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When it comes to hiking in Texas, there is no shortage of amazing places to visit. From the beautiful deserts of West Texas to the tall Cypress trees and woods in the East.
Then there is my favorite region…the Texas Hill Country. It’s almost the best of both worlds a combination of desert like rock formation with plenty of trees. One such place is Enchanted Rock in Fredericksburg, TX.
Why Visit Enchanted Rock?
While there may not be mountains in the hill country, Enchanted Rock offers an incredible view. Here you can climb 425 ft to the summit of a giant pink granite dome. With the park being close to 1700 acres, there is plenty to do than just the dome hike.
This is also a hot spot for rock climbing, bird watching, and good old fashioned stargazing. In fact, Enchanted Rock is recognized as an International Dark Sky Park.
Best Times To Visit Enchanted Rock
Enchanted Rock is open year round although some trails will close under certain weather conditions. (Which in this region of Texas, it’s rain!)
Summers tend to be very hot and humid. The park will reach visitor capacity quick, especially on the weekends. Texas Parks and Wildlife now offer a “reserve your spot” pass.
This system allows you to buy your day visit pass online and pick a time window of when you wish to enter the park. This way will guarantee you entry into the park. Once you go at your time frame, you can stay until the park closes.
Early spring and late fall, in my opinion, are perfect. Temperatures in this part of Texas will have finally hit the 60’s-70’s average which means hiking and exploring in comfort.
Winter is great for everything, this is ideal camping weather (same can be said for spring/fall camping)
As mentioned before, plan on arriving to the park early. The hike to the dome summit popular and the park can reach capacity by noon.
Insider Tip: Arrive right when the park opens and you will have more of the area to yourself without tons of people. Great for those nature pic opportunities.
Things To Do
The park offers the following activities so pack according to what suits your inner adventurer:
- Rock Climbing (permit required)
- Ranger programs (guided hikes, birdwatching, star-gazing events)
This park will definitely take at least half a day to enjoy 1-2 trails. There are so many unique little spots it’s best to just pack a lunch and hang out for the day!
Where To Camp At Enchanted Rock
Enchanted Rock offers 3 different types of campsites. Be sure to read into each one and view campsite pictures provided on the official Texas Parks and Wildlife website to see which is right for you.
Campsites with Water (35 sites)
These sites are walk-in only, meaning RVs and pop up trailers are a no go. The cost of each site is $18 nightly. Some amenities include; picnic tables, fire rings, tent pad, and restrooms with showers.
Primitive Campsites (20 sites)
These primitive sites are all hike in sites ranging from a 1 mile to 3 mile hike. Ground fires are not allowed and you will need to carry in your own water. They do offer nearby composting toilets. Primitive campsites run $14 per night.
Group Campsite (75 person limit)
If you have a large group, then this site is for you. It has its own parking and entrance in from the park. This is considered a primitive site, you will need your own water as well as a 1 mile hike in. The cost for this site runs $100 per night.
Hiking Trails at Enchanted Rock
As you enter the park be sure to grab a park map and trails map, and or download to your phone prior to visiting. Once you’re in the park cell phone service is very spotty to nonexistent.
Enchanted Rock consists of 8 trails varying from easy to challenging. If you’re in good shape then these challenging trails are cake.
Here are the ones I believe are worth the hike:
Summit Trail (0.7 mi.)
Let’s start with the main reason why people come. It’s to hike Enchanted Rock itself! Yep! You can march yourself all the way up to the summit.
The trail is only .7 miles but it’s the steep elevation gain and the fact you are hiking on straight granite that can slow people down. On average this hike takes about 45 minutes. But why rush? Enjoy the hill country views while sucking in that sweet oxygen.
Once at the top check out the vernal pools, especially after some good rains. But these pools are not for swimming or foot wading. They serve as a fragile habitat for fairy shrimp!
Loop Trail (4.5 mi)
This trail is rated moderate by the park, and what makes it so is the length and lack of good shade cover. So if your hiking in the warmer months…water, water, water! And a hat!
This trail is fun because not only does it take you around the perimeter of the park, but it gives you all sorts of awesome vantage points of Enchanted Rock for photos as well as other massive granite boulder arrangements.
Echo Canyon Trail (0.7 mi)
This is deemed the second most challenging trail. You can enter Echo Canyon from Summit Trail or of your on the Loop, cut down through Moss Lake to access the Canyon Trail.
This is a rocky and sometimes technical trail nestled right between Enchanted Rock and Little Rock. You will need to watch where you step in certain areas and keep an eye out for the trail markers.
Some parts of the trail can be misleading in terms of which is the correct path, so follow the yellow arrow markers!
If you are coming from the Summit Trail side, keep a lookout for a large boulder on your right hand side that forms a little tunnel/cave.
If your wondering, the answer is yes you can crawl your way through. Unless your really tall and not a fan of crouching. It’s nothing special, but momentarily sitting under a massive boulder that weighs tons is just thrilling.
Frontside Trail (0.3 mi)
Take this trail to get to a little area called Frog Pond. It may sound like a short pointless hike to the water, but trust me its worth the extra little walk. From Frog Pond you can get a great view of Enchanted Rock with the pond in the picture. Not to mention it just feels like a cute little oasis within the hill country.
Moss Lake Trail (0.6 mi)
You can reach Moss Lake from either Echo Canyon Trail or Loop Trail. Not only is this the way to Moss Lake primitive campsites, but it’s also another chance to spot some aquatic life at the lake. Definitely a great place for birdwatching.
Stop and Visit Fredericksburg
If you still have some daylight left and need to find a good spot for food, head back into Fredericksburg! They have some great places to eat and also maybe do a little shopping.
Fredericksburg is a unique German influenced town nestled in the Hill Country. Everything from the shops along their main street to eateries has some german uniqueness. Looking for a great place to try authentic German cuisine? Then you will want to head into The Auslander!
They have so many delicious options it will be hard to choose! Of course, one thing you must order is their apple strudel. This pastry with a side of vanilla ice cream is perfection, not to mention a great way to end the day of hiking and exploring!
You can preview and download a map of the park trails through Texas Parks and Wildlife here.
Have you been to this park? If so I would love to hear about your experience and what was your favorite thing about it! Don’t forget to save and share this article for future reference!