We are lucky to have so many great creeks in the Bell County region where kids can splash and play!!
Here are five of my family's favorite creeks in the area to visit. Don't see your family's favorite local creek here? Drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll add it to our list!
Put on a swimsuit, bring shoes good for creek walking (there's tons of rocks in all of these), and don't forget snacks and sunscreen before heading out to any of these Bell County creeks! And remember, always watch your kids in water — no matter how shallow it is!
One last tip-- these creeks are home to many animals, so familiarize yourself with what to do in the event of an encounter with snakes and different bugs in the area.
Nolan Creek in Belton
Nolan Creek offers recreation for every family! We love to get treats from the shops downtown and go to the Landing at Creekside Park! We just sit and watch the ducks while we eat and it's so fun. Nolan Creek has five limestone drops to safely get in and out of the creek. These make it perfect for kayaking, tubing, fishing, or just splashing around! The drops are between Harris Park and Confederate Park and a location for putting in kayaks and tubes is under the Martin Luther King Jr. bridge at the north part of the creek.
Salado Springs in Salado
Next to Barrow Brewing Company and in the heart of downtown Salado, Salado Springs is an extremely popular spot to set up a chair, grab a drink, and splash around for hours. There are several places to access the spring: Pace Park, Barrow Brewing Co, and just across Main St. where it gets a little deeper. The spot at Pace Park has good movement and small drops for tubes and inflatables. Barrow Brewing Co has a large field along the Spring perfect for picnics with food from the food trucks often set up there and the shallow water is great for younger kids. The deeper section across the road is great for older kids and adults.
Miller Spring Park and Miller Springs Nature Center in Belton
The water at Miller Spring Park comes from the dam, so there is no swimming or wading allowed. But it is the perfect spot to grill up some lunch, dip your toes in, catch some fish, or just watch the animals. Yesterday when I went, there were a ton of turtles basking on the logs and a gorgeous heron standing in the water. The trails at Miller Springs Nature Center, especially the South River Loop, take you to little offshoots of the river and creeks to splash in. There is little to no shade for the first half of the hike; so go during the cooler parts of the day, wear sunscreen and a hat, and bring plenty of water.
Chalk Ridge Falls in Belton
Chalk Ridge Falls is by far one of the most popular swimming spots around for obvious reasons. It's gorgeous and how many people can say they live ten minutes from a waterfall? There's tons of trails, rock climbing, and teepee exploring to be done here, but the main reason people come is to see the waterfall and play in the creek. If you have older or more adventurous kids, there is a cave about 2 miles back along the river. I've never seen it, but it's a goal of mine to get back there.
Eagle Nature Trail at Central Texas College in Killeen
We love this creek because it's tucked away behind the college campus and there's usually no one else there. The other creeks in the area are fairly popular and can get crowded. The creek is perfect for splashing in to cool off for a few minutes, but it's not big enough to spend all day at. This small creek is in a beautiful wooded trail that is home to so many different animals and plant species. The college has placed plaques about the different plants and animal homes, which is great for teaching the littles. Before you enter the trail there is a beaver dam, so it's fun to look for trees that have been chewed by them throughout the hike. There is one port-a-potty around 3km in and there are picnic tables and benches throughout to take a break in the shade and have a snack. Yesterday, I hiked the entire trail and was lucky enough to see 2 bunnies, a yellow striped lizard, a mouse, 5+ deer, and a handful of cardinals.