3 routes · Mountain Biking · Hiking · Road Biking
McKinney Falls State Park Loop
A fantastic beginner-friendly loop traversing flowy dark black dirt singletrack.
Mountain Biking Easy
- 11 km
- 104 m
- 104 m
- 0-1 hrs
- Low Point
- 143 m
- High Point
- 180 m
The ride begins by dropping down to Lower McKinney Falls. To reach the true singletrack, you'll have to traverse a rippled slickrock slab and then cross the stream above the falls. This is far and away the most difficult part of the entire ride. At low water, it's still advisable to carry your bike across the stream, as the wet limestone can be very slippery. Thankfully, when the water is low enough, you can hop from rock to rock above the falls and easily reach the other side.
However, when the water level is high, crossing the stream will require wading, and the slabs of limestone can get very, very slippery when wet. Exercise extreme caution if you decide to wade the stream or choose instead to return later in the season when the water is lower.
Once on the opposite side of Onion Creek, the ride begins on the Homestead Trail, first passing the historic homestead before heading deeper into the forest.
To complete this route as mapped, you can simply take left turns the entire time to traverse all of the loops and make the most of these trails. From the smooth, flowy dirt on Homestead, you'll turn left onto the Flint Rock Loop to reach the Williamson Creek Overlook trail. Flint Rock does have a few more rocks than the other trails in the park, and there can be a few slick, muddy spots along this section. Most of the wet spots have been rock armored to reduce the environmental impact.
The trail on Williamson Creek Overlook goes right back to the smooth black dirt, and it does indeed provide a scenic overlook of a small canyon carved out by the passage of Williamson Creek. This outermost loop is a true gem that provides a wonderful feeling of being immersed in nature, even though you're still within Austin's city limits!
After looping back through Flint Rock Loop, you'll pick up the eastern section of the Homestead trail to return to the falls. The final descent down Homestead is surprisingly fast and fun, but it does have a few slightly washed-out sections of trail where some small roots and rocks are exposed. Tackling this moderate level of technical difficulty at the very end of the ride is a fantastic way to cap this mountain biking experience!
Mostly smooth and non-technical singletrack with unavoidable obstacles 2in/5cm tall or less. Avoidable obstacles may be present. Ideal for beginner riders.
Best time to visit
- In the forest
- Rock Gardens
Guidebooks in this area
4 routes · Mountain Biking