Enchanted Rock State Park is one of my favorite and most accessible parks in all of Texas. It is located right outside of Fredericksburg, Texas which is centrally located near Austin and San Antonio. I recently visited the park for the first time as a way to get out of the house during our Covid19 quarantine times. You can read more about my first visit HERE and how the new safety protocols Texas State Parks have implemented might alter your visit. You can also read about my tips on travelling during the new health crisis we live in HERE.
The Summit Trail
The Summit Trail at Enchanted Rock is the go to trail for almost anyone visiting the park. The trail leads you to the top of the main attraction in the park the pink granite mountain in the middle of Texas hill country.
When you arrive at the park you are able to drive directly to the Summit Trail trail head which is actually the main entry to most of the trails in the park. There is a small loop with plenty of parking near trail heads, bathrooms and even a small ice cream/snow cone food truck! The park overall is rather small as you can see in the map below so I would avoid going during busy season to make sure it is not too crowded.
Hiking the Summit Trail is rated as “challenging” according to the state park website but I would rate it “moderate” at most. The hike is a simple up and down that is 0.8 miles each way with no specific marked path. When you start the trail you will go through a small entry that has information about the park and some warnings about the weather and dangers of the trail.
Depending what time of year you venture to the park, you will want to make sure to bring water since Texas is notorious for getting dangerously hot fast.
Once you get past the entrance of the Summit Trail you rather quickly get into the steep part of the hike which surprise is the entire hike.
The hike up the Summit Trail while short at less than a mile is pretty much straight up and without any steps or switchbacks you are essentially going up a steep hill for over half a mile.
This was probably the first hike that I have done that did not include any sort of actual trail that leads you to a definite end. The path is not marked but it is also impossible to get lost on the way to the summit. Pictures and video do not give it justice at just how grand the massive granite rock is and the fact that anyway you go up you end up at the summit.
The entire hike up took us about 30 minutes with some stops to admire the views on the way up. It truly is breathtaking the entire hike up the mountain since it is not everyday in Texas you get such high views of the countryside.
Once you arrive at the top the views are AMAZING 360 panorama of the hill country which are a must see for everyone. We luckily came into the park late in the day around 2pm and ran into almost no crowds. This made the summit more enjoyable and I can see how if it was a packed day I wouldn’t have enjoyed it as much.
After spending about 30 minutes at the summit we started our descent which I must say hurt more than the hike up. The route down is just as steep as the hike up and unless you are zig zagging on the way down your toes are about to slam into the toe-box of your shoe and hurt!
We didn’t come back to the trailhead on the way back down but actually decided to sync up to other trails to explore more of the park! I will be expanding on those trails in a separate post soon.
The Summit Trail is a must do at Enchanted Rock and one that I would say almost anyone that can walk up the stairs can do. It might take someone more than 30 minutes to summit but as long as you take your time and hydrate the hike is very achievable.
Have you been to Enchanted Rock? What was your favorite part of the park?
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