October 31, 2014

Wild Texas Parks: Enchanted Rock State Natural Area - Fredericksburg, TX

Enchanted Rock State Natural Area
Fredericksburg, Texas (Llano County)


Get Campsite & Facility Reservations   Download a Park Map from TPWD

About the State Park

Granite monoliths against blue sky
Granite monoliths against a blue sky
Copyright © Justin W. Moore
1,643-acre Enchanted Rock State Natural Area draws countless visitors to its distinctive 500-foot-high dome of pink granite, the second largest such formation in North America. Designated a National Natural Landmark, Enchanted Rock is an impressive geological feature with an estimated age of one billion years, making it among the oldest exposed rock in North America. Coupled with its impressive geologic history, Enchanted Rock also has an extensive archaeological history; the site figures prominently in several Indian legends.

Visitors to Enchanted Rock enjoy numerous activities, including hiking, backpacking, technical and rock climbing, primitive camping, picnicking, birding, geological study, stargazing and nature study. Facilities include a group picnic area and pavilion. Recreational vehicles (RVs) and pop-up trailers are not permitted to camp in the park. All campsites are primitive, accessible via either a short walk or a backpacking hike -- camping area map (PDF), courtesy of TPWD.

The park offers 7 miles of hiking trails, including the popular 6/10 mile Summit Trail which involves a 425-foot elevation gain hike to the top of Enchanted Rock. The 4-mile Loop Trail, a favorite among hikers and backpackers, winds around the base of Enchanted Rock. Bicycling is permitted on paved roads only. For experienced rock climbers, the park's 1,000 foot long Enchanted Rock Fissure -- one of the largest known granite caves -- promises a challenge on its steep and slippery surfaces. A list of over forty-five established rock climbing routes is available at the park headquarters. Rock climbing map (PDF), courtesy of TPWD.

Be sure to visit our Quicktime Multimedia Theater to experience 360-degree panoramas of Enchanted Rock!

Park Ratings

Explanation of Symbols
Campsites/Overnight Facilities* 1 star
Leashed Pets Permitted?Animated Running Dog YES
Picnic Areas/Playgrounds* 1 star
Solitude* 1 star
Trail System** 2 star
Water Recreation 0 star
Wildlife*** 3 star
Ratings are based on a scale of 0 (low) to 4 (high).

Wild Texas Notebook

The most popular hike in the park is the short but steep hike to the summit of Enchanted Rock. I've seen young children and senior citizens alike tackle the rock with no difficulty, but footwear with good traction is important. I also highly recommend hiking the Loop Trail. Justin and I have hiked the four-mile Loop Trail several times, and we never fail to encounter abundant wildlife, including: white-tail deer, buzzards (appropriately, the largest concentration is usually near "Buzzard's Roost"), rock squirrels, rabbits and a variety of lizards -- eastern collared lizard, spiny crevice lizard, tree lizard and the Texas spiny lizard. The primitive backcountry campsites are accessible from via Loop Trail.

Enchanted Rock is beautiful year-round, but the wildflowers of Spring make it particularly so. Plan to visit between late April and early June, preferably during a weekday, to see the park awash in color from blooming bluebonnets, Indian paintbrush, yellow coreopsis, and basin bellflowers.

For more information, read our trip reports:

  • Enchanted Rock Misadventure
  • Enchanted Rock - The Right Way
  • Location

    Enchanted Rock State Natural Area is located 18 miles north of Fredericksburg on Ranch Road 965, or take State Highway 16 for 14 miles south from Llano, and then west on Ranch Road 965 for 8 miles. The park entrance is located at 6710 Ranch Road 965.

    The nearest major Texas cities are: Abilene, Austin, Del Rio, San Antonio

    Maps for Enchanted Rock State Natural Area

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    Coordinates for GPS Users:

    30.506389° Latitude    -98.818611° Longitude (WGS84/NAD83; decimal degrees)
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    Hours

    Open 7 days a week year-round, from 8 AM to 10 PM for day use activities.
    NOTE: During periods of peak visitation, such as holidays and weekends, the park quickly fills to capacity -- all available parking spaces become filled. This forces the park to close, sometimes as early as 11 AM. Visitors who are turned away are encouraged to visit other area parks or return after 5 PM, when the park reopens. However, campers with reservations are granted entry at any time.

    Check for restricted park access before any trip. When controlled public hunts are in progress, general access is not permitted.

    Fees

    A park entrance fee is charged per day -- $5 per person for adults 13 years of age and older. (Texas residents age 65 or older pay only $3 per person.) NOTE: Listed fees may not be accurate year-round due to seasonal changes. Contact the park directly to confirm fees.

    Campsite and other facility fees are in addition to the park entrance fee.

    Note: Learn about the $60 Texas State Parks Pass which exempts passholders, and the passengers in their vehicle, from the entrance fees at all Texas State Parks.

    Reservations

    Reserve Now for campsites or other park facilities.

    Reservations can also be made by calling TPWD's Central Reservation System at (512)389-8900 from 9 AM to 8 PM Monday through Friday, 9 AM to noon on Saturdays.

    Fredericksburg, Texas Weather

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    Volunteer Opportunities

    Contact the Friends of Enchanted Rock, the officially recognized non-profit support group of Enchanted Rock State Natural Area, at 16710 RR 965, Fredericksburg, TX 78624.

    Official Contact Information

    The State Park is managed by the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department.

    Texas Parks & Wildlife Department Enchanted Rock State Natural Area
    16710 Ranch Rd 965
    Fredericksburg, TX 78624

    Telephone: (830)685-3636
    TPWD Park Info: 1-800-792-1112

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