The Best Things To Do in Pedernales Falls State Park
January 4, 2024
Pedernales Falls State Park is located one hour outside of Austin, in the heart of Texas Hill Country. It’s known for 300 million year old limestone ledges containing pockets of water and mini waterfalls.
The park has a variety of hiking trails and spots to swim or tube. Surrounded by smaller towns, the park feels secluded and is an amazing place to relax and explore.
2024 Update: Pedernales Falls is one of the Texas state parks in the path of the total eclipse occurring on April 8th, 2024! Be sure to make your reservation 30 days in advance if you plan on watching it here.
Pedernales is a popular park, so you may want to consider making an advanced reservation for day entry. Read more about making reservations for Texas State Parks in this Texas state park guide.
Please make it a priority to Leave No Trace when exploring the outdoors. This includes leaving nothing behind, respecting wildlife, minimizing campfire impacts, respecting those around you, planning ahead and traveling on durable surfaces. For more details, read about the seven principles at lnt.org.
Pedernales Falls State Park Camping
Camp inside the park to fully experience the landscape. The campgrounds are large and all come with their own covered picnic tables. Many of the hikes are only a short walk from your site!
If you don’t want to camp, here are some unique accommodations nearby:
- The Crossroads Inn - This historic inn in Johnson City has tranquil gardens in the property and has a great central location for visiting Hill Country.
- Bella Nido B&B - Located in Driftwood, this bed and breakfast serves a delicious breakfast in the countryside
- Havenwald - This Airbnb makes for a perfect romantic escape in a fairytale cottage in Dripping Springs.
- Wanderin’ Star Farms - Also in Dripping Springs, Wanderin’ Star Farms offers modern cabins on a farm full of horses and other friendly animals.
Things to Do in Pedernales Falls
Here are some things to do while visiting Pedernales Falls:
Walk on the Pedernales Falls
Walk on top of a waterfall! Drive to the northern edge of the park and take a short trail down to the Pedernales Falls area, where you can climb across the limestone ledges. There’s no set path or trails once you get down to the rocks, so its up to you to explore.
It is such a unique and impressive landscape. Just be sure to not go too far on the other side of the river because it is private property. You also cannot swim in this area - save your swimming for elsewhere in the park!
Go Swimming in the Pedernales River
You can swim in the Pedernales River anywhere downstream of the first swimming area located on the map. The water is mostly shallow, but varies depending on how far you venture out. It is super refreshing to take a swim on a hot day.
Note that flash flooding in common in Texas Hill Country. If you notice the water rising or getting muddy, leave the river area immediately.
Walk the Twin Falls Nature Loop
This short (half a mile) trail leads to a viewpoint of a mini waterfall tucked away through lush greenery. It was only trickling when I visited, but at other times two streams of water flow next to each other. You can’t get very close to the waterfall due to conservation efforts.
Hike the 5.5 Mile Loop Trail
Cross the Trimmel River Crossing (you’ll get a little wet) and take the 5.5 Mile Loop Trail to a scenic overlook of the Pedernales River. The trail is most impressive for the overlook, the rest of it has little shade and steep inclines.
Hike the Wolf Mountain Trail
You can combine the Wolf Mountain Trail with some of the other trails, like the South Equestrian Loop and the Juniper Ridge Trail. These trails are easy overall. The exciting part about them is venturing a little off the path to find your own swimming holes and rock formations.
Tube, Canoe or Kayak in Pedernales River
If you are looking for more adventure on the river, bring your own tube, canoe or kayak and float or paddle down the Pedernales as you gaze at the nature around you.
Mountain Biking in Pedernales Falls
If you're a cyclist, Pedernales Falls offers mountain biking trails! Check out the Juniper Ridge Trail, a 10-mile technical, single track trail (not for beginners).
Horseback riding in Pedernales Falls
The park offers 10 miles of rugged trails that are perfect for experienced riders. Water troughs are offered at the trailer parking area and midway through the trail.
More Things To Do Near Pedernales Falls
Pedernales Falls is close to some of the best attractions that Texas Hill Country has to offer. Here are some other amazing things to do within an hours drive from Pedernales.
- Visit Hamilton Pool Preserve or Westcave for gorgeous swimming holes and waterfalls nestled among lush greenery.
- Tour an olive farm at Texas Hill Country Olive Co.
- Visit a winery. There are many but I recommend Arc De Texas for a beautiful balcony view or Driftwood Estate Winery for delicious wine enjoyed in the countryside.
- Visit a distillery - options include Deep Eddy Vodka Tasting Room and Treaty Oak Distilling.
- Enjoy pizza and sour beers at Jester King Brewery. At this large brewery, you’ll find delicious pizza, herds of goats and a great atmosphere.
Pedernales Falls is one of the most beautiful places in Texas Hill Country and deserves a spot on your Texas bucket list! I hope this guides gives you some ideas for the perfect Hill Country adventure.
For More Texas Outdoor Guides, check out these blogs:
- The Best Hiking in Texas Hill Country
- The Best Outdoor Adventures in Beaumont, Texas
- The Best Things To Do at Pedernales Falls State Park
- The Best Things To Do at Caddo Lake
- See the Best Fall Leaves in Texas at Lost Maples
- The Best Things To Do at Guadalupe River State Park
- The Perfect Fredericksburg Weekend Itinerary
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