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From the Field: BACKPACKER trail scouts’ top Central local hikes

Try a 9-mile out-and-back in Ohio's Hemlock Gorge or hike through history in Per Marquette State Park or on the Saddle Rock Trail in Nebraska.

Enchanted Rock Loop, Enchanted Rock SNA, TX
James Arno, Fredericksburg, TX

Scramble atop a 425-foot, 640-acre dome of pink granite on this 6.4-mile loop through boulder-strewn canyons and oak woodlands. The park’s namesake batholith is “just the tip of the iceberg,” Arno says. It’s part of a granite complex that extends six miles underground. On warm afternoons, watch for turquoise collared lizards at the base of Enchanted Rock from miles four to six. At mile 5.5, turn left to ascend the dome, where fragile, rain-dependent vernal pools sustain centimeter-long fairy shrimp. Trip ID 27508

“From the summit, get 20-mile views across Hill Country.”

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