Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Enchanted Rock is a mystical part of Texas Hill Country

Enchanted Rock is a mystical part of Texas Hill Country blog cover image


The hidden Hill Country in Texas is full of places that look as if they are straight out of a storybook. You might have seen other hidden gems such as the Hamilton Pool which a natural watering hole in a box-like depression. There is a large waterfall that plunges into the beautiful limestone patterns and bioluminescent algae. Among gorgeous places like the Hamilton Pool, there is a place that sits on top of a rock - while the only water that is nearby are some ponds - this rock is just as mystical. Enchanted Rock located in Gillespie County is considered by locals to be one of the most mystical and beautiful landmarks. Enchanted Rock made a name for itself because of its tall pink-granite dome that overlooks a serene valley. Enchanted Rock is a great place to hike, stargaze, rock climb, geocache, study nature, and bird-watch. There is no swimming or riding bikes allowed. The park only costs $7 per person ages 13 and older. Make this landmark a stopping point, even if you are just passing through.



the reflection of Enchanted Rock in nearby waters on an overcast day

Spirituality

For hundreds of years, Enchanted Rock has been thought of as a place of spiritual connection. Popular among the Apache and Comanche tribes, this spot has served as a spiritual place to host a person’s innermost thoughts, emotions, and wisdom.

The steep climb up to the summit of the rock is not the easiest. There is no definitive trail up to the summit once you get to the dome rocks edge, but there are a ton of spots to stop and be at peace with yourself. Be mindful as you will probably see a lot of other people trying to find inner peace.



swirling stars of a time-lapse photo looking towards Enchanted Rock from below

Getting to the Park

Enchanted Rock is located within Enchanted Rock State Park and is very popular amongst tourists and locals. If you get to the Park through the town of Llano, you will be overwhelmed with an old-time atmosphere that will set the mood for an enchanting adventure.

Even though Enchanted Rock is within a State Park, it can reach full capacity due to limited parking. If this happens, you will be given a pass to come back later in the day. The pass will serve as a guarantee for admittance.

There are signs everywhere warning about rattlesnakes. Be vigilant! If you happen to encounter a rattlesnake, don’t panic. Rattlesnakes pick up on vibrations so back away slowly - keeping several feet of distance - and go around the snake. If there are other hikers around you, be sure to let them know of the snake’s location.



a group of hikers moving towards the summit of Enchanted Rock

Climbing the Rock

At the base of Enchanted Rock, there are many picnic tables, trees, a creek, and photo-op spots. There are also a few trails to choose from - all of which seem family-friendly. The summit trail takes around 30 minutes one way if you are physically fit and do not stop to take pictures. The trails are steep and will get your heart pumping. Once you reach the top of Enchanted Rock though, it will all be worth it. Words really can’t capture the true beauty of the summit.



slabs of granite sliding off Enchanted Rock's west face

What is at the top of Enchanted Rock?

The top of Enchanted Rock lives up to its name. The pink granite rock is mystical in itself. Add on the beautiful view, and smell of fresh, crisp air - this place is the definition of serene. The top of Enchanted Rock also has small water ecosystems that tiny shrimp live in. Please be mindful of their ecosystems and only take pictures. The summit has a lot of area so you can ensure you will be able to have a little privacy while taking in the 360-degree view.

Looking down you will see the various trails that loop around the Rock and there is also a cave down one side. Be sure to check it out. On the West Face of Enchanted Rock are slabs of granite that have broken away from the summit. This happens when the base layers of the rock push the outer layers up and they crack and slide down the face of the Rock. They look frozen in place and are truly stunning.



a trio of hikers walking down the path away from Enchanted Rock

The Descent

Locals and other tourists recommend that you stay at least to watch the sunset over the valley. If you can’t stay to watch the sunset, come in the morning to watch the sunrise. The park closes at 10:00 pm so you have the option to stay late too. It is just as steep descending as it is going up. Hiking in the dark is especially dangerous because you can’t see your surroundings. You would really need to count on your other senses like hearing. More nocturnal animals are out and other animals like coyotes use this time of day to hunt. There is a campground around Enchanted Rock, but you can’t stay on the summit itself. Any time you go hiking, you should have an emergency bag packed that includes a flashlight.




With so many places to see in the Hill Country of Texas, Enchanted Rock should be on the list. With Fredericksburg, Llano, and Luckenbach as neighboring towns, there is a lot to see and do in this area. Fredericksburg is a great destination to stay the night and head over to Enchanted Rock as soon as you awaken. It is home to German pioneer settlers and has a rich history. Fredericksburg is a real treat. The park opens at 8 am, get there early and you can avoid having to come back due to full capacity.