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ENCHANTED ROCK STATE NATURAL AREA

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The Enchanted Rock State Natural Area is part of the Texas State park system despite its official name having it be a 'natural area' rather than a park. Enchanted Rock is a huge monolith of rare pink granite rising 425 feet above a rugged landscape, visible for miles. So named because Tonkawa Indians and early settlers thought the rock to be possessed of spirits due to noises which seemed to come from deep inside.

A more scientific age would explain these noises as the creaks and groans of the rock expanding and contracting as it was subjected to the blazing heat and cooling nights. Many people make the strenuous trek to the top of the rock for the spectacular view. In addition to climbing to the top, Enchanted Rock State Park's Natural Area also has camping, picnic areas, rock climbing, bird watching, geological study, hiking other trails in addition to the trails that lead to the top of the rock and star gazing into the minimal light pollution night sky.

CLICK HERE FOR DIRECTIONS & MAP OF THE ENCHANTED ROCK AREA

Enchanted Rock State Park   click a thumbnail to view a photo 

Driving north from Frederickburg, about 17 miles north, you drive over a ridge and around a corner and the baldest hill in Hill Country, Enchanted Rock, comes into view.

And Enchanted Trail

The Summit Trail, as the route to the top is called, begins benign enough, nice and flat and green.

The trail follows a semi-dry creek bed for a bit before beginning its punishing ascent.

Enchanted Rock State Natural Area consists of 1643.5 acres on Big Sandy Creek, north of Fredericksburg, on the border between Gillespie and Llano Counties. It was acquired in 1978 by the Nature Conservancy of Texas. Enchanted Rock is a huge, pink granite dome rising 425 feet above ground, 1825 feet above sea level, and covering 640 acres.
Bluebonnets

Along the trail, bluebonnets and cactus. A totally Texas combination.

Some more cactus as Enchanted Rock comes clearly into view.

The trail grows steeper. Hikers can been seen starting their trek to the top.

The vegetation grows sparser and the number of others struggling towards the top seems to grow.

Enchanted Rock was named a National Natural Landmark in 1970. In 1984 Enchanted Rock was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
Many hikers heading to the top of Enchanted Rock

Nothing green visible. Apparently in Texas you get above the timberline at a very low elevation.

The discussion between the two bigger people you see here could be clearly heard. Mom could go no further. The kids wanted to go to the top. Dad would take them, but was mom sure she could make it back down safely.

A Spanish conquistador captured by the Tonkawa escaped by losing himself in the rock area, giving rise to an Indian legend of a "pale man swallowed by a rock and reborn as one of their own." The Indians believed he cast spells of enchantments on the area, The first well-documented explorations of this area began around 1723 when the Spanish stepped up their goal to colonize Texas. During the mid-1700s, the Spaniards made several trips to the north and northwest of San Antonio, establishing a mission and presidio (fort) on the San Saba River and doing some mining on Honey Creek near the Llano River.

Big Ed, having missed the mountains of Washington, pretty much ran up Enchanted Rock. He later paid for this over exuberance. As you shall see.

The people go up, the people go down, from dawn to dusk, by the thousands on some days. So many people that the park has to close at times. 

There is only one granite formation in America larger than Enchanted Rock and that is Stone Mountain in Georgia.
An exhausted hiker at the top of the rock

When the chronicler of these events finally reached the top Big Ed was found collapsed and passed out, (he claimed to be napping), light headed and was certain he was suffering from mild heat stroke. Ed had passed out by a small watering hole which he was tempted to drink from until he saw a dog use it as a bath.

The doggy bath pond.

With a doggy in it.

Enchanted Rock State Park fills up (in terms of parking) and frequently closes on weekends (sometimes as early as 11 a.m.) Reopening usually occurs at 5 p.m. Call ahead (325-247-3903) or have alternate plans if you arrive at the park and find it closed. 

This group was desperate for water and about to drink from the pond until that dog showed up!

A hiker and doggy

This cute little Rat Dog also swam and drank in the pond after making it to the summit. It seems a warning sign is needed. At some point in the day some desperate for water human likely sees that water and takes a drink not realizing it is a canine bathtub.

With Big Ed semi-recovered from his near heat stroke and fearing sunburns it's time to head back down. You sort of just head down any way you want. This is towards what is called Little Enchanted Rock.

Utahesque rock formations. Although not redrock. And not quite pink, even though it is very rare pink granite.

A view from the other side, looking up, on the way back down.

A picnic was had at this spot, looking up at  Enchanted Rock.

Hope you enjoyed the Easter hike up Enchanted Rock. Next time remember sunscreen.

LBJ | Enchanted Rock | North Texas Wildflowers | Hill Country Wildflowers
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| Baker Hotel | Waco

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