Whether you pronounce it ‘Per-da-nal-les’ or ‘Peder-nales’ makes no difference, but what is important is knowing how amazing this state park truly is. Check out my Pedernales Falls State Park visit recap.
Just outside of Austin, and past Dripping Springs, and beyond all of the new growth you’ll take a side road that winds around the Texas hill country into this state park.
As opposed to parks like Bastrop S.P. and McKinney Falls S.P., Pedernales S.P. does feel like you’ve finally made it outside of town.
This is one of my favorite parks to hike at. Plenty of options for scenery, for challenging yourself, and even a trail called Wolf Mountain if you want to do some primitive camping. Overall there are seven main trails to hike. Juniper Ridge trail is the longest at 8.92 miles, and this one is usually used for mountain biking, but there’s enough shade to hike here as well. My personal favorites are the 5.5-Mile Loop Trail, and the Wolf Mountain trail.
The 5.5-Mile Loop trail is the first trail I ever hiked, and when I post my hydration tips post this is the trail that helped me learn real quick about drinking enough water. To access it you have to cross Trammell’s Crossing across the river, and make sure you go straight ahead. There looks like there’s a trail towards the water, but that is the wrong way- trust me. It has some pretty steep inclines at various part of the loop, so even if you decide to go left vs right on multiple occasions, you’ll still find some good elevation.
The Wolf Mountain trail is going to keep you pretty close to the Pedernales River for a good part of the trail, and because of that you’ll have some pretty sweet overlooks like the picture featured here. This is also the main access if you want to do some primitive camping. Just no, from the beginning of the trail to the camp spot is a bit of a way in, so make sure you’re actually taking ‘backpacking’ gear, otherwise hiking back and forth to bring equipment will be a chore.
Another point of interest would be the Twin Falls Nature trail. This is mostly a destination hike as the Twin Falls are the main reason you’ll go here. Nestled beyond rugged landscape you’ll come upon a guard rail, and just beyond the trees you’ll see the Twin Falls. The park urges guests to stay above, but if you visit you’ll see the human erosion from people sneaking down to get a better look.
What this park gains as far as overall beauty seems to lack in terms of camping amenities. The amount of camp sites here are predominantly for the primitive sites and RV’s. The RV sites are water and electric, so I presume you could just plop your tent down if needed, but most people I’ve spoken with that visit here are going to primitive camp. No ‘GLAMPING’ here.
This is a stop multiple times a month. During the summer you definitely need to stay hydrated as a lot of these trails don’t offer a lot of shade. The beauty of the upper and lower falls can’t be beat and the falls trail is scerene as long as guests respect the rules of the park. The main part of the falls are for your viewing pleasure only. You can walk around and enjoy the rock landscape, but off limits for swimming because the river can have a flash flood with very little to no warning. Under normal conditions it a great place to looks at the clear water and enjoy the swimming fish.
The main recreational area of the falls is totally accommodating to swimming and lounging in the water. Plenty of man-made trails have been created for additional access points to the water. Lush landscapes with trees overhanging the water, this section of the park is worth jumping into after a long hike.