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Visiting Enchanted Rock State Park Texas

Page Summary
  • Suggested arrival time and direction
  • What to bring
  • Location of the cave entrance
  • Activities
  • Hiking to the top recommendation
  • Scenic pictures
Enchanted Rock is a State Park in central Texas between Fredericksburg and Llano. It's named after the most prominent part of the park, which is a huge granite rock that looks like a dome. Some of the more popular things to do there include hiking, backpacking, camping and rock climbing.

The official Enchanted Park website says visiting during a regular weekday is the best time to go because is isn't as busy. It also says, "We limit the number of people in the park to protect its fragile resources. When parking lots are full, the park will close for up to two hours." We went on a Thursday but it was during spring break so we were warned that it would be busy.

Before we went, my coworkers gave me some great advice that I will share with you. They told me we should arrive from the Llano side and not from the Fredericksburg side. They said unless you get there really early there will be a line of cars from the Fredericksburg side but only a few from the Llano side. I am really happy they let me know that because it proved to be very true.

These first 5 pictures really show the problem. You can see in the pictures that we drove up at 9:02 AM. There are only 2 people in front of us waiting to get into the park entrance. We couldn't see how many people were coming from the Fredericksburg side because the line was too long. It still took us over 30 minutes to get to the payment office.

Approaching Enchanted Rock - Click to enlarge
Approaching Enchanted Rock
Driving south/west on Ranch Road 965
from Llano
Enchanted Rock entrance
Arriving from the Llano side
Only 2 cars were ahead of us
It's 9:02 AM
Turning into Enchanted Rock
Turning into the park
$7.00 per person entrance fee
Enchanted Rock still waiting
There's still a line of cars
once you get into the park
Enchanted Rock payment office
Arrival time at the payment office.
Time 9:37 AM
Enchanted Rock
Enchanted Rock
The little specs on the rock are people
Enchanted Rock traffic birds eye view
View of the entrance
from the top of the rock
Enchanted Rock birds eye view - zoomed
This is a zoomed picture that was cut out of
the picture to the left. You can see there
are still only a few cars on the Llano side
but the cars from the Fredericksburg side
are lined up around the bend in the road.
Rocky hiking
The hike up the front of the hill is smooth.
Some of the hiking areas aren't quite as smooth.
Enchanted Rock cave
There's a cave at the top of the rock. When
looking at the rock from the parking lot, the cave
entrance is just over the top on the right hand side.
Enchanted Rock cave entrance
Location of the cave entrance. Just don't
expect too much. You still need to see it
though so you don't regret it later.
Enchanted Rock is mostly underground
Enchanted Rock is a small speck
compared to the huge underground rock
that spans over 100 square miles.

Hiking to the top
Enchanted Rock is 425 feet above the base elevation of the park. The high point is 1,825 feet above sea level and the entire dome covers 640 acres. To put it into perspective, climbing the Rock is like climbing the stairs of a 30 or 40 story building. In other words, it's a pretty good workout hiking up. We saw quite a few people sitting at various places on their way up. The good thing is the view is really nice while you're resting. We actually zigzagged our way up for a while. That meant we walked a further distance but it was a much easier climb that way.

Activities
Earlier I mentioned some of the more popular things to do there include hiking, backpacking, camping and rock climbing. Other activities include picnicking (there are many picnic tables and barbecue grills), bird watching, geocaching and stargazing.

Activities that aren't allowed
There's a body of water on the backside of Enchanted Rock but you can't swim in it. You also can't ride a bike on the trails.

What to bring
We went in the middle of March so the weather forecast was a low of 55 getting up to a high of 72 (this was pretty close to what it ended up being). Before we went, I wondered if bringing a CamelBak would be helpful but I also didn't want to look stupid if that was going overboard. I asked my co-workers if anybody wore a CamelBak and if not, how much water we should bring. They underestimated how much we would need and said two 16 oz (32 oz total) Gatorade bottles would be fine. Since we also wanted to bring some snacks with us, we used a backpack and brought three 20 oz (60 oz total) bottles. It's good that we brought twice as much water as they recommended because we ended up running out and we were only there for a little over 3 hours. The park does have water fountains available but the only ones we saw were near the entrance.

There were plenty of other people with CamelBaks and backpacks as well so there's no need to worry about looking out of place if you use one. There are even people with full camping backpacks on complete with tents, sleeping gear and cooking items. We didn't actually see the campground they were going to but I hear it was a pretty good hike to get there. Speaking of campsites, we saw another campsite close to the entrance so you can park pretty close to that camping area.

Pets
We saw a couple of dogs and they looked like they were having a great time. Obviously, if you do bring your dog that means you're a dog lover so I don't need to say this... but being a dog lover myself, don't forget to bring plenty of extra water.

In Summary

Happy travels.