×

12 Best Waterfalls in Texas

Written by Brad Lane
Jun 23, 2020

Waterfalls in Texas are a somewhat rare sight to see. In a state so big, only a handful of waterfalls cascade throughout Texas. For most waterfalls in Texas, the place to head is the Texas Hill Country, near the central part of the state. Waterfalls near San Antonio, include places like Pedernales Falls and Gorman Falls, which stand out in this natural environment.

Other waterfalls, like the ones at Hamilton Pool and Krause Springs, dive into big pools that encourage swimming and exploring. Both Hamilton Pool and Krause Springs feature waterfalls less than an hour from Austin.

Other displays of tumbling water take place throughout the state after heavy rainfall. In the far southwest corner of the state, precipitation at Big Bend National Park adds gushing waterfalls to the arid environment. The neighboring Big Bend Ranch State Park also features Madrid Falls, which requires a hearty hike to reach. On the opposite side of the state, at Boykin Springs, miniature waterfalls dot the piney landscape.

Find other picturesque places to visit in the Lone Star State with our list of the best waterfalls in Texas.

1. Pedernales Falls, Pedernales Falls State Park Editor's Choice

Pedernales Falls State Park | Photo Credit: Brad Lane

In the Texas Hill Country near Marble Falls and 75 miles north of San Antonio, the Pedernales River carves its way down a limestone landscape. Surrounded by a state park of its own name, Pedernales Falls is a fun place to explore. The rocky outcropping of the river bank also provides a great place to lie and catch some sun.

Swimming is not allowed at Pedernales Falls because the river makes several quick drops through tight corridors. Rock hopping around the dynamic space is a fun thing to do when visiting. With cool water nearby and plenty of places to eat a packed lunch, Pedernales Falls also makes for a great picnic spot in Hill Country.

The Pedernales River is subject to flash flooding, even if it's not raining at the park. Pay attention to park notices when visiting, and know the signs of a river surging (water becomes muddy or begins rising). Swimming is allowed on other sections of the Pedernales River within the park.

Address: 2585 Park Road 6026, Johnson City, Texas

2. Hamilton Pool Waterfall, Hamilton Pool Preserve

Hamilton Pool and Waterfall

An hour's drive from the Texas Capitol in Austin, Hamilton Pool Preserve is a popular outdoor spot created by a plunging 50-foot waterfall. Near its confluence with the Pedernales River, Hamilton Creek spills into a narrow canyon to create this dramatic pool. The preserve receives large crowds throughout the summer, especially on weekends, and reservations are required to visit.

The Hamilton Pool waterfall never completely goes dry. Still, the waterfall does become a trickle during drier parts of the year. A steep quarter-mile trail accesses the waterfall and scenic grotto. Despite fluctuating rain levels, Hamilton Pool itself remains constant. Swimming is a popular activity at Hamilton Pool, though the preserve occasionally prohibits swimming after heavy rainfall.

Address: 24300 Hamilton Pool Road, Dripping Springs, Texas

3. Gorman Falls, Colorado Bend State Park

Gorman Falls at Colorado Bend State Park

Colorado Bend State Park is one of the best state parks in Texas and is home to one of the fantastic waterfalls in the state. The hike to see Gorman Falls requires a three-mile round trip. Much of the terrain leading to the falls is rocky and without shade, and the trail can be slippery and muddy after a rain. The 70-foot-tall spectacle known as Gorman Falls, however, is well worth the effort.

Gorman Falls is a very wide waterfall, where at low flow, it looks like a curtain coming down the mossy rock face. On heavier flows, it's a true water-wall cascading down the forested scene.

The trail to Gorman Falls, the state park's most famous feature, is well marked and easy to navigate. Colorado Bend State Park also encompasses 30 additional miles of multi-use trails, as well as camping for tents and RVs.

Address: 2236 Park Hill Drive, Bend, Texas

4. Upper and Lower Falls, McKinney Falls State Park

Lower Falls at McKinney Falls State Park | Photo Credit: Brad Lane

Less than 10 miles from downtown Austin, this state park features two beautiful falls on Onion Creek. The Upper and Lower Falls at the state park cascade into big pools that encourage activities like fishing and swimming. Parking is available near both waterfalls in McKinney Falls State Park, and a combination of hiking trails connects the two.

In Austin's backyard, McKinney Falls sees some crowds on nice-weather weekends. And the weather is often lovely in Austin. Visitors can save money by purchasing a Texas State Park Pass.

Both falls at the park are dependent on rainfall, and Onion Creek can flood after heavy rain.

Address: 5808 McKinney Falls Parkway, Austin, Texas

5. Krause Springs, Spicewood

Krause Springs waterfall

Krause Springs is a popular swimming hole in Spicewood, 30 miles west of Austin. Family owned and operated, this private property features over 30 natural springs and a large natural pool that feeds into the nearby Lake Travis (one of the best lakes in Texas). Surrounding this natural pool are large granite outcroppings, as well as twin waterfalls cascading down the rock.

A day-use fee is required to visit Krause Springs. Primitive campsites are also available at an affordable rate and cater to both tent camping and RV camping. A human-made pool at Krause Springs also entices activities like sunbathing and cooling off. The facility features a lush butterfly garden to admire and over 100 acres of Texas Hill Country to explore.

Address: 424 Co Rd 404, Spicewood, Texas

6. Dolan Falls, Devils River

Kayakers at Dolan Falls | Daniel Rodriguez / photo modified

The Devils River is in the rugged southwest region of Texas between Hill Country and the Chihuahuan Desert. This spring-fed river offers some of the most pristine paddling in the state.

Canoes and kayaks interested in cruising on the Devils River need to plan for little support along the way and have some previous experience on the water. It's not just the remote location that makes the Devils River challenging, but it's obstacles like Dolan Falls that make it a real adventure.

Most paddlers begin their multi-day trip on the Devils River at Baker's Crossing. Approximately 16 miles downriver, the roaring Dolan Falls requires many to portage.

Dolan Falls is more accessible from the Devils River State Park - Del Norte Unit. It's approximately one river mile to reach Dolan Falls from the Del Norte Unit.

Address: 21715 Dolan Creek Rd, Del Rio, Texas

7. Madrid Falls, Big Bend Ranch State Park

Big Bend Ranch State Park entrance sign

Madrid Falls is within the dense 300,000 acres encompassed by Big Bend Ranch State Park in West Texas. While it's one of the tallest waterfalls in Texas, its prominence is relatively well hidden, and it's not the most popular waterfall to visit.

It's the backcountry travel to the waterfall that keeps crowds at bay. This backcountry travel includes a long drive to the trailhead and technical hiking to reach the viewpoints.

Those interested in visiting the falls should drive to the Chorro Vista Campground deep within the park near the Rio Grande. Three different trails lead to different viewpoints of the 100-foot Madrid Falls within Chorro Canyon. Each trail navigates steep and challenging terrain. A trail map and route-finding capabilities are essential for visiting.

Near the Chorro Vista Campground, another challenging trail leads to the 80-foot Mexicano Falls.

8. Westcave Waterfall, Westcave Preserve

Westcave Waterfall

Between Hamilton Pool and Pedernales Falls, Westcave Preserve protects another beautiful waterfall near Austin. The 40-foot waterfall at Westcave Preserve creates a beautiful pool and grotto. The only way to see and experience this water-laden attraction is by a guided tour offered by the preserve.

Guided tours of the Westcave Grotto are available on the weekends, and reservations are highly recommended. The journey begins in arid uplands and descends through a limestone crevice, where the waterfall seems to tumble out of nowhere. Alongside the guided grotto tour, Westcave offers other things to do like upland nature walks.

Address: 24814 Hamilton Pool Road, Round Mountain, Texas

9. Wildcat Hollow Waterfall, Dinosaur Valley State Park

In a state park best known for its dinosaur tracks, a stunning waterfall makes a grand appearance after heavy rainfall. A newly marked trail leads to the Wildcat Hollow Waterfall on the northern end of the park, which passes other scenic viewpoints along the way. The approximately 50-foot Wildcat Hollow Waterfall only runs after high rains.

The Dinosaur Trackway at the state park is a must-see when visiting. The Paluxy River covers the trackway when water levels are high, which ironically is the perfect condition for checking out the waterfall. Users can ideally experience it all by sticking around a few days and spending the night at the campground within the park.

Address: 1629 Park Road 59, Glen Rose, Texas

10. Window Trail

Atop the pour-off on the Window Trail in Big Bend National Park

It takes heavy rainfalls to create waterfalls in Big Bend National Park in the far southwest corner of the state. The best place to see these sudden outpourings is the Chisos Basin region of the park.

In the Chisos Basin, the Window Trail leads hikers to the top of an enormous dry waterfall. This hike is one of the best hiking trails at Big Bend, and one of the most well-traversed in the area.

The hike to the Window pour-off is approximately a five-mile round trip. The trail descends through Oak Creek Canyon and includes spectacular views of the mountain environment. The Window provides the only place for water to tumble when it rains, and when it's dry, the runoff is smooth and slick. Hikers should practice extreme caution if approaching the edge of the drainage, even when it's completely dry.

You can view the Window pour-off from below along the Oak Spring Trail, which connects with the Window trail.

Accommodation: Best Places to Stay near Big Bend National Park

11. Wichita Falls

Wichita Falls

Wichita Falls is a collection of unique human-made waterfalls in north-central Texas, two hours northwest of Dallas. The first waterfalls of which the surrounding town took its name washed away during a flood in the 1800s. The city rebuilt Wichita Falls on the Wichita River, and now passersby heading south on Interstate 44 can see the waterfalls from their car.

A more rewarding look at the landscape comes to those who hike to Wichita Falls. Users can hop on the Wichita River Trail from the nearby Lucy Park and reach the falls with less than a mile hike. The cascading falls and surrounding manicured green space make for a great picture-taking opportunity.

Address: Wichita River Trail, Wichita Falls, Texas

12. Boykin Creek Waterfall, Boykin Springs Recreation Area

Waterfall on Sawmill Trail at Boykin Springs Recreation Area | U.S. Forest Service- Southern Region / photo modified

In the Angelina National Forest of East Texas, this national recreation area features a trickling waterfall on Boykin Creek. The small waterfall is within a tranquil forest, and the sound of the moving water makes for a relaxing scene. It's a one-mile hike on the Sawmill Trail to reach this consistent waterfall.

The Sawmill Trail features several small water features along Boykin Creek, especially if water levels are high. Boykin Lake provides other water-based recreation at Boykin Springs. Boykin Springs also features primitive campsites and a Civilian Conservation Corps picnic shelter. The area was significantly altered by Hurricane Rita in 2005 and has been bouncing back ever since.

More Related Articles on PlanetWare.com

More Ways to Explore Texas: The best places to camp in Texas enable overnight visits and multi-day trips. The adventure doesn't stop above ground — the top caverns to visit in Texas offer underground explorations that you won't forget. Fishing is another great way to spend a day in the state, and the top fishing lakes in Texas feature scenic places to cast a line.

Discover destinations, find outdoor adventures, follow the journeys of our travel writers around the world, and be inspired.

More on Texas