Why This Travis County Tree Has Been Declared 'Famous'

Feb 22, 2013

In Southeast Travis County, between Stassney Lane and McKinney Falls Parkway, is a tree that’s stood witness to history going back 300 years.

Old Baldy,” a 103-foot-tall bald-cypress in McKinney Falls State Park, was added this week to the “Famous Trees of Texas” registry, established by the Texas Forest Service.

“Old Baldy” was already mature enough way back in 1716 to shelter the expedition of a Franciscan priest, who noted the tree in his diary.

Amber Conrad, at McKinney Falls State Park, says “Old Baldy” had probably been there for quite some time when that expedition came through.

“Well, it is way over 500 years old, but we have to say at least 500, because that’s the bare minimum it could possibly be,” said Conrad.

The same priest who spent some time under “Old Baldy” in 1716 had led another expedition a few years earlier that took him to a spot that would become the City of San Antonio.

McKinney Falls State Park offers guided tours Saturday mornings at 10:00 and afternoons at 2:00.