Things To Do in Pedernales Falls State Park
October 3, 2020
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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.
Pedernales is a popular park and the day entries have been filling up quickly during Covid-19. Day passes go on sale 30 days in advance so you’ll want to reserve your spot a couple of weeks in advance if you want weekend times. Read more about visiting Texas State Parks during Covid-19 in this article!
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.
Here are some things to do while visiting 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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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