Just a 30 minute drive outside of Waco lies the small town of Crawford and Tonkawa Falls, a swimming hole known for its waterfall and cliffs, set in a city park!
The falls are a 15′ drop into a big swimming hole, and you’ll find kids jumping, sliding down on tubes and at times even kayakers come to run the falls!
Old stone steps leading down to the falls, built in the 1930’s by the Texas Civil Works Administration. To read more about the history of Tonkawa Falls and the petroglyphs made by the Tonkawa Indians, click HERE.
My son just wanted to jump and swim! On the picnic side, a rock ledge runs along the entire side, making for easy jumping and a place to hang out with kids!
There are NO LIFEGUARDS, so PLEASE bring lifejackets for younger/weaker swimmers. My son swims well, and had I not grabbed the wrong lifejacket, he would have been wearing his!
On the other side is a large cliff wall, perfect for jumping! I love my son’s shadow on the cliff as he jumps!
Another shot of him jumping out over the water!
Water levels fluctuate depending on the rain, so always check before jumping. My older kids both said they did just barely touch the bottom.
During the arid summer months, the falls stop running and the swimming area is closed. This is when the water level drops and you can go down and see the petroglyphs.
Yes, every place has rules, and this city owned park is no exception. They ask that no food or drinks be taken down the steps to the picnic area, to control the amount of litter that ends up in the creek, which flows down to the Bosque River. There are picnic tables up on top, as well as in the nearby parking area.
During our visit, there wasn’t anyone there to enforce the rules, and some people did have drinks and some food down there, but most of the large picnics, grills, etc were kept up top. I have read that police often patrol the park in other reviews.
I’m standing above the falls, looking down on them. We visited on a Sunday afternoon, and I’m thinking that this is as busy as it probably gets.
For my hammock-loving friends, there are two trees that God grew knowing that we love hammocks, and they are the exact perfect distance apart. Sadly, I hauled my 3lb. hammock all the way down, only to find someone had already claimed the spot as theirs. My fault for not arriving earlier, and I watched her with envy all day!
Another view from the water.
What my kids loved is that dogs are allowed! We took our little pup, and there was one other pup there, but that was it! Again, I was really surprised how clean the park was kept, except for someone who had thrown their watermelon rind in the creek, probably to feed the fish! Just because something is biodegradable doesn’t mean I want to swim with it! I think they got the hint, because it was soon taken out!
The Clubhouse, also built in the 1930’s, overlooks the falls and can be rented from the city. Click HERE to read more.
We were bummed that we didn’t bring a volleyball, something that usually never gets taken out of my car!
Know Before You Go
Parking is $10/car, and admission to the park is FREE. The gate attendant said that some days parking is FREE, but it’s rather hit or miss, and there is usually someone there to collect money on the weekends. I’d plan on paying $10, and if not, you’ve got money for snowcones at Co Co’s Shaved Ice in Waco!
Alcohol is not allowed.
We didn’t wear water shoes, and it was okay. The falls and swimming area is all rock. There was a little broken glass on the cliff side, so I’d recommend shoes, plus the rock gets hot!
Things To Do in Crawford
Crawford is the home of George W. Bush’s Prairie Chapel Ranch. Click HERE to read more about it.
In McGregor, the Brown House Cafe and the Coffee Shop Cafe are both cute diners.
Tonkawa Falls Park
4th Street, Crawford
Click HERE to visit their website.
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