5 Fun Things To Do In Pedernales Falls State Park

During our Central Texas BBQ Road Trip, I threw in as many state parks as possible to make up for all the food we were consuming. Pedernales Falls State Park was the perfect choice! The park was beautiful even in the winter and has so much to offer! Here are 5 fun things to do in Pedernales Falls State Park.

Location:

Pedernales Falls is located in the Texas Hill Country right on the Pedernales River. It’s about 10 miles east of Johnson City. About an hour drive from Austin depending on traffic and 1.5 hours from San Antonio.

2585 Park Road 6026 Johnson City, TX 78636

Best Time To Visit:

The park is open year round, but currently closed to day guests on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Peak season is the spring through fall. However they reach capacity even during the winter months. Make sure to secure reservations ahead of time!!

Summer will bring crowds of people wanting to cool off in the river. It’s HOT!!

Spring and fall are the best time for hiking and camping. You can enjoy both the hikes and river in late spring and early fall.

Spring also brings beautiful wildflowers!

Winter is a great time to come and enjoy everything but the river.

$6 Daily entrance fee per person aged 13 and older.

$70 Texas State Park Annual Pass (covers entire family for every Texas state park) – Highly recommended. It’s a great deal depending on the age of family members and how often you visit the parks.

What To Bring:

  • Water- lots of it depending on the season and how much hiking is planned
  • Sunscreen- it’s Texas and sunburns happen quickly!
  • Hiking boots – if hiking
  • Hiking backpack
  • Water Shoes
  • Swimsuit – Seasonal
  • Tubes – Seasonal
  • Towels – Seasonal
  • Tent- If Camping
  • Camping Equipment- Again if camping
  • Camera
  • Texas State Park Pass

5 Fun Things To Do In Pedernales Falls State Park:

1. Hike A Trail

The park offers over 20 miles of hiking trails, so there’s something for everyone. They vary in difficulty and length. These are the trails I recommend:

Pedernales Falls Trail System – 1.8 miles – The main waterfall overlook is off this trail. From the overlook you are able to walk down to the river and climb around on the limestone. Follow the trail further for even more views of the river.

Twin Falls Nature Trail -.5 miles – This is a short trail through the woods. It’s a pretty area, but the falls aren’t spectacular. More of like a small trickle down the canyon. There are big rocks towards the end that are perfect for kids to climb.

Wolf Mountain Trail Loop – 5.8 miles – One of the best trails in the park! There are scenic views plus a spring fed pool for cooling off from the hike.

Hiking in Pedernales Falls State Park

2. Swim in the River

This is the best way to cool off in the Texas summer heat! Make sure to swim in designated swimming areas only. Here’s their swimming safety guidelines.

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The Hill Country is known for flash floods. If the water starts rising or turning muddy, then leave the river immediately!

3. Tube / Canoe / Kayak

The park lets you put in at the swimming area or Trammel’s Crossing. Must bring your own, they do not offer rentals.

4. Camp

Pedernales Falls State Park has one main camp ground that has 69 tent sites with electricity. The campsites are $20 a night and allow a maximum of 8 people per site. Located next to the designated swimming area and the Twin Falls Nature Trail.

The park also has primitive camping sites that require a 2 mile hike in. These sites are $10 per night with a maximum of 4 people per site.

For more camping info, click here.

5. Mountain Biking

Most of the hiking trails in the park are multi use, so there are a few to choose from. The Juniper Ridge Trail is for the more adventurous cyclist. It’s a 10 mile advanced trail with plenty of obstacles.

Tips for Visiting:

  • Pedernales is pronounced Peder nah les
  • Make online reservations in advance. Maybe even months in advance depending on when you want to visit. It’s a very popular park.
  • Cell service is not great in the park.
  • Bring plenty of water in the summer!

Attractions Close By:

  • Lyndon B. Johnson State Park & National Historical Park

There’s 5 fun things to do in Pedernales Falls State Park! Let me know if I missed anything!

Pedernales Falls State Park: The Complete Guide

Justine Harrington is a TripSavvy writer based in Austin, Texas, where she covers topics spanning travel, food & drink, lifestyle, culture, social advocacy, and the outdoors.

View of the Texas Pedernales River from a High Bluff, with Fall Foliage.

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Pedernales Falls State Park

Just an hour outside of Austin, Pedernales Falls State Park offers a fantastic look at the best of the Texas Hill Country scenery: a crystal-clear river, limestone rock formations, a series of beautiful waterfalls and pools, lush greenery, and old-growth cypress trees that tower over all. There are also multiple trails for hikers, mountain bikers, and horseback riders to explore, and visitors can opt to camp or just hang out for the day. Read on to find out more about how to visit, as well as the best things to do and see at Pedernales Falls.

Things to Do

What you do at Pedernales largely depends on what time of year you plan to visit, although considering how temperate the Central Texas climate is, swimming, canoeing, and kayaking are possible for much of the year. The unusual rock formations and waterfalls are the most distinctive features of the park, and most visitors opt to simply walk around the natural pools and picnic by the main falls (which are just a short walk from the parking lot).

Hikers and bikers will love exploring the variety of trails here, too (covered below). And, both the North Loop Equestrian Train and South Loop Equestrian Trail are designed for horseback riders. The former is an easy 3-mile walk to the seasonal Duck Pond, while the latter is a steep 11.40-mile trail over rugged landscape.

Water Sports

Swimming and fishing are two of the main activities at Pedernales. While the park prohibits swimming and wading in the Pedernales Falls area (the main falls area), consult the trail map to see the designated swimming area (marked Swimming Area Trail). You can also tube, canoe, or kayak the river, although there are no put-ins or take-outs allowed in the Pedernales Falls area. Instead, you can put in at the swimming area or Trammell’s Crossing trail.

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Best Hikes and Trails

There are plenty of opportunities for hiking, biking, and horseback riding in the park, with hiking trails that range from a half-mile to nearly 10 miles (while other routes are specifically for mountain bikers and horses). The best trails to check out are:

  • Twin Falls Nature Trail: This easy, 5-mile trail has a scenic overlook over the Twin Falls.
  • Madrone Trail: A moderate hike, this trail is named for the many madrone trees found along the trail.
  • 5.5-Mile Loop Trail: Take Trammell’s Crossing across the river (prepare to get your feet wet) to access a part of the park that most visitors never see.
  • Wolf Mountain Trail: A challenging, 5.8-mile trail that wraps around Tobacco and Wolf mountains, Wolf Mountain offers stunning views of the Pedernales River valley.
  • Juniper Ridge Trail: If you’re up for a longer, semi-strenuous hike, the 9.7-mile Juniper Ridge Trail is frequented by both mountain bikers and long-distance hikers.

Where to Camp

Camping at Pedernales is simple and straightforward: There are 69 sites with water and electricity, and a smattering of primitive campsites—note that it’s a two-mile hike, minimum, to the primitive sites. You can check campsite availability and make reservations online (which you should do as far ahead in advance as possible, to ensure that you get a site).

Where to Stay Nearby

The closest town is Johnson City, where you’ll find one modest lodging option—a Best Western—and one more upscale option, Carter Creek Winery Resort & Spa.

Aside from that, the surrounding Hill Country is replete with adorable cottages, elegant glamping, and other unique lodging options. A few of our favorites include Lucky Arrow Retreat (you can opt for a luxury cabin or yurt), Havenwald (a “storybook”-style tiny house), and Cypress Valley, where guests can stay in a beautifully appointed treehouse in a forest of towering cypresses.

How to Get There

Pedernales Falls State Park is located at 2585 Park Road 6026, Johnson City, TX 78636. From Austin, get on TX-1 Loop S (locals call this highway Mopac) and follow it to US-290 W. Drive along 290-W for just over 30 miles, until you reach Ranch Rd 3232 N. From there, it’s a short drive to Park Road 6026 and the park entrance.

Accessibility

The restrooms at the Headquarters, the scenic overlook trailhead parking area, picnic area, and the showers in the campground are all wheelchair-accessible. Trails to the river are rough and not accessible. While the drive-up campsites aren’t technically accessible, there are some sites that have a layout that’s easier for wheelchairs to navigate. It’s recommended that you contact the park directly to check on the most wheelchair-friendly site; call the Reservation Center at 512-389-8900 to reserve an accessible site.

5 Fun Things To Do In Pedernales Falls State Park

During our Central Texas BBQ Road Trip, I threw in as many state parks as possible to make up for all the food we were consuming. Pedernales Falls State Park was the perfect choice! The park was beautiful even in the winter and has so much to offer! Here are 5 fun things to do in Pedernales Falls State Park.

Location:

Pedernales Falls is located in the Texas Hill Country right on the Pedernales River. It’s about 10 miles east of Johnson City. About an hour drive from Austin depending on traffic and 1.5 hours from San Antonio.

2585 Park Road 6026 Johnson City, TX 78636

Best Time To Visit:

The park is open year round, but currently closed to day guests on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Peak season is the spring through fall. However they reach capacity even during the winter months. Make sure to secure reservations ahead of time!!

Summer will bring crowds of people wanting to cool off in the river. It’s HOT!!

Read Post  Climbing Stone Mountain: How Many Calories You’ll Burn

Spring and fall are the best time for hiking and camping. You can enjoy both the hikes and river in late spring and early fall.

Spring also brings beautiful wildflowers!

Winter is a great time to come and enjoy everything but the river.

$6 Daily entrance fee per person aged 13 and older.

$70 Texas State Park Annual Pass (covers entire family for every Texas state park) – Highly recommended. It’s a great deal depending on the age of family members and how often you visit the parks.

What To Bring:

  • Water- lots of it depending on the season and how much hiking is planned
  • Sunscreen- it’s Texas and sunburns happen quickly!
  • Hiking boots – if hiking
  • Hiking backpack
  • Water Shoes
  • Swimsuit – Seasonal
  • Tubes – Seasonal
  • Towels – Seasonal
  • Tent- If Camping
  • Camping Equipment- Again if camping
  • Camera
  • Texas State Park Pass

5 Fun Things To Do In Pedernales Falls State Park:

1. Hike A Trail

The park offers over 20 miles of hiking trails, so there’s something for everyone. They vary in difficulty and length. These are the trails I recommend:

Pedernales Falls Trail System – 1.8 miles – The main waterfall overlook is off this trail. From the overlook you are able to walk down to the river and climb around on the limestone. Follow the trail further for even more views of the river.

Twin Falls Nature Trail -.5 miles – This is a short trail through the woods. It’s a pretty area, but the falls aren’t spectacular. More of like a small trickle down the canyon. There are big rocks towards the end that are perfect for kids to climb.

Wolf Mountain Trail Loop – 5.8 miles – One of the best trails in the park! There are scenic views plus a spring fed pool for cooling off from the hike.

Hiking in Pedernales Falls State Park

2. Swim in the River

This is the best way to cool off in the Texas summer heat! Make sure to swim in designated swimming areas only. Here’s their swimming safety guidelines.

The Hill Country is known for flash floods. If the water starts rising or turning muddy, then leave the river immediately!

3. Tube / Canoe / Kayak

The park lets you put in at the swimming area or Trammel’s Crossing. Must bring your own, they do not offer rentals.

4. Camp

Pedernales Falls State Park has one main camp ground that has 69 tent sites with electricity. The campsites are $20 a night and allow a maximum of 8 people per site. Located next to the designated swimming area and the Twin Falls Nature Trail.

The park also has primitive camping sites that require a 2 mile hike in. These sites are $10 per night with a maximum of 4 people per site.

For more camping info, click here.

5. Mountain Biking

Most of the hiking trails in the park are multi use, so there are a few to choose from. The Juniper Ridge Trail is for the more adventurous cyclist. It’s a 10 mile advanced trail with plenty of obstacles.

Tips for Visiting:

  • Pedernales is pronounced Peder nah les
  • Make online reservations in advance. Maybe even months in advance depending on when you want to visit. It’s a very popular park.
  • Cell service is not great in the park.
  • Bring plenty of water in the summer!

Attractions Close By:

  • Lyndon B. Johnson State Park & National Historical Park

There’s 5 fun things to do in Pedernales Falls State Park! Let me know if I missed anything!

Source https://alwaysupforanadventure.com/5-fun-things-to-do-in-pedernales-falls-state-park/

Source https://www.tripsavvy.com/pedernales-falls-state-park-guide-5185970

Source https://alwaysupforanadventure.com/5-fun-things-to-do-in-pedernales-falls-state-park/

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