| 2.00 Miles
|| 297 Feet
Getting there: Head south on Hwy 183, past Hwy 290, the Colorado
River and Hwy 71. After passing Hwy 71 Austin Bergstrom Airport should be on your
left. Be on the lookout for McKinney Falls Parkway on the right. There is a brown
state park sign that also marks the turn. McKinney Falls is about 3 miles from
that turn on the right.
The Hike: The Upper Onion Creek Trail is an unofficial trail that
meanders off from McKinney's main Onion Creek
trail. According to our GPS trail which we read after our trip, part of this trail
leaves the state park boundaries, though we saw no signs warning of trespassing on
private property nor any fences. However, you should be alert, respectful and
prepared to turn around at any time if you encounter such a warning.
We start off this hike at the same location from which our Onion Creek hike starts,
marked on the map by the waypoint "Trailhead". The route follows the easy trail
along Onion Creek's banks to the waypoint marked "Diverge" at which point the
actual Upper Onion Creek trail begins. At this point you have the option of
continuing the paved Onion Creek trail that turns away from Onion Creek or to
head off to the right on the well worn dirt trail path that continues following
the creek upstream.
|Rock face along Onion Creek.|
If you take this trail you will be afforded some of the better views and features
found in the southern portion of McKinney Falls. A small, but nice rapids can be
found at the waypoint marked "Falls". The real interesting features are still to
Next up is a very large rock outcropping on the left at the waypoint marked "Outcrop".
Picture a mini version of Enchanted Rock to get an idea of what it looks like.
There's even a depression on the face of the rock in which some vegetation has
|The rock face has an interesting wavy pattern.|
Not too far down the path from the rock outcropping is the waypoint marked "Overhang".
Here you'll find a large section of rock face overlooking the creek. What makes this
overhang particularly interesting is the wavy pattern of the rock layers. Also
near this area is another rock outcropping, but this one is in the creek itself.
It provides a great platform on which to view the creek up and down stream.
|Stream bed leading into Onion Creek|
At the waypoint marked "Jeep Trail" come to a "T" section as you have options
of going right or left on the dirt road. We went right up to the waypoint
"Turn Back" but opted to head off in the other direction when crossing the stream
there looked to be slightly more work that we wanted at that time. This route
could very well continue for much longer as the larger topo maps reveal little
between it and Onion Creek park to the west.
We doubled back and continued up hill on the jeep trail. After reaching the top
of the bluff the trail turns in a direction leading downstream, parallel to the
path we had taken down at the creek level earlier. The jeep trail here exists,
but sometimes hard to see because the wildflowers had grown to such an extent that
it was difficult to see the tire tracks. The butterflies were everywhere, going
from flower to flower.
|Wildflowers and butterflies were out in abundance along the jeep trail.|
Eventually the jeep trail ends and the trail again turns into a foot path. Again,
this path is well worn so visitors to this area have been numerous, though we did
not see another person the entire time we were on the trail.
I failed to mark a waypoint, but the trail eventually merges with the original
trail perhaps a quarter mile from the "Diverge" point. Our track ends there,
though to complete the entire trip you still have some distance to go to get back
to the original trailhead.
This was a very fun hike with great features to view, plants to see and lots
of solitude. We could not estimate the time it took to complete this hike because
we included the Onion Creek hike on this day and did not keep separate times.
But the hike length is about 2 miles with only moderate elevation gain.
[View Log Page]
Distance: 0.10 Mile
I tried to take this hike, but found that the trail is fenced closed shortly after it veers from the park's trail. I was very disappointed.
The park fee is now $3.
A Walk In Heaven
[View Log Page]
Distance: 3.00 Miles
My wife and I originally did this hike
when my son was old enough to be
pulled along in a wagon. Along the way
we saw many types of wildlife, including
large turtles in Onion Creek, and
two very large owls perched high
in the trees above us. The bluebonnet
spread was spectacular, and the butterflies
were numerous. On another trip, we found
a secluded portion of Onion Creek
that had large flattop rocks jutting from the light
rapids. We took of our shoes and waded through it.
It was quite a nice trip.