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Visiting McKinney Falls State Park: Austin, Texas

In the midst of the Best City for Pet Travelers tournament that is currently occupying the blog, perhaps you’ve grown curious about our wanderings …

Hurry up … and wait! One frantic week of cleaning, packing, and bidding fond farewells in Austin was followed by a nine-day derailment while the Winnebago was detained for maintenance. We’d planned on the repairs taking a couple of days, but a snafu getting the parts led to an additional week of homelessness. We made the best of things at a nearby pet friendly hotel and took the opportunity to see McKinney Falls State Park, just outside Austin.

McKinney Falls State Park

McKinney Falls State Park - Austin, TX McKinney Falls State Park - Austin, TX

The dogs clearly enjoyed this little jaunt to the “wilderness” – we didn’t clue them in that we were only thirteen miles from downtown! The park encompasses more than 700 acres where Onion Creek and Williamson Creek meet. At one time the property was owned by Thomas F. McKinney, a prominent racehorse breeder, and the ruins of his family home and the horse trainer’s cabin are preserved in the park.

In the summer, this is a popular swimming hole, but the sign we saw said dogs are not allowed in the water. There are, however, two hiking trails – both 2.8 miles long – where leashed dogs are welcome. We chose the paved Onion Creek Hike and Bike trail because recent rains had made the unpaved Homestad Trail a little greasy. Which ever trail you choose, be sure you and your dog stay on it. I’m passing that lesson along, which I learned the hard way, after getting a little too close and personal with a nasty cactus while getting shots of the wildflowers. Ouch!

McKinney Falls State Park - Austin, TX McKinney Falls State Park - Austin, TX McKinney Falls State Park - Austin, TX

This trail runs past the upper falls and follows Onion Creek through the picnic area and campground before turning up the hill, through the meadow, and past the horse trainer’s cabin. In the meadow we found some brave Bluebonnets, so well-known in Texas, making their first appearances. After ensuring the area was cactus-free, we got Ty and Buster to strike a pose.

McKinney Falls State Park - Austin, TX McKinney Falls State Park - Austin, TX

A couple days later we got the word that Winnie was ready to roll, and we finally got our fourth travel season underway. If you’re following us on Facebook you know we’ve made it to far west Texas and we’re on our way to Big Bend National Park. Keep an eye on the blog next week for the latest on our adventures!

And now … back to the tournament!

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  • Thanks, Sarah! We had a great time at McKinney, and always strive to ensure that the canine visitors following our trail respect the rules, where ever we visit. Thank you for being dog friendly and providing such a beautiful place to enjoy the outdoors with our dogs!

  • Dawn Ross says:

    McKinney Falls is awesome! I really miss the Texas wildflowers. I don’t live in Texas anymore so it has been a while. But if I went, it would be very difficult keeping my Lab Maya out of it.

  • What a gorgeous park! Sorry to hear that you got pricked! Ouch!

  • […] Go Pet Friendly visits Visiting McKinney Falls State Park near Austin, TX […]

  • I have always dreamed of being able to take a picture of the dogs in a field of Bluebonnets! It looks like such an awesome hiking park!

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