Hiking Enchanted Rock Texas the Perfect Austin Day Trip

Looking for places to hike in Texas Hill Country? Add hiking Enchanted Rock State Park to your bucket list. Enchanted Rock is one of the best day trips from Austin or San Antonio.

In the Hill Country of Central Texas lies a massive granite boulder known as Enchanted Rock. The huge granite mass known as a batholith was created by molten rock about a billion years ago. This is definitely not your average hill country hiking trail, much different than any of the hikes in Austin. And it’s way different than the hikes I did growing up in Alberta, like Johnston Canyon in Banff. Enchanted Rock hike is one of the most unique hikes you will find in Texas.

 

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Hiking Enchanted Rock Texas is the perfect day trip from Austin

 

Where is Enchanted Rock?

Enchanted Rock State Natural Area is located at 16710 Ranch Rd. 965, Fredericksburg, TX

Enchanted Rock State Park (officially Enchanted Rock State Natural Area) is an easy day trip from Austin to Fredericksburg area. The hiking location is about 18 miles north of Fredericksburg Texas.

Driving from Austin to Enchanted Rock takes about 1.5 to 2 hours for the 95 mile (153 km) drive, depending on your route and traffic.

From San Antonio it’s around 88 to 100 miles (142 to 160 km) depending on your driving route and takes around 1.5 to 2 hours.

 

Enchanted Rock State Park hike on a granite boulder

Enchanted Rock State Park hike on a granite boulder

 

Enchanted Rock hiking trail in Central Texas Hill Country

Enchanted Rock hiking trail in Central Texas Hill Country

 

When is the best time to hike Enchanted Rock?

Weekends in the spring and fall can be very busy at Enchanted Rock. Late winter is a great time for hiking the rock because of cooler weather. Check the Fredericksburg TX weather before you head out on your hike.

Also check the Enchanted Rock Facebook page for updates on weather conditions. On July 9th 2018 all elevated areas including Enchanted Rock summit were closed due to rain causing hazardous conditions on the granite. Be prepared with the correct clothing and outdoor gear before you go hiking.

The native people of the region called it Spirit Rock most likely due to the mysterious sounds emitted from deep inside the rock which are caused by temperature changes.

 

Hiking Enchanted Rock - Creek at the base of Enchanted Rock granite boulder in Central Texas Hill Country

Creek at the base of Enchanted Rock in Central Texas Hill Country

 

Looking for places to hike around Austin Texas I asked some of my friends and several told me I had to hike Enchanted Rock. They said it’s one of the best places for a day hike in Texas. This hike is much different from hiking at Big Bend National Park but it’s a great one to put on your list.

When I saw pictures of the huge granite boulder I knew I had to make a day trip to Enchanted Rock.

I hiked alone to the top of Enchanted Rock for the first time in February 2013. It was a sunny day with no wind but nice and cool when I started my hike.

 

How long does it take to hike Enchanted Rock?

It took me an hour or so to hike to the top. It’s an easy hike if you are in decent shape. You can also do a full moon hike at Enchanted Rock. Check the Texas Parks and Wildlife events page here.

Other people report hiking Enchanted Rock in 45 minutes. The important thing is to pace yourself and enjoy the hike. If you are trying to hike it ASAP then 45 minutes could be your goal. Maybe you want to pause and observe your surroundings, take your time, enjoy nature, then it may take over an hour to get to the summit.

 

Colorful lichen on the rocks at Enchanted Rock hike

Colorful lichen on the rocks at Enchanted Rock hike

 

There are various routes marked along the way and I started off following one designated route when my attention became diverted by a field of boulders.

One of the reasons that I like hiking solo is that I can change things up whenever I want. My curiosity leads off the main hiking path sometimes. I enjoying exploring on my own.

 

A rock garden of boulders at Enchanted Rock hiking area in Texas Hill Country

A rock garden of boulders at Enchanted Rock hiking area in Texas Hill Country

 

I climbed over, around, and between the rocks as I made my ascent quite a distance from the actual peak of Enchanted Rock.

 

Boulders of various sizes at Enchanted rock hike in central Texas

While hiking Enchanted Rock you encounter boulders of various sizes, some are extremely huge

 

Closer to the top I decided to find the correct route and made my way to the top where a little oasis of greenery awaited. Enchanted Rock is a totally different hiking experience due to its unique geological features and it’s one of my favorite places to hikes in Texas.

 

Enchanted Rock - Oasis

Small oasis at the summit of Enchanted Rock – one of the best places to hike in Texas

 

Enchanted Rock summit view

Enchanted Rock TX summit view

 

I sat and enjoyed a snack and then wandered around the back side of the rock. There is a cave on the northeast side which I plan to visit during this year’s visit to Enchanted Rock sometime in March.

 

Enchanted Rock is popular for rock climbing in central Texas

Enchanted Rock is popular for rock climbing in central Texas

 

Rock climbing

  • Rock climbers need to check in at park headquarters where they can read the climbing rules and pick up route maps as well.
  • Climb Clean – the main rule is no placement of bolts, pitons, or fixed anchors unless approved by the Central Texas Climbing Committee (CTCC). Check with park headquarters or the CTCC
  • Climbing information at Texas Parks & Wildlife

Rock climbing is very popular at Enchanted Rock. A lot of rock climbing enthusiasts from Austin and San Antonio visit the park to practice their skills.

I don’t have any rock climbing experience so I would like to take a beginner class to gain some basic knowledge before I attempt any climbing.

 

Hiking in Texas Hill Country at Enchanted Rock you will find these massive boulders

Hiking in Texas Hill Country at Enchanted Rock you will find these massive boulders

 

Enchanted Rock hiking in Texas Hill Country

Enchanted Rock Texas hiking in Texas Hill Country

 

Preparing for the hike

  • Bring at least a quart of water and some snacks
  • Wear hiking boots or sturdy walking shoes
  • Dress in layers so you will be comfortable in changing weather conditions
  • Be cautious in rainy weather as the granite surface is extremely slippery
  • Bring a headlamp if you plan on exploring the cave
  • Get maps of the park and climbing areas at the entrance
  • Park closes temporarily when capacity is reached – best to visit on weekdays or call in advance to check the status. Park closure can occur as early as 9 am on Saturdays.

 

Hiking Enchanted Rock Fredericksburg Texas

 


Enchanted Rock Texas info

Enchanted Rock Address

16710 Ranch Rd. 965, Fredericksburg, TX (18 miles north of Fredericksburg)

Phone Number

+1-(830)-685-3636

Enchanted Rock hours

Open every day year round from 8AM – 10PM

Enchanted Rock entrance fee

$7 (free for children 7 and under)

Elevation

1,825 ft (556 m)

How to Get To Enchanted Rock

Directions can be found on the Texas Parks website here

 

Enchanted Rock Texas Best Austin Day Trip


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About the Author

Susan Moore spent 7 months traveling around Southeast Asia back in the 90's. Returning to Canada she found a job working on rotation in Siberia Russia. She later moved to Austin Texas where she started a bookkeeping business, allowing her to work remotely. Currently Susan is in year 4 of living a nomadic life, roadtripping around the USA and Canada and writing about her experiences with a focus on hiking and cultural encounters. Read all about Susan » You can reach Susan Moore at Facebook or Twitter or Instagram

3 Replies

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  1. Reader Wil says:

    An excellent hike and climb for people younger than I am. Good word for E inthe ABC meme. I take it that you join the ABC Wednesday meme? I only can’t find your link. Well my eyes are not as good as they used to be. ;) Have a great day!
    Wil, ABCW Team.

    • Thanks Wil, the link is at the end of the post, I’ll add some text and format it so that it’s a little more prominent. I’m enjoying this weekly writing project, great to see what others around the world are up to.
      Cheers,
      Susan

  2. Enchanting! (obvious, I suppose)

    ROG, ABC Wednesday team

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