Wednesday, January 21, 2009

McKinney Falls State Park

I walk often at McKinney Falls. It's the only "urban" park in the Texas system. Entirely within the city limits. And less than 10 minutes from me. It's a ranch that was first a Spanish Land Grant to Santiago del Val, then owned by Mr. McKinney, then the Smith's who donated the property to the state. The park is divided just about in half by Onion Creek. The larger south portion is where I always walk on the Hike and Bike Trail. It's paved!

This tiny flower is dried on it's stem.

Something there is that doesn't love a wall. This one marks most of the south border of the park, but is in sad shape. There are many volunteers at the park, probably none skilled at building dry rock walls.

Onion Creek is very low. No rain. I hope I get to see the falls in full flow some day.

Mr. and Mrs. McKinney raised race horses. This is what's left of the horse trainers cabin.

Just north of the Visitor's Center is a Rock Shelter. It's easy to imagine the local Indians living here. One day last winter I went out in a rain storm to sit under the shelter. It was awesome.

The McKinney's built their homestead on the north side of the creek. I am guessing to be on the town side of high water.

They also had a flour mill. This is the entrance to the forebay. Water was diverted from the creek. While I was sitting here trying to figure out how it worked a Road Runner crossed the road. He came back awhile later, too many people in the park that Sunday for him and me.

I took advantage of the low water to cross the creek and check out the trail on the north side. It's mostly scrub brush and kind of lonely, so I probably won't do that again.

The park feels very remote and wild, but it's not, on one side is a golf course and on the other is a brand new high school. Both are mostly hidden when there are leaves on the trees. But now I can see golfers from the trail.

Pai loves McKinney as much as her Granma! Picnic tables stand in for monkey bars; trees are perfect for hide and seek.


  1. That is a really neat place with so much history. Thanks for the tour. And what a precious pic of Pai!

  2. What a lovely park -- especially those old stone buildings.


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