Enchanted Rock State Natural Area is a must do stop for everyone in Texas and one that has been on my bucket list for quite some time. The park contains the largest pink granite monadnock in the United States which rises 425 feet above the surrounding area with an altitude of 1,825 feet.
The State Natural Area is part of the Texas State Park system and sits right outside of Fredericksburg, TX which is less than 2 hours from San Antonio and Austin, and right around 4 hours from Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston. This means if you are a fan of road trips there is no reason you cannot make this a road trip from most major cities in the state.
Reservations at Enchanted Rock
Currently all Texas State Parks have instituted new protocols to keep staff and visitors safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. The main update that everyone needs to be aware of for the foreseeable future is a requirement to get a day pass before visiting the park. This is something I actually hope they continue especially in the busy state parks in order to keep crowds under control and protect parks for future use.
It is incredibly easy to reserve a day pass for Texas State Parks and all the instructions are right on the main web page for each park. Once you create an account with Reserve America you can search for available days and times which then asks you to input how many people will be coming along with your car information and process payment.
Even with such a popular park it was rather easy to get an open spot just two weeks out with multiple times for us to select. The system lets you select the date you want to visit and then list entry times in two hour blocks. The cost of visiting is not different with the online reservation system and still only cost $8 a person.
Getting to Enchanted Rock
The drive from Dallas-Fort Worth to Enchanted Rock is a rather dull drive with a lot of open highways ahead of you and the drive would be similar from most other cities. My one recommendation would be to stay on the main highway if you are coming from DFW in order to get better bathroom breaks and food breaks.
If you are doing backroads you might save a few minutes but you also risk not seeing many clean bathroom breaks and very few fast food options. This is all personal preference but I like giving a clear expectation for either route you choose. We did the backroads on the way back and rest stops where slim later in the day and so where food options.
Arriving at Enchanted Rock
Once you arrive at the park entry is a little different than before the COVID-19 pandemic in order to make sure park staff are safe. You will follow the signs and pull up to the ranger station where from a distance park rangers will ask you to verify your reservation number and make sure the correct number of people are in the car.
Once you enter there is a table where you can grab park maps and dashboard pass that you can grab without having to come into contact with the park rangers and without leaving your car.
Enchanted Rock State Natural Area
After entering the park the actual parking lots are rather small but due to limiting traffic flow with the reservations I had no issue finding a spot close to the Summit Trail entrance. I would recommend to park on this side of the park unless you will be camping or exploring a specific trail on the other side. There should be clear signange on which way is which and where the Summit Trailhead is located at.
The parking near the Summit Trail also has access to the Loop Trail and quite a few other options which I highly recommend. On top of being near the trail entrances you also have access to picnic tables, water fountains, restrooms and even a little food truck that seems to be permanently installed there.
I am excited to cover the trails at Enchanted Rock and stay tuned for in depth reviews of the Summit Trail and the Loop Trail. We also created a mix of trails that combined the Summit, Loop and a few bouldering trails to get you the best hiking while limiting hiking time to just over two hours.
We thoroughly enjoyed our time at Enchanted Rock and cannot recommend it enough to anyone living in Texas or anyone stopping by.
Have you been to Enchanted Rock? How did you like it? Any tops for future visits?
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