The 425-foot high granite Enchanted Rock
is a very well known feature of Hill Country; however, there are a lot of other great features in the rather small State Natural Area containing it. This loop trail covers most of the park's highlights in a fun half-day.
Features: Lake — River/Creek — Views
Dogs: No Dogs
Dogs are only allowed on the Loop Trail
. The entrance fee is $7.00 per person over 13 years of age.
There is a lot of parking available for this trail after the entrance gate, but this park/trail is extremely popular so parking can fill up fast. If that happens the park will close and hand out parking vouchers for later in the day. If the vouchers run out, you'll be out of luck! There isn't much else close by so show up early (consider Pedernales Falls State Park about 60 miles to the east—which can also fill up).
There are restrooms right before the Summit Trail
with a water bottle filling station—handy as the park can get very hot and dusty. Right after the restrooms there is a kiosk with information on the history and geology of the park, as well as some telescopes you can use. The Summit Trail
is the most popular trail in the park for good reason. Start out on it along a wide granite pathway that is very clearly marked. The pathway soon turns to a mix of rock and man-made stairs to assist gaining the main slope of Enchanted Rock
. After only a quarter of a mile from the parking area you'll be on the huge sloping side of Enchanted Rock
. There isn't really a clear trail up the summit after this: just head on up! Very easy routes can be found that require zero scrambling. At the top, you'll be rewarded with 360-degree views of Texas Hill Country and plenty of space to take a break. Avoid stepping in the small pools as they can contain delicate wildlife.
After enjoying the views from the top of Enchanted Rock
, return the way you came along the Summit Trail
for about a quarter of a mile. On a small level section of the trail look for the Echo Canyon Trail
to the west. The crowds will thin out also immediately once you start on this trail. It is very rocky and fun to run along, and also offers great views of Enchanted Rock
and Little Rock. Shortly after some particularly large boulders, look for a fork in the trail (that is signed with a large map).
If you want to really shorten the loop, one option would be to continue northwest on Echo Canyon Trail
and then take the Loop Trail
southwest to the parking lot. But to get the most views of Enchanted Rock
take the right/northeast fork onto the Base Trail
. Base Trail
is relatively flat, and gets very few visitors compared to the Summit Trail
so you'll have some peace. The trail has intermittent shade as well. You'll pass a number of spur trails that lead towards bouldering areas on Enchanted Rock
. There are a few sections of this trail that get grassy and a little harder to see, but there are sign posts to keep you on track. Shortly after you pass Turkey Pass Trail
, you'll have lovely views of Enchanted Rock
's northeast side, Turkey Peak, Freshman Mountain, and Buzzards Roost.
ends at the Loop Trail
which is wide, basically a dirt road. Head north past a composting toilet. The next 1.2 miles of trail to the intersection with Echo Canyon Trail
don't actually offer much aside from some nice distant views of Enchanted Rock
. There isn't much shade along the Loop Trail
If you want, when you get back to the intersection with Echo Canyon Trailhead a few hundred feet south to get some views of Enchanted Rock
over Moss Lake and then head back. Continue along the Loop Trail
to the Scenic View Spur
which you can take for a few more nice views. The Loop Trail
gets a lot more interesting/prettier after the Scenic View Spur
with great views of Little Rock, and a lot of other cool rock formations and boulders. Finally the Loop Trail
returns to the parking area. You'll have to continue along the parking area for a while.
Vernal pools on the summit can contain fairy shrimp and rock quillwort.
The "Enchanted" name comes from spiritual powers that Tonkawa, Apache, and Comanche tribes believed the rock to have.