Texas has some terrific state parks and the 5,212-acre Pedernales Falls State Park ranks up there as one of the best of them.
Situated just an hour’s drive from Austin, the park is known for being home to the picturesque Pedernales Falls, as well as the rampaging Pedernales River, which flows around and over massive slabs of limestone.
The perfect place to enjoy nature, opportunities for recreational activities abound here. With hiking, biking, fishing, swimming, birding, wildlife watching and horseback riding being very well practiced activities here.
Camping is also a very popular activity too, as the park provides several different options for visitors who want to enjoy the park’s many delights over the course of a few days and nights.
Park visitors are able to enjoy a wide range of outdoor recreational pursuits during their time there.
Below is just a small selection of some of the many activities you can partake in.
Swimming at Pedernales Falls State Park
For those who want to swim, the park has a swimming area which can be accessed by a strenuous 1/4-mile hike.
You will need to be careful when making your way there, as it involves navigating steep rock stairs that have no handrail.
But once you arrive, you will be able to swim in its cooling and refreshing water.
Fishing at Pedernales Falls State Park
Anglers from all over Texas come to Pedernales Falls State Park for the opportunity to catch bass, sunfish, carp and catfish.
The latter of which is particularly good to snare after the river rises.
Hiking and biking at Pedernales Falls State Park
If you would like to explore the park, the best way to do so is via hiking or biking.
Meandering their way through it, there are several hill country trails that run through the park. These range from easy to very challenging.
One of the easier trails to undertake is the half mile Twin Falls Nature Trail, which will lead you to a scenic overlook at the falls.
Providing a more difficult experience, the six-mile Wolf Mountain Trail snakes around both Tobacco and Wolf mountains, as well as winding along several small canyons.
For cyclists, the 10 mile Juniper Ridge Trail, is a single track pathway that should only be attempted by more advanced riders, on account of there being plenty of obstacles along it.
Horseback riding at Pedernales Falls State Park
If you want to bring your horse with you to the park there are over 10 miles of scenic, rugged trails for you to tackle.
Please be aware that the trail is very uneven and rocky and also features very steep slopes. They are best undertaken if you have riding experience.
Horses must have shoes and you are obliged to present current coggins for them at the main office.
Birding at Pedernales Falls State Park
The park is home to over 150 different species of birds, around 50 of which live their permanently.
These include the likes of vultures, ravens, herons, doves, roadrunners, quail, owls and wild turkeys, which you should have no problem spotting.
It also includes western scrub jays and rufous-crowned sparrows too.
Around the time of mid-March, the endangered golden-cheeked warblers arrive in the park for nesting.
Nature & Wildlife
The park is blessed with a terrain that is full of a diverse range of flora and fauna.
Along most of the trails you’ll pass hills that are full of juniper and oak woodlands. You will see the likes of pecan, elm hackberry, walnut and sycamore trees in the more densely forested areas.
Down by the river ash, cypress and buttonbush grow on the terrace.
In terms of wildlife, the landscape here, like much of Texas Hill Country, accommodates white-tailed deer, rabbits, opossums, coyotes, armadillos, skunks and raccoons.
Pets at Pedernales Falls State Park
You are welcome to bring your pets to the park, they will have to be supervised and restrained at all time during your stay.
Some other restrictions also apply, so if you would like to bring your dog with you, it would be a good idea to call the park’s main office to ascertain what they are.
Camping at Pedernales Falls State Park
For those who want to stay overnight at the park there are several camping options available to you.
The main campground here has 69 campsites that all provide electric and water hookups. These sites vary in size, being able to accommodate RVs and trailers that range from 43 to 64 feet in length.
Each of these sites has a campfire ring and picnic table. Other amenities at the site include comfort stations that have flush toilets and warm showers. You will also find an RV dump site, as well as several dumpsters.
As well as this main campground, there are several other alternative camping options available at the park. This includes an equestrian group camp, which features six horse pens and can accommodate 12 vehicles in total.
There are also 20 primitive campsites for those who want to spend their nights under the stars. Accessing these sites involves walking about two miles. But once you are there you will find chemical toilets as well as sites that can sleep up to four people.
Sponsors of any type of youth group can also make use of a youth camp area that can accommodate up to 75 people. This facility has comes with outdoor grills, picnic tables and lantern posts.
Pedernales Falls State Park
2585 Park Rd 6026
Johnson City, TX 78636
Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Pedernales Falls State Park: