If you should walk along Lake Georgetown
You'll find a lot of views
As well as a running oasis of green
Where rugged settlers paid up their dues.
Reflect for a moment of how it had been
Before lake, before cars, before now
Then take the trail to the bottom of the falls
It's not flashy, but a nice 'holy cow.'
First time I visited this old homestead, there were cattle in the corral. The main part of it is on private land, but the shoreline (Goodwater Loop) trail goes along the fence. The overflowing Knight Spring that makes the 'Garden' possible splashes into Lake Georgetown below. Well placed stones make crossing without getting soaked possible. There is a side spur trail that takes you to the foot of the falls.
Even in the height of the drought, the spring was running, but it was quite a change between Jan 2009 and Jan 2010, when the grotto under the falls was no longer exposed.
I need to come back in the spring when the iris are in bloom -- it must be extraordinary. The remnants of the old buildings give the setting that *sigh* of lost history.
A marker at the site (not a Texas Historical Marker, but in that style) reads:
Early Anglo settlers appreciated the charm and the potential of the water and woodlands around the nearby, strong flowing natural spring. Before 1850, Joseph Fish owned a large tract of land along the North San Gabriel. Benjamin Gooch and John Owen bought this parcel from him, and by 1855 they began operating a flour mill in this area. Twenty years later, James Knight, for whom the spring is named, acquired the land. In 1879 he began a truck garden and grew many vegetables including the first strawberries in Williamson County. Later R.M. Crockett, followed by the Redard brothers, continued to operate the truck garden, selling produce in Austin. A ruin of a shed from a previous owner, and the old springhouse and spring can be seen on private property from the trail. Please do not damage the historic structures or trespass onto private property!
The spring stream and falls are an environmentally sensitive area; however, the elephant ears and blue iris were introduced by previous landowners and are not native to the spring. Please do not wade in the spring or slide down the falls.
A trail circumnavigates the entire Lake Georgetown, but if you'd like the shortest route, the best approach is from the "upper" Cedar Breaks parking lot via the Goodwater Loop of the San Gabriel River Trail. Park access is free to hikers. [Georgetown Lake and its facilities are managed by the Army Corps of Engineers.] From the trail head (at 30 40.209 097 44.320) it's about 2.5 miles one-way, so expect a roughly five mile round trip over some fairly rugged terrain. [Altitude changes aren't much, but the presence of roots and rough limestone make the footing technical -- you'll KNOW you've exercised.]
For geocachers, the Scout Law series of caches is placed right along the trail, as well as 2 or 3 other caches along your route.
Crockett Gardens and Falls
Georgetown Texas Hikes
This is one of the most unsung and best hikes in the Austin/San Antonio area. After tunneling through dense woods, it opens onto tall bluffs overlooking Lake Georgetown. From there, you’ll circle around a stream to reach Crockett Gardens and Falls. Here, a crystalline spring emanates from a rock ridge, then tumbles over a bluff overgrown with vegetation alongside the falls. This walk was surprising and a hit from beginning to end and back! The hike encompasses a section of the Good Water Hiking Trail, which makes a circuit of Lake Georgetown on U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and city of Georgetown land. The rich cedar woods make for shady hiking, then sheer 100-foot bluffs open up vistas extending the length of Lake Georgetown. Beyond that point, the trail circles a stream to reach an old homesite and Crockett Gardens and Falls. The springhead flows a short distance to tumble over an unlikely bluff into Lake Georgetown. The rich vegetation around the spring run and falls is attractive and makes a great picnic locale.