockett Falls is one of those travertine falls so prevalent in Central Texas. In fact, when the lake was built precautions were taken so that even when full the water of the lake would not submerge the falls.
The first treat on this hike is the 100-foot cliffs and the outstanding views of Lake Georgetown. After a mile of ups and downs and a long steady climb to the top you are definitely rewarded with the view.
I press on.
At mile marker two you can almost see the falls as it is across the canyon from here. But I have to walk this canyon rim and then drop down into the upper part of the canyon. But I hear water running. I have never heard water running here before.
Crockett Falls has a small cascade next to it, so I thought well maybe that is running hard although we haven’t had any rain since before Christmas. I go on.
I arrive and OH NO! Crockett Falls has collapsed! It Is gone!
It is estimated that Crockett Falls took about two thousand years to form. It was a must-see landmark when visiting the Georgetown area and now it is gone.
On the bright side there is now a thirty or forty foot free falling waterfall. It could now rank in the top ten as far as continuously flowing waterfalls in the state.
What happened to Crockett Falls. We had a bit of rain followed by a hard freeze right before Christmas. Since Crockett Falls continuously flows it is believed that the ice buildup may have been just too much weight for the structure to handle. Travertine is not the sturdiest base (think stalactites and stalagmites; same basic composition) and the falls had extended out close to twenty feet from the supporting cliff. Probably remarkable that it took this long for the structure to fall.
I will keep doing the hike and watching to see what happens over the next few years.
It’s kinda like the death of an old friend.