Access Special Backpacker.com Features, Register Now!

Austin, TX: Enchanted Rock Loop

Circumnavigate a 425-foot monolith on this 4.9-miler that crosses a sandy creek and cruises classic Texas Hill Country west of Austin.

Rating

This 4.9-mile loop begins at the parking lot just east of park headquarters and follows Sandy Creek for roughly a mile before crossing it. On the creek’s north side pass between Freshman Mountain and Buzzard’s Roost on an exposed granite and quartz-littered trail that widens as it continues north. The trail circles a large pinkish monolith called Enchanted Rock which covers 640 of the park’s 1,643 acres and is one of the nation’s largest batholiths.
Circling its north side the trail cruises an open grassy area sprinkled with wildflowers. Look for deer grazing and watch for snakes which sometimes bask trailside. Continue climbing past several spur trails—the side trips to Moss Lake and the Overlook are worth the short detours if you have time. After the high point at mile 3.2 the trail becomes rockier and skirts several boulder outcroppings popular with climbers before turning downhill and ending in the campground parking lot. Follow the road east for almost half a mile back to the trailhead.
Note: The park is a popular hiking and camping destination, especially in the fall and spring, and sometimes closes when it fills to capacity. Call the park at (830) 685-3636 before driving out, especially on weekends. Also check conditions on Sandy Creek: this route has a crossing that can be dangerous when water levels are high.
-Mapped by Melissa Gaskill

Click to PRINT AND GO.

PLAN IT

GUIDEBOOK AND MAP Hiking Texas, by Laurence Parent ($16, falcon.com); Download map (free) at tpwd.state.tx.us/spdest/findadest/park/enchanted_rock/

FEES/PERMITS $6 per person/day to access the park, payable at park entrance. To camp at one of the three primitive camping areas (20 sites available per area) near the route, it’s $12/group of four/night. Reservations: texasstateparks.org; (512) 389-8900

CONDITIONS This is a popular park for picnickers, hikers, and climbers, and rangers will close the gate if the parking lot fills up (can happen as early as 11 a.m. on spring and autumn Saturdays). Call (800) 792-1112 to check on crowds and the state of creek crossings.

LOCAL LINKS

GAS

SPEEDY STOP
1501 Ford St.
Llano, TX
(325) 247-3678
Dayhiking gear list

GAS/GROCERIES

PICKY’S PANTRY COUNTY LINE
6806 Bee Cave Rd.
Austin, TX
(512) 347-1077

GROCERIES

TOWN & COUNTRY FOOD STORE
901 Bessemer Ave.
Llano, TX
(325) 247-4256

WHOLE FOODS MARKET
525 North Lamar Blvd.
Austin, TX
(512) 476-1206

GEAR

WHOLE EARTH PROVISIONS
1014 North Lamar Blvd.
Austin, TX
(512) 476-1414

RESTAURANT

SHADY GROVE
1624 Barton Springs Rd.
Austin, TX
(512) 474-9991

THE BURGER BAR
608 Bessemer Ave.
Llano, TX
(325) 247-4660

Dayhiking gear list

Wear
Synthetic T-shirt
Synthetic shorts or pants
Synthetic undies
Wool hiking socks
Sunglasses
Hiking shoes or boots
Sunscreen (SPF 15+)

Pack
Daypack
Midweight synthetic or
fleece long-sleeve top
Wool or fleece hat
Waterproof/breathable
jacket and pants
Map, compass, GPS unit
Water container and
water treatment
First-aid kit
Extra food and snacks
Firestarting kit
Lightweight gloves
Extra pair of socks
(optional)
TP and trowel

To Trailhead

From US 290 in downtown Fredericksburg, turn north on Milam St./Ranch Road 965. Drive 16.8 miles and turn left into Enchanted Rock State Natural Area. In 100 yards, turn right toward the day-use parking area and trailhead.

Leave a Reply