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Swimming in the waterfalls is the main reason to visit McKinney Falls State Park!! You can swim in either the Upper or Lower Falls; I suggest checking out both waterfalls before you settle in for the day. Some days I prefer the Lower Falls because it’s easier to get to and the rocky beach area is larger (families with little kids typically come here). Other days I prefer a larger swimming area and don’t mind crossing Onion Creek…so I go to the Upper Falls. Either way, both waterfalls are gorgeous and worth checking out!
Every time I go to McKinney Falls I see a ton of kids jumping from the top of both waterfalls!! I totally chicken out every time I go…but a few weeks ago I finally went for it!! It’s really not that scary and it’s a lot of fun!! Just please be safe!!
I’ve never fished…like ever…but apparently you can fish at McKinney Falls State Park. There’s fishing along Onion Creek and Williamson Creek, but it looks like the best fishing is on Onion Creek.
I’m pretty sure there’s only one trail to bike at McKinney Falls State Park and that’s the Onion Creek Hike and Bike Trail. It’s an easy 3 mile trail, definitely recommend! If you don’t have a bike with you, then you could definitely hike this trail instead.
|Hiking around Lower Falls|
My favorite trail to hike is the Rock Shelter Trail because of the neat rock formations along the creek side. It’s a short trail but definitely worth checking out. I also like to hike down by the lower falls creek bed and find a secluded spot for swimming. I’m not 100% sure this allowed but I’ve done it multiple times. I feel like I always find a different spot based on the water level and flow of the creek.
I’ve also hiked the Homestead Trail, Flint Rock Loop Trail, and Williamson Creek Overlook Trail. To get to all three of those trails you’ll need to cross the creek by the lower falls, so be prepared to get your feet wet! Once you cross the creek, the area is heavily shaded and all three trails are basically just walking through the trees. It’s nice if you’re camping for the weekend but it’s not a “must do” in my opinion. If you have enough time to hike these trails check out the McKinney Homestead, built by Thomas McKinney in the 1850s. It’s just some old ruins now but interesting to think a family used to live there back in the day.
|Rock Shelter Trail|
Y’all the campsites were technically closed during my most recent visit to McKinney Falls (COVID-19)…but I drove around the cones to check them out anyway!! I just had to find the best campsites for my next trip!! Here are my recommendations (in no particular order): 2, 7, 13, 38, 41-46, 48, 49, 53, 55, and 56 (possibly my favorite). This was my first time looking at the campsites at McKinney Falls and I was super impressed! We live so close to McKinney Falls that I’ve never considered camping there…but after looking at their sites we’ll definitely be planning a camping trip there sometime this fall!!