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Barton Creek Twin Falls by Mark Boyden

Barton Creek

Barton Creek, photo by Mark Miller


Barton Creek rises more than 21 miles to the west, near Dripping Springs, on its meandering path to its confluence with the Colorado River at Zilker Park in South Austin. Arising out of the Edwards Aquifer, Barton creek is crystal clear and aquamarine in color. Do not trespass.

Quick Info

Length21 miles with shorter options
Class (I-VI)II-IV
Minimum Flow250 cfs
Ideal Flow400-2,500 cfs
Maximum Flow3,500 cfs
Current River ConditionsSH-71 Oak Hill USGS; Barton Springs at Austin USGS
Put-in maps
Take-out maps
BoatsCanoes, kayaks
Season Dependent on heavy local rainfall
HighlightExciting whitewater after a good rain

Recreation and Access

Beginning at SH-71, Barton Creek is navigable to Zilker Park above the swimming pool. Above Zilker Park the creek is a whitewater run up to Class III-IV, usually runnable only after local heavy rains. The whitewater run includes short drops, low-head dams, standing waves, ledges and play spots with surfing waves. Mark Miller’s Facebook Barton Creek.

  • Barton Creek [x miles]

Conservation and Threats

Rapid growth and urbanization throughout Travis County is pushing higher quantities of water and sediment into the Barton Creek watershed through increased impervious cover and disturbed surfaces. Excessive amounts of dirt often wash into the river from landscapes that have recently lost their native vegetation and natural cover. Point-source pollution may be entering the Colorado where chemical spills, sewage leaks, and other accidents occur. Non-point source pollution is taking place where pet waste, fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides are washing off yards and fields into the creeks that feed the river. The Edwards Aquifer is one of the most productive and consequential aquifers in Texas, serving as the primary drinking water source for over 2 million people in Central/South Texas Hill Country, including the City of San Antonio. The Edwards Aquifer also replenishes critical springs (e.g., Barton Springs) that provide habitat for several threatened and endangered species, including the Barton Springs Salamander (Eurycea sosorum).

Natural Features


Fly fishers and rod & reel fishers frequent Barton Creek at low to medium water levels. Common fish caught there include, Largemouth bass, Bluegill and Longear Sunfishes, Rio Brande Cichlid and Flathead catfish.

Additional Resources

Save Our Springs Alliance