Our family loves to get out and explore the areas that we are visiting. We are big on getting outdoors, and love to take the family to places that showcase the beauty and uniqueness of creation. Enchanted Rock in the Hill Country of Texas, just 18 miles north of Fredericksburg, is one place that we love to hike as a family!
Enchanted Rock is the huge pink granite dome behind the sign, and can be seen for miles around. It is a popular destination for hikers and rock climbers alike. There are actually multiple domes in the park; Enchanted is the largest, and is part of a 62 square mile area of granite that is located mostly underground.
Enchanted Rock is a Texas State Park, so there is $7/person entrance fee for those over the age of 12. When we arrived at the park, we used our Texas State Parks Pass, which covers all day use fees for Texas State Parks – even some locations that are not obviously Texas State Parks, like the USS Texas Battleship!
After stopping at the entrance of the park to check out the small gift shop and adjoining museum, we found a parking spot close to the base of Enchanted.
There are several walking/hiking trails that go up, and circle Enchanted Rock, as well as other longer hikes that explore more of the park. You can get a map of trails at the entrance station. We chose to just do the Summit Trail, which isn’t much of a trail once you get to the dome! The trail below begins with crossing a small creek (please step over, not in), and then follows an easy path up natural rock steps and to the base of the dome.
Enchanted Rock rises 425 feet vertically, and climbing it is akin to taking the stairs in a 40 story building! So of course we thought we’d do it in cowboy boots. 😉
If you want to walk the loop trail around the dome, it is 4 miles long; longer, but does not have the grade to it. If you want to go to the summit, there is not really a trail to follow up the dome, but the shortest route is .6 miles to the top. Six-tenths of a mile of walking up a fairly smooth rock face.
And no, I did not tilt the camera!
The hike is really child friendly – there were quite a few families doing the dome while we were there, and Caleb did the entire hike, up and back, without any assistance.
in cowboy boots.
There were a few times that he had spotters walking behind him; there are some areas where if he slipped and started sliding/rolling, he would have just kept going to the bottom, but it was a great hike even for a 3 year old.
We didn’t hike it very fast – there were lizards to sneak up on…
and TRY to catch…
Rock formations to climb, and views to take in.
When we reached the top of Enchanted, we were very surprised to see, scattered across the top of the dome, low areas which collect rain water. These big puddles have become their own microhabitats, and are called vernal pools. They have their own unique, hardy residents, including tiny freshwater shrimp that are called Fairy Shrimp. The Fairy Shrimp lay eggs that survive through the pools being dried up, and when the water returns, they hatch! *because the vernal pools are so fragile, please do not touch or let kids or animals play in/drink the water.
Little Rock is right next to Enchanted… While not as large, it has its own beauty, and it even has a spring that flows down the side of the dome.
I probably don’t have to point out that the views from the top are gorgeous. We love Texas Hill Country. So green and lush.
These guys are so fun! I love to travel the country and explore it with them!
Enchanted Rock State Park is popular with rock climbers too – if you want to climb in the park, you must get a permit from the entrance station.
The different rock formations that you will encounter on the way up (or the way down) the dome are teeming with lizards! It’s also a great place to find a little shade, and even a seat if you need a rest. We just had to wait for the mighty lizard hunters to tire of missing those elusive reptiles!
We love visiting Enchanted Rock when we are in Texas Hill Country! It is a super family-friendly destination, and thanks to the Texas State Parks Pass program, visiting Texas State Parks (over 70 scattered across the state) is super affordable!
Here are a few things to remember if you are planning a visit to Enchanted Rock:
You can purchase a Texas State Parks Pass ($70) here to cover your entrance fees. If you are a Texas resident, check out the free Texas Parklands Passport – those over 65, as well as those disabled, receive 50% off admissions, and disabled vets get in free to TX State Parks with the Parklands Passport.
There are camping sites at Enchanted Rock, but they are all tent, no RVs allowed. There are limited day use RV parking spots near the entrance station – you can either unhook your tv or toad, or take an easy walk to the dome.
On high use days (some holidays and weekends), the park may max out on visitors and be temporarily closed until more parking opens up.
Enchanted Rock is an International Dark Sky Association recognized park, which means it is an EXCELLENT location to star gaze from (open for day use until 10pm).
This park is a popular destination with birders, and it has multiple geocache locations for you to discover!
There is no internet/cell coverage on the dome, so be sure to learn about the resident plants and animals before you go so you can identify them there! You can find info on them here.
Enchanted Rock has a Jr. Ranger program; if you are interested, be sure to ask about it at the entrance station on your way into the park!
Please bring your own drinking water due to the drought in the area. Also, don’t forget sunscreen, comfy shoes, and a hat if you are hiking during high sun. Probably does not need mentioning, but don’t forget a camera; if using your phone’s camera, be sure it is fully charged as my battery drained quickly as my phone was constantly searching for a signal.
Want to hike the dome? I would suggest a MINIMUM of 2 hours for the park. It is a beautiful area tho, with picnic areas, and even a concession stand during the busier times, and you could easily spend a entire, very relaxing, day here.
A big thank you to the Fredericksburg Visitor’s Bureau for providing us a Texas State Parks Pass so that we could share with you the great Texas state parks system (we have also purchased these in the past, and have always found them worth the money!) – and especially those parks in beautiful Hill Country! The bureau’s friendly staff in the visitor’s center even helped us to find some fun new venues, in Fredericksburg, that we had not known about before!