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Enchanted Rock Tour

 3 votes

Length

6.3 Miles 10.1 Kilometers

92%

Runnable

Elevation

771' 235 m

Ascent

-769' -235 m

Descent

5%

Avg Grade (3°)

23%

Max Grade (13°)

1,805' 550 m

High

1,401' 427 m

Low

Conditions


Unknown

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An effective way to see the highlights of Enchanted Rock.

Karl W

Overview

!Enchanted Rock State Natural Area frequently fills up on weekends and holidays. When full the park will hand out parking vouchers and close. After the parking vouchers are gone, no one else will be allowed in. It's best to arrive early (before ~9:30am).
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

Need to Know

Dogs are only allowed on the Loop Trail. The entrance fee is $7.00 per person over 13 years of age.

Description

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.

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.

Flora & Fauna

Vernal pools on the summit can contain fairy shrimp and rock quillwort.

History & Background

The "Enchanted" name comes from spiritual powers that Tonkawa, Apache, and Comanche tribes believed the rock to have.

Contacts

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  4.3 from 3 votes

#1979

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  4.3 from 3 votes
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#32

in Texas

#1,979

Overall
51 Views Last Month
207 Since Nov 26, 2017
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