Hiking Up to Enchanted Rock in Texas

Being our visit in the San Antonio area was drawing to a close in 2016, we were jam-packing excursions that we we’ve seemed to either overlook or time simply caught up to us. One of our must-do places on our list while in the area was to go hike Enchanted Rock.


We’ve found the best time to visit the hiking trails is weekday mornings while all the little darlings and college kids are in school and weekend warriors are at work. So, one of our last weekends, we decided to cash in on that opportunity. 

So we got up somewhat early, dressed and laced up our hiking shoes to set out on a 2-hour ride to a mysterious place in Texas; Enchanted Rock. Enchanted Rock is an enormous pink granite pluton batholith located in the Llano Uplift; approximately 17 miles north of Fredericksburg, Texas and 24 miles south of Llano, Texas. It is gorgeously set in the Hill Country of Texas. If you’ve never been through Hill Country, you don’t know what you’re missing!

 

We’ve done a little research beforehand which made us decide to not leave this one off of our hiking itinerary.

For accuracy, we are sharing the details from the Enchanted Rock State Natural Area website:

Enchanted Rock State Natural Area sits on Big Sandy Creek on the border of Gillespie and Llano counties. It is 18 miles north of Fredericksburg.  The Nature Conservancy of Texas purchased the property from Charles Moss in 1978. It later sold the 1,640.5-acre property to the state of Texas. The state bought an additional three acres to add to the park.

Enchanted Rock opened as a state natural area in October 1978.  It is a National Natural Landmark, and is on the National Register of Historic Places as an Archeological District.  More than 400 archeological sites have been found in the park. All are protected, and 120 of them are designated State Archeological Landmarks.

More than 250,000 people trek to the park each year to experience the magic of Enchanted Rock. In fact, it is one of the most visited parks in the state park system.

You can find more information on the link we listed above.
Before we trekked out, we had to visit the Ranger Station to pay our admittance fees.  We found out a nice gift from the State of Texas is Disabled Veterans with documentation of such can receive free admission card to any of the Texas State Parks and Natural Areas for not only themselves but their spouses as well.
Thank you Texas, for supporting our Disabled Veterans!  Otherwise, the entrance fee to this park was $8-9 per person.
After acquiring Dan’s card (cool plastic credit card type), we loaded our daypack with a couple bottles of water, trail snacks and our trail map.  Each with walking stick in hand, ball caps and excitement, we set out to check out this big pink rock that Texas boasts about.
It wasn’t that arduous of a climb.  The rule of thumb here was having a good tread on our hiking shoes; otherwise, we’re going to slip…and fall…and its going to hurt…A LOT…because its…*gulp* ROCK!  I kept thinking back to when I was a little girl skinning my knees on concrete sidewalks. OUCH!

 

In some of our photos, you’ll notice there were rocks that looked like mushroom stems; like someone sheered off all the button caps right off of them. This, geologically speaking though, is through the test of time, the weather elements wearing away the rock forming these magnificent structures. They looked like mushroom-like hoodoos.

 
Everywhere we looked, there was something different and always a new structure in the distance waiting for us to climb, touch, study leaving us looking for more. 
 
To appreciate the pink color, you really have to look closely. Its really in there but the rock is often covered with lichen or a black algae. The day we went was dry, however, we’ve learned that on rainy days, they oftentimes, close the park for climbing because the rocks become extremely slick as the tiny plants come back to life through moisture.

 

The rock though, was in fact, a gorgeous pink granite. I kept thinking, “there’s a lot of counter tops here!”

Also, the rock was, naturally cracked in several places from the shifting of earth; some tiny but large enough for a bird or the wind to drop a seed that later becomes vegetation.

 

Other cracks were large enough to fit a small animal. Something worth noting; in the park rules, hikers with dogs are required to have their animals on leashes because some have been known to literally fall between the cracks.

 

 

 

As we made our way up to the Little Rock (adjacent to Enchanted Rock), we crested to a beautiful 360 degree panoramic view of Texas Hill Country. We sat a minute for a water break, snack and oh yeah, to take a call from our best friend in Kentucky (Roger, you’ll never believe what we’re doing right now!?”)

 

Once we finished our snack, we went for more geological treasure finding.

 

 
Besides the small lichen and algae that grows on the rock surface, in crevices, cracks and pools of worn away rock, larger plants thrive. Several species of cactus, ferns, and occasional desert mountain flowers made their homes there.

 

 

 

 

 

Even this species which we couldn’t understand its significance. *humor* Unfortunately, there are some people who do not respect the natural beauty and think they have to add to it.
 

We had to laugh at times because we were walking sideways; taking us back to when we walked in the passageways of Coast Guard Cutters underway in a storm.

Dan loved to do the climbing but me, not so much. That whole falling and skinning my knees was always on my mind.

 

It was a dry day. In fact, it’s been a dry winter, so when we saw a leaching rock spring with other wildlife, it was a welcome sight. But you can see how moisture on the rock glistens its slickness. Imagine the whole Enchanted Rock when it rains.

After several hours, we called it a day as we had a dinner commitment in Kerrville, not to far from Fredericksburg with some of our other RV Heartland friends who were at small rally for a few days.

Before we packed it in Captain America (our truck), we made sure we took a picture of our new mascot “Awol” with the Enchanted Rock in the background.

“Awol”

Enchanted Rock, because of the location, is way to often ‘under visited’ except for the locals. Its out of the way but if you’re up for a peaceful day of gentle hiking and love geology, this place is for you! We plan to return to tackle other trails next time we visit this part of Texas.

Captain America with Enchanted Rock in the background

If you enjoyed reading about our Texas Hill Country Adventures, you might want to read more…

3 Replies to “Hiking Up to Enchanted Rock in Texas”

  1. Yes, it's an awesome place to hike and worth going out to visit but definitely avoid weekends and holidays if you can as the parking area is small and once the parking area fills up you have to line up in a vehicle queue outside the park and wait. Also really worth your time is the National Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg.

    1. Lynde, thank you for your interest in our travels. You're correct, weekends and holidays would be a bit challenging with so many more hikers.

      When our son (Army Soldier) came to visit us in San Antonio after his deployment, we took him to Fredericksburg where his father and he went to the National Museum of the Pacific War. They said it was incredible and they really needed two days. Some of it was closed outside due to renovations. Just gives us another reason to return.

      Happy Trails!

    2. Lynde, thank you for your interest in our travels. You're correct, weekends and holidays would be a bit challenging with so many more hikers.

      When our son (Army Soldier) came to visit us in San Antonio after his deployment, we took him to Fredericksburg where his father and he went to the National Museum of the Pacific War. They said it was incredible and they really needed two days. Some of it was closed outside due to renovations. Just gives us another reason to return.

      Happy Trails!

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