Enchanted Rock is a large granite dome located in Fredericksburg, TX. This area of Texas is known as Hill Country and is a popular place for visitors from all over the state because it is beautiful with its lush vegetation, rolling hills, and lots of wildlife. Enchanted Rock is an official state park in Texas where you can tent camp, hike, bird watch, and more. Daily admission is $7 per person and children 12 and under are free. The main attraction at this state park is obviously the dome named Enchanted Rock. You can hike up to the top of the dome or you can hike around the dome on the loop trail. Leashed dogs are allowed on the loop trail, but not on the hike up the dome. There is a total of 11 miles of trails on the property. We hiked up the dome this past Saturday. It was a great experience, but I do have some tips if you haven’t been to the dome before.
1. Arrive Before 8 AM
If you plan to go on a weekend or holiday then arrive before 8 AM. The park opens at 8 AM and cars line up before then because they close the park off to visitors when it has reached capacity. It often reaches capacity before 9 am on the weekends. We left the park around 11 AM and the sign at the park entrance said the park was closed. It obviously reached capacity much earlier.
2. Wear Good Shoes
It is an uphill hike with some steep grades. The rock can be slick, especially if damp or wet. Wear shoes with good traction. Definitely do not wear flip flops.
3. Bring Plenty of Water and Wear Sunblock
There is no source for water while climbing up to rock. Be sure to bring water along. I drank about 2 bottles myself on the hike because it was a typical Texas summer morning. It wasn’t yet scorching heat, but the climb is a workout in itself. There were a number of hikers sitting on the rock midway to catch their breathe and take a break. I wouldn’t call the hike easy. You will need water during the hike, so don’t forget it!
Don’t forget to apply sunblock because there isn’t any shade on this hike up the dome.
4. Wear Light Clothing
Dress for the weather. There is no shade while hiking up the rock. Wear light, comfortable, hiking clothing. I saw one couple wearing jeans. If I were a betting woman I would bet they chose to turn around at some point and never made it to the top. We wore clothes for hiking in the Texas heat and I am glad we did!
5. Prepare Your Kids for the Hike
We saw a handful of parents trying to coax their kids to keep going as they were hiking to the top. One mom and son duo wasn’t even a quarter of the way up yet and she was begging him to keep going. I don’t think they made it to the top. My kids ran to the top. I have high energy kids though and they knew they had to do the hike themselves. We told them in advance that they had to walk the entire way and we wouldn’t be carrying anyone at any point. If your kids are two or younger, then you will likely be carrying them. It is not a hike for toddlers. They can be carried in an infant/toddler backpack, which we saw a number of families doing.
6. Use Restrooms Before the Climb
There aren’t any bathrooms once you start up the rock. There are bathrooms at the base of the rock, so make sure you all go before you start hiking. It’s not like you can duck behind a tree once you are up there. There is no privacy and there are lots of people around, so do yourself a favor and use the restrooms before you start hiking.
7. Learn About this Rock Because it is Much More than the Eye can See
The geology of this rock is pretty cool, so check out this article which has a ton of interesting info about Enchanted Rock: http://www.nationalparksandmore.com/visiting-enchanted-rock-in-texas/
There are interesting things about the rock like the nature islands on top of the rock and the vernal pools. It is remarkable that anything can live up there, but it does! There are flowers, grasses, and small ponds (called vernal pools) that contain invisible shrimp (I read about this, but obviously didn’t see them). We did see hundreds of tadpoles in one of the ponds.
8. Read up on the History and Legends of Enchanted Rock
The Enchanted Rock is rich in Native American history. There are legends and stories that surround this massive piece of granite that many Indians believed held special powers while others believe it was haunted. The Nature Conservancy tells us of some of these legends: https://www.nature.org/ourinitiatives/regions/northamerica/unitedstates/texas/explore/texas-by-nature-enchanted-rock.xml
9. Bring Cash for Ice Cream
There is an ice cream stand/ trailer at the bottom of the rock. There are some shaded picnic tables at this location. It is a great place to take a break and have some ice cream before you head all the way to your vehicle. My kids opted for snow cones.
Enchanted Rock is a great place to take the family or go with friends. It is a great hike up the dome and the views at the top are amazing! Be sure to walk around the summit and see the land below from the different vantage points. At the top you will 1,800 feet above sea level.