One of the things I enjoyed most while in Austin was discovering a nature park that was less than a mile from our campground. McKinney Roughs is an educational center set in a beautiful area just outside of Austin. I enjoyed hiking the trails, doing some geocaching, and taking in some time alone in nature. Below are some of the flowers and plants, along with meadows of prairie grasses.
The trails are fairly easily managed, but probably not recommended for those needing walking assistance, balance issues, or bum knees. They are well marked and fairly even, but there are rocks and stumps to navigate. The trails meander through the trees and give way to views of landscape for miles. I encountered squirrels, rabbits, and varying birds on the trail. I didn’t have the opportunity to finish the River Trail, which boasts a spectacular view of the Colorado River, but hope to complete that trail when I return.
My sister-in-law, Jackie, became my hiking buddy and we did a couple of trails together. Our exciting find was this sneaky little snake (okay, he was a BIG snake–a diamond back rattler to be exact) that blocked our path. Since he wasn’t giving us any ground, we back-trailed about a mile out of our way. We were vigilant about the nature around us after that encounter.
Catching the hiking bug and need to get out and about, Jackie and I decided to check out McKinney Falls State Park and do some exploring there.
We went the wrong way on the trial in the beginning, but we eventually made it to the Falls. The sound of the falling water was soothing, and we took a short break to take it all in.
Both parks are lovely and definitely worth a visit. I preferred McKinney Roughs because there were fewer humans in a more natural and untouched atmosphere.
Sometimes just breathing fresh air, walking among the trees, and witnessing all kinds of critters is renewing and refreshing, not to mention feeling the “good” kind of sore the next day.
What a beautiful place!
My husband and I would camp several times a year in McKinney Falls Park. We’d take the dogs along and they loved it too. Best thing about living in Texas was all the gorgeous parks in which to spend time.
I agree. I didn’t get to visit many of them, but loved what I did see. They are well-maintained and beautiful. I hope to see more the next time around.
*sigh* I wish we were still in the same area. I need a hiking buddy. I can’t take Elvis into the GSMNP and I’m just not keen on walking through the woods completely alone. Especially in bear country. I’m a wimp. I’m adding both of these sites to my list of places to visit next time we’re in or near Austin. Thanks.
Yeah, bear country not so much–it’s harder to make a quick getaway with a bear encounter. 🙂 I love GSMNP, though–Cades Cove and Clingman’s Dome are my favorites, but my all-time is Roaring Fork (not part of the park). Hopefully, we can be hiking buddies in the future when our paths cross again. Slow and steady is my mantra. 🙂 Safe travels!
We drove through Cade’s Cove. Next time we’re in the area I’ll get up early and bike it. Not going to make the drive to Clingman’s Dome this time, but might be able to do Roaring Fork before we leave. Depends – some of the roads through the park were still closed on Sunday from the storm!
I hope it clears before you leave. We are currently in Branson (visiting my daughter). There are areas around here that were affected by the flooding. As we were going through town, it reminded me of Pigeon Forge with all the cheesy touristy stuff. Can’t wait to get on the outskirts and enjoy some nature! We’ll be in MI in August (up the middle finger–LOL). Hope the Smokies recover from the storm and you can travel safely.
They look and sound beautiful. We’ve had a great week or two because of all the hiking we’ve been able to do. Unfortunately, we always seem to be on a timeline so not enough time to just sit and enjoy. Glad you are!
Looks peaceful. I haven’t gone hiking in over a year. Glad you’re enjoying yourself.