State Natural Area consists of 1643.5 acres on Big Sandy Creek,
north of Fredericksburg, on the border between Gillespie and Llano
Counties. It was acquired by warranty deed in 1978 by the Nature
Conservancy of Texas, Inc., from the Moss family. The state acquired
it in 1984, added facilities, and reopened the park in March 1984,
but humans have visited here for over 11,000 years.
Enchanted Rock was designated a National Natural Landmark in 1970
and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984.
The Rock is a huge, pink granite exfoliation dome, that rises 425
feet above ground, 1825 feet above sea level, and covers 640 acres.
It is one of the largest batholiths (underground rock formation
uncovered by erosion) in the United States.
Tonkawa Indians believed ghost fires flickered at the top, and they
heard weird creaking and groaning, which geologists now say resulted
from the rock's heating by day and contracting in the cool night. A
conquistador captured by the Tonkawa described how he escaped by
losing himself in the rock area, giving rise to an Indian legend of
a "pale man swallowed by a rock and reborn as one of their own."
The Indians believed he wove enchantments on the area, but he
explained that the rock wove the spells. "When I was swallowed by
the rock, I joined the many spirits who enchant this place." The
first well-documented explorations of this area did not begin until
1723 when the Spanish intensified their efforts to colonize Texas.
During the mid-1700s, the Spaniards made several trips to the north
and northwest of San Antonio, establishing a mission and presidio on
the San Saba River and carrying out limited mining on Honey Creek
near the Llano River.
NONOTE: The park reaches capacity (in terms of parking) and frequently
closes on weekends (sometimes as early as 11 a.m.) Reopening usually
occurs at 5 p.m. Call ahead or have alternate plans if you arrive at
the park and find it closed.
can enjoy primitive backpacking, camping, hiking, technical and rock
climbing, picnicking, geological study, bird watching, and star
gazing (minimal light pollution). Remember, at Enchanted Rock State
Natural Area, do not disturb plant or animal life, geological
features, or Indian or historical artifacts. These park
resources are protected by law! Bring your own firewood.
Rock climbers must check in at headquarters; route maps and climbing
Other nearby parks in this scenic area include Pedernales Falls
State Park, Blanco State Park, Guadalupe River State Park,
Kerrville-Schreiner Park, Inks Lake State Park, and Longhorn Cavern
State Park; Lyndon B. Johnson State Historic Site, with the
Sauer-Beckmann living history farmstead, and the adjacent LBJ
National Park; the Johnson Birthplace; and the family cemetery,
where the former President is buried; and the Admiral Nimitz State
Historic Site - National Museum of the Pacific War in
Fredericksburg. You may want to refer to nearby Lower Colorado River
include restrooms with showers; walk-in water sites (25 to 100
yards) with tent pads, picnic tables, fire rings, and water and
restrooms with showers nearby; hike-in primitive sites, located in
three unique areas with composting toilets (backpack camping in
designated areas only); picnic sites for day-use with tables and
grills; a group picnic area with a pavilion and restrooms; a 4-mile
trail for backpacking/day hiking that winds around the granite
formations; a short, steep trail leading up to the top of Enchanted
Rock (foot traffic only); an interpretive center; and a Texas State
Park Store. No facilities are available for vehicular camping of any
The four major plant communities of Enchanted Rock are open oak
woodland, mesquite grassland, floodplain, and granite rock
community. Live oak, post oak, and blackjack oak dominate the oak
woodland, with black hickory in moister areas. Common shrubs are
Texas persimmon, agarita, white
brush, and prickly pear. Bluestem, three-awn, and grama grass often
are found in the shade of the oaks, while American tripogon is more
common on gravely slopes which are seasonally wet. The mesquite
grassland, once an area of bluestem, is now covered with three-awn,
grama, Texas wintergrass, panicum, and sand bur, along with invading
Elm, pecan, hackberry, black hickory, soapberry, and oak
characterize the floodplains. Common shrubs are white buckeye,
agarita, Texas persimmon, Roosevelt weed, and buttonbush. Grasses
and sedges, as well as annual and perennial herbs, form the ground
cover. Some of these are water bentgrass, late eupatorium,
Indiangrass, bushybeard bluestem, frost weed, and switchgrass. In
the spring bluebonnets, Indian paintbrush, yellow coreopsis,
bladderpod, and basin bellflower bloom.
Both rock and fox squirrels are common, as are armadillos, rabbits,
and other small animals. Lizards and turkey vultures are conspicuous
on and above the rock year-round. White-tailed deer are frequently
observed, and the park's bird life is varied and abundant. A bird
checklist for the park is available upon request.
is 18 miles north of Fredericksburg on Ranch Road 965, or from
Llano, take State Highway 16 for 14 miles south and then go west on
Ranch Road 965.