Today I’m excited to tell you all about my family’s recent visit to Enchanted Rock State Natural Area. We headed there a couple days after Christmas and I cannot believe I hadn’t made the trip beforehand. Enchanted Rock is a great day-trip from Austin. We love day and weekend trips – remember our trip to the J.W. Marriott Hill Country Resort? Well, keep reading to hear why our family loved our day outdoors at Enchanted Rock!
Enchanted Rock is located about 20 minutes from downtown Fredericksburg. Driving Austin to Enchanted Rock didn’t take too long — about 1 hour and 45 minutes. The perfect day trip distance.
Enchanted Rock is often described as a giant pink granite dome … because that’s actually what it is.
Even though I read this beforehand, I was still shocked just how big that rock actually is. Wow!
My photos didn’t do it justice so I wanted to include some professional photographs that do!
Enchanted Rock is a great place for day trips, rock climbing, camping, bird watching stargazing and more. There are nearly 11 miles of hiking trails throughout the area and even a little playground at the bottom. During the summer, they even have food trucks to feed the crowds.
We joined up with Uncle Dan for this quick trip and he turned out to be a great photographer for us. Thanks Dan for joining us on our adventure and for getting pictures of the four of us. That never happens!
For our little day trip, we chose to do the Summit Trail.
The Summit Trail takes you where you’d expect it to take you … up to the top of the rock. It’s a little over a half a mile to get to the top and then you can roam around, exploring the fun views and rocks. The ascent is no joke, though, so bring some water because you climb 425 feet in .6 miles. If you live in River Place, though, I guess it’s similar to walking the loop. Geez our hills are crazy.
Foster wanted to stop at every single cool rock on his way up and take a photo by it.
Dan was too nice obliging his photo op requests, and I finally had to explain to Foster that there are way too many cool rocks to stop at them all. But, I was thrilled that Foster had such a blast playing outside! No iPad in sight!
Foster made it to the top mostly by himself, but Parker was carried approximately 98% of the hike. And, yep, we sold our hiking carrier backpack last month. Of course.
We made it! Not too shabby of a view, is it?
Once at the top of the rock, the kids loved checking out out the dinosaur footprints.
Okay, they were just puddles of water but the kids had fun pretending they were discovering new dinosaur footprints. Even Parker had a great time and offered up some cuddles. In late December, we had chilly weather but it was actually the best day of the week weather-wise. No rain and hardly any clouds. I’ve heard that Enchanted Rock can be blazing hot in the summer, though, so come prepared.
My little hiker boy stopped jumping off rocks for a few minutes to take this photo with me.
Even though many of the hikers on the Summit Trail reached the top and turned right around to head back down, we brought some snacks, enjoyed the view, and then explored for another hour or so.
And here they are scoping out alternate ways down the rock.
My husband, the adventurer-to-a-fault, thought we should hike down the rock off the beaten path. I didn’t think it was a good idea, but I gave in.
This is about when I started to regret that I didn’t speak up louder earlier and say, nope, let’s head down the same way everyone else is heading down.
The following video gives you a smidge of an idea of the crevasses we thankfully managed to cross with both children.
About two minutes later a park ranger yelled up to us from the bottom of the rock that we in fact could not go any further. Something about a potential arrest or taking custody of us was discussed and in the end we (ahem, Jarrod) finally agreed to turn around and go down the permitted route with everyone else. #toldyouso
On our way down Foster wanted to climb to the top of a huge boulder.
And here’s my favorite of him, grinning ear to ear under the boulder.
We had so much fun exploring Enchanted Rock with our family this winter. Have you been? What are your recommendations for fellow families?
Additional Enchanted Rock Information
Entrance Fees: $7 Daily fee for adults and children 12 and under are free.
Busy Times: During busy times (such as weekends and holidays), the parking lot may fill up and even close for up to four hours. Staff will issue parking slips to the first 200 vehicles to guarantee a spot when it reopens in the afternoon.
Overnight Camping: The camp offers a variety of overnight campsites. For more camping information and to reserve your spot, click here. Please note that ground fires (including charcoal) are prohibited. Jarrod and Foster went for an overnight adventure last year, and I think you can tell Foster enjoyed himself.