McKinney Falls in AustinWe love swimming holes. There is just something extra awesome about cooling off in nature. Many swimming holes in the Austin area are free and there are tons of options for cooling off. See the map below for the best natural Swimming Holes in the Austin area and the best access points to jump on the Barton Creek Greenbelt trails. For other ways to cool off in the Austin area, see our Austin Bucket List or our Austin Family Fun Map.

But it’s super frustrating to pack up for a day in Barton Creek day only to find out that there isn’t enough water to swim. Check out the Barton Creek water levels below based on water flow at Lost Creek and Mopac/Loop 360. If Barton Creek isn’t flowing, it’s likely that the other rain-fed creeks aren’t flowing as well (like Bull Creek). In that case, try one the many rivers or spring-fed swimming options. Emma Long Park or Barton Springs are two great examples.

[insert_php]
// 08155240 is the Lost Creek flow gauge
// 08155300 is the 360 flow gauge

// Get Lost Creek water flow
$json_url = “https://waterservices.usgs.gov/nwis/iv/?format=json&sites=08155240&parameterCd=00060,00065&siteStatus=all”;
$json = file_get_contents($json_url);
$data = json_decode($json, FALSE);
$lostCreek = $data->value->timeSeries[0]->values[0]->value[0]->value;
$lostCreekDateTime = $data->value->timeSeries[0]->values[0]->value[0]->dateTime;

// get Loop 360 water flow
$json_url = “https://waterservices.usgs.gov/nwis/iv/?format=json&sites=08155300&parameterCd=00060,00065&siteStatus=all”;
$json = file_get_contents($json_url);
$data = json_decode($json, FALSE);
$loop360 = $data->value->timeSeries[0]->values[0]->value[0]->value;
$loop360DateTime = $data->value->timeSeries[0]->values[0]->value[0]->dateTime;

// If there is > 10 water flow at Loop 360 you can count on the creek being pretty full from end to end
// If there’s flow at Lost Creek but not 360 then the upper swimming holes may or may not be flowing
// but the dam at the Hill of Life is probably OK
// > 10 cubic feet per second is good for swimming
if ($lostCreek >= 10 and $lostCreek <= 250) { $upper = "Water is good for swimming"; } elseif ($lostCreek > 2 and $lostCreek < 10) { $upper = "Water is low, but still moving in spots"; } elseif ($lostCreek > 250) {
$upper = “Flood conditions – use caution”;
} else {
$upper = “Not enough water for swimming”;
}
if ($loop360 >= 10 and $loop360 <= 250) { $lower = "Water is good for swimming"; } elseif ($loop360 > 2 and $loop360 < 10) { $lower = "Water is low, but still moving in spots"; } elseif ($loop360 > 250) {
$lower = “Flood conditions – use caution”;
} else {
$lower = “Not enough water for swimming”;
}

date_default_timezone_set(‘America/Chicago’);
echo “Barton Creek water levels as of ” . date(‘F j, Y, g:i a’) . “:
“;
echo “Above Mopac/360: ” . $upper . “* including Sculpture Falls, Twin Falls, etc.
“;
echo “Below Mopac/360: ” . $lower . “* including Gus Fruth, Cambell’s Hole, etc.
“;

echo “*Based on USGS flow gauges located at Lost Creek and Mopac/Loop 360:
“;
echo ”    Lost Creek Blvd.: ” . $lostCreek . ” cubic feet per second
“;
echo ”    Mopac/Loop 360: ” . $loop360 . ” cubic feet per second
“;
echo “Water flow between 10 cfps and 250 is best for swimming

“;

[/insert_php]