Editor’s Note: The elevation of the Enchanted Rock State Natural Area has been updated to reflect that it is over 1,800 feet.
FREDERICKSBURG, Texas (KXAN) — Located about an hour and a half outside of Austin in Central Texas’ beautiful Hill Country, Enchanted Rock State Natural Area is a dream spot for hikers, campers and stargazers of all ages.
Over 1,800 feet in elevation, Enchanted Rock State Natural Area is made up of seven peaks with views stretching for miles. Described as a “magical, mystical place,” the granite domes making up the state park has hosted visitors for thousands of years, while in existence for millions of years.
Eleven miles of hiking trails stretch through Enchanted Rock, some friendly for beginner climbers and others challenging for even the more experienced hikers.
From base to summit, hikers can reach the top of the rock in about 45 minutes, with the walk up stretching about 0.6 miles or 40 flights of stairs.
Doug Cochran, superintendent with Enchanted Rock, encourages all visitors and locals to add a visit to Enchanted Rock to their bucket list. “It’s like a challenge. We have 3 year olds do it, and we have 70 year olds doing it” Cochran said. “It can be done.”
Although the views get most of the attention, it’s hard to miss the blooms of wildflowers growing amongst the granite after recent rains.
Rain that pools in the low-lying spots of rock help plants, like the Rock Quillwort, thrive and provides a home for “fairy shrimp”, tiny, translucent freshwater shrimp that live in the vernal pools.
More than 300,000 visitors pass through the gates of Enchanted Rock annually, and due to its popularity, it is encouraged to make reservations ahead of time.
Park officials also advise visiting when the weather tends to be cooler, like a fall evening, winter afternoon or summer morning.
You can find more information on the Enchanted Rock State Natural Area website.