Best Waterfalls In Texas: Tallest Falls, Waterfall Hikes, Swimming Holes, And Hidden Gems For Your Bucket List
Texas is known for many things. The second largest state in the U.S. is known for its larger-than-life culture, which includes cowboys and
rodeos, barbecue and Tex-Mex, man-made monoliths and historic meccas, beloved national parks and beautiful oases. Everything, from the temperatures to water parks to portion sizes, is bigger in Texas, and that most certainly includes its waterfalls.
Yes — waterfalls. Texas has waterfalls.
While you may picture a large and dry expanse when envisioning the Lone Star State, we’re here to turn those preconceptions upside down… in a big, Texas-sized way, of course. You see, what Texas lacks in quantity of waterfalls, it more than makes up for in quality of waterfalls.
And today we’re going to prove it. Below, you’ll find what we consider to be the absolute must-visit waterfalls in Texas. From the magical falls of Hamilton Pool and the beguiling Gorman Falls to Capote Falls, a 175-foot fall sure to leave your jaw on the floor, here are the best waterfalls in Texas for your bucket list:
Best Waterfalls in Texas
Texas doesn’t mess around when it comes to waterfalls. All across the state, there are some breathtakingly beautiful waterfalls sure to drop your jaw.
These are the kinds of bucket-list-worthy waterfalls worth chasing; commanding cascades that aren’t only the best in Texas,
but in the entire country.
Big and small, hidden and centerstage, here are the best waterfalls in Texas:
1. Gorman Falls Location: 2236 Park Hill Dr., Bend, TX, 76824 | Video Tour Stats: You'll find this commanding 65-foot cascade along the eponymous, 2.6-mile loop trail that's considered a moderately challenging route. Good to Know: These falls are located within Colorado Bend State Park, an amazing outdoor playground two hours northwest of Austin. This Texas State Park charges a daily fee of $5/adult.
Colorado Bend State Park sits on over 5,000 acres of trails, springs, rivers, and caves, but most visitors come for one reason and one alone:
. This magnificent, 65-foot waterfall is almost reminiscent of a pinball machine, breaking off into dozens of trickling segments before converging in a shockingly blue pool.
What's the tallest waterfall in Texas?
At 175 feet in stature,
is the tallest waterfall in Texas. Capote Falls pours down the side of huge cliffs, eventually making its way into the Rio Grande. This waterfall flows throughout the year, but unfortunately, Capote Falls is located on private property, and you must get permission from the landowner in order to see the falls in person.
2. McKinney Falls State Park
Located on the southeastern edge of Austin,
McKinney Falls State Park
provides a nice break from the hustle and bustle of the city. On the main trail, you can find this small waterfall gushing over the rocks. Despite its diminutive stature, the water pressure is strong, especially after a good rain!
15 Minutes Away: Head to Austin to visit the Texas State Capitol, one of the most iconic buildings in the Lone Star State! 3. Best Waterfalls in Texas: Honorable Mentions
No list of best waterfalls in Texas would be complete without the following wonders, which are all worth adding to your waterfall chasing to-do list:
This 10-foot waterfall can be seen when taking a trip to the Devil's River Natural Area in Comstock, Texas. As the name suggests, the Devil's River is full of Class II and III rapids, so only experienced paddlers are encouraged to take a boat out on the river. Dolan Falls: A guided tour will lead you to this 40-foot waterfall that spills into an emerald pool below -- tours are held select times on Saturdays and Sundays. With lush greenery and abundant wildlife, you definitely won't forget your visit to this Texas oasis. Westcave Preserve Falls: The falls at Pedernales Falls State Park are located in the main area of the park, visible as soon as you step through the entrance. You can walk right up to the falls if it hasn't rained recently, as the rocks will be dry enough to climb on. Pedernales Falls State Park: Best Waterfall Hikes in Texas
There’s nothing quite like happening upon a waterfall
in the wild; it’s an enchanting scene that feels truly magical and charmed.
Texas is home to some of the country’s most amazing national parks *and* state parks; these are places where the sublime scenery of the Lone Star State shines brightest. Included in this spectacular scenery are some of the most wondrous waterfalls — and, by extension, some of the top waterfall hikes in Texas!
Lace up your boots and come along with us as we explore the
best waterfall hikes in Texas: 4. Cattail Falls Location: Big Bend National Park, TX, 79834 | Video Tour Stats: A true hidden gem, Cattail Falls is located on a 3.1-mile (one way) unmarked trail in Big Bend National Park. The day fee for this National Park is $30/vehicle. Good to Know: As the trail to Cattail Falls is unmarked, we recommend asking a park ranger for explicit directions before you embark on this journey.
Hiding deep within the mystical desert landscape of Big Bend National Park, the
Cattail Falls Trail
is a 5.7-mile hike of moderate intensity that's suitable for most skill levels. The trickiest aspect of this hike is that the trail is somewhat unmarked; as such, it's best to hike with someone familiar with the trail, whether that's a fellow hiker or national park ranger. You're in for a treat on this trail, which features sweeping mountain views and the beguiling, 80-foot-tall Cattail Falls.
2.5 Hours Away: Head north to one of the most legendary roadside spectacles in Texas: the Prada Marfa sculpture! What's a waterfall hike in Texas no one knows about?
If you want to experience your very own wondrous waterfall, check out
, located about 1.5 miles down the San Marcos River with the San Marcos City Park as the starting point.
5. Westcave Falls
This secret grotto at
Westcave Outdoor Discovery Center
is endlessly enchanting, and sure to become your new favorite place in Texas. This tall fall plunges into a cold pool surrounded by verdant greenery reminiscent of Middle Earth. The best part? All that stands between you and this Texas oasis is a 15-minute guided stroll.
5 Minutes Away: Craving more time in paradise? Hamilton Pool Preserve is just five minutes away, and truly is one of the most beautiful places in Texas! 6. Best Waterfall Hikes in Texas: Honorable Mentions
You didn't think there were only a couple of bucket-list worthy waterfall hikes in Texas, did you? Here are some more of the best waterfall hikes in Texas that deserve mention:
Pedernales Falls is one of the most popular state parks in Texas, and for good reason. It's a geological wonder with fast-flowing, crystal-clear river water cascading down a series of ancient limestone rocks, complete with the beguiling 50-foot Pedernales Falls. Pedernales Falls: Krause Springs has been open to the public for more than 50 years, boasting 115 acres and 32 springs. The park's most fantastic feature is a mystical grotto complete with its very own waterfall that looks like a faraway tropical paradise. The best part? The hike to this oasis is short and sweet. Krause Springs Falls: This little-known waterfall is nestled within Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve, and 2.5 miles is all that stands between you and a beguiling little waterfall that you'll likely have all to yourself. Wild Basin: No-Hike Waterfalls in Texas
Are you looking for an epic waterfall chasing escapade in Texas… minus the chase?
We get it: not everyone has time for an all-day hike. Perhaps you have kids in tow, or you have mobility issues that make certain hikes challenging, if not out of reach completely.
Or maybe you’re just not in the mood for a strenuous trek.
You don’t need a reason to visit these easy-access,
no-hike waterfalls in Texas — you just need to enjoy them. 7. Gerald D. Hines Waterwall Park
Among the most heavily photographed spots in Texas, the
Gerald D. Hines Waterwall Park
is truly a sight to behold. The horseshoe-shaped fountain stands at a whopping 64 feet tall and utilizes over 78,000 gallons of water every three hours.
20 Minutes Away: Play tourist in Houston, Texas, by booking a night at the swanky Grand Tuscany Hotel. 8. Pedernales Falls State Park Location: 2585 Park Road 6026 Johnson City, TX, 78636 | Video Tour Stats: One of the best Texas State Parks, at Pedernales Falls State Park you can camp, hike, mountain bike, picnic, geocache, bird watch, and ride horses. On the river, you can swim, wade, tube, and fish. Look for local wildlife and plants at the bird blind and butterfly garden. Daily admission is $6/person 13 and older (kids 12 and under are free). Good to Know: Access to the swimming area requires a strenuous quarter-mile hike that includes steep rock stairs with no handrail. Please note that swimming is not allowed in the Pedernales Falls area, but is allowed in select surrounding pools. Pedernales Falls
is one of the most popular state parks in Texas, and for good reason. It's a geological wonder with fast-flowing, crystal-clear water cascading down a series of limestone rocks. For a less-crowded experience, the Twin Falls Nature Trail is accessible to all skill levels and takes less than 30 minutes round-trip. It culminates in a hidden waterfall-fed grotto surrounded by lush, jungle-like greenery. The scene is akin to a faraway tropical oasis, making it hard to believe you're still in Texas!
20 Minutes Away: Head West to one of the most amazing wineries in Texas Hill Country, Calais Winery, a slice of Italy complete with its own underground wine cave. 9. Best No-Hike Waterfalls in Texas: Honorable Mentions
Looking for more wondrous waterfalls to visit in Texas, no hiking required? Put these gems on your to-do list:
You'll find this relaxing waterfall in the San Antonio Botanical Gardens. It's about 15 feet tall and is the center of attention amidst a room full of beautiful fern trees. What a delightful day trip in Texas! Fern Grotto Waterfall: Although its waterfalls are man-made, Lucy Park undoubtedly deserves a spot on the list. The ease of access is incomparable, with a mere mile standing between you and the triplicate of cascades. Wichita Falls: The Japanese Tea Garden in San Antonio's Brackenridge Park boasts a 60-foot waterfall that rivals others all across the Lone Star State. Japanese Tea Garden: Best Waterfall Swimming Holes in Texas
When the summer heat descends upon the Lone Star State, the best course of action is to take to the water.
Luckily, there are not only some superb swimming holes in Texas, there are some thrilling
in Texas, too! waterfall swimming holes
Whether you’re enjoying a dip following a rigorous hike or are simply seeking the R&R found in a cool, natural pool, you’ll be glad you visited one of the following
best waterfall swimming holes in Texas: 10. Hamilton Pool
There's perhaps nowhere more glorious, nor wondrous, in Texas than
. One of the most beautiful places in Texas (and the country), Hamilton Pool features a cerulean blue pool located beneath an expansive limestone grotto. A 50-foot waterfall flows into the pool, making for a completely enchanting experience that's truly too beautiful to be real.
1 Hour Away: Head down to New Braunfels, a delightful day trip destination in Texas Hill Country! 11. Tonkawa Falls Location: 524-550 E 4th St., Crawford, TX, 76638 | Video Tour Stats: The falls are 15 feet high and flow into one of the best and most accessible swimming holes in Texas. Good to Know: Part of Tonkawa Falls City Park is a 35-acre wooded area that boasts full-service RV spaces, tent camping, and a clubhouse available for rent. Parking is $10/day.
In Crawford, Texas, you'll find a beautiful and unexpected little oasis.
is 15-foot waterfall that cascades down a series of limestone cliffs into the crystal-clear pool below. A rock ledge on the opposite side makes for easy jumping -- just make sure to check the water level beforehand, as it's sometimes too low to safely take the plunge -- and note that there is no lifeguard on duty.
30 Minutes Away: Looking for a thrilling little detour? The Waco Suspension Bridge spans 475 feet and is a harrowing and historic adventure! Are there any double waterfalls in Texas?
Double waterfalls are so passé... how about a triple waterfall? This is what you'll find at
. This man-made wonder in Wichita Falls is three-tiered, 54 feet tall, and also the inspiration for the town's namesake.
12. Best Waterfall Swimming Holes in Texas: Honorable Mentions
In Texas, swimming holes aren't just a seasonal attraction; they're a way of life. And there are some truly wondrous waterfall swimming holes all across the state:
At this underrated park, you'll discover a double waterfall, which cascades down a series of rocks into the crystal-clear creek below, making for a picture-perfect scene... and refreshing spot to dip your toes! Bull Creek District Park: If you're ever dreamed of sliding down a waterfall, you're in luck! There’s a section of the San Marcos River called the Rio Vista Falls Dam with three unassuming waterfalls that are actually slides. Rio Vista Falls Dam : These falls aren't simply beautiful to admire; McKinney Falls is also one of the best waterfall swimming holes in Texas! McKinney Falls: Best Waterfalls Near Austin
Texas is a big state — a very, very big state:
268,597 square miles, to be exact.
And while there are falls all throughout the Lone Star State, many of these might be literally
days away from where you live.
If you live near ATX (or even if you don’t!), read on. We’ve narrowed down the
best waterfalls near Austin worth making your way to experience! Put your hiking shoes on and pack a bag with appropriate gear to discover these waterfalls in Austin:
13. Best Waterfall Near Austin: Twin Falls Location: Barton Creek Greenbelt Trail, Austin, TX, 78746 | Video Tour Stats: The Barton Creek Greenbelt contains 12.68 miles of gorgeous trails; the trail to Twin Falls and Sculpture Falls is an easy, three-mile loop. Good to Know: The Barton Creek Greenbelt has multiple entrances along the creek and is a popular place for swimming in Texas during the summer.
You get a big bang for your buck on the Barton Greenbelt Trail: a duo of cascades called the Twin Falls and Sculpture Falls. The
Barton Creek Greenbelt Trail
is three miles long, but incredibly accessible; between the two falls, swimming holes, and forest scenery, the mileage will fly by!
14. Best Waterfall Near Austin: St. Edwards Park Location: 7301 Spicewood Springs Road, Austin, TX, 78759 | Video Tour Stats: The St. Edwards Green and Red Loop is 2.7 miles long and considered accessible for all skill levels. Good to Know: The park consists of two parts, one park and one preserve. The portion of the park on the north side of Bull Creek resides within the City of Austin parks. St. Edwards Park
is an immensely beautiful oasis that's home to a sublime *and* secret waterfall. To access these falls, you'll embark on a 2.7-mile hike full of cacti, babbling cascades, and a sizable waterfall - with a swimming area - along the way.
Are there any waterfalls in Texas I can walk behind?
One of the most glorious waterfalls in Texas is also one you can walk behind (and swim in, too!). Of course, we're talking about
in Dripping Springs, which was formed when the dome of an underground river collapsed with erosion. The 45-foot waterfall fiercely flows into the cavernous grotto, creating a stream of water that you can not only walk behind, but swim under.
15. Best Waterfall Near Austin: Japanese Tea Garden (Honorable Mention) Location: 3853 N St Mary's St., San Antonio, TX, 78212 | Video Tour Stats: This 60-foot waterfall is the centerpiece of the park, which also features a pond filled with hundreds of koi fish. Good to Know: The Garden is open daily and admission is free. It's also pet-friendly, provided Fido remains on-leash.
On the National Register of Historic Places, the
San Antonio Japanese Tea Garden
was built in the early 1900s in an abandoned limestone quarry. A sublime place for quiet reflection and enjoyment of nature, a paved walkway leads straight to a marvelous, 60-foot waterfall sure to stop you in your tracks. While located in San Antonio, this Texas waterfall is just about 90 minutes from Austin, making it a viable day trip opportunity!
10 Minutes Away: You can't visit San Antonio without strolling down the eponymous River Walk, the top attraction in Texas that's also rated one of the best riverwalks in the country. Best Waterfalls Near Dallas
Dallas-Fort Worth may not be known for its spectacular waterfalls, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any worth visiting — a few are even some of the
best-kept secrets in Texas.
Here are some of the
best waterfalls near Dallas; one natural and one man-made, but both lovely and glorious to visit.
Waterfall chasing in Dallas, Texas, here we come!
16. Best Waterfall Near Dallas: Prairie Creek Location: 2400 W Prairie Creek Dr, Richardson, TX, 75080 | Video Tour Stats: The 1.8-mile out-and-back trail to the falls is generally considered an easy route that takes about 30 minutes to complete. Good to Know: This is a popular area for birding and trail running, but Prairie Creek Park is still a relatively undiscovered Texas treasure.
Huck Finn Trail
is a marvelous waterfall hike near Dallas that runs parallel to the gorgeous Prairie Creek. Bright green foliage lines the trail, forming a canopy over this fairytale footbridge that stretches across the creek. The trek's star feature is a waterfall that cascades down a cobblestone outcropping before spilling into the reservoir below, exuding total peace and serenity.
17. Best Waterfall Near Dallas: Pioneer Park (Honorable Mention) Location: 1428 Young St, Dallas, TX, 75202 | Video Tour Stats: This waterfall is hiding in plain sight at the ever-popular Pioneer Park in Dallas. Good to Know: Pioneer Plaza is the largest public open space in Dallas' central business district. In addition to the waterfall, other features of Pioneer Plaza include man-made cliffs, native plant life, sculptures, and historic plaques.
The falls at
may be obfuscated by the surrounding greenery, but that doesn't mean these falls are any less beautiful. You'll be awed once you get a clearer view of this 50-foot-wide, 15-foot-tall cascading stream.
5-30 Minutes Away: Visit some of the noteworthy spots on the Texas Barbecue Trail, including Hutchins BBQ in McKinney!
Top Hidden Gem Waterfalls in Texas
By now it’s clear that Texas is positively
teeming with waterfalls. But Texas is also a very big state, meaning that some of these marvels will undoubtedly fall through the cracks.
Don’t make that mistake, because you could be missing out on some of the finest falls in Texas.
From underground waterfalls and cave waterfalls to urban waterfalls and man-made marvels, here are the top
hidden gem waterfalls in Texas: 18. Lake Buchanan Waterfalls Location: Vanishing Texas River Cruises, 443 Waterway Lane Burnet, TX, 78611 | Video Tour Stats: This epic waterfall on Lake Buchanan is only accessible via boat. Good to Know: Experienced guides narrate these two-hour cruises, detailing the history and geology of the area as well as points of interest along the way. Other cruises feature different parts of Lake Buchanan, a vineyard, eagles, iconic Texas sunsets, rehabilitated birds, and even an underwater ghost town.
Vanishing Texas River Cruises, which sails the deep blue waters of
, leads intrepid explorers to a breathtaking waterfall that's only accessible by boat. You definitely won’t forget a trip to this lush, otherworldly hidden gem in Texas.
19. Cascade Caverns Location: 226 Cascade Cavern, Boerne, TX, 78015 | Video Tour Stats: Seven waterfalls used to flow in these caves; this is the only one that remains. Good to Know: You'll spend about an hour exploring the ancient corridors, all the while being fed invaluable information by a knowledgeable tour guide. Learn all about the cave's initial formation, all the different geological wonders throughout its passages, and how a waterfall is able to flow underground. The caverns are a cool 64 degrees Fahrenheit year-round, making a perfect escape from the unrelenting Texas heat.
A world of wonder is hiding beneath Texas Hill Country. At
, adventurers can embark on an epic journey into a system of underground caves, which have a haunting, otherworldly beauty. Its name comes from the seven waterfalls that used to flow through its chambers, six of which dried up in the 1950s during a drought. One waterfall remains -- the only underground waterfall in Texas.
What's the most accessible waterfall in Texas?
In terms of accessibility, you can't beat a waterfall that's in the middle of a city. This is the magic of
, a beautiful gem tucked away in an unassuming small-town city park.
20. Dolan Falls
Nestled within one of the most remote areas in Texas,
is a beautiful oasis worth seeking out. Your challenge, should you choose to accept: embark on the one-mile hike (with a kayak or canoe in tow) from the parking lot to the river. Then, climb aboard your water vessel for a half-mile paddle downstream, where the current is often fast-flowing. Only experienced paddlers should attempt to visit Dolan Falls, as the rapids just beyond the waterfall are class four (class five when the river swells). For those able to safely take this on, the reward of seeing these enchanting falls is well-worth it.
Best Waterfalls in Texas: Map
Waterfall chasers have a lot to celebrate in the Lone Star State.
Some waterfalls are the reward after an arduous hike; other Texas waterfalls are hiding right in plain sight.
Some falls are natural wonders; others are man-made spectacles.
Some Texas waterfalls are commanding and incredibly tall, while others are more quietly beautiful and calm.
They’re all here — waiting in their glory — to be discovered, admired, and enjoyed. So go out and have an adventure at one — or all — of these best waterfalls in Texas.