Chalk Ridge Falls | Hidden Gem off I-35

Chalk Ridge Falls | Hidden Gem off I-35. I’ve made many I-35 road trips Dallas to Austin. It can be a tiresome congested nightmare, especially if you have a car full of kids. Chalk Ridge Falls is a perfect stop to exit congested traffic, stretch legs, hike, enjoy a spring-fed waterfall, and walk an Indian Jones bridge. In addition to active pitstops, I often create themed pitstops. I themed our Chalk Ridge Falls pitstop the “Indiana Jones Adventure.”

Chalk Ridge Falls | Hidden Gem off I-35

Indiana Jones Adventure

Like Indiana Jones, we had an archaeological mission. Our family road trip was thrown together as a hands-on learning experience for geology, chemistry, paleontology, and history. The Chalk Ridge Falls pitstop was the ultimate Indiana Jones Adventure from waterfalls and caves to dangerous bridges and possible snake encounters.

Texas Hike, Waterfalls and Bridges

This picturesque waterfall is surrounded by Austin Chalk Rock Formations. The heavy-flowing water quietly drizzles over the rocks into a clear bliss-pool.

Its catacomb coldness cut short our idea to wade in the clean, clear, blue-green water. Perfect for a Texas summer but not so much on a cool spring day.

Our Indiana Jones Bridge

Ok, so it wasn’t an Indiana Jones rope bridge but more of an rickety, old, timber, cable, suspension bridge.

However, walking across the bridge with my three young boys and puppy did provide an intense Indiana Jones experience.

If you bring your dog, be ready to carry them across the bridge as we saw others doing. Our dog has no fear of heights, but she even crouched walked this bridge.

Hiking Chalk Ridge Falls

Tree-shaded Unmarked Trails

The trails are well shaded, which can be a rarity for Texas trails, but they are not well marked. We walked the 2.5-mile main trail, an additional 1 mile along the top of the cliffs, the forest area, across and around the boardwalk, and along the river.

I hadn’t planned on hiking as long as we did. That happened via getting lost, but we also enjoyed hiking our lost trails.

Again, almost every trail is tree-shaded which made our hike easier and more enjoyable. Unlike our Gorman Falls hike to see one of the biggest waterfalls in TX, which was also amazing, but lack of shade made that hike harder.

We passed two young men hiking, and they were talking about colored wooden trail markers.

If I had known there were trail markers, I would have told my kids to be looking for them. Then again, our passing hikers also seemed to be lost.

As a solo mom traveling, keeping my eyes on my three boys, our puppy, and the ground for poison ivy and snakes is challenging. If they did have trail markers, I guess I just overlooked them.

Additionally, we had left Dallas around 6am and entered Chalk Ridge Falls around 3 pm, so that’s already nine hours of other road-tripping adventures before we even started to hike the Falls Park.

Several Caves and Small Waterfalls

Amazing view from the bluffs high above the stream feeding into the falls.

The Park is small, but don’t let that fool you. We spent a good 3 hours exploring and could have stayed longer.

We discovered a few caves in the side of the bluffs.

Unfortunately, since we were lost, I wouldn’t be able to tell you where they were exactly.

In general, this is how we got to the caves and small waterfalls.

After walking over the big and sturdy boardwalk, we walked parallel up the Lampasas River away from the dam. Along this path is where we discovered a few small waterfalls and caves.

Chalk Ridge Falls Park

Chalk Ridge Falls Park is just an hour north of Austin, close to the Stillhouse Hollow Lake Dam in Belton, TX. 5600 FM 1670, Belton 76513.

The park is open daily from 8 am to 6 pm (or sunset).

Admission, Free.

Dogs on leash are allowed.

Important Tip:

The park occasionally closes for dam inspections or flooding. Before visiting, make sure to call and check for closings. Call: (254) 939-2461

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2 thoughts on “Chalk Ridge Falls | Hidden Gem off I-35”

  1. I’ve lived in Texas all my life, drive Austin to Dallas often, and never knew about this place. Thanks for posting. Looks like a great place to stretch one’s legs and explore.

    Reply
  2. Thank you for sharing! I saw this stop on google maps when looking for stops along my route. Then I immediately googled others’ stories about visiting and came across your blog!
    You’ve got some great stuff here to know before you go!
    Thanks for sharing.

    Reply

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