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7 must-see waterfalls Austin Texas for this summer

Although known as one of the driest countries in the USA, waterfalls Austin Texas are famous in the area for their incredible scenery and beautiful surroundings.

Hidden deep in the state parks or just a few miles away from the big cities, waterfalls near Austin Texas are among the must-visit attractions in Texas.

There are more than 40 waterfalls located all across the state, but the most beautiful ones can be found around the city of Austin.

Most of these waterfalls are inside state parks, and the entrance fee should be paid, so if you plan to visit them quite frequently, I strongly recommend you buy the Texas State Park Pass, which costs 70 USD per person per year.

You can get to these waterfalls in Austin Texas, after a short hike to the forest, but the view is amazing and worth the effort, even though the trail is longer and more difficult.

Sculpture Falls Texas aerial view
Sculpture Falls Texas aerial view

To help you spare some time and energy, I drop below a list of the best waterfalls near Austin, Texas, which you must explore when in the area.

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Most beautiful waterfalls Austin Texas

1. Austin Sculpture falls

One of the most interesting water falls in Austin you have to see is Austin Sculpture falls, located about 7 miles away from Austin’s downtown.

The place is extremely popular because of its beautiful scenery, and it is part of the Barton Creek Greenbelt.

The water is crystal clear, perfect for cooling off on a hot summer day, but there is a short hike to the trail, so wear some comfy shoes.

Sculpture falls Austin pool Waterfalls Austin Texas
Sculpture falls Austin pool

The hiking trail to the waterfall is about 1.5 miles long, but look at the map before starting the hike, as there are many other waterfalls along the way, so don’t get confused and stop at the wrong waterfall.

The trail is quite exposed to the sun so make sure you have enough water with you or take a filtering bottle to filter water from the river.

Sun cream, a hat, and some snacks are also mandatory to have with you, as well as water shoes so you can bathe in the pool located at the bottom of the falls.

One of the most beautiful Austin falls, Austin Sculpture, comes with enough space to lay your blanket, and there are even some cliffs from where you can jump into the pool if you like to feel some adrenaline.

Sculpture Falls Texas aerial view
Sculpture Falls Texas aerial view

It is one of the places in Texas where dogs are allowed, so bring your furry friends with you as they also deserve to spend some time in nature and have some fun.

2. Austin Twin falls

The list of waterfalls Austin Texas continues with Austin Twin falls, a fantastic waterfall located about 15 minutes drive from Austin’s downtown.

To get to the falls, you must follow a 3.2 miles long hiking trail (round trip), accessible to everybody.

The good news is that you can take with you your furry friend, but there is one condition: you have to keep it on a leash all the time.

The hiking trail is perfect for runners and walkers but not for mountain bikers as it has a small elevation and might be quite crowded, especially during summer weekends.

Twin Falls swing rope
Twin Falls swing rope

Follow the trail to these Austin water falls and climb on top of the falls. If you are a good swimmer and want to feel the adrenaline pumping into your veins, try jumping from the top of the falls into the pool.

There is also a swing rope from where you can jump into the pool, so prepare for a day full of fun and outdoor activities.

The pool from the bottom of the falls is deep enough for a safe jump from the cliffs and large enough to swim on a hot day of Texan summer.

Austin Twin falls are also located inside the Barton Creek Greenbelt stretch, close to the Sculpture falls, so you should consider planning more than a day in the area.

There are designated places where you can have a picnic, so pack your picnic basket with your snacks, sandwiches, and water to stay hydrated the whole day.

Austin Twin Falls overview
Austin Twin Falls overview

You don’t have to pay any fee to visit the state park where the waterfall is located and because of the incredible scenery and closeness to Austin, the place becomes really crowded in summer and on weekends.

In the vicinity of the waterfalls, there are also a few beaches and swimming holes that you can visit, out of which the most beautiful ones are Barton Springs Pool Beach, Campbell’s Hole Beach, and West Lake Beach.

To find a good parking place in the parking lot from the entrance of the trail, we strongly advise 

you to go here quite early in the morning.

3. Gorman Falls

Located a little bit further from Austin, Gorman waterfalls Austin Texas should be included in your travel list when visiting Austin area.

These falls inside Colorado Bend State Park are beautiful and worth paying a visit to.

gorman falls Texas
gorman falls Texas

It has a total height of 70 feet and the trail from the parking lot to the falls has 3 miles round trip with rocky terrain, so you’d better take with you comfy hiking shoes.

In order to enter the park, you need to pay 6 USD for an adult, and when the park reaches its maximum capacity, access is not allowed anymore.

This generally happens during the summer season, on the weekend when everybody rushes away from city pollution to spend a day with family and friends in the middle of nature.

The hike to the waterfall is quite exposed to the sun so you’d better pack with you sun cream and a sun hat, as well as enough drinking water to stay hydrated.

The good news is that dogs are allowed inside the state park, but they must be leashed at all times.

Gorman falls Texas overview
Gorman falls Texas overview

The place is much more beautiful in reality than in photos, and its grandeur and grace are almost impossible to catch in one photo.

The waterfall is more impressive after rainfalls, so that is why we consider spring and autumn the best time of the year to visit it.

4.  Pedernales Falls

If you are looking for a waterfall with an impressive height, then Pedernales waterfalls of Texas is not the right choice.

Pedernales falls impressed with its weight and the way it spread across the whole river.

This is one of the calmest waterfalls in Texas, closely located near the city of San Antonio, a perfect place to relax and reconnect with nature.

Pedernales falls state park Tx
Pedernales falls state park Tx

The waterfall is located about one hour away from Austin, and the parking place to the waterfall has about 0.5 miles long.

Its unique scenery and beauty attract an impressive number of visitors each year, nature lovers and hikers, as there are plenty of hiking trails in the area.

The trails have different lengths and degrees of difficulty so you can easily spend a whole day in the park, or why not camp overnight in the designated area to enjoy more of what this park offers.

The waterfalls cover limestone rocks and create shallow pools, ideal places for fish to gather.

Pedernales Falls TX limestone
Pedernales Falls TX limestone

So, yes, Pedernales river is a great place for fishing so pack a fishing rod to catch something for dinner.

There is a short hike from the parking lot to the falls, and you have to follow a 0.5 miles trail that goes directly to the falls.

Or, if you want to explore more of the park, you can take the 10-mile single-track trail and observe nature and the river.

There are certain areas where you can swim or where tubing is allowed, and the park is open daily to the public.

The entrance to the park cost 6 USD per person, but the area becomes very crowded during the summer season, especially on weekends.

Pedernales falls state park Tx water
Pedernales falls state park Tx water

The water level varies depending on the quantity of rain drops, and certain areas are considered dangerous for a swim.

Still, there are designated places where you can swim, go tubing, or kayaking as there the water level and the currents are safe.

I would mention hiking, fishing, biking, camping in designated areas, and swimming among the most popular activities around the waterfalls.

This is definitely a great place to relax, have fun, and spend quality time with your friends and families.

Pedernales falls state park Tx limestone
Pedernales falls state park Tx limestone

5. McKinney falls in Austin Texas

One of the most impressive waterfalls Austin Texas is definitely McKinney falls, located about 15 minutes drive from Austin center.

The entrance to the park is 6 USD per person, and children under 12 years old have free access to the state park.

McKinney Falls State Park is perfect for a wide range of outdoor activities like fishing, biking, camping, hiking, picnicking, and even geocaching.

McKinney falls after rain
McKinney falls after rain

The place is extremely popular among tourists and locals, so you’d better reserve your seat in advance, as the park closes when it reaches its maximum capacity.

During the busy season, from May to September and sometimes even during April and October, the park gets close due to the capacity limit very early during the day, so you’d better arrive here early.

To better describe the place, we should split these waterfalls into two different parts: Lower McKinney falls and Upper McKinney falls.

Lower McKinney Falls are easier to reach after a short hike on a designated trail that is suitable for everybody.

McKinney falls sunny day
McKinney falls sunny day

The Lower Falls is located on the place where Onion Creek drops over 16 feet of limestone and forms a beautiful and very popular swimming hole where you can cool off on a hot day of summer.

Upper Falls is located about 1 mile away from Lower Falls, inside the state park, and if you don’t want to swim or hike, you can leave the car in the designated parking lot close to the falls ( only 0.25 miles walk from the parking lot).

Upper Falls is perfect for relaxing, observing nature, and admiring the ancient volcanic rock formations surrounding the area.

McKinney falls info and map
McKinney falls info and map

If you are looking for some adrenaline, then Upper Falls is for you as you can jump from the cliffs located on top of the waterfall.

The pool from the bottom of Upper Falls is deep enough to jump into it without any risks.

6. Hamilton Falls

Located about one hour drive from Austin, Hamilton Falls is one of the most beautiful waterfalls Austin Texas has been a very popular place among tourists and locals.

It is 50 feet in height and is located on the same spot where Pedernales River meets Hamilton Creek.

Texas Hamilton Pool Preserve Swimming Hole 80
Texas Hamilton Pool Preserve Swimming Hole

The view is absolutely gorgeous, and the water temperature from the pool at the waterfall’s base is perfect for cooling off on a hot summer day.

For visiting the place, you need to make a reservation sometimes weeks in advance, especially if you plan to visit this spot during summer weekends when everybody rushes to the pools to cool off and have fun.

The debit of the waterfall is influenced by the rain that drops, but I can tell you for sure that it flows all year round.

Hamilton Falls Texas
Hamilton Falls Texas

In order to get to the waterfall, you need to follow 0.25 miles hiking nature trail that starts at the parking lot and goes to the pool and waterfall.

The waterfall’s park is perfect for swimming, biking, hiking, horseback riding, and fishing.

There is an entrance fee to the waterfall for 11 USD per adult, and access is allowed between 8.30 am and 6 p.m.

Hamilton pool reserve Texas general view
Hamilton pool reserve Texas general view

7. Westcave Preserve waterfalls

One of Texas’s most visited waterfalls is Westcave Preserve waterfalls, located off Hamilton Pool Road about one mile from the famous Hamilton Pool Preserve.

It is about 40 minutes from Austin downtown and 20 minutes north of Dripping Springs.

The safest and easiest way to reach the falls is with a guided tour available on weekends and depending on weather conditions.

Westcave Preserve waterfalls general view
Westcave Preserve waterfalls general view

The waterfall has 40 feet in height, and it hides a small cave that could be explored on the guided tour.

At the bottom of Westcave waterfall, one of Texas’s most visited waterfalls, you will find a beautiful pool with clear and cold water.

The entrance to the park costs 15 USD for adults and 7 USD for children, while the guided tour is around 60 USD per person it includes a walk through the Hill Country landscape, a tour of the grotto, and spectacular views of the waterfall and the caves.

It is one of the best day trips you can experience in Texas, and the caves and the waterfalls are more spectacular in reality than in photos.

Beware that the tour must be reserved in advance, so don’t just go there hoping that you will find a free seat, as the place is extremely popular, and the tour sells really quickly and many days in advance.

Westcave Preserve waterfalls 2
Westcave Preserve waterfalls

Although the hole located at the bottom of the waterfall looks extremely tempting, swimming is not allowed in the area, and if you want to swim, head to Hamilton Pools.

There are toilets at the entrance of the parks, and pets are not allowed inside, so leave your furry friends home.

Don’t forget to bring sun cream, a hat, and plastic bottles for water to stay hydrated all day.

Sleeping close to these waterfalls Austin Texas

Austin area is packed with many interesting attractions, including beautiful waterfalls, fascinating pools, and many other places where you can relax and have fun with your beloved ones.

All these waterfalls in Austin Texas are located close to the city center, within a short drive so finding accommodation in the city center is perfect when you want to explore the surroundings.

I drop below a list of the most beautiful hotels, the ones that have the best price-quality ratio in the area:

  • The Stephen F Austin Royal Sonesta Hotel is conveniently located in the city center close to the main attractions of the area and features spacious rooms with coffeemakers as well as a fitness room and an indoor pool. The on-site restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner serving international and Texan cuisine.
  • Featuring an outdoor swimming pool and free wifi, East Austin Hotel is perfect for your Texan vacation. All the hotel rooms have a seating area, safety deposit box, and cable channels.
  • The Driskill, in The Unbound Collection by Hyatt is the most luxurious and beautiful hotel in the area that combines old-world charm with modern luxury. There is live music at the bar each night, but before you sip a drink, dine at the hotel’s restaurant, an award dining restaurant serving delicious food.

Conclusion

Undoubtedly, Austin is one of the most beautiful cities in Texas, so you definitely have to include it on your travel list.

The area around the city is packed with many interesting attractions, including waterfalls, natural pools, and state parks packed with wildlife and rich fauna.

All the waterfalls listed here are equally beautiful and unique, so it is quite hard to pick just one to visit.

They are in the middle of nature, far from any city pollution, being perfect for spending a wonderful time with your beloved ones.

Pedernales falls state park Tx hiking trail
Pedernales falls state park Tx hiking trail

To gain access to the state parks and to get to the waterfalls, you need to pay an entrance fee and stay inside the opening hours listed for each park.

Besides these amazing waterfalls located near Austin (some of them north of Austin), there is also St Edwards Park, Austin’s hidden gem si many small but charming waterfalls.

Here you can escape from the crowds and get close to nature. Follow Creek Trail, an easy trail that offers stunning views of the area for a wonderful day in nature.

FAQ

Is there waterfalls in Austin Texas?

In the area around Austin, there are many beautiful and wild waterfalls that you have to visit. Most of these waterfalls are located inside state parks and you have to pay an entrance fee and make a reservation in advance, as these places become really crowded, especially during the summer weekends.

What is the biggest waterfall in Texas?

Capote Falls is the biggest waterfall in Texas with a total height of 175 feet. It is located at the meeting point of Rio Grande Rift and Sierra Vieja and it flows all year round.

The waterfall is located on private property, so you need to ask permission before visiting it or rent a helicopter to fly over the falls.

Are there any natural waterfalls in Texas?

Of course, there are. Most of Texas’s waterfalls are natural; the most impressive ones are Pedernales Falls, Hamilton Falls, Upper, and Lower McKinney Falls, Krause Springs, and Gorman Falls.

Logistical tips and tricks for your trip

Book your accommodation

We always use Booking.com as they have the best price-quality ratio and they offer a wide range of hotels, guesthouses, apartments, and villas to choose from.

You will find here all types of accommodations, from the cheapest ones to the most luxurious.

Don't forget travel insurance

We never leave home without HeyMondo Insurance or Safety Wings Insurance as they offer the best services and a good value for money, plus COVID coverage.

Travel insurance will always protect you against unexpected events and cost like illness, COVID, injury, theft, or travel cancellation.

We never go on any trip without travel insurance and there were many cases when we had to use it.

Renting a car
We like to explore a country on our own and a car gives us the mobility and freedom to do that.

We always rent our car from Discovercars as they have free cancellation 48 hours prior to starting date and a wide range of car rental companies and options to choose from all over the world.

Tours and attractions
When we are looking for some adventure or we simply want to break up the monotony and discover new places, we always use GetYourGuide.

We love it because we always find the most amazing experiences, with free cancellation and a large variety of activities and tours to choose from.

Airplane tickets and holiday packages
Expedia is our ally when searching for the best price for airplane tickets as it works as an aggregator for a huge number of airlines and we always find the best price for our flights.

Travel tip: use Expedia when you are searching for holiday packages as they have many last-minute offers and great discounts for hotels, flights, and even the whole holiday packages.