Enchanted Rock Tour
ElevationAscent: 771' 235 m
Descent: -769' -235 m
High: 1,805' 550 m
Low: 1,401' 427 m
GradeAvg Grade: 5% (3°)
Max Grade: 23% (13°)
“An effective way to see the highlights of Enchanted Rock.”— Karl W
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.
Base Trail 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.
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