Pedernales Falls State Park (Natural Beauty)

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Texas is home to 89 spectacular state parks, including the Pedernales Falls State Park. It is known for its massive, beautiful limestone rock formations bordering the Pedernales River. This formation attracts many visitors to the park, especially during the busy seasons of spring, summer, and fall.

Pedernales Falls State Park is 37.4 miles west of Austin, Texas. It attracts visitors due to its spectacular natural beauty and the many activities like hiking trails, swimming, horseback riding, and biking, to mention a few. A day visit is not enough to enjoy everything this park offers.

Beautiful Rock Formations Carved Smooth by the Crystal Clear Blue Green Waters of the Pedernales River. - Texas View

About Pedernales Falls State Park

Pedernales Falls State Park, previously known as Circle Bar Ranch, was acquired by the state of Texas from private farm owners in 1970. This beautiful and tranquil 5,212-acre state park officially opened in 1971, and from its opening, it was described as a “pristine, undisturbed wilderness.”

West of Pedernales Falls State Park, you will find Johnson City in Blanco County, located 12.5 miles away; east of the park, you find Austin, 37.4 miles away in Travis, Williamson, and Hays Counties.

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Things You Can Do At Pedernales Falls State Park

  • Day visitors are welcome; however, with all you can do at Pedernales Falls State Park, you should try camping instead. That’s the only way you can explore all that this park has to offer.
  • As with any reasonable camping grounds, you can camp at a spot with water and electricity or, if you are really in the mood for seclusion and “roughing it,” you can hike to one of the more traditional campsites instead.
  • If you are a group of 12 people or more, you can go to the Equestrian Group Camp. The state park also has camping grounds for youth groups of up to 75 people.
  • The park has ten trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding that are mapped down. You can choose from easy, moderate, and challenging trails.
  • Take in the scenic views at the park’s north end, where the river drops 50 feet and cascades into the moss-layered steps of limestone.
  • Enjoy the Pedernales river by swimming, tubing, or just sitting on the shore. You can even fish in some spots if you wish.
  • Sightseeing options are vast, with plenty of wild animals, birds, and flora that can be found in the Hill Country of Texas.
  • Anglers also visit Pedernales Falls State Park for catfish, which is plentiful after the river rises. Some other common catches in the Pedernales river include bass, carp, and sunfish.
  • The park has many picnic spots along the trails, or you can set up your picnic blanket by the river’s shore.
Pedernales Falls State Park and River in Texas Hill Country. - Texas View
Pedernales River and Falls at Pedernales Falls State Park in Texas hill country

More About The Trails At Pedernales Falls State Park

Even though you are only a few miles away from Johnson City and Austin, at Pedernales Falls State Park, you have the natural beauty that is mostly untouched by the hustle and bustle of humans so that you can enjoy more of the woody wilderness areas, trails, and the Pedernales Falls and river.

There are about ten trails with beautiful and tranquil scenes that you can hike or, unless the park states otherwise, mountain bike or horseback through some of them.

DifficultyDistanceTimeTrailTrail Information
Easy3.0 miles2 hoursHorse Trail NorthHike, horseback ride, or bike down to the Duck Pond, where wildlife gathers for fresh water and food.
Moderate1.2 miles1 hourHackenburg LoopA trail named after one of the families who owned the land in the 1800s. It follows the path beside the river, showing the impacts of flash floods.
Moderate0.5 miles (round trip)30 minTwin Falls Nature TrailThe Twin Falls Trail takes you to some of the most beautiful scenes in Hill Country.
Moderate0.3 – 1.8 miles1 hourPedernales Fall Trails SystemThough this trail is only a one-hour walk, spending more time here is definitely not off the table. Once you experience the rock formations, you will see why.
Moderate5.5 miles (round trip)3 hours5.5 Mile LoopA trail with history and scenic views takes you over the river by accessing Trammell’s Crossing.
Moderate2.6 miles1 ½ hoursJones Spring TrailHike through the forest to find the historic rock house. Even though it is in ruins, it is quite an experience.
Moderate5.5 miles (round trip)3 hoursWolf Mountain LoopHome to plenty of coyotes, you can explore this trail with its beautiful scenes of Hill Country creeks and springs.
Moderate4.3 miles2 ½ hoursMadrone TrailThis trail is named after the abundance of madrone trees you can see while hiking.
Moderate11.4 miles8 hoursHorse Trail SouthMake this trail on horseback, biking or hiking over the limestone hills. It also connects with other trails if you want to change the route slightly.
Challenging9.7 miles6 hoursJuniper Ridge TrailA single-track mountain bike trail, also for hiking if you want more of a challenge.
Trails At Pedernales Falls

How To Stay Safe At Pedernales Falls State Park

We all want to feel safe, especially if we find ourselves in a vast wilderness like Pedernales Falls State Park.

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Following a few safety rules and respecting your body’s limitations will help keep you safe even when exploring the Pedernales Falls and river.

  • It is essential to know your limits and operate within them. Don’t try something you might regret later. And, to avoid emergencies, always carry a first aid kit with you.
  • Prepare yourself for the worst. Take extra clothing in case of heatstroke or hypothermia.
  • You should always wear a helmet when biking. There are plenty of rocky areas and other objects that your skull won’t appreciate.
  • When venturing onto a trail, ensure that you have plenty of drinking water for yourself and any people or pets with you.
  • Always be aware of possible weather changes before you go out on a trail, especially near the river.
  • Never hike, bike, or go horseback riding without a map of the trails.

FAQs About Pedernales Falls State Park

Can I Drink Alcohol In Pedernales Falls State Park?

Drinking alcohol in public places is against the Texas State Park regulations, including Pedernales Falls State Park. The parks are not allowed to sell any alcohol on the premises, and it is against the law to drink alcohol when you are outdoors and in public.

Can We Bring Fireworks Into Pedernales Falls State Park?

You cannot bring or shoot fireworks or explosives in the park.

Can I Enter Without A Reservation At Pedernales Falls State Park?

Pedernales Falls State Park often reaches capacity and closes the gates to those without permits. It is best to make a reservation by calling the customer service line or through online platforms to ensure that you get entry into the park.

What Animals Are In The Park?

The wildlife found in the park is typical for the Texas Hill Country. These include raccoons, skunks, opossums, rabbits, armadillos, coyotes, and white-tailed deer. More than 150 species of birds have also been identified at the park.

Can I Bring My Pet To Pedernales Falls State Park?

You are allowed to bring your pet to the park, but you must adhere to the rules and regulations, like restrictions about where pets are allowed to go. Also, if you know you have a dangerous, violent, or noisy pet, it is best to leave it at home as this is against the park rules.

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Does Pedernales Falls State Park Have Any Waterfalls?

The Park has a gradual, cascading waterfall on the Pedernales River. There is also a short hike that overlooks the Twin Falls on a creek that drains into the river.

Pedernales Falls State Park, Texas


Author Profile

Christian Linden is a seasoned writer and contributor at Texas View, specializing in topics that resonate with the Texan community. With over a decade of experience in journalism, Christian brings a wealth of knowledge in local politics, culture, and lifestyle. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Communications from the University of Texas. When he's not writing, Christian enjoys spending weekends traveling across Texas with his family, exploring everything from bustling cities to serene landscapes.

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